233 episodes

Not just book chat! The Literary Life Podcast is an ongoing conversation about the skill and art of reading well and the lost intellectual tradition needed to fully enter into the great works of literature.

Experienced teachers Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks (of www.HouseOfHumaneLetters.com) join lifelong reader Cindy Rollins (of www.MorningtimeForMoms.com) for slow reads of classic literature, conversations with book lovers, and an ever-unfolding discussion of how Stories Will Save the World.

And check out our sister podcast The Well Read Poem with poet Thomas Banks.

The Literary Life Podcast Angelina Stanford Thomas Banks

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 943 Ratings

Not just book chat! The Literary Life Podcast is an ongoing conversation about the skill and art of reading well and the lost intellectual tradition needed to fully enter into the great works of literature.

Experienced teachers Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks (of www.HouseOfHumaneLetters.com) join lifelong reader Cindy Rollins (of www.MorningtimeForMoms.com) for slow reads of classic literature, conversations with book lovers, and an ever-unfolding discussion of how Stories Will Save the World.

And check out our sister podcast The Well Read Poem with poet Thomas Banks.

    “Harry Potter” Book 1, Ch. 8-12

    “Harry Potter” Book 1, Ch. 8-12

    Welcome back to The Literary Life podcast and our series on J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter: Book 1. After sharing some thoughts on detective fiction as it relates to Rowling, our hosts Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks discuss chapters 8-12. Some of the ideas they share are the following: Homeric echos and classical allusions in this book, the identity quest, the significance of characters’ names, the four houses and the bestiary, the three parts of the soul, the Christian influence on Rowling’s stories. Angelina also seeks to teach something about symbolism and structure of literature and art as seen through the Harry Potter books.
    Visit HouseofHumaneLetters.com for updates on classes with Angelina, Thomas, and other members of their teaching team.
    Previous episodes mentioned in this podcast:
    The Importance of the Detective Novel (Episode 3/174)
    Series on Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (Episodes 4-8)
    Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (Episode 79)
    Commonplace Quotes: The wise man combines the pleasures of the senses and the pleasures of the spirit in such a way as to increase the satisfaction he gets from both.
    W. Somerset Maugham, from The Narrow Corner For it is through symbols that man finds his way out of his particular situation and “opens himself” to the general and the Universal. Symbols awaken individual experience and transmute it into a spiritual act, into metaphysical comprehension of the world.
    Mircea Eliade, from The Sacred and the Profane The Fairies By William Allingham
    Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
    We daren’t go a-hunting
    For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl’s feather!

    Down along the rocky shore
    Some make their home,
    They live on crispy pancakes
    Of yellow tide-foam;
    Some in the reeds
    Of the black mountain lake,
    With frogs for their watch-dogs,
    All night awake.

    High on the hill-top
    The old King sits;
    He is now so old and gray
    He’s nigh lost his wits.
    With a bridge of white mist
    Columbkill he crosses,
    On his stately journeys
    From Slieveleague to Rosses;
    Or going up with music
    On cold starry nights
    To sup with the Queen
    Of the gay Northern Lights.

    They stole little Bridget
    For seven years long;
    When she came down again
    Her friends were all gone.
    They took her lightly back,
    Between the night and morrow,
    They thought that she was fast asleep,
    But she was dead with sorrow.
    They have kept her ever since
    Deep within the lake,
    On a bed of flag-leaves,
    Watching till she wake.

    By the craggy hill-side,
    Through the mosses bare,
    They have planted thorn-trees
    For pleasure here and there.
    If any man so daring
    As dig them up in spite,
    He shall find their sharpest thorns
    In his bed at night.

    Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
    We daren’t go a-hunting
    For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl’s feather! Book List: Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith
    Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
    Agatha Christie
    Margery Allingham
    Ngaio Marsh
    Fanny Burney
    Northrop Frye
    The Odyssey by Homer
    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling
    The Book of Beasts trans. by T. H. White
    The Once and Future King by T. H. White
    Fabulous Tales and Mythical Beasts by Woody Allen
    Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!
    Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/
    Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

    • 1 hr 49 min
    Episode 233: “Harry Potter” Book 1, Ch. 3-7

    Episode 233: “Harry Potter” Book 1, Ch. 3-7

    On today’s episode of The Literary Life podcast, Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks continue their series on Harry Potter: Book 1 by J. K. Rowling. This week we are covering chapters 3-7. Angelina opens the book discussion with an overview of the literary motifs used by Rowling in the Harry Potter books to help modern readers better understand these kinds of stories. One of the motifs she highlights is the identity quest and how we see Harry on a journey of the soul. She also shares some thoughts on the fairy tale “magic” of these stories in contrast to actual witchcraft as well as the symbolism used to show us that this is a fairy world.
    Thomas and Angelina talk about the characters we meet in these chapters, including the symbolism of some of their names. Other ideas discussed in this episode include the importance of alchemy, the Gothic literary tradition, the layers of the quest, the rise of the fantasy genre, and so much more!
    Visit HouseofHumaneLetters.com for updates on classes with Angelina, Thomas, and other members of their teaching team.
    The Literary Life series on Bram Stoker’s Dracula
    Commonplace Quotes: It is very often a man’s digressions that reveal his true character and interests.
    T. R. Glover, from Springs of Hellas I am not suggesting that all works of literature are much the same work or fit into the same general scheme. I am providing a kind of resonance for literary experience, a third dimension, so to speak, in which the work we are experiencing draws strength and power from everything else we have read and may still read. And, second, the strength and power do not stop with the work out there, but enter into us.
    Northrop Frye Walking Away By Cecil Day-Lewis
    It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
    A sunny day with leaves just turning,
    The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
    Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
    Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

    Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
    You walking away from me towards the school
    With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
    Into a wilderness, the gait of one
    Who finds no path where the path should be.

    That hesitant figure, eddying away
    Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
    Has something I never quite grasp to convey
    About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
    Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

    I have had worse partings, but none that so
    Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
    Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
    How selfhood begins with a walking away,
    And love is proved in the letting go. Book List: The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy
    Enid Blyton
    The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    An Experiment in Criticism by C. S. Lewis
    Hard Times by Charles Dickens
    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    MacBeth by William Shakespeare
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
    Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!
    Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/
    Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

    • 1 hr 34 min
    “Harry Potter” Book 1, Introduction and Ch. 1-2

    “Harry Potter” Book 1, Introduction and Ch. 1-2

    On today’s episode on The Literary Life podcast, we begin our much-anticipated series on Harry Potter: Book 1 by J. K. Rowling, with hosts Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks. After sharing a little on their own backgrounds as teachers and their commonplace quotations for the week, Angelina and Thomas open the book discussion with some introductory information on this book and series. They address the controversy surrounding these books in Christian circles. For our previous episode on magic, listen to our Best of Series Episode 168: Wizards, Witches and Magic, Oh My!
    Angelina sets up this series with some background on children’s publishing in the 1990s, the why there are differences in the British and American editions, the basis for this book in the classic literary tradition, the form and structure of stories. They also share some thoughts on these first couple of chapters. Join us again next week for chapters 3-7!
    Visit HouseofHumaneLetters.com for updates on classes with Angelina, Thomas, and other members of their teaching team.
    Commonplace Quotes: To what extent people draw their ideas from fiction is disputable. Personally, I believe that most people are influenced far more than they would care to admit by novels, serial stories, films, and so forth, and that from this point of view, the worst books are often the most important.
    George Orwell, in “Boys’ Weeklies“ Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am, but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as inducing them, and you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness that has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.
    C. S. Lewis, from “The Weight of Glory“ A Selection from “A School Song” By Rudyard Kipling
    'Let us now praise famous men' -
    Men of little showing -
    For their work continueth,
    And their work continueth,
    Broad and deep continueth,
    Greater than their knowing!

    And we all praise famous men -
    Ancients of the College;
    For they taught us common sense -
    Tried to teach us common sense
    Truth and God's Own Common Sense,
    Which is more than knowledge! Book List: Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Holes by Louis Sachar
    The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
    Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes
    Stalky and Co. by Rudyard Kipling
    The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
    Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!
    Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/
    Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

    • 1 hr 30 min
    What to Do When The Literary Life Feels Overwhelming

    What to Do When The Literary Life Feels Overwhelming

    This week on The Literary Life podcast Angelina Stanford is joined by friends and fellow readers Cindy Rollins, Emily Raible, and Jone Rose to discuss how to deal with overwhelm with your literary life. Angelina opens the conversation with the acknowledgment that everyone has moments when they feel overwhelmed by the amount of things to read and to know. Jone talks about how she tries to avoid comparing herself and her reading life to that of others. Cindy talks about how she has seen the Enemy twist something that is a good gift and made it into a negative.
    Other encouraging and helpful ideas they discuss are the following: motivation of making connections, how to work up to more challenging books, protecting your brain and attention span, learning to enjoy the feast, and continuing the literary life for the long haul.
    Find out more about Cindy’s summer Narration Bootcamps over at MorningTimeforMoms.com. Look for more information about the summer classes over HouseofHumaneLetters.com, too!
    Commonplace Quotes: Now you must remember, whenever you have to deal with him, that Analysis, like fire, is a very good servant but a very bad master, for having got his freedom only of late years or so he is, like young men when they come suddenly to be their own masters, apt to be conceited and to fancy that he knows everything when he really knows nothing and can never know anything but only knows about things, which is a different matter. Emily shares her eye-opening understanding after starting out discouraged about being “behind” in her self-education journey.
    Charles Kingsley Words can come to the ear like blowing wind and neither stop nor remain, just passing by like fleeting time, if hearts and minds aren’t awake, aren’t ready and willing to receive them. Only the heart can take them in and hold them and keep them.
    Chrétrien de Troyes, trans. by Burton Raffel, from Yvain, The Knight of the Lion I have my doubts about all this real value in mountaineering, of getting to the top of everywhere and overlooking everything. Satan was the most celebrated of alpine guides when he took Jesus to the top of an exceeding high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth. But the joy of Satan standing on a peak, in not a joy in largeness, but a joy in beholding smallness in the fact that all men look like insects at his feet. It is from the valley that things look large. It is from the level that things look high. I am a child of the level and have no need of that celebrated alpine guide. Everything is an attitude of the mind, and at this moment I am in comfortable attitude. I will sit still and let the marvels and the adventures settle on me like flies. There are plenty of them, I assure you. The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.
    G. K. Chesterton, from Tremendous Trifles And prodigies with a vengeance have I known thus produced, prodigies of self-conceit, shallowness, arrogance, and infidelity. Instead of storing the memory during the period when the memory is the predominant faculty with facts for the after-exercise of the judgement, and instead of awakening by the noblest models the fond and unmixed love and admiration which is the natural and graceful temper of early youth, these nurslings of improved pedagogy are taught to dispute and decide, to suspect all but their own and their lecturers’ wisdom and to hold nothing sacred from their contempt but their own contemptible arrogance, boy graduates in all the technicals and in all the dirty passions and impudence of anonymous criticism.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as quoted in Mariner by Malcom Guite from “Il Penseroso” by John Bunyan
    But let my due feet never fail
    To walk the studious cloister's pale,
    And love the high embowed roof,
    With antique pillars massy proof,
    And storied windows richly dight,
    Casting a dim religious light.
    There let the pealing organ blow,
    To the full-voic'd quire below,
    In service high, and

    • 1 hr 38 min
    “Best of” Series – “Why I Write” by George Orwell

    “Best of” Series – “Why I Write” by George Orwell

    For this week’s “Best of The Literary Life” series episode, we revisit a conversation about George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write.” Angelina and Cindy kick off the discussion about how much they each identify with Orwell’s description of his childhood. In his story of learning to write, we see many aspects of a good education, even his inclination to imitate other authors. An important point Angelina brings up is Orwell’s own struggle against the calling he felt to write, in contrast to having an ambition to do so. Angelina brings up a related story about musician Gregory Alan Isakov, and Cindy reiterates the idea of why we need leisure in order to find our vocation.
    Cindy and Angelina also bring out some of the qualities Orwell possessed that make a good writer. Maturity as a human being and as a master of a craft are crucial to certain forms of writing, as Orwell points out about his own work. Other topics of conversation include truth-telling in writing, the motives for writing according to Orwell, and the growing process of writers.
    If you want to find replays of the 2019 Back to School online conference referenced in this episode, you can purchase them in Cindy’s shop at MorningTimeforMoms.com. For replays of the How to Love Poetry webinar with Thomas, you can find those at HouseofHumaneLetters.com.
    Check out the schedule for the podcast’s summer episodes on our Upcoming Events page.
    Commonplace Quotes: Never had she seen it so clearly as on this evening — what destiny had demanded of her and what it had given her in return with her seven sons. Over and over again joy had quickened the beat of her heart; fear on their behalf had rent it in two. They were her children, these big sons with their lean, bony, boy’s bodies, just as they had been when they were small and so plump that they barely hurt themselves when they tumbled down on their way between the bench and her knee. They were hers, just as they had been back when she lifted them out of the cradle to her milk-filled breast and had to support their heads, which wobbled on their frail necks the way a bluebell nods on its stalk. Wherever they ended in the world, wherever they journeyed, forgetting their mother– she thought that for her, their lives would be like a current in her own life; they would be one with her, just as they had been when she alone on this earth knew about the new life hidden inside, drinking from her blood and making her cheeks pale.
    Sigrid Undset, from Kristen Lavransdatter Orwell was a poet who happened to find his medium in prose, a poet not so much in his means of expression as in the nature of his vision, which could strip the sprawling tangle of the world around him down to its core with the simplicity of a timeless flash of intuition.
    C. M. Wodehouse, from the introduction to Animal Farm Veni, Creator Spiritus by John Dryden
    Creator Spirit, by whose aid
    The world’s foundations first were laid,
    Come, visit ev’ry pious mind;
    Come, pour thy joys on human kind;
    From sin, and sorrow set us free;
    And make thy temples worthy Thee.
    O, Source of uncreated Light, 
    The Father’s promis’d Paraclete! 
    Thrice Holy Fount, thrice Holy Fire, 
    Our hearts with heav’nly love inspire; 
    Come, and thy Sacred Unction bring 
    To sanctify us, while we sing! 
    Plenteous of grace, descend from high, 
    Rich in thy sev’n-fold energy! 
    Thou strength of his Almighty Hand, 
    Whose pow’r does heav’n and earth command: 
    Proceeding Spirit, our Defence, 
    Who do’st the gift of tongues dispence, 
    And crown’st thy gift with eloquence! 
    Refine and purge our earthly parts; 
    But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts! 
    Our frailties help, our vice control; 
    Submit the senses to the soul; 
    And when rebellious they are grown, 
    Then, lay thy hand, and hold ’em down. 
    Chase from our minds th’ Infernal Foe; 
    And peace, the fruit of love, bestow; 
    And, lest our feet should step astray, 

    • 1 hr 20 min
    “Best of” Series, “Araby” by James Joyce, Ep. 11

    “Best of” Series, “Araby” by James Joyce, Ep. 11

    This week on The Literary Life we return to the podcast vault for a re-airing of Episode 11, in which Cindy Rollins and Angelina Stanford enjoy a discussion of the short story “Araby” by James Joyce.
    Delving into “Araby,” Angelina talks about the history and development of the short story form. Cindy gives a little of her own background with reading James Joyce and why she loves his short stories. Angelina and Cindy also discuss the essential “Irishness” of this story and all the tales in The Dubliners. Angelina walks us through the story, highlighting the kinds of questions and things we should look for when reading closely. Themes discussed in this story include: blindness and sight, light and darkness, romanticism, religious devotion, the search for truth, money, courtly love, and the knight’s quest.
    If you want to find replays of the 2019 Back to School online conference referenced in this episode, you can purchase them in Cindy’s shop at MorningTimeforMoms.com.
    Check out the schedule for the podcast’s summer episodes on our Upcoming Events page.
    Commonplace Quotes: Whoever wants to become a Christian must first become a poet.
    St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia A ritual for letting a son or daughter go free, handing them over under the protection of God, is not something that we naturally include as part of growing up today in the West. Yet we are here reminded of one of the most important steps of all of the transitions in life, moving from the confines of the family into freedom and maturity.
    Esther de Waal Huxley Hall by John Betjemen
    In the Garden City Cafe‚ with its murals on the wall
    Before a talk on “Sex and Civics” I meditated on the Fall.

    Deep depression settled on me under that electric glare
    While outside the lightsome poplars flanked the rose-beds in the square.

    While outside the carefree children sported in the summer haze
    And released their inhibitions in a hundred different ways.

    She who eats her greasy crumpets snugly in the inglenook
    Of some birch-enshrouded homestead, dropping butter on her book

    Can she know the deep depression of this bright, hygienic hell?
    And her husband, stout free-thinker, can he share in it as well?

    Not the folk-museum’s charting of man’s Progress out of slime
    Can release me from the painful seeming accident of Time.

    Barry smashes Shirley’s dolly, Shirley’s eyes are crossed with hate,
    Comrades plot a Comrade’s downfall “in the interests of the State”.

    Not my vegetarian dinner, not my lime-juice minus gin,
    Quite can drown a faint conviction that we may be born in Sin.
    Book List: To Pause on the Threshold by Esther de Waal
    The Dubliners by James Joyce
    Ulysses by James Joyce
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    The Abbot by Sir Walter Scott
    The Memoirs of Vidocq by Eugene Françios Vidocq
    Support The Literary Life: Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!
    Connect with Us: You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/
    Find Cindy at morningtimeformoms.com, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CindyRollinsWriter. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also!
    Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going! http://bit.ly/literarylifeFB

    • 1 hr 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
943 Ratings

943 Ratings

estburke ,

Great Life-Infusing Ideas

Looking for some input on PHANTASTES, I discovered “The Literary Life” podcast on Scribd/ Everand. These thoughts put forward so generously, and unassumingly have lit a fire for reading, respecting, and connecting ideas from the treasure trove of old books that surround any person who can read. They are just pointing to great ideas that will fit any person at any time, and infuse them with meaningful life: Angelina, Thomas and Cindy. I’ve listened on and off between listening to books. (You had me at “_Tom Jones_ is so funny!”). Please carry on, and thank you!

Vintronius ,

My new favorite podcast

It has reignited my love for books and my regular reading habit. Plus, I am reading books that I have never before considered.

I am so delighted to find a literature podcast with hosts that love Jesus and see literature through their faith. The discussions are beautiful prayers of creativity that soothe my soul and draw me into worshipping the King of imagination Himself.

BrianK123 ,

Great except for one thing

I really enjoy two out of three of the hosts. Thomas, though, is so pretentious and arrogant that it makes it hard to listen to for any more than a few minutes . He speaks with this affected “enlightened scholar” voice that’s incredibly cringy and off-putting.

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