Kelly Rich and Teju Cole

Mar 4, 2021

Do Great Novels Set the Standard or Challenge it?

A Discussion with Kelly Rich and Teju Cole

New Books Network 2021

Novel Dialogue kicks off with the writer and photographer Teju Cole and literary critic Kelly Rich of Harvard University talking about “saying yes to the text” as the first rule of good literary critical reading. But they also consider what happens when the urge to affirm a text gets swept up in the larger social and political dilemmas of our time. How do we celebrate great works of literature and art while also questioning the standards that have historically granted some writers “greatness” and left others out due to race, gender, and national background? In this episode, we look for ways of preserving excellence while also questioning greatness.

Mentioned in the Episode

  • Rachel Cusk
  • George Lamming
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • George Bridgetower

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.

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Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz

Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.


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Also Hosted By Aarthi Vadde and John Plotz