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Tom Perrotta and Mark Wollaeger

Sep 30, 2021

Adaptation

Tom Perrotta and Mark Wollaeger Go from Page to Screen

New Books Network 2021

Novelist, screenwriter, and HBO showrunner Tom Perrotta joins his old friend Mark Wollaeger (who also happens to be a top scholar of modernism) for a wide-ranging conversation about literature, television, and everything in between.

Tom reveals that he has been reading a most peculiar self-help book: Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce. Mark then shares some juicy Joyce anecdotes before getting into the nitty gritty of style and craft. We discuss balancing difficult themes with accessible prose and debate whether a therapeutic model of novel-writing (where characters grow and change) can translate into a therapeutic model of culture (where social and political norms can grow and change). Speaking of growing and changing, adaptation is at the center of this episode as we revisit Tom’s amazing work on The Leftovers, Mrs. Fletcher, Little Children, and of course, Election.

Mentioned in the Episode

  • James Joyce
  • Ulysses
  • Finnegans Wake
  • Richard Ellmann, James Joyce
  • Stephen King
  • Philip Roth
  • Alexander Payne
  • Jim Taylor
  • Damon Lindelof
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Matthew Broderick
  • Hillary Clinton

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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