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Sherds Podcast

Sherds Podcast

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Followers
3
Plays
Sherds Podcast

Sherds Podcast

Sherds Podcast

3
Followers
3
Plays
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About Us

Sherds Podcast is a journey through the outskirts of literary history. Each episode, we take an in-depth look at a lesser-known literary text and attempt to give it the critical attention it deserves: books that are criminally overlooked, have struggled to reach an anglophone audience, or are just downright odd. Hosted by Sam Pulham and Rob Prouse Sam Pulham

Latest Episodes

#26 Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler’s Bloochild and Other Stories was originally published in 1995. The book collects seven stories from throughout Butler’s career, and in this episode we focus on the title story, which depicts a social and sexual relationship between humans and a race of alien beings. Later, we discuss the penultimate story in the collection, Amnesty, which explores the complexities of confrontation with the alien other. Over the course of the episode, we examine the degree to which the stories may be said to engage with slavery and American history, and consider Butler’s implementation of the ‘pregnant man’ motif. Bibliography: ‘Mama's Baby, Papa's Slavery? The Problem and Promise of Mothering in Octavia E. Butler’s Bloodchild’ by Kristen Lillvis in MELUS, Vol. 39, No. 4, Gender, Transnationalism, and Ethnic American Identity (Winter, 2014) Octavia E. Butler: Modern Masters of Science Fiction (University of Illinois, 2016) by Gerry Canavan

65 MIN2019 DEC 6
Comments
#26 Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

#25 The Mainz Psalter by Jean Ray

Jean Ray’s The Mainz Psalter was originally published in 1930. We read the story in Jeff and Ann Vandermeer’s anothology, The Weird, and the translation is by Lowell Blair. The story tells the grizzly tale of The Mainz Psalter, a ship en route to Greenland under the ownership of the shadowy figure of the schoolmaster, with a purpose that remains a mystery to its crew. As the ship sails deeper into northern waters, reality begins to bend in peculiar directions and the crew’s number dwindles. Those who remain have doubts as to whether this is indeed the reality they had known. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the literary lineage of Jean Ray’s tale, its relationship with cosmic horror, and the peculiar treatment of religion within the text. Bibliography: Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’ (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft The Time Machine (1895) by H. G. Wells http://weirdfictionreview.com/2011/11/ghosts-fear-and-parallel-worlds-the-supernatural-fiction-of-jean-ray/

52 MIN2019 OCT 30
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#25 The Mainz Psalter by Jean Ray

#24 One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard

Caradoc Prichard’s One Moonlit Night was originally published in Welsh in 1961. The book is a classic of Welsh literature, which though greatly admired in its native country, is still shamefully neglected in the English-speaking world. Set in a small village in North Wales, One Moonlit Night is the breathless monologue of a young boy who unveils the sorrows and torments, the ecstasies and revelations of a poverty stricken, but close-knit community as it weathers the distant storm of the First World War. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the significance of The Great War in the book, Prichard’s narratorial style, and consider whether One Moonlit Night may be thought of as a political novel. The readings in this episode are by Tris Rhys, a listener who very kindly offered his services and his Welsh-language skills, for which we’re very grateful. Bibliography: Welsh Gothic by Jane Aaron (University of Wales Press, 2013) https://www.walesartsreview.org/the-winner-of-the-grea...

70 MIN2019 OCT 27
Comments
#24 One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard

#23 Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope MIrrlees was originally published in 1926. Lud-in-the-Mist is the capital of the fictional free state of Dorimare, a country which shares a border with Fairyland, just across The Debatable Hills. Centuries ago, under the rule of Duke Aubrey, Fairy things had been part of life and culture in Dorimare. After a violent revolution, a new merchant class took over the country. Duke Aubrey was expelled and all mention of Fairies and Fairy lore became taboo. The smuggling of hallucination-inducing fairy fruit into Dorimare continues, however, behind closed doors. When Nathaniel Chanticleer, the Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist finds that his son has ingested some of this heinous fruit, the old ways, the traditions and romance of the Fairies can no longer be ignored. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the methods Mirrlees’ novel has in common with Modernist practice, the various allegorical interpretations that offer themselves throughout the text, and the emergent c...

69 MIN2019 SEP 24
Comments
#23 Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

#22 The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas was originally published in Nynorsk in 1957, and is available from Peter Owen books and now as a Penguin Modern Classics edition. The translation is by Michael Barnes and Torbjorn Stoverud. The central character of The Birds is Mattis, a mentally disabled man, living with his sister in a small rural community in Norway. We observe Mattis as he attempts to navigate the obstacles of everyday life - the obligations of work, family relationships and even romantic love. Mattis’ transcendental, or even visionary inner life, keenly evoked by Vesaas’ spare and lucid prose, is far richer than it appears to those around him. At the core of the novel, is Mattis’ struggle with the border between experience and expression in a world where birds seem to understand more than people. Over the course of the programme, we discuss the role of the woodcock as a symbol, Vesaas’ sensitive and generous treatment of mental disability, and the possibility of viewing Mattis as ...

66 MIN2019 JUL 19
Comments
#22 The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

#21 Graves: An Interview with Quentin S. Crisp

On this episode of Sherds Podcast, I’m joined by writer, Quentin S. Crisp, to discuss his new novel, Graves (2019), published by Snuggly Books, who give the following description of the book: InGraves, Damien, a male nurse and self-styled ‘thanatophile’, is in love with death in its purer and more ideal form. However, as he casts around for some authentic way to defy the void of modernity, his thanatophilia is swiftly and insidiously corrupted. Scavenging what ‘materials’ he can, he works in isolation like a reverse Doctor Frankenstein, wishing to understand the secrets of death, not life, in order to break the narrative power of science over the modern mind.Set against the backdrop of anomie-drenched 21st-century London,Graves, Quentin S. Crisp’s second major novel, is a work of Gothic horror that confronts the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness in a world where it is easier to believe in artificial intelligence than human intelligence. Over the course of the programme we disc...

87 MIN2019 MAY 27
Comments
#21 Graves: An Interview with Quentin S. Crisp

#20 Hauntings by Vernon Lee

In this episode, I’m joined by Patricia Pulham, Professor of Victorian Literature at The University of Surrey, to discuss Vernon Lee’s collection of supernatural tales, Hauntings (1890). The book collects four of Vernon Lee’s ghost stories, ‘Amour Dure’, ‘Dionea’, ‘Oke of Okehurst’, and ‘A Wicked Voice’, which together represent some of the finest examples of the genre, and reflect Lee’s deep engagement with Italian art, her sensitivity to place, and her imaginative relationship with the vestigial, fragmentary manifestations of history. Over the course of the programme, we discuss Lee’s preference for a more restrained form of horror, her evocation of the settings in her texts, and take an in-depth look at music in her story, ‘A Wicked Voice’. Bibliography: Art and the Transitional Object in Vernon Lee's Supernatural Tales by Patricia Pulham (Ashgate Publishing, 2008) Vernon Lee: Decadence, Ethics, Aesthetics ed. Patricia Pulham, Catherine Maxwell (Palgrave, 2006) Ver...

78 MIN2019 APR 29
Comments
#20 Hauntings by Vernon Lee

#19 Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D. O. Fagunwa

D. O. Fagunwa’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons was first published in 1938; it marks the first full-length novel published in Yoruba and has become a classic work of African literature. The delightfully rich translation is by the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka and is published by City Lights Books. The book concerns the life of the brave hunter, Akara-Ogun, whose encounters with spirits, bog-trolls and other supernatural creatures are related orally with great flair for an enraptured audience which grows bigger with each night’s telling, and an author who takes down the hunter’s words that they might provide a record of his days upon this earth. The book stands at a crossroads between oral and written culture, between Christianity and traditional Yoruba beliefs, and takes place in a world in which the boundary between the natural and the supernatural is a distinctly porous one. To open its covers is to witness this complex metamorphosis taking place. Over the course of the programme,...

72 MIN2019 APR 22
Comments
#19 Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D. O. Fagunwa

#18 The Witches of Kyiv by Orest Somov

The Witches of Kyiv and Other Gothic Tales collects a range of stories by Ukrainian Romantic author, Orest Somov which were originally published between 1827 and 1833. This collection comes from Sova Books and the translations are by Svitlana Yakovenko. The book also features a helpful glossary and annotations, as well as excellent introduction by Svitlana Krys. Though written in Russian, these gothic tales draw heavily on Ukrainian folklore, and introduce a distinctly regional flavour to the palette of the Romantic literature of the 1820s and ‘30s. Bold Cossack warriors, perilously seductive water sprites, and cunning witches haunt the pages of the collection, and bring into being the theories espoused by Somov in his seminal essay of 1823, ‘On Romantic Poetry’. In this episode, I’m joined by Dr Keith Walmsley to discuss the work and influence of this forgotten innovator of Romantic prose in Russian. Over the course of the programme, we discuss Somov’s role as the originator o...

68 MIN2019 MAR 31
Comments
#18 The Witches of Kyiv by Orest Somov

#17 The Wall by Marlen Haushofer

Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall was originally published in German in 1963. Our protagonist and narrator is a woman in her 40s. While visiting friends at a hunting lodge in rural Austria, she finds herself divorced from all human contact when an invisible wall descends, cutting her small region off from the rest of the world. She is quickly forced into a struggle to survive, and must learn to become self-sufficient. Willingly or not, she must become the ruler of her own destiny. Often interpreted as an allegory of female emancipation, this Robinsonade places questions of identity and society at its core by describing a world in which their very existence becomes questionable. Over the course of the programme, we discuss the rich interpretive possibilities the book offers, delve into its treatment of nature, and ponder the recurrent reading of the novel as a feminist text. The readings in this episode were performed by Ola Wittchen Bibliography: Wahrscheinlich bin ich verrückt: Marlen ...

75 MIN2019 MAR 5
Comments
#17 The Wall by Marlen Haushofer

Latest Episodes

#26 Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler’s Bloochild and Other Stories was originally published in 1995. The book collects seven stories from throughout Butler’s career, and in this episode we focus on the title story, which depicts a social and sexual relationship between humans and a race of alien beings. Later, we discuss the penultimate story in the collection, Amnesty, which explores the complexities of confrontation with the alien other. Over the course of the episode, we examine the degree to which the stories may be said to engage with slavery and American history, and consider Butler’s implementation of the ‘pregnant man’ motif. Bibliography: ‘Mama's Baby, Papa's Slavery? The Problem and Promise of Mothering in Octavia E. Butler’s Bloodchild’ by Kristen Lillvis in MELUS, Vol. 39, No. 4, Gender, Transnationalism, and Ethnic American Identity (Winter, 2014) Octavia E. Butler: Modern Masters of Science Fiction (University of Illinois, 2016) by Gerry Canavan

65 MIN2019 DEC 6
Comments
#26 Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

#25 The Mainz Psalter by Jean Ray

Jean Ray’s The Mainz Psalter was originally published in 1930. We read the story in Jeff and Ann Vandermeer’s anothology, The Weird, and the translation is by Lowell Blair. The story tells the grizzly tale of The Mainz Psalter, a ship en route to Greenland under the ownership of the shadowy figure of the schoolmaster, with a purpose that remains a mystery to its crew. As the ship sails deeper into northern waters, reality begins to bend in peculiar directions and the crew’s number dwindles. Those who remain have doubts as to whether this is indeed the reality they had known. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the literary lineage of Jean Ray’s tale, its relationship with cosmic horror, and the peculiar treatment of religion within the text. Bibliography: Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’ (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft The Time Machine (1895) by H. G. Wells http://weirdfictionreview.com/2011/11/ghosts-fear-and-parallel-worlds-the-supernatural-fiction-of-jean-ray/

52 MIN2019 OCT 30
Comments
#25 The Mainz Psalter by Jean Ray

#24 One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard

Caradoc Prichard’s One Moonlit Night was originally published in Welsh in 1961. The book is a classic of Welsh literature, which though greatly admired in its native country, is still shamefully neglected in the English-speaking world. Set in a small village in North Wales, One Moonlit Night is the breathless monologue of a young boy who unveils the sorrows and torments, the ecstasies and revelations of a poverty stricken, but close-knit community as it weathers the distant storm of the First World War. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the significance of The Great War in the book, Prichard’s narratorial style, and consider whether One Moonlit Night may be thought of as a political novel. The readings in this episode are by Tris Rhys, a listener who very kindly offered his services and his Welsh-language skills, for which we’re very grateful. Bibliography: Welsh Gothic by Jane Aaron (University of Wales Press, 2013) https://www.walesartsreview.org/the-winner-of-the-grea...

70 MIN2019 OCT 27
Comments
#24 One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard

#23 Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope MIrrlees was originally published in 1926. Lud-in-the-Mist is the capital of the fictional free state of Dorimare, a country which shares a border with Fairyland, just across The Debatable Hills. Centuries ago, under the rule of Duke Aubrey, Fairy things had been part of life and culture in Dorimare. After a violent revolution, a new merchant class took over the country. Duke Aubrey was expelled and all mention of Fairies and Fairy lore became taboo. The smuggling of hallucination-inducing fairy fruit into Dorimare continues, however, behind closed doors. When Nathaniel Chanticleer, the Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist finds that his son has ingested some of this heinous fruit, the old ways, the traditions and romance of the Fairies can no longer be ignored. Over the course of the episode, we discuss the methods Mirrlees’ novel has in common with Modernist practice, the various allegorical interpretations that offer themselves throughout the text, and the emergent c...

69 MIN2019 SEP 24
Comments
#23 Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

#22 The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas was originally published in Nynorsk in 1957, and is available from Peter Owen books and now as a Penguin Modern Classics edition. The translation is by Michael Barnes and Torbjorn Stoverud. The central character of The Birds is Mattis, a mentally disabled man, living with his sister in a small rural community in Norway. We observe Mattis as he attempts to navigate the obstacles of everyday life - the obligations of work, family relationships and even romantic love. Mattis’ transcendental, or even visionary inner life, keenly evoked by Vesaas’ spare and lucid prose, is far richer than it appears to those around him. At the core of the novel, is Mattis’ struggle with the border between experience and expression in a world where birds seem to understand more than people. Over the course of the programme, we discuss the role of the woodcock as a symbol, Vesaas’ sensitive and generous treatment of mental disability, and the possibility of viewing Mattis as ...

66 MIN2019 JUL 19
Comments
#22 The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

#21 Graves: An Interview with Quentin S. Crisp

On this episode of Sherds Podcast, I’m joined by writer, Quentin S. Crisp, to discuss his new novel, Graves (2019), published by Snuggly Books, who give the following description of the book: InGraves, Damien, a male nurse and self-styled ‘thanatophile’, is in love with death in its purer and more ideal form. However, as he casts around for some authentic way to defy the void of modernity, his thanatophilia is swiftly and insidiously corrupted. Scavenging what ‘materials’ he can, he works in isolation like a reverse Doctor Frankenstein, wishing to understand the secrets of death, not life, in order to break the narrative power of science over the modern mind.Set against the backdrop of anomie-drenched 21st-century London,Graves, Quentin S. Crisp’s second major novel, is a work of Gothic horror that confronts the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness in a world where it is easier to believe in artificial intelligence than human intelligence. Over the course of the programme we disc...

87 MIN2019 MAY 27
Comments
#21 Graves: An Interview with Quentin S. Crisp

#20 Hauntings by Vernon Lee

In this episode, I’m joined by Patricia Pulham, Professor of Victorian Literature at The University of Surrey, to discuss Vernon Lee’s collection of supernatural tales, Hauntings (1890). The book collects four of Vernon Lee’s ghost stories, ‘Amour Dure’, ‘Dionea’, ‘Oke of Okehurst’, and ‘A Wicked Voice’, which together represent some of the finest examples of the genre, and reflect Lee’s deep engagement with Italian art, her sensitivity to place, and her imaginative relationship with the vestigial, fragmentary manifestations of history. Over the course of the programme, we discuss Lee’s preference for a more restrained form of horror, her evocation of the settings in her texts, and take an in-depth look at music in her story, ‘A Wicked Voice’. Bibliography: Art and the Transitional Object in Vernon Lee's Supernatural Tales by Patricia Pulham (Ashgate Publishing, 2008) Vernon Lee: Decadence, Ethics, Aesthetics ed. Patricia Pulham, Catherine Maxwell (Palgrave, 2006) Ver...

78 MIN2019 APR 29
Comments
#20 Hauntings by Vernon Lee

#19 Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D. O. Fagunwa

D. O. Fagunwa’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons was first published in 1938; it marks the first full-length novel published in Yoruba and has become a classic work of African literature. The delightfully rich translation is by the Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka and is published by City Lights Books. The book concerns the life of the brave hunter, Akara-Ogun, whose encounters with spirits, bog-trolls and other supernatural creatures are related orally with great flair for an enraptured audience which grows bigger with each night’s telling, and an author who takes down the hunter’s words that they might provide a record of his days upon this earth. The book stands at a crossroads between oral and written culture, between Christianity and traditional Yoruba beliefs, and takes place in a world in which the boundary between the natural and the supernatural is a distinctly porous one. To open its covers is to witness this complex metamorphosis taking place. Over the course of the programme,...

72 MIN2019 APR 22
Comments
#19 Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D. O. Fagunwa

#18 The Witches of Kyiv by Orest Somov

The Witches of Kyiv and Other Gothic Tales collects a range of stories by Ukrainian Romantic author, Orest Somov which were originally published between 1827 and 1833. This collection comes from Sova Books and the translations are by Svitlana Yakovenko. The book also features a helpful glossary and annotations, as well as excellent introduction by Svitlana Krys. Though written in Russian, these gothic tales draw heavily on Ukrainian folklore, and introduce a distinctly regional flavour to the palette of the Romantic literature of the 1820s and ‘30s. Bold Cossack warriors, perilously seductive water sprites, and cunning witches haunt the pages of the collection, and bring into being the theories espoused by Somov in his seminal essay of 1823, ‘On Romantic Poetry’. In this episode, I’m joined by Dr Keith Walmsley to discuss the work and influence of this forgotten innovator of Romantic prose in Russian. Over the course of the programme, we discuss Somov’s role as the originator o...

68 MIN2019 MAR 31
Comments
#18 The Witches of Kyiv by Orest Somov

#17 The Wall by Marlen Haushofer

Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall was originally published in German in 1963. Our protagonist and narrator is a woman in her 40s. While visiting friends at a hunting lodge in rural Austria, she finds herself divorced from all human contact when an invisible wall descends, cutting her small region off from the rest of the world. She is quickly forced into a struggle to survive, and must learn to become self-sufficient. Willingly or not, she must become the ruler of her own destiny. Often interpreted as an allegory of female emancipation, this Robinsonade places questions of identity and society at its core by describing a world in which their very existence becomes questionable. Over the course of the programme, we discuss the rich interpretive possibilities the book offers, delve into its treatment of nature, and ponder the recurrent reading of the novel as a feminist text. The readings in this episode were performed by Ola Wittchen Bibliography: Wahrscheinlich bin ich verrückt: Marlen ...

75 MIN2019 MAR 5
Comments
#17 The Wall by Marlen Haushofer
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