The second episode of Flash Readings by the Brittain Fellows is “Read as Believers,” featuring Lauren Neefe’s interview with Caitlin Kelly, who specializes in the literature and culture of the “very long eighteenth century.” As part of a larger project that recasts the rise of the novel from Daniel Defoe to Jane Austen’s contemporary Mary Brunton, Kelly examines the role of private devotion in Samuel Richardson’s landmark epistolary novel Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740). Of particular interest is the public performance of Pamela’s adaptation of Psalm 137, best known by its first verse: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (KJV). “When we buy into the fiction,” Kelly argues, “the reading of private devotions becomes very problematic and intersects with these conversations that we’re having today about consent…. Your husband should not read your private devotional text publicly against your will.” With our enthusiastic consent, former fellow Jon Kotchian, now an instructor in the English department at Florida International University, voiced Pamela’s psalm for the podcast.
For the next Flash Reading, Ellen Stockstill interviews Sarah Higinbotham about her work on Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law, just out from Oxford University Press (2015), and children’s responses to Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches (1961). The episode features Higinbotham reading to a group of siblings she works with at Foreverfamily.
Flash Readings Episode 2: “Read as Believers”
The podcast can be played using the embedded player above or downloaded as an mp3 file.
Richardson, Samuel. Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded . Ed. Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Sabor, Peter and Tom Keymer. Pamela in the Marketplace: Literary Controversy and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Scott, Joan W. “The Evidence of Experience.” Critical Inquiry 17.4 (summer 1991): 773–97.
Warner, William. Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.