Bonus Episode 14b
August 12, 2019

Steve Mentz on The Tempest

Hosted by Chris Piuma and Suzanne Conklin Akbari with Steve Mentz

What I’m trying to think about is what the history of our planet looks like from an oceanic rather than a terrestrial perspective. What does The Tempest look like if we think about The Tempest from the perspective of the water? How does that enable us to rethink literary questions, aesthetic questions, environmental questions?

You don’t want to go too deep into thinking about the ocean without Steve Mentz as your guide, especially when you’re looking at Shakespeare’s oceans. Steve is a professor of English at St John’s University in New York City and the author and editor of many books on early modern literature, eco-poetics, and blue/oceanic humanities, including At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean, Shipwreck Modernity, the essay collection Oceanic New York, and most recently, Break Up the Anthropocene. His biography of the Ocean will be coming out next year as part of Bloomsbury’s delightful Object Lesson series. Suzanne and Chris talk with him about The Tempest, about swimming in the Atlantic, and about what happens when you consider the ocean’s perspective.

Show Notes.

Steve Mentz on Twitter and his website.

The wreck of the Sea Venture.

Aimé Césaire: A Tempest. (Some excerpts.)

Kamau Brathwaite: Caliban.

Édouard Glissant: Collected Poems.

Chantal Zabus’s Tempests after Shakespeare has many more examples of Tempest rewritings.

Medea’s speech from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (about halfway down the page: “O trustie time of night…”) is one of the scenes we didn’t discuss in episode 3.

Vija Celmins’s ocean drawings.

An Everywhere of Silver.

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