Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Podcast!

This week's podcast is my reading of The Haunted Mind, an essay by Nathaniel Hawthorne (I do not wish to be disrespectful, but I think he is rather looking here like a man who has lost some sleep in his lifetime.)  It's a piece from his book Twice-Told Tales (so called simply because they were all material that had also appeared elsewhere) dealing with something I know I've experienced and I'm sure you probably have as well: the experience of waking in the middle of the night and the mad, feverous, rapturous, unfettered thoughts that enter the mind on those occasions.  Also on the nature of time, sleep, dreams, humanity and death.

So, this week we've gone slightly back in time in our material and slightly shorter in length.  I thought it was a fantastic piece of literature.  It's an earlier piece of American literature, contemporaneous with Poe (who did not like Hawthorne... or much of anyone else for that matter.)  I think what appealed to me most about it was how it reached forward in time about 170 years, uniting me with a universal human experience.  Perhaps those half-wakeful hours mid-sleep will be slightly less lonely in times to come knowing that it is a shared human experience.  Which, in the end, is a bit of what literature is all about, erasing the borders between humans, the propriety and hiding of our rich emotional lives, and giving us peeks into other brains which reveal that we are not alone.

As usual, you can listen to the podcast here:

Or you can download it yourself, slap it on your iPod and down the road you'll go: 


  1. I'll have to give it a listen thanks.

    Paul, did you ever read Hawthorne's, Celestial Railroad? It's like a spin-off from Pilgrim's Progress.

  2. Thank you both!

    No, I haven't read Celestial Railroad. I'll check it out. Thanks!

  3. Nicely read. I wonder how you can read that long without being interupted by one of your critters.