The Virtual Memories Show

Literary & cultural critic Darryl Pinckney rejoins the show to celebrate his new memoir/memorial, Come Back In September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan (FSG). We get into Darryl's friendship with/apprenticeship to Elizabeth Hardwick, and the relationships he built with Susan Sontag, Barbara Epstein, and the New York Review of Books in the '70s & beyond. We also talk about recognizing a golden age when you're in it, our current professionalization of culture and why it leads to meh art, the value of his literary/writing education from Hardwick (& others), the NYC New Wave scene he was a part of alongside Howard Brookner, Lucy Sante, Felice Rosser, and others, and why the one place he felt a sense of belonging was on the red sofa in Elizabeth Hardwick's home. Plus, we talk about his massive project on the history of black literature in the 20th century, why there are so few examples of failure in black autobiographical tradition and why (and whether) he considers himself a failure, why someone once told him, 'You're very disciplined at beating yourself up,' why we bonded over the same character in Middlemarch, and more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_509_-_Darryl_Pinckney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am EDT

Cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld rejoins the show to celebrate the publication of his new book, Revenge of the Librarians (Drawn & Quarterly), a collection of his weekly literary humor comics for The Guardian. We get into his comics' three lives — in the paper, online, and in books — and the difference between seeing his work in print vs. onscreen, the decision to include lockdown-era strips in his new book, and how he manages to keep his comics fresh despite having two weekly deadlines (he also draws a comic for New Scientist). We also talk about his stylistic & structural experiments, how he grew more comfortable using color, the longform comics he'd love to make (if he could just find them halfway done before he got to work), and why Beckett & Austen are always great authors to fall back on for a gag. And we discuss what it's like going on a book tour again (and meeting at least one librarian at every event), being more fearless about his work when he was younger and having higher standards now, why it was important to him to make a children's book before his kids went to college, and more! Follow Tom on Twitter, Instagram, and . . . Tumblr?! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_508_-_Tom_Gauld.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EDT

With his new book, STATUS AND CULTURE: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change (Viking), W. David Marx explores the narrative structure of culture and fashion (not just clothing) and how status is the driver of cultural change. We get into his thesis and why he wasn't satisfied with the "random walk" or vitality models for how fashions and taste spread, how status is conveyed to people, and why status is a third rail in most conversations. We also talk about cultural progression and/or stagnation, the role of the internet in cultural change, how great art gets made and why the omnivore mindset may stymie that, and how understanding the relationship between status and culture may help us build a more equitable world. Follow David on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to his e-mail • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_507_-_W_David_Marx.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT