Interviews,  Show Notes

Episode 32: The Literary Life of James Banks

On today’s episode of The Literary Life, Angelina and Cindy interview James Banks. James is a civil servant, veteran, teacher, former academic and writer living in Austin, Texas. Prior to moving to the Lone Star State, he studied Renaissance Literature and taught at the University of Rochester. But it was only after leaving the academy that he rediscovered his passion for Shakespeare, Spenser, Chaucer and all things literary. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Weekly Standard, the Literati Quarterly, the Intercollegiate Review and elsewhere, but he is best known for being the brother of Thomas Banks and brother-in-law of Angelina Stanford.

James talks about his childhood relationships with books and stories, and the massive leap he took from not being able to read to being a reader. He tells about his desire to be a teacher and his undergraduate experience. He also elaborates on how he came to his love of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. James tells why he ended up leaving academia and how he rediscovered his love of literature. He also gives some examples of how he reads so much and makes the most of his time.

Listen to The Literary Life:

The Cross of Snow

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
   A gentle face — the face of one long dead —
   Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
   The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died; and soul more white
   Never through martyrdom of fire was led
   To its repose; nor can in books be read
   The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
   That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
   Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
   These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
   And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

Book List:

Big Wonderful Thing by Stephen Harrigan

John Buchan by His Wife and Friends by Susan Tweedsmuir

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Good Things Out of Nazareth: Uncollected Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Friends

The Shooting Party by Anton Chekhov

The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh

Cultural Amnesia by Clive James

Pat Conroy

The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

The Meaning of Shakespeare, Vol. 2 by Harold Goddard

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Silas Marner by George Eliot

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper

Anne Bradstreet

Eudora Welty

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

P. G. Wodehouse

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

On the Edge by Edward St. Aubyn

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The Adventures of Ibn Battuta by Ibn Battuta

The Aeneid by Virgil

Selected Non-fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Upcoming Book Discussions:

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