Modernist Mushrooms

Shalini Sengupta thinks together ‘the mycological turn’ in the humanities and the narrative and aesthetic work that mushrooms do in some modernist literature. She draws from Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World and the research of Sam Solomon and Natalia Cecire. Modernist mushrooms, if they are a thing, exist in the writings of Alfred Kreymborg, Djuna Barnes, and Sylvia Plath, and the photography of Alfred Stieglitz.

Shalini is a final year PhD student at the University of Sussex, UK. Her thesis explores the concept of modernist difficulty in British and diasporic poetry through the lens of intersectionality. Her academic writing have appeared/are forthcoming in Modernism/modernity Print Plus, Contemporary Women’s Writing, and the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. In 2021, she was selected as a Ledbury Emerging Critic.

Image Art by Saronik Bosu

Music used in promotional material: ‘How Many’ by Windmill

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John Linstrom talks about the ecosphere, a way of understanding the world deriving principally from the work of ecologist and philosopher Stan Rowe. We also refer briefly to James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, crown shyness in trees, Aldo Leopold’s idea of a ‘land community’, Wendell Berry’s The Way of Ignorance and knowledge humility.

John Linstrom is a 7th year Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of English, New York University., and series editor of The Liberty Hyde Bailey Library for the Comstock Publishing Associates imprint of Cornell University Press.

The image for this episode is that of red-blue-and-green sea anemones.

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