Caroline Levine podcast on "Predictability in life and art"

Mon, 12/21/2020

Caroline Levine, David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of Humanities, did an interview for the How to Read podcast on the unexpected benefits of predictability:

"Do you want to live a predictable life? Can great art ever be predictable? Most people would probably say no to both, but Caroline Levine thinks predictability is more valuable than we usually recognize. Predictability is like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others: we need to cover the essentials, like shelter and a stable work schedule, in order to achieve our grander ambitions. But predictability isn’t just useful in our personal lives. Whether it’s reliable access to childcare or a unifying protest chant, predictability can also help us in collectively creating social change."

Listen to the full episode, "Predictability in life and art," here.

Caroline Levine has spent her career asking how and why the humanities and the arts matter, especially in democratic societies. She argues for the understanding of forms and structures as crucial to understanding links between art and society. She is the author of three books, The Serious Pleasures of Suspense: Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt (2003, winner of the Perkins Prize for the best book in narrative studies), Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts (2007), and Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015, winner of the James Russell Lowell Prize from the MLA, and the Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture, and named one of Flavorwire’s “10 Must-Read Academic Books of 2015”). She is currently the nineteenth-century editor for the Norton Anthology of World Literature and has written on topics ranging from formalist theory to Victorian poetry and from television serials to academic freedom. She taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to Cornell, where she was co-founder of the Mellon World Literatures Workshop. She is a native of Syracuse, NY.


Caroline Levine headshot