Curiosity & Collecting, with Barbara M. Benedict

“Curiosity is a good way of understanding, and valuing, our relationship to the material world.” ~ Barbara M. Benedict

Trinity College professor Barbara M. Benedict delights in curiosity, curiosities and collecting in English literature. We cover everything from Gulliver’s Travels to Freud, from curiosity cabinets to the dawn of journalism.

What I Learned: empiricism, scientific methods, journalism, and the novel — a new form of literature — all evolved together, each an expression of our growing desire to understand the world better through inquiry.

What I Loved: Barbara is both elegant and irreverent. It’s an irresistible combination.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #83: Curiosity & Collecting, with Barbara M. Benedict

Barbara and I explored that funky intersection of our curiosity with our curiosities, the stuff that fascinates and holds us as much as we are apt to hold it.

It all reminded me of Caetlin Benson-Allott, professor of film at Georgetown, who joined me to talk about the transformative power of attention, object lessons and a personal favorite: the remote control….

Listen to Curiosity to Go, Ep. 56: Stuff and Such

Barbara M. Benedict is the first in my series of interviews with the contributing authors to the forthcoming anthology Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (University of Minnesota Press, 2020). Learn more about the series here. This episode first aired in June 2019; it has been refreshed, October 2023.

More about Barbara M. Benedict and her book Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry.

Check out Larissa Leclair and the Indie Photobook Library. 

My conversation with Caetlin inspired an #ObjectLessons series…in my kitchen

Theme music by Sean Balick.  Check out Sean’s new album “From the Pines.” “We Collect Shiny Things” by Love and Weasel from Blue Dot Sessions.  Research and other support by the wonderful Caroline Kish.

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What's the stuff of your curiosity?

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