Monthly Archives: October 2013


I listen to a lot of podcaſts: when commuting (when I bother to commute), when walking the dog, when doing chores. Here are several new ones, without institutional backing, that I like.

Revolutions started a few weeks ago and is, as they say, self-recommending.

At thirty-odd episodes in, Kevin Stroud’s the History of English has been going for longer, but is also a recent discovery.

I’m impressed with the thoroughness so far. The narrative of the history of English, as I remember it from high school, roughly runs “the Angles and Saxons and the Jutes (but we don’t really know who the Jutes were) came to England and Beowulf (we can’t read that) and then the French came (we certainly can’t read that) and everyone spoke French and then for reasons not clearly explained everyone started speaking English again and Chaucer (we can’t really read that either [except, of course, that you can -ed]) and Shakespeare (we can read this) and then America and now here we are, top of the world.”

First, how many ridiculous things can you spot here? Second, I should mention that I didn’t grow up in a community of great travelers, and I don’t remember the ‘everyone speaks English’ trope getting much play.

Stroud, in any event, does better. If his coverage is a bit easy-listening for this wannabe philologist, he certainly can’t be accused of skipping anything important. I’m almost fifteen eps in and he still hasn’t really tackled Old English head on: this is great.

Two others that I’ve listened to a bit, but not enough to form much of an opinion about are the History of Byzantium and the History of the Crusades, and one I learned about while polishing off this very post is the Egyptian History Podcaſt.

Finally, I hope you will join me in writing podcaſt with a ſ whenever possible.