Ryan Andrews: “Stark Truth” Interview on THE BIRTH OF PRUDENCE
I was recently interviewed on “The Stark Truth” podcast with Robert Stark (pictured in video) and “Pilleater.”
The interview mostly revolved around my novel, The Birth of Prudence. At the time I thought it went terribly, but now that I’ve heard the actual recording, it’s not as bad as I feared. For the sake of interviews like this, I wish I had a more interesting personal background story to explain how I came to my beliefs, but there really isn’t much of a story. To quote Brad Pitt’s Achilles “I was born, and this is what I am.”
While I’m here, I do want to preemptively clear something up for would-be listeners. At one point, I say that Prudence is a cultural Europhile, partially due to her appreciation of tragedy. When the average person thinks of the glories of western civilization, the advent of tragedy is probably not on their radar. So I’m sure it sounds odd to a lot of people that Prudence would attach such importance to it. Bear in mind though, that almost every great western philosopher, from Aristotle to the present day, has written on the theory of tragedy and tragic pleasure.
For almost as long as humanism has existed it has been a humanistic truism that the sole intrinsic worth of man is his ability to feel (outside of religious belief). All art is an expression of human passion, and is also at the same time, a celebration of that passion. And no art form communicates this more powerfully than tragedy. The downfall of the tragic hero is tragic because he feels it more deeply than would an ordinary man.
Prudence admires western civilization for many of the same reasons that an ordinary man would, but above all, she believes in the doctrine of the superiority of the passionate soul. To her, the truth of this doctrine can transcend culture, race, and class. The tragic irony of Prudence’s ultimate end is that she decides that the only way she and her family can live this transcendental truth is in isolation from the wider world.