Sometimes, you just need to do something fun, and this episode reflects one of those times. I was in DC this summer for a week teaching, so I popped into the Hillsdale College recording studio (where I’ve been before to chat Walker Percy) to talk with one of my favorite children’s lit authors, Matthew Mehan. We discuss children’s lit generally and also discuss his own books (which I highly recommend!): The Handsome Little Cygnet and Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals.
I hope you enjoy our conversation!
Dr. Matthew Mehan is the Director of Academic Programs for Washington D.C. and Assistant Professor of Government for the Van Andel Graduate School of Government. He has been teaching and designing humanities curricula for twenty years. Dr. Mehan is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the valedictorian of his class. He received a B.A. in politics, an M.A. in English, and a Ph.D. in Literature (with honors) for his dissertation on Shakespeare, Thomas More, and the education of leading citizens. For the last five years, he has also taught for the College’s Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program for undergraduates.
Dr. Mehan has consulted for national leaders and heads of state. He has written for various outlets both scholarly and popular, including Moreana and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals, an illustrated, best-selling book of poems that one critic called “a new classic” in children’s literature. His lovely wife and their passel of children live in Virginia. He graduated from Okemos Public High School in Okemos, Michigan, and he misses Michigan summers.
Jennifer Frey is an associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with a Classics minor) at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology. Her writing has also been featured in Breaking Ground, First Things, Fare Forward, Image, Law and Liberty, The Point, and USA Today. She lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and six chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @jennfrey
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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and produced by Catholics for Hire.
Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5