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SLU-Madrid's Timothy Ryan Day Explores Sense of Self in "Outside Athens"

by Isaiah Voss on 07/02/2024


Timothy Ryan Day, Ph.D., English program director and creative writing professor at SLU—Madrid, has published his newest novel with Adelaide Books.

Day's novel puts perspective into context. When two forms appear in Day's story, the characters are tasked with deciphering what they are. In "Outside Athens," a character's profession and outlook on life define the perception of reality.

"'Outside Athens' is a book that represents a process of personal and emotional growth in the aftermath of COVID and all the political turmoil and individual trauma that it brought on," said Day. "It came from a lot of thinking about how the emotional and the rational intersect in political and artistic worlds and how all of this manifests in our most intimate relationships."

He is set to present select readings from the book in France this Thursday, July 4, at the American University of Paris.

A man looking directly at the camera for a photo with a country road behind him.

Timothy Ryan Day, Ph.D. Submitted photo.


Reflecting on "Outside Athens" and its place in his classes, he said, "I hope it helps students think about how all of these seemingly separate pieces of their world."

"All of these different strands of political, artistic, professional, rational and emotional narratives are part of what's being woven into an evolving sense of self."

Day is also the author of the novel "Big Sky," the academic monograph "Shakespeare and the Evolution of the Human Umwelt," and the poetry collection "Green & Grey."

He will teach Creative Writing: Non-fiction, Introduction to Shakespeare, and Deep Narratives: From Microbiomes to AI at SLU-Madrid this fall.

"Outside Athens" Synopsis

Two immense forms appear from underneath the ice melt of a glacier in a remote corner of Greenland. Everyone agrees that they exist but individuals, and even media outlets, describe them in ways that defy a common perception. To Ethan, a professor of Shakespeare in a midlife and marital crisis, they are the mythical characters Titania and Oberon, gods or aliens who have come to correct our course. To his daughter, an archaeologist, they are fungi spreading hallucinogenic spores across the globe. To her mother, an actress, they are empty forms for all of us to fill with whatever our own needs may be. And to her old friend, a theater director, they are tools to be moved and manipulated in the creation of some useful story.