The Invention of Symbology; or, Dan Brown, Part 2 (Angels and Demons & The Da Vinci Code) with Pseud Dionysius MPH


February 27th, 2022

3 hrs 6 mins 14 secs

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About this Episode

With the 2001 publication of Angels and Demons, Dan Brown shifted away from his early focus on the US security state and its post-Cold War identity crisis and introduced a new protagonist: Harvard professor of "Religious Symbology" Robert Langdon. This improbable hero's first two adventures transport him to the Old World and entangle him with a secretive institution far more ancient than the American deep state: the Roman Catholic Church. Curiously, the rise of Langdon signals Brown's turn away from the national security preoccupations of his early writing just as the 9/11 era brought the challenges facing the US state to the center of most people's attention. Despite its apparently obscure subject matter, 2003's The Da Vinci Code became a sensational hit – one of the bestselling novels of all time – and turned Brown's fictional avatar Langdon into a household name worldwide. Pseud Dionysius MPH joins me once again to try to make sense of Brown's success at forging a new, global anti-postmodern mythology just as the "end of history" consensus of the 1990s was beginning to fracture.