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April 8, 2019
George Eliot
Perhaps the greatest of all the many great English novelists, George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans in 1819 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Her father Robert managed an estate for a wealthy family; her mother Christina was the daughter of a local mill-owner. Among her rather large family, Mary Ann stood apart as the only one with a taste for intellectual pursuits. Her views on philosophy and theology led her to reject religion at the age of 22, leading to a row with her father that lasted months. She spent the next fifteen years in a kind of quest for intellectual companionship, which led to some humiliating episodes before finally resulting in a successful, if socially fraught, relationship with an unhappily married journalist named George Henry Lewes. After making a living as a freelance editor and translator, Evans turned to writing novels at the age of 37. Published under the pseudonym "George Eliot," her first novel Adam Bede was an immediate success, praised for the depth of its psychological insights and the clarity of its moral vision. Eliot followed Adam Bede with several classics of English literature includingThe Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda. She was, remarked Virginia Woolf, one of the few English novelists who wrote books for grown-up people. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
April 1, 2019
Samuel Beckett (with Nic Barilar)
We're back! A newly reenergized Jacke Wilson returns for a deep dive into the life, works, and politics of Samuel Beckett. Yes, we know him as one of the key figures bridging the gap between modernism and post-modernism - but was he more than just a highly refined artist generating art for art's sake? Was he engaged with his times? And if so, how might that engagement have affected his writings? We'll immerse ourselves in Waiting for Godot and some of Beckett's other works for our answer, with special guest Nic Barilar, PhD Student in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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79 min
March 6, 2019
182 Darkness and Light (with Jessica Harper)
Jessica Harper has had the kind of life it would take ten memoirs to capture. Born in 1949, she went from a childhood in Illinois to a career as a Broadway singer, a Hollywood actor and movie star, a songwriter, an author of children’s books, an author of cookbooks, and now a podcaster. Along the way, she’s worked with everyone from Woody Allen to Steve Martin to Bette Midler to Garry Shandling to Peter O'Toole to Max von Sydow to Brian di Palma to - well, it’s a who’s who of everyone Jacke admired when growing up in the 70s and 80s. She joins Jacke for a conversation about her new project, WINNETKA, a podcast-memoir in which she explores her childhood in the 50s and 60s - and the secrets that cast long shadows across even the brightest of families. Learn more about Jessica Harper and WINNETKA at winnetkapodcast.com.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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48 min
February 27, 2019
181 David Foster Wallace (with Mike Palindrome)
Frequent guest Mike Palindrome takes the wheel for another solo episode on David Foster Wallace, including a deep dive into Wallace's unfinished manuscript The Pale King, published posthumously in 2011.DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (1962-2008) was an American author best known for his novels The Broom in the System and Infinite Jest, his story collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, his essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and his graduation speech to Kenyon College, published under the title This Is Water. Known for his writerly struggles to advance the novel form beyond irony and postmodernism, as well as for his personal struggles with depression, drug addiction, and suicidal tendencies, David Foster Wallace died of his own hand in 2008. In the years since his death, new biographical information has emerged, including several disturbing incidents regarding women whom Wallace treated poorly, including stalking incidents and other alarming incidents and allegations. Today, Wallace has an uneasy relationship with the literary canon: widely recognized as a brilliant if sometimes narcissistic talent, possessed of both genius-like intelligence and deep flaws both as a writer and a human being. Today, his reputation is a source of contention: Was he a prophetlike figure who surpassed his peers and superseded all who came before? Or a smart but flawed man whose worst tendencies led him to generate thickets of navel-gazing and unreadability?Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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61 min
February 20, 2019
180 Donald Barthelme
Donald Barthelme’s “The Balloon” (1966) is one of the strangest and most enduring short stories to come out of the second half of the twentieth century. Filled with Barthelme’s gift for observation and detail, his wild imagination, and his playful wit, “The Balloon” represents for many the work of a postmodern master at his postmodern peak. But who was Donald Barthelme? Why were “The Balloon” and his other stories so popular? And are these postmodern stories interesting merely as a reflection of their era, or do they still have meaning for us today? Mike Palindrome joins us for a discussion of Donald Barthelme and "The Balloon." Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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59 min
February 13, 2019
179 The Oscars by Decade (with Brian Price)
Screenwriter and film scholar Brian Price (author of Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting: Aristotle and the Modern Screenwriter) joins Jacke for a decade-by-decade look at the Oscar Winners for Best Picture. Which decade had the best movies? When did Hollywood get it right? And what does it tell us about the movies of the past - and the ones being made today?Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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63 min
February 6, 2019
178 "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson (with Evie Lee)
In this episode, we take a look at the classic twentieth-century American short story, "The Lottery" (1948) by Shirley Jackson. Why did it cause such an uproar? Who banned it and why? And how well does it hold up today? We'll be discussing all this and more with special guest Evie Lee.SHIRLEY JACKSON was born in 1916 in San Francisco, California, before leaving to attend college at Syracuse University. After marrying her college sweetheart, whom she met at the university's literary magazine, she resettled in Vermont and began her brief but highly successful literary career. Her best works, like The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and "The Lottery," continue to provoke readers with their shocking twists and disturbing effects. Although she was only 48 when she died of a heart condition in 1965, she left behind six novels, two memoirs, and over 200 short stories. NOTE: "The Lottery" is one of the most spoilable stories ever written. But no need to fear: we will be reading the story in its entirety before our discussion.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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65 min
January 30, 2019
177 Sherwood Anderson (with Alyson Hagy)
One hundred years ago, a collection of short stories by a little-known author from Ohio burst onto the literary scene, causing a minor scandal for their sexual frankness. In the years since, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (1919) became more famous for its insightful portrayal of a town filled with friendly but solitary individuals, who wrestle with questions of love and lust, art and ambition, deep frustrations and the desire for spiritual uplift. How well have these stories held up? And how well do they speak to us today? We'll talk with Alyson Hagy, author of the new novel Scribe, about this often overlooked American masterpiece - and we'll see how it's informed her own writing career. SHERWOOD ANDERSON (1876-1941) grew up in a small town in Ohio before leaving in a state of desperation for Chicago and a literary career. His novels and short stories were often cited by the next generation of American writers (Wolfe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald) as helping them to develop their own literary voice. ALYSON HAGY was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of eight works of fiction, including Scribe and Boleto. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
January 23, 2019
176 William Carlos Williams (The Use of Force)
Today, the American modernist poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) is famous among poetry fans for his vivid, economical poems like "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This Is Just to Say." But for most of his lifetime, he struggled to achieve success comparable to those of his contemporaries Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. Toiling away as a physician in working-class neighborhoods in New Jersey, Williams tried to write poems and short stories whenever he could, often typing for a few minutes in between patient visits. In this episode of The History of Literature, Jacke and Mike take a look at Williams's incredible short story "The Use of Force," in which a physician wrestles with a young patient determined to preserve her secret at all costs. NOTE: This is another self-contained episode of The History of Literature! We read the story for you - no need to read it yourself first (unless you want to!). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
January 16, 2019
175 Virgin Whore - The Virgin Mary in Medieval Literature and Culture (with Professor Emma Maggie Solberg)
Today, we know the Virgin Mary as quiet, demure, and (above all) chaste, but this wasn't always the way she was understood or depicted. In her new book Virgin Whore, Professor Emma Maggie Solberg investigates a surprising - and surprisingly prevalent - theme in late English medieval literature and culture: the celebration and veneration of the Virgin Mary's sexuality. Professor Solberg joins Jacke for a discussion of the portrayals of Mary in medieval dramas and other works - and what we can learn from those portrayals today. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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54 min
January 9, 2019
174 David Foster Wallace (A Mike Palindrome Special!)
Ask and ye shall receive! It's an all-Mike episode devoted entirely to one of his literary heroes, David Foster Wallace. Enjoy! Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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42 min
January 1, 2019
173 The Yellow Wallpaper (with Evie Lee)
Happy new year! Host Jacke Wilson is joined by special guest Evie Lee, a vice-president at the Literature Supporters Club, for a conversation about the classic short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN (1860-1935) wrote nine novels and novellas, several plays, and over 180 short stories in her writing career. Her most famous work, "The Yellow Wallpaper," combines elements of a gothic supernatural horror story with an astute, ahead of its time psychological portrayal of a woman oppressed by her surroundings. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is today one of the most widely read and studied works in American literature. This is a self-contained episode of The History of Literature Podcast, in which the story is read aloud before being discussed. No need to read it beforehand (unless you want to!). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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108 min
December 19, 2018
172 Holiday Movies (with Brian Price)
Seasons Greetings! In this episode, Jacke attempts to recover from last week's gloominess with something lighter and cheerier: a trip to the movies! Holiday movies dominate screens big and little during the month of December - but what do they do to us? How do they work? What separates a good holiday movie from the rest of the pack? We ask screenwriter Brian Price, author of Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting, to help us understand the genre. Then Jacke, in a frenzy of holiday spirit, pitches his own idea for a holiday movie to Brian - and comes to learn the true meaning of the phrase, "Christmas flop." Hope you enjoy!Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
December 12, 2018
171 To Sleep Perchance to Dream - On Writers and Death
"To die, to sleep - to sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come..." In these immortal lines, Shakespeare's Hamlet gives voice to one of the greatest of all human questions. What happens when we die? Should we be excited by the mystery? Or afraid? How do we puny humans endure the knowledge that we are not immortal? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at writers on the verge of death. What did they see? And what did they say?Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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71 min
December 5, 2018
170 Toni Morrison
TONI MORRISON (b. 1931) is one of the most successful and admired authors in the history of American literature. Her novels include The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977) and Beloved (1987), which is widely considered to be her masterpiece. After successful careers in both academia and publishing during the 1960s and '70s, Morrison's critical and commercial success enabled her to devote more time to her writing. In 1993, the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature to Morrison, "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." In this episode, host Jacke Wilson intersperses Toni Morrison's biographical details and literary achievements with a discussion of his first encounters with Morrison's works and what they meant to him. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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66 min
November 28, 2018
169 Dostoevsky
FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881) was, in the estimation of James Joyce, “the man more than any other who has created modern prose.” “Outside Shakespeare,” Virginia Woolf wrote, “there is no more exciting reading.” His influence is as impossible to understand as it is to overstate: he is widely credited as the forerunner of modern psychology, existentialist philosophy, the detective novel, and the prison memoir - and is, by any measure, one of the pinnacles of Russian literature. In this episode of The History of Literature, we consider the life and works of one of the greatest novelists the world has ever known. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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48 min
November 21, 2018
168 Jhumpa Lahiri ("The Third and Final Continent")
What was it like to relocate from India to London to America in the early 1970s? And how can a daughter hope to recapture the experience of her father and convey it in fiction? In today's episode of the History of Literature, Jacke and Mike look at a contemporary classic story, Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent." Along the way, they discuss the tropes of immigrant fiction, the pros and cons of epiphany stories, and whether a story is a "city" or "an old friend." (Yes, that's another one of Mike's special theories.)JHUMPA LAHIRI was born in 1967 in London, England, the daughter of Bengali Indian emigrants. She moved to the United States when she was two years old and grew up in Rhode Island. A graduate of Boston University, she began writing and publishing her stories of first-generation Indian-American immigrants in the 1990s. Her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, was a huge critical and commercial success, selling over 15 million copies and earning Lahiri the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.NOTE: This is a self-contained episode of The History of Literature, in which both the story and a discussion of it are provided. No prior reading necessary (unless you’d like to)!Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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93 min
November 7, 2018
167 F Scott Fitzgerald
What happens when the party is over? Can you ever truly escape your past? Jacke and Mike take a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 1931 story of guilt and melancholy, "Babylon Revisited." F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940) was the quintessential Jazz Age writer. While he's known today primarily as the author of the near-perfect novel The Great Gatsby, in his lifetime he was far more famous for his short stories, which millions of readers encountered through big-circulation magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. Fitzgerald published 65 stories in The Saturday Evening Post, including "Babylon Revisited," which tells the story of an American father living in post-Crash Paris, hoping for a reunion with his nine-year-old daughter--but fearing the reminders from his past that might make that impossible. NOTE: This is a self-contained episode of The History of Literature, in which both the story and a discussion of it are provided. No reading necessary (unless you'd prefer it that way)!Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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100 min
October 31, 2018
166 Stephen King (with the Sisters of Slaughter)
STEPHEN KING (1947- ) was born in the northern state of Maine, where he has lived most of his life. For more than forty years, he has been the world's leading practitioner of scary fiction. He’s also won numerous awards, including the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Medal of Arts. His books have sold more than 350 million copies.MICHELLE GARZA and MELISSA LASON (aka the SISTERS OF SLAUGHTER) have been writing horror fiction since they were young girls growing up in rural Arizona. The twin sisters have been widely praised for their demented fairytales and historical hellscapes, including Mayan Blue and Kingdom of Teeth. Their most recent work is a collaborative project, Silverwood: The Door, which delivers serialized fiction in a throwback to the era of Dickens and Little Nell. They are lifelong fans of Stephen King, The X-Files, and werewolves.Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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73 min
October 24, 2018
165 Ezra Pound
EZRA POUND (1885-1972) was born in a small mining town in Idaho and died in Venice, Italy. In his eighty-seven years, he changed the face of American poetry. A restless, tireless advocate for his artistic views and the authors who shared them, he also led an extremely eventful life, clamoring for change, devolving into madness, attacking his own country and living, for a while, as a prisoner of the United States Army, who kept him in an outdoor cage. His impact on American literature is as hard to understand as it is to overstate. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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44 min
October 17, 2018
164 Karl Marx
Karl Marx (1818-1883) turned his early interest in literature and philosophy into a lifelong study of the socioeconomic forces unleashed by the rise of capitalism. His works The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, among others, influenced the course of the twentieth century like few others. But who was Karl Marx? How did his ideas become so widespread? And how did his thinking and writing impact literature? We'll talk about Karl Marx and Marxist Literary Theory with Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, who has spent more than twenty years reading literary theory as an amateur enthusiast. Mike's recommendations:"Ideological and Ideological State Apparatuses" by Louis AlthusserMythologies by Roland BarthesDebt: The First 5,000 Years by Daniel GraeberThe Political Unconscious by Fredric JamesonUtopia or Bust by Benjamin KunkelThe Year of Dreaming Dangerously by Slavoj ZizekWhat is to be Done? by Vladimir LeninSupport the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
October 10, 2018
163 Gabriel Garcia Marquez (with Sarah Bird)
Jacke welcomes author Sarah Bird to the program to talk about her background, her writing, and her readerly passion for the fiction of the great twentieth-century novelist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ (1927-2014) was one of the most revered and influential novelists of the twentieth century. Born in a small town in Colombia, which he later made famous as the fictionalized village "Macondo," he drew upon the stories and storytelling styles of his grandparents and parents to formulate what came to be called "magical realism." His books One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera have sold tens of millions of copies and stand as a testament to the power of fiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.SARAH BIRD is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, the recipient of the Texas Institute of Letters’ Award for Distinguished Writers, and a six-time winner of the Austin Chronicle’s Best Fiction Writer Award. Her most recent novel, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, tells the story of Cathy Williams, a former slave who disguised herself as a man in order to fight alongside the Buffalo Soldiers. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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88 min
October 3, 2018
162 Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was one of the most famous American writers of the twentieth century. His plain, economical prose style--inspired by journalism and the King James Bible, with an assist from the Cezannes he viewed in Gertrude Stein’s apartment--became a hallmark of modernism and changed the course of American literature. In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at an author and novel, The Sun Also Rises (1927), they’ve been reading and discussing for decades. Want more Hemingway? We took a new look at an old argument in Episode 47 Hemingway vs Fitzgerald. Love everything about the Lost Generation? Spend some time with the coiner of the phrase in Episode 127 Gertrude Stein.Rather be tramping through Europe? Try Episode 157 Travel Books (with Mike Palindrome).Looking for Irving's New Yorker piece? Visit Literature's Great Couples on Tinder.Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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66 min
September 26, 2018
161 Voltaire
Voltaire was born Francois Marie Arouet in 1694 in Paris, France, the son of a respectable but not particularly eminent lawyer. By the time he died at the age of 83, he was widely regarded as one of the greatest French writers in history, a distinction he still holds today. Astoundingly prolific, he is best known as the author of Candide - but the stories of his life, including the scrapes brought about by his fearless tongue, are perhaps at least as fascinating as anything his razor-sharp pen committed to paper.Enjoy French literature? Travel to the nineteenth century and visit another incredibly prolific author in Episode 152 George Sand.Not a Sand fan? Maybe you'd prefer Episode 79 - Music That Melts the Stars - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.In love with Paris? Maybe you'd like to try our Episode 127 - Gertrude Stein. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
September 17, 2018
160 Ray Bradbury (with Carolyn Cohagan)
Special guest Carolyn Cohagan, author of the Time Zero trilogy and founder of the creative writing workshop Girls with Pens, joins Jacke for a discussion of her writing process, her origins in standup comedy and theater, and her early love for the fiction of Ray Bradbury (and her special appreciation for his short story "All Summer in a Day"). For another look at a twentieth-century giant who broke down genre barriers, try Episode 141 Kurt Vonnegut (with Mike Palindrome). Love pulp fiction? Hear about the efforts of a contemporary editor to bring back the heyday of the genre, including classic twentieth-century prose and beautiful painted covers, in Episode 140 Pulp Fiction and the Hardboiled Crime Novel (with Charles Ardai). Writing a little yourself? Hear the interview that made Carolyn run out to buy the book that passes along the secrets of fiction in Episode 133 - The Hidden Machinery (with Margot Livesey). Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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78 min
September 10, 2018
159 Herman Melville
Today, Herman Melville (1819-1891) is considered one of the greatest of American writers, and a leading candidate for THE American novelist thanks to his classic work, Moby-Dick. How did this unpromising student become one of the most inventive and observant writers of his time? What obstacles did he face, and what did he do to overcome them? What other works of his are worth reading? Jacke, Mike, and special guest Cristina, aka The Classics Slacker, who recently spent 24 hours aboard the Charles W. Morgan listening to the novel being read, take a look at this fascinating man and his whale of a book. Enjoy 19th-Century American authors? Try Episode 90, Mark Twain's Final Request.Wondering how Melville got his ideas? Learn more about one of his inspirations in Episode 111 - The Americanest American, Ralph Waldo Emerson.Ready for more adventure? Try Episode 82 - Robinson Crusoe. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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86 min
September 3, 2018
158 "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien
In the 1960s and '70s, the Vietnam War dominated the hearts and minds of a generation of Americans. In 1990, the American writer Tim O'Brien, himself a former soldier, published "The Things They Carried," a short story that became an instant classic. Through its depiction of the members of a platoon in Vietnam, told largely through the tangible and intangible things in their possession as they humped their way through the jungle, O'Brien's story captures the soul and psyches of young men engaged in a war they cannot understand and filled with a longing for home that must compete with the brutal circumstances of present-day reality. In this episode of the History of Literature, host Jacke Wilson reads the entire short story "The Things They Carried," then invites Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, to join him for a discussion of the Vietnam War and the literary masterpiece it gave rise to.Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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125 min
August 22, 2018
157 Travel Books (with Mike Palindrome)
"The world is a book," said Augustine, "and those who do not travel read only one page." But what about books ABOUT traveling? Do they double the pleasure? Transport us to a different place? Inspire and enchant? Or are they more like a forced march through someone else's interminable photo album? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins us for a look at his literary journey to London and Stockholm, summer reading, and a draft of the greatest travel books of all time.Works and authors discussed include As You Like It by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy by C.L. Barber, Virginia Woolf, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Bill Bryson, Herodotus, Rick Steves, Eat Pray Love, Under a Tuscan Sun, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, My Life in France by Julia Child, Invisible Cities and other works by Italo Calvino, The Travels of Marco Polo, Patricia Highsmith, James Joyce, Henry James, Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, Another Day of Life by Kapuscinski, What Is the What by Dave Eggers, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, Roots by Alex Haley, Under the Tuscan Sun, A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Stern, the Let's Go series, the Lonely Planet series, Across Asia on the Cheap, Into the Wild and other works by Jon Krakauer, the Odyssey, Mark Twain, India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, A Room with a View, Kingsley Amis, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, The Way of the White Clouds by Lama Anagarika Govinda.Blasphemous! Hear the original discussion of Shakespeare's comedies in Episode 83 - Overrated! Top 10 Books You Don't Need To Read. Nabokov's Lolita gets a day in the sun in Episode 112 - The Novelist and the Witch Doctor - Unpacking Nabokov's Case Against Freud (with Joshua Ferris). A trip through Tibet? Reading Madame Bovary? Yes indeed. Hear the whole story in Episode 79 - Music that Melts the Stars - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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71 min
August 15, 2018
156 The Sonnet
“A sonnet,” said the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “is a moment’s monument.” But who invented the sonnet? Who brought it to prominence? How has it changed over the years? And why does this form continue to be so compelling? In this episode of the History of Literature, we take a brief look at one of literature's most enduring forms, from its invention in a Sicilian court to the wordless sonnet and other innovative uses. Professor Bill walked us through a sonnet by Robert Hayden in Episode 97 - Dad Poetry (with Professor Bill).One of the world's great sonneteers, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, had her moment in Episode 95 - The Runaway Poets - The Triumphant Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the lovers whose first words to one another magically form a perfect sonnet, found one another in Episode 53 - Romeo and Juliet. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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56 min
August 9, 2018
155 Plato
“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition,” said Alfred North Whitehead, “is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” We’ve all heard the name of Plato and his famous mentor Socrates, and most of us have encountered the dialogues, a literary-philosophical form he essentially invented. We know the themes he advanced, his general views of metaphysics, and his interest in knowledge and its importance as a virtue. But what do we know about Plato the man? How did this person come to write works that would be read and wrestled with more than two thousand years later? And how do Plato’s literary skills help to deepen his arguments and enrich his narratives? In this episode of The History of Literature, we look at the fascinating figure of Plato and his great mentor/creation, Socrates.Like Greek thought and literature? Try Episode 4 - Sappho.Stop the presses! Go back even further in time to Episode 3 - Homer.Like philosophy and philosophers? Try Episode 117 - Machiavelli and The Prince.Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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53 min
August 1, 2018
154 John Milton
John Milton (1608 - 1674) was a revolutionary, a republican, an iconoclast, a reformer, and a brilliant polemicist, who fearlessly took on both church and king. And he ranks among the greatest poets of all time, a peer of Shakespeare and Homer. Philip Pullman, the author who named his trilogy (His Dark Materials) after a Miltonic phrase, said, “No one, not even Shakespeare, surpasses him in his command of the sound, the music, the weight and taste and texture of English words.” In this episode of the History of Literature, we look at the life and works of one of the seventeenth-century's greatest individuals.For more on Satan as a runaway character in Milton's masterpiece Paradise Lost, try Episode 132 - Top 10 Literary Villains.We covered the OG blind bard Homer all the way back in Episode 3 - Homer.For another seventeenth-century writer (who isn't Shakespeare), try Episode 91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write About a Flea. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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64 min
July 25, 2018
153 Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870) was the greatest novelist of the Victorian age. In his 58 years he went from a hardscrabble childhood to a world-famous author, beloved and admired for his unforgettable characters, his powers of observation and empathy, and his championing of the lower classes. He wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of articles and short stories - and also found time to edit a weekly periodical for over 20 years. But that wasn't all: he also wrote thousands of pages of letters, ran a sizable household, was a tireless reformer, a philanthropist, an amateur theatrical performer, a lecturer, and a traveler, and at times walked 14 miles a day. And he had secrets in his personal life that are still being unearthed today.How on earth did he get all this done? How was he viewed by his contemporaries? And what do we make of his novels - and his life - today?For more on Dickens' classic work A Christmas Carol, try Episode 72 - Top 10 Christmas StoriesFor a look at the sentimental in fiction, try Episode 65 - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (with Professor James Chandler)Does Dickens make you hungry? We explore the phenomenon in Episode 144 - Food in Literature (with Ronica Dhar)What was Dickens's favorite book? Find out in Episode 41 - The New Testament (with Professor Kyle Keefer)Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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57 min
July 18, 2018
152 George Sand
George Sand wrote an astonishing number of novels and plays, and had friendships and affairs with an astonishing range of men and women. She dressed in men’s clothing, and she inspired a host of 19th century authors and artists, including Russian writers like Turgenev and Dostoevsky and British writers like Mary Ann Evans, who adopted the name George, as in George Eliot, out of tribute to her French predecessor. In this episode of the History of Literature, we travel to 19th Century France, for a look at the life and works of the inimitable and indefatigable George Sand.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
July 11, 2018
151 Viking Poetry - The Voluspa (with Noah Tetzner)
The Vikings! Sure, they had helmets and hammers, but did they also have... poetry? Indeed they did! In this episode, we talk to Noah Tetzner, host of The History of Vikings Podcast, about the collection of Old Norse verses called the Poetic Edda - and in particular, we look at the first of these, the succinct poem known as The Völuspá. Dated to around 1250 A.D., the Völuspá recorded centuries of oral tradition. Today, it serves as one of our best introductions to Viking mythology, affording us a window into a fascinating and mysterious culture. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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54 min
July 4, 2018
150 Chekhov's "The Lady with the Little Dog"
It's a deceptively simple story: a man and a woman meet, have an affair, are separated, and reunite. And yet, in writing about Anton Chekhov's story, "The Lady with the Little Dog" (1899), Vladimir Nabokov said, "All the traditional rules have been broken in this wonderful short story.... No problem, no regular climax, no point at the end. And it is one of the greatest stories ever written." What makes this story so good? How does it hold up today? In this episode, Jacke and Mike examine the masterpiece of one of the world's greatest short story writers. NOTE: This is a self-contained episode of the History of Literature - we read the story itself, so no need to read the story on your own (unless you'd like to).Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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107 min
June 27, 2018
149 Raising Readers (aka The Power of Literature in an Imperfect World)
Jacke and Mike respond to an email from a listener who is about to become a father and wondering about the role of literature in the life of a young child.Works and authors discussed include J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Andrew Motion, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Boynton, The Great Brain series, Bedtime for Frances, Frog and Toad, Beatrix Potter, Martin Amis, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, The Beatles, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, the Moomintroll books, Nick Hornby.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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81 min
June 20, 2018
148 Great Literary Hoaxes
What can we count on? What do we know is true? In this episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at a motley crew of inventive liars who set out to fool the literary world - and often did, at least for a while. From the ancient pseudo-Sappho to the escapee from a debauched convent, from the treasure trove of Shakespeare's lost works to the balloon fraud of Edgar Allen Poe, writers have been generating bogus works for centuries - and an gullible public has gobbled them up and come back for more.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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56 min
June 13, 2018
147 Leo Tolstoy
When asked to name the three greatest novels ever written, William Faulkner replied, “Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina.” Nabokov said, “When you are reading Turgenev, you know you are reading Turgenev. When you read Tolstoy, you are reading because you just cannot stop.” And finally, there's this compliment from author Isaac Babel: “If the world could write itself," he said, "it would write like Tolstoy.”But who was Leo Tolstoy? How did he become the person who could write War and Peace and Anna Karenina, two of the pinnacles of the novel form - and two of the greatest achievements in the history of human civilization? Why did he stop writing novels, and what did he do with the rest of his life? In this episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the life and works of Count Leo Tolstoy, one of the most fascinating and revered figures in all of literature.Links and Other Treats:More of a Chekhov person? You might like Episode 63, where author Charles Baxter talks about how important Chekhov has been to him. For a look at Anna Karenina's "French cousin," check out Episode 79 - Music That Melts the Stars - Madame Bovary.Love the Russians? Listen to more in Episode 130 on the great poet Anna Akhmatova and her surprising affair with sculptor Amedeo Modigliani.Why did Tolstoy hate Shakespeare? Learn more in Episode 104 - King Lear.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.FREE GIFTS! The gift-giving continues! This month, we're giving away a copy of Nabokov's Lectures on Russian Literature and an Amazon.com gift certificate for the book of your choice. Sign up at patreon.com/literature to be eligible to win. Good luck!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
June 7, 2018
146 Power Ranking the Nobel Prize for Literature
The Nobel Prize for Literature has a special place in the literary landscape. We revere the prize and its winners - and yet we often find ourselves puzzled by the choices. The list of fantastic writers who never won a Nobel Prize is as long and distinguished as the list of those who did. In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at the Nobel Prizes by decade, attempting to determine which decade had the best (and worst) group of authors. Do we select your favorites? Overlook some hidden gems? Let us know! For a list of Nobel Prize Winners for Literature by Decade, visit historyofliterature.com/nobel-prizes-by-decade/Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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69 min
May 31, 2018
145 Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know - The Story of Lord Byron
The Later Romantic poet George Gordon Byron, once described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know," lived 36 years and became world famous, his astonishing career as a poet matched only by his astonishing record as a breaker of norms, an insatiable lover, a bizarre hedonist, a restless exile, a head-scratching eccentric, a passionate friend, a determined athlete, an ardent revolutionary, and in general, one of the greatest embracers of life the world has ever seen.Works discussed include Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Fugitive Pieces / Hours of Idleness, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and Don Juan.For another taste of Romantic poetry, try our episode on Poetry and Ruins, which includes a look at Shelley's Ozymandias.Jacke recounts his own attempts to write a Keatsian poem in the Bad Poetry episode. Byron makes a cameo appearance - he was on the scene when both Frankenstein and vampires were invented - in our Mary Shelley episode. Want some of the older Romantics? Try our episode on Coleridge and the Person from Porlock.EXCITING NEWS!!!!We are giving away a FREE History of Literature Podcast mug and a FREE copy of Ronica Dhar’s book, Bijou Roy, to two lucky Patreon donors! Sign up now at patreon.com/literature to be eligible for this special bonus offer.If you’d like to purchase a mug instead, or just donate a fiver or two to the show, you can find out how at historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or on Twitter @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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54 min
May 21, 2018
144 Food in Literature (with Ronica Dhar)
Food, glorious food! We all know its power for nourishment, pleasure, and comfort -- and we’ve all felt the sharp pangs of its absence. How has this essential part of being alive made its way into novels, short stories, and poetry? Our guest Ronica Dhar, author of the novel Bijou Roy, joins us for a conversation about food in literature, as we select ten mouthwatering (and thought-provoking) examples. Bon appetit!Works and authors discussed include Kevin Young, Dr. Seuss, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, Patrick O’Brian, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Beowulf, Elizabeth Alexander, Big Night (the film), Charles Dickens, Arnold Lobel, Russell Hoban, Lillian Hoban, Haruki Murakami, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Paddington Bear, Pippi Longstocking, and more.For our first discussion with Ronica, in which she chooses her favorite books, see Episode 35 - A Conversation with Ronica Dhar. What’s food without the means to buy it? For a draft of 10 great writers at work, see Episode 101 - Writers at Work (with Mike Palindrome).For more on Patrick O’Brian, see Episode 37 - Great Literary Duos.For a medieval feast, see Episode 108 - Beowulf (aka Need a Hero? Get a Grip!).EXCITING NEWS!!!!We are giving away a FREE History of Literature Podcast mug and a FREE copy of Ronica Dhar's book, Bijou Roy, to two lucky Patreon donors! Sign up now at patreon.com/literature to be eligible for this special bonus offer. If you'd like to purchase a mug instead, or just donate a fiver or two to the show, you can find out how at historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or on Twitter @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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65 min
May 14, 2018
143 A Soldier's Heart - Teaching Literature at the U.S. Military Academy (with Professor Elizabeth Samet)
Since ancient times, societies have used rousing lines of poetry to inspire soldiers to acts of heroism, courage, and sacrifice. But what about literature that expresses doubts about war? Or fear? Or that conveys its brutal nature? Should those works be a part of the curriculum as well?And what about literature that, on its surface, has nothing to do with the battlefield? Where is the value in that for a soldier? One thing seems clear: how a society educates its soldiers tells us something fundamental about the values of that society. And when it comes to the role of literature in a soldier’s education, we can learn two things. We see how we as a society think of the men and women fighting for us. And we see a reflection of what we think literature can and should do. In this episode, we’re joined by author Elizabeth Samet, a professor of literature at the United States Military Academy (West Point). Professor Samet’s book, Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point, was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, A USA Today Best Book, and A Christian Science Monitor Best Book.Works and authors discussed include the Shahnameh, Elizabeth Bishop, Great Expectations, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Shakespeare's Henry V and Romeo and Juliet, and others. We took a look at Homer and his famous tale of the siege of Troy way back in Episode 3 - Homer. For Shakespearean soldiers, try Episode 70 - Julius Caesar or Episode 80 - Power Play! Shakespeare’s Henry V.For an episode on the dialogue between the reluctant warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna, who dramatically reveals himself as the incarnation of God, try Episode 33 - The Bhagavad Gita.For more about poetry in the context of war, try a pair of episodes with Professor Bill Hogan: Episode 56 - The Poetry of Ruins and Episode 93 - Robert Frost Finds a Friend For the story of an American writer who went off to World War II and came back a changed man, try Episode 141 - Kurt Vonnegut (with Mike Palindrome).For a look at the politics of war and peace, try Episode 117 - Machiavelli and The Prince.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or on Twitter @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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58 min
May 7, 2018
142 Comedian Joe Pera Talks with Us (with Joe Pera)
Comedian Joe Pera has been hailed as one of the top "Comedians Under 30," "20 of the Most Innovative Comedians Working Today," and the "Cozy Sweater of Comedy." His lovable, pleasantly awkward delivery style has made him a breakout star on the standup circuit and on late-night shows like Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers.In this special episode of The History of Literature, Joe joins Jacke to discuss the comedians he grew up admiring, his first attempts at standup, and his new television show Joe Pera Talks with You, which premieres on May 20 on Adult Swim, the #1 network with millennials 18-34. Special bonus: Jacke tries his hand at writing a few jokes about literature. Will they earn the admiration of a professional comedian? We'll see!For more information about Joe Pera and his show Joe Pera Talks with You, visit the Joe Pera website or his Twitter account @JosephPera.To listen to the notorious Madame Bovary episode, head to Episode 79 - Music That Melts the Stars - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.For more about literature and comedy (and another dose of Christopher Guest), try Episode 96 - Dracula, Lolita, and the Power of Volcanoes (with Jim Shepard).Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or on Twitter @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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53 min
April 30, 2018
141 Kurt Vonnegut (with Mike Palindrome)
"The year was 2081," the story begins, "and everyone was finally equal." In this episode of the History of Literature, Jacke and Mike take a look at Kurt Vonnegut's classic short story, "Harrison Bergeron." In this 1961 story, Vonnegut imagines a world of the perfectly average, where no one is allowed to be too great - until a hero named Harrison Bergeron comes along. Along the way, we discuss Vonnegut's life and works, what we think the story means, and Mike's own attempt to limit himself in order to better function in society. SPOILER ALERT: THERE ARE NO SPOILERS! This episode is completely self-contained. We read the short story, so there's no need to run out and read it on your own first (unless you want to). For another self-contained episode on a classic twentieth-century short story, try Episode 139 - "A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka.For more about short stories in general, try Episode 57 - Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme - All About Short Stories (and Long Ones Too).Kurt Vonnegut makes a cameo appearance in Episode 101 Writers at Work (you'll never guess his surprising avocation).And for another high school favorite, try Episode 119 - The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Help support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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80 min
April 23, 2018
140 Pulp Fiction and the Hardboiled Crime Novel (with Charles Ardai)
In 1896, an enterprising man named Frank Munsey published the first copy of Argosy, a magazine that combined cheap printing, cheap paper, and cheap authors to bring affordable, high-entertainment fiction to working-class folks. Within six years, Argosy was selling a half a million copies a month, and the American fiction market would never be the same. In this special episode of The History of Literature, we’re joined by Charles Ardai, a man who helped to resurrect one of twentieth-century pulp fiction’s brightest stars: the hardboiled crime novel, with its brooding heroes, high-energy prose, fast-paced plots, and seductive painted covers. His publishing line, Hard Case Crime, brings back forgotten and never-published manuscripts of old masters as well as new novels by contemporary authors like Stephen King and Christa Faust-- and returns readers to the days when a dangling cigarette and a tumbler of whiskey was almost enough to make you forget the dame who nearly got you killed. Almost. Authors discussed include Stephen King, Paul Auster, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, E. Howard Hunt, Charles Ardai, Christa Faust, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Browning, Mickey Spillane, Robert Bloch, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Michael Crichton/John Lange, J.K. Rowling, Lawrence Block, Erle Stanley Gardner, Madison Smartt Bell, Robert Parker, Ed McBain, David Dodge, Edgar Rice Burroughs, James Joyce, and Charles Dickens.For more on writing contemporary thrillers, try Episode 109 - Women of Mystery (with Christina Kovac)For historical mysteries, try Episode 40 - "A Front-Page Affair" (with Radha Vatsal) or her encore appearance in Episode 99 - History and Mystery (with Radha Vatsal)For more on the connection between the Romantics and modern-day crime fiction, try Episode 65 - Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (with Professor James Chandler)For another dose of Humphrey Bogart, try Episode 135 - Aristotle Goes to the Movies (with Brian Price)Help support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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67 min
April 16, 2018
139 A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
In 1922, the miserable genius Franz Kafka wrote a short story, Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist), about another miserable genius: a man whose “art” is to live in a cage and display his fasting ability to crowds that don't always appreciate what he is trying to do. Inspired by actual historical figures, though suffused with nostalgia and Kafka’s penetrating insight, the story asks us to reconsider our conceptions of art and spectacle, life and death, hunger and humanity. Host Jacke Wilson is joined by superguest Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, to feast on one of the greatest short stories ever written.For more on Franz Kafka, try Episode 134 - The Greatest Night of Franz Kafka's LifeFor more on short stories, try Episode 57 - Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme - All About Short Stories (And Long Ones Too)For a deep dive into Alice Munro’s “A Bear Came Over the Mountain,” try Episode 115 - The Genius of Alice MunroFor a deep dive into Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” try Episode 110 - Heart of Darkness - Then and NowHelp support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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85 min
April 9, 2018
138 Why Poetry (with Matthew Zapruder)
In his new book Why Poetry, the poet Matthew Zapruder has issued "an impassioned call for a return to reading poetry and an incisive argument for its accessibility to all readers." The poet Robert Hass says, "Zapruder on poetry is pure pleasure. His prose is so direct that you have the impression, sentence by sentence, that you are being told simple things about a simple subject and by the end of each essay you come to understand that you've been on a very rich, very subtle tour of what's aesthetically and psychologically amazing about the art of poetry." In this episode, Matthew Zapruder joins Jacke for a discussion on why poetry is often misunderstood, and how readers can clear away the misconceptions and return to an appreciation for the charms and power of poetry. Along the way, they discuss poems by W.H. Auden, Brenda Hillman, and John Keats, and the views of critics like Harold Bloom, Giambattista Vico, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Paul Valery. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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61 min
April 1, 2018
137 Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami (b. 1949) is one of the rare writers who combines literary admiration with widespread appeal. Host Jacke Wilson is joined by lifelong Murakami fan Mike Palindrome to discuss what makes his novels so compelling, so mysterious, and so popular. Works discussed include The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and many others. Special Bonus Quiz: Can you tell the difference between famous quotes by Murakami and YA novelist John Green? Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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65 min
March 23, 2018
136 The Kids Are Alright (Aren't They?) - Making the Case for Literature
Why does literature matter? Why read at all? Jacke Wilson takes questions from high school students and attempts to make the case for literature.Works and authors discussed include Beloved, The Great Gatsby, Shakespeare, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Scarlet Letter, Of Mice and Men, the Odyssey, The Inferno, The House on Mango Street, Farenheit 451, 1984, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Where the Red Fern Grows, Pride and Prejudice, Junot Diaz, Drown, Maya Angelou, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, J.K. Rowling, Paul Auster, Sara Gruen, Alice Sebold, Lorrie Moore, Sandra Cisneros, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Isabel Allende, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Amis, Colson Whitehead, Edwidge Danticat, Ronica Dhar, David Sedaris, Jhumpa Lahiri, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Vu Tran, Julia Alvarez, Amy Tan, Gish Jen, Margot Livesey, Cristina Garcia, George Saunders, Jennifer Egan, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, James McBride, Shawna Yang Ryan, Charles Baxter, Nick Hornby, Ngugi wa Thiong'o.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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57 min
March 16, 2018
135 Aristotle Goes to the Movies (with Brian Price)
Hollywood screenwriter and professional script doctor Brian Price, author of Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting: Aristotle and the Modern Scriptwriter, found everything he needed to know about screenwriting in a 2,500-year-old text, Aristotle's Poetics. Brian and Jacke talk about how Aristotle’s study of Greek tragedy has unlocked the buried secrets of storytelling - and how those examples can be used to understand the storytelling secrets in everything from Casablanca to Spider-Man and Black Panther. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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64 min
March 10, 2018
134 The Greatest Night of Franz Kafka's Life
We use the term Kafkaesque to describe bureaucracies and other social institutions with nightmarishly complex, illogical, or bizarre qualities - and in most biographies of Franz Kafka (1883-1924) we find that his life often mirrored the strangeness in his fiction. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson examines the origins of Kafka’s particular sensibility, suggests how those characteristics played out in Kafka’s life and art, and finally uncovers what may have been the greatest night of Kafka’s life. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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72 min
March 2, 2018
133 The Hidden Machinery - Discovering the Secrets of Fiction (with Margot Livesey)
Ever wonder how fiction works? Or what great literature can teach us about writing? Novelist Margot Livesey returns to the show for a discussion of her book The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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80 min
February 23, 2018
132 Top 10 Literary Villains
Villains! Bad guys ! Femme fatales! We love them in movies - but what about literature? What makes villains so effective (and so essential)? What do they tell us about their authors - and what can they tell us about ourselves? In this episode, Jacke and Mike select the Top 10 Literary Villains of all time.Works, authors, and characters discussed include Shakespeare, Euripides, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Klosterman, John Milton, John Fowles, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Emily Bronte, Othello, Medea, Hannibal Lecter, Iago, Lady Macbeth, Charles Dickens, Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Judge Holden, Michael Corleone, HAL 9000, Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange, The Wicked Witch of the West, C.S. Lewis, Ian Fleming, Professor Moriarty, Captain Hook, Long John Silver, Beowulf, Grendel, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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82 min
February 15, 2018
131 Dante in Love (with Professor Ellen Nerenberg and Anthony Valerio)
Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was the greatest poet of his era and one of the greatest artists of all time. His masterpiece, the Divine Comedy (or simply Comedìa or Commedia), written between 1312-1320, which describes his journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Heaven (Paradiso), stands as one of the greatest achievements of Western Civilization. “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them,” T.S. Eliot once wrote, “there is no third.”But years before Dante placed the beloved figure of Beatrice at the heart of the Divine Comedy, he wrote a shorter, more intimate work devoted to his love for her. Called La Vita Nuova (or Vita Nova or A New Life), the combination of poetry and prose tells an astonishing story of his love for Beatrice, from the moment he first saw her (when both were children) to the moment he learned of her death.In this episode, host Jacke Wilson is joined by two special guests: Professor Ellen Nerenberg, Dean of the Arts and Humanities, Hollis Professor of Romance Languages and Literature, and Professor of Italian at Wesleyan University; and Anthony Valerio, author and editor of several works of fiction and nonfiction, including Dante in Love: Dante Alighieri’s Vita Nuova Reinterpreted, a 2017 translation of Dante’s youthful and enduring masterwork.Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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78 min
February 8, 2018
130 The Poet and the Painter – The Great Love Affair of Anna Akhmatova and Amedeo Modigliani
Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) began her career as a poet of love and ended it as the poet of suffering and heartbreak, thanks in no small part to the totalitarian Russian regime she suffered under. On today’s special Valentine’s Day edition of The History of Literature, we look at Akhmatova’s poetry and life, and consider what might be her moment of greatest happiness: the youthful affair she had in Paris with Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). What happened when these two soul mates met? How did it affect their art? What happened to them afterwards? And what does it mean for us today? Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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78 min
February 1, 2018
129 Great Sports Novels – Where Are They? (with Mike Palindrome and Reagan Sova)
Every year, the Super Bowl draws over 100 million viewers in the U.S. alone, and the Olympics and World Cup will be watched by billions around the world. Movies and television shows about sports are too numerous to count. But where are the novels? Mike Palindrome and special guest Reagan Sova (author of Tiger Island, a novel about sports) join host Jacke Wilson to talk about the world of sports in literature – and attempt to determine why sports are so underrepresented in adult literary fiction. Works discussed include: Underworld by Don DeLillo, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) by W.P. Kinsella, Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, Beowulf, The Shortest Poem in the English Language by Muhammad Ali, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley, Rabbit, Run by John Updike, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow, The Sportswriter by Richard Ford.
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62 min
January 26, 2018
128 Top 10 Animals in Literature (with Mike Palindrome)
Continuing our look at animals in literature, we’re joined by Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, for a discussion of the Top 10 Animals in Literature. Did your favorite make the list? Did we leave it out altogether? Let us know! Authors, works, and animals discussed include William Shakespeare, Michael Chabon, Jack London, Rilke, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Christopher Smart, Master and Margarita, Charlotte’s Web, Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, the Cheshire Cat, The Jungle Book, Roald Dahl, T.S. Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, Toto the Dog, Watership Down, Frog and Toad, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, William Blake, Franz Kafka, Ovid, Beverly Cleary, Jaws, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Carbonel: King of the Cats, Paddington, The Wind in the Willows, Ferdinand the Bull, and George Orwell. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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76 min
January 20, 2018
127 Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) would be essential to the history of literature had she never written a word – but she did write words, lots of them, and they’ve led to her having an uneasy position in the canon of English literature. Avant-garde pioneer? Literary charlatan? Or underappreciated genius? In this episode, we look at the fascinating life and works of the incomparable (and irrepressible) Gertrude Stein. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. Music Credits: “When You’re Down, My Dear” by Josh Hetherington and Ronny Haynes, from Show Me Where It Hurts, available at showmewhereithurts.bandcamp.com
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72 min
January 15, 2018
126 Animals in Literature (Part One)
Inspired by a listener’s heartfelt request, we take a look at an often overlooked subject: animals in literature. In this episode, a precursor to a forthcoming Draft with President Mike (i.e., “The 10 Best Animals in Literature”), Jacke considers the earliest mentions of animals in literature and how the literary appearances of animals have changed over time, before concluding with a modest offering of his own. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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61 min
January 7, 2018
125 Raymond Carver
Raymond Carver (1938-1988) packed a lot of pain of suffering into his relatively brief life. He also experienced relief and even joy – and along the way, he became one of the most influential short story writers of the American twentieth century. How did this son of a sawmill worker become the man commonly referred to as “America’s Chekhov”? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a conversation about the life and fiction of Raymond Carver. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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82 min
December 22, 2017
124 James Joyce’s “The Dead” (Part 2)
In this second part of a two-part episode, we look at the resounding conclusion of James Joyce’s masterpiece “The Dead,” which contains some of the finest prose ever written in the English language. Be warned: this episode, which runs from Gabriel’s speech to the final revelatory scene, contains spoilers. But don’t let that stop you! Read the story first (if you want), then come back and listen to the episode – and hear the song that launched a thousand complex thoughts in Gabriel (and a million college theme papers for everyone else). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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86 min
December 19, 2017
123 James Joyce’s The Dead (Part 1)
Happy holidays! In this special two-part episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at a story that he can’t stop thinking about: James Joyce’s masterpiece “The Dead.” How does it work? Why is it so good? And why does it resonate so deeply with Jacke? We tackle all that and more. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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63 min
December 15, 2017
122 Young James Joyce
We often think of James Joyce as a man in his thirties and forties, a  monkish, fanatical, eyepatch-wearing author, trapped in his hovel and his own mind, agonizing over his masterpieces, sentence by sentence, word by laborious word. But young James Joyce, the one who studied literature in college and roamed the night-time streets of Dublin with his friends, laughing and carousing and observing the characters around him, was a different person altogether – or was he? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the James Joyce who studied his fellow Dubliners – and then wrote a masterful collection of short stories that he named after them. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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65 min
December 6, 2017
121 A Portrait of the Poet as a Young Man – John Ashbery’s Early Years (with Karin Roffman)
In this episode, author Karin Roffman joins Jacke for a conversation about her literary biography of John Ashbery, one of America’s greatest twentieth-century poets. In naming Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life as one of its Notable Books of the Year, The New York Times noted “this first full-fledged biography of the poet is full of rich and fascinating detail.” Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, also makes a cameo appearance to explain why Ashbery is one of his favorite poets. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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69 min
November 30, 2017
120 The Astonishing Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) might be the most enigmatic poet who ever lived. Her innovative use of meter and punctuation – and above all the liveliness of her ideas, as she crashes together abstract thoughts and concrete images – astonished her nineteenth-century readers and have retained their power to delight, puzzle, confound, and enlighten us today. Who was this quiet person in Amherst, Massachusetts, and how did she come to write such unusual poems? Host Jacke Wilson celebrates Emily Dickinson and her special genius – and offers some thoughts on how we can benefit from studying different forms of genius, whether it’s John Lennon describing his childhood or Icelandic chanteuse Björk, interviewing herself. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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74 min
November 22, 2017
119 The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Very few works of art have had the cultural and literary impact of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. An immediate success upon its publication in 1951, and popular with teenagers (and adults) ever since, the book has sold over 65 million copies – and inadvertently led to two notorious assassination attempts in the 1980s. Have we moved beyond The Catcher in the Rye? Are its innovations still as fresh as they once were? Do its themes of alienation and disaffection still resonate? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a reconsideration of the book that critic Adam Gopnik called “one of three perfect American novels.” Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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82 min
November 14, 2017
118 Oscar’s Ghost – The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy (with Laura Lee)
In Episode 87, we looked at the trials of Oscar Wilde and how they led to his eventual imprisonment and tragically early death. This episode picks up where that one left off, as the incarcerated Wilde writes a manuscript, De Profundis, that eventually leads to a bitter feud between two of his former friends and lovers. Laura Lee, author of Oscar’s Ghost: The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy, joins Jacke to discuss De Profundis, the battle between Lord Alfred Douglas and Wilde’s literary executor Robert Ross, and how Wilde’s legacy grew out of a web of blackmail, revenge, jealousy, resentment, and high courtroom drama. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!
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59 min
November 3, 2017
117 Machiavelli and The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) went from being a little-known functionary to one of the most famous and controversial political theorists of all time. His masterpiece Il Principe (or in English, The Prince) has been read, studied, and argued about for 500 years. “A guidebook for statesmen,” said Benito Mussolini. “A handbook for gangsters,” said Bertrand Russell. Why has The Prince been so successful? What does it say about leadership and the role of government and the governed? And what is its relevance today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the disarmingly straightforward text of The Prince – and the experience of reading it during a turbulent time. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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68 min
October 28, 2017
116 Ghost Stories!
It’s the Halloween Episode! After some false starts (thanks, Gar!), Jacke settles in to discuss some ghost stories, including a few old chestnuts, a little Toni Morrison, a little Henry James, and a LOT of real-life phenomena. Along the way, he discusses how ghost stories work and the potential rational explanations for the extremely creepy. Because ultimately everything can be explained…. right…? Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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74 min
October 23, 2017
115 The Genius of Alice Munro
She was born Alice Ann Laidlaw on July 10, 1931, in a small town called Wingham Ontario, the daughter of a mink farmer and a schoolteacher. Eighty years later, Alice Munro was the first Canadian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mike and Jacke look at Alice Munro and one of her greatest masterworks, the short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.”  Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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95 min
October 16, 2017
114 Christopher Marlowe – What Happened and What If?
In 1921, T.S. Eliot wrote, “When Shakespeare borrowed from him, which was pretty often at the beginning, Shakespeare either made something inferior or something different.” He was talking about Shakespeare’s near-contemporary Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), whose literary career was cut short by his murder at the age of 29, though not before he established himself as one of the most accomplished and innovative poets who ever lived. A scholar, a spy, a poet, a tragedian, a counterfeiter, an influencer of Shakespeare – wrestling with Marlowe’s interests and ambiguities could fill a hundred novels. Theories have long abounded: was his death ordered by the Crown? Or perhaps it was staged – paving the way for Marlowe, in hiding, to continue to write plays under the name William Shakespeare. But assuming that he did die in that tavern brawl, the questions are no less appealing: what would he have done, had he lived? How might he have continued to influence Shakespeare – and how might Shakespeare have influenced him? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the life and works of the extraordinary Christopher Marlowe. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.
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53 min
October 11, 2017
113 Special Episode – Introducing the Smart Awesome Show!
Are you frustrated by the news? Looking for inspiration? you’re not alone! On this special episode of the History of Literature, host Jacke Wilson introduces The Smart Awesome Show, a brand new podcast in which he talks to a series of guests about the work they’re doing to improve the world. In this episode, he talks to Rahim Rajan, who works in the field of strategic philanthropy, about his efforts to address problems in higher education. Future guests include scientists, doctors, inventors, researchers, experts, nonprofit workers, and many others. Join us for this exploration of Smart People Doing Awesome Things!
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65 min
September 30, 2017
112 The Novelist and the Witch-Doctor – Unpacking Nabokov’s Case Against Freud (with Joshua Ferris)
“I admire Freud greatly,” the novelist Vladimir Nabokov once said, “as a comic writer.” For Nabokov, Sigmund Freud was “the Viennese witch-doctor,” objectionable for “the vulgar, shabby, fundamentally medieval world” of his ideas. Author Joshua Ferris (The Dinner Party, Then We Came to the End) joins Jacke for a discussion of the author of Lolita and his special hatred for “the Austrian crank with a shabby umbrella.” Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.
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54 min
September 25, 2017
111 The Americanest American – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In 1984, the literary scholar Harold Bloom had this to say about Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Emerson is the mind of our climate, the principal source of the American difference in poetry, criticism and pragmatic post-philosophy…. Emerson, by no means the greatest American writer… is the inescapable theorist of all subsequent American writing. From his moment to ours, American authors either are in his tradition, or else in a counter-tradition originating in opposition to him.” Who was Emerson? How did he become so influential? What did he unlock in American literature? And what can we take from his works today? Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.
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65 min
September 18, 2017
110 Heart of Darkness – Then and Now
Jacke and Mike discuss Joseph Conrad’s short novel Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, and Eleanor Coppola’s documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. Then Jacke offers some thoughts on the recent events in Charlottesville, compares them with the themes in Conrad, and argues that America’s “new normal” might be best understood as an existential journey for the twenty-first century. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.
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100 min
September 13, 2017
109 Women of Mystery (with Christina Kovac)
Author Christina Kovac (The Cutaway: A Thriller) joins Jacke for a discussion of crime fiction, writing a strong female protagonist, working in the local news business, and her “holy trinity” of female crime writers: Laura Lippmann, Tana French, and Megan Abbott. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.
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67 min
September 7, 2017
108 Beowulf (aka Need a Hero? Get a Grip…)
The poem called Beowulf (ca. 850 AD) was composed in Old English during what is known as the Middle Ages. Telling the tale of a hero who fights two monsters and a dragon, the three-thousand-line poem is traditionally viewed as one of the few bits of brightness in an otherwise dark age. Set in Scandinavia, the poem offers a tantalizing window into a culture undergoing a transition, as the Anglo-Saxon speaker embraces the newly adopted religion Christianity while nevertheless expressing nostalgia for the heroic days of yore. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the classic poem Beowulf and the questions it raises today. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.
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60 min
August 31, 2017
107 The Man and the Myth – Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes (with Mattias Bostrom)
Continuing our series on literary myths, we’re joined by Mattias Bostrom, author of From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, for a conversation about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his astonishing creation, Sherlock Holmes. Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation. Your contribution is greatly appreciated! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
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65 min
August 24, 2017
106 Literature Goes to the Movies, Part Two – Flops, Bombs, and Stinkeroos
Ah, the sweet smell of success… and the burning stench of failure. Continuing their two part conversation on literary adaptations, Jacke and Mike choose ten of the worst book-to-movie projects of all time. How could so many people, working so hard and with such great source material, go so wrong? And why is Gary Oldman screaming that he is in hell? We’ll find out! Works discussed include The Dead, Battlefield Earth, Portnoy’s Complaint, the X-Men movies, The Golden Compass, The Human Stain, The Girl on the Train, Zardoz, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Enduring Love, Dune, Gone with the Wind, Beauty and the Beast, The Cat in the Hat, Anna Karenina, Alice in Wonderland, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Scarlet Letter, Watchmen, and Jules and Jim. Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation. Your contribution is greatly appreciated! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Quirky Dog” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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70 min
August 17, 2017
105 Funny Women, Crimes Against Book Clubs, George Orwell, and More (with Kathy Cooperman)
Kathy Cooperman, author of the new novel Crimes Against a Book Club, joins the show to discuss everything from the secret lives of book clubs to her own journey from improv to lawyering to becoming an author. She also tells Jacke about an inspiring Bette Davis movie, some books that she’s loved, and what a move from the East Coast to the West Coast taught her about the way men and women deal with the aging process. Works discussed include: Down and Out in Paris in London by George Orwell The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman The Sex Lives of Cannibals by Maarten Troost A Shock to the System by Jeremy Brett Mr. Skeffington (with Bette Davis) Do you love literature and the arts?  Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. Your contribution is greatly appreciated! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Spy Glass” and “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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69 min
August 10, 2017
104 King Lear
We all know that Shakespeare’s King Lear is one of the greatest tragedies ever written. But was it too tragic? Dr. Johnson thought it might be. Leo Tolstoy thought it was just a bad play – causing George Orwell to come valiantly to Shakespeare’s defense. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the play that starts with a famous nothing and ends with a horrible something, moving from fairy tale to something far darker. Do you love literature and the arts?  Are you looking for a way to express your support for the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. Your generous contribution is greatly appreciated! Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
August 3, 2017
103 Literature Goes to the Movies Part 1 – Great Adaptations
The lights dim, the audience hushes in expectation, and the light and magic begin. In some ways (the crowd, the sound) the experience of watching a movie could not be more different from reading a novel – and yet the two have some very important features in common. Novels and the cinema are intertwined, and both show the power of a cracking good story told through what John Gardner called a vivid, continuous dream. In this special episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at great films made out of great works of literature. Love literature and the arts?  Looking for a way to express your support for the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. All your support is greatly appreciated! Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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93 min
July 27, 2017
102 Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) lived an eventful life: from his youth in Chile, to the sensational reception of his book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1923), to the career in poetry that led to his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971), to the political activities that made him internationally famous – but which also led to his exile and (possibly) his death. He was an icon of the twentieth century, giving readings of his poetry to stadiums with as many as 100,000 devoted fans, and his poetry – especially his love poems – are still among the most widely read and admired poems in Spanish or any other language. What made his poetry so special? Why did it resonate with the people of Chile (and the world)? And could we see another poet like him? Jacke Wilson takes a look at the life and works of Pablo Neruda. Love literature and the arts?  Looking for a way to express your support for the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. All your support is greatly appreciated! Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
July 20, 2017
101 Writers at Work
We’re back! Recovered, rested, and ready to go with a brand new set of 100 episodes. In episode #101, we kick things off with superguest Mike Palindrome of the Literature Supporters Club who joins Jacke for a discussion of writers and their day jobs. How did famous writers earn their living? How did the experience of working help (or hinder) their writing? We look at everything, from the fascinating to the mundane. All this, plus a special trivia contest! Have you always wanted to support the show? Well, now you can! Just head over to patreon.com/literature to sign up for a modest monthly donation to help me defray costs. All your support is greatly appreciated! Writers discussed include J.D. Salinger, Jack London, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Douglas Adams, Dorothy L. Sayers, William Carlos Williams, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, Julia Child, Roald Dahl, Zane Grey, Graham Greene, William S. Burroughs, Robert Frost, John Ashberry, Tomas Transtromer, Amy Bloom, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wallace Stevens, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou, Jeffrey Eugenides, James Wood, John LeCarre, Ian Fleming, Elmore Leonard, Harper Lee, Primo Levi, Sebastian Junger, Scott Turow, David Foster Wallace, and Joseph Heller. Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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64 min
July 6, 2017
100 The Greatest Books with Numbers in the Title
It’s here! Episode 100! Special guest Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, returns for a numbers-based theme: what are the greatest works of literature with numbers in the title? Authors discussed include Thomas Pynchon, Dr. Seuss, Alexandre Dumas, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Agatha Christie, Joseph Heller, Charles Dickens, V.S. Naipaul, Arthur Conan Doyle, Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut, John Dos Passos, Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, John Buchan, Roberto Bolano, William Shakespeare, J.D. Salinger, Pablo Neruda, John Berryman, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Quirky Dog” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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63 min
June 29, 2017
99 History and Mystery (with Radha Vatsal)
Radha Vatsal, author of Murder Between the Lines: A Kitty Weeks Mystery, joins Jacke for a discussion of intrepid “girl” reporters in 1910s New York City and the books that likely influenced them. Authors discussed include Henry James, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Elizabeth Gaskell, and the wide range of scientific and pseudoscientific works describing New York City, journalism, and the role of education for women. Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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63 min
June 22, 2017
98 Great Literary Feuds
What happens when writers try to get along with other writers? Sometimes it goes well – and sometimes it ends in a fistfight, a drink in the face, or a spitting. Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a look at some of literature’s greatest feuds. Authors discussed include Gore Vidal, Gertrude Stein, Norman Mailer, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, Rick Moody, Jonathan Franzen, Colson Whitehead, Lillian Hellman, John LeCarre, Richard Ford, Dale Peck, Edmund Wilson, Margaret Drabble, Salman Rushdie, Edgar Allan Poe, and A.S. Byatt. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Spy Glass” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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74 min
June 15, 2017
97 Dad Poetry (with Professor Bill)
It’s Father’s Day weekend here in the U.S., and that means thinking about golf, grilling, and…poetry? On the History of Literature Podcast it does! Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College stops by the show to discuss some classic poems about fathers and fatherhood, “Digging” by Seamus Heaney and “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden. Jacke asks the good professor whether his devotion to poetry has affected his relationship with his father or his kids, and the two discuss the two poems that Jacke’s dad loves: “The Passing of the Backhouse” by James Whitcomb Riley and “Little Willie Took a Chance” by Unknown. Jacke also delivers some thoughts about his father’s Eagle Scout rituals, and how a surprising revelation brought his father his son closer together (at Jacke’s expense). It’s a special edition devoted to Dad Poetry on the History of Literature! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Bummin in Tremolo” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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55 min
June 8, 2017
96 Dracula, Lolita, and the Power of Volcanoes (with Jim Shepard)
Author Jim Shepard joins the podcast to discuss everything from the humor of Christopher Guest and S.J. Perelman to the poetic philosophy of Robert Frost and F.W. Murnau’s classic film, Nosferatu. He and host Jacke Wilson flutter around Nabokov’s Lolita, sink their teeth into Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and descend into the world of volcanoes in Krakatua 1883, where they explore how an author discovers emotional truths in unexpected places. Other works and artists discussed include Robert Frost, Howard Nemerov, James Thurber, Robert Stone, Anne Carson, Love at First Bite, and the deadpan style of Pat Paulsen. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” and “Spy Glass” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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62 min
May 29, 2017
95 The Runaway Poets – The Triumphant Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861) was one of the most prolific and accomplished poets of the Victorian age, an inspiration to Emily Dickensen, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, and countless others. And yet, her life was full of cloistered misery, as her father insisted that she should never marry. And then, the clouds lifted, and a letter arrived. It was from the poet Robert Browning (1812-1889), admiring her from afar, declaring his love. How did these two poets find each other? What kind of life did they share afterwards? And what dark secrets had led to her father’s restrictions…and how might that have affected his daughter’s poetry? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the story of the Brownings. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” and “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
May 22, 2017
94 Smoke, Dusk, and Fire – The Jean Toomer Story
Jean Toomer (1894-1967) was born into a prominent black family in Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t until he returned to the land of agrarian Georgia that he was inspired to write his masterpiece Cane (1923), a towering achievement that went on to influence the writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the Lost Generation. While Toomer’s own life presents a portrait of a man searching for an identity in a world of too-rigid categorization, the confident and self-assured Cane stands for a universality that defies categorization and bridges American divisions. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson reflects upon his own search for identity in small-town Wisconsin, which coincidentally was one of the places where Jean Toomer landed as well. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “I Been ‘Buked” (trad. Negro Spiritual), performed by the Georgia Spiritual Ensemble. “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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50 min
May 16, 2017
93 Robert Frost Finds a Friend
It’s a curious but compelling story: it starts in the years just before World War I, when struggling poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) hastily packed up his family and moved to London in search of a friend. Although Frost’s efforts to ingratiate himself with W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound fizzled, he soon found a man, critic Edward Thomas (1878-1917), who championed Frost’s poetry and became one of Frost’s best friends. Frost in turn inspired Thomas to write poetry as well – until something happened on one of their walks in the woods that would forever change them both. Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College, who recounts the story of Frost and Thomas: their friendship, their falling out, and how one of Frost’s (and America’s) most famous poems, “The Road Not Taken,” inspired by Frost’s views of Thomas, has been widely misunderstood by generations of readers. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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55 min
May 12, 2017
92 The Books of Our Lives
“In the middle of life’s journey,” wrote Dante Alighieri, “I found myself in a selva oscura.” Host Jacke Wilson and frequent guest Mike Palindrome take stock of their own selva oscura in a particularly literary way: What books have they read? What books have been the most important to them? What do they expect to come next? It’s a celebration of reading – and friendship – on this episode of The History of Literature Podcast. Authors discussed include: John D. Fitzgerald, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Elena Ferrante, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Jay McInerney, Rene Descartes, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, Graham Greene, Patrick O’Brian, Marcel Proust, Javier Marias, Haruki Murakami, Paul Celan, and Leo Tolstoy. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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67 min
May 5, 2017
91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write a Poem About a Flea
John Donne (1572-1631) may have been the most wildly inventive poet who ever lived. But that doesn’t mean he was the most successful. Dr. Johnson, writing a hundred years later, objected to Donne and the other Metaphysical Poets for the way in which they “yoked together with violence” heterogenous ideas. T.S. Eliot found something much richer in the poems, but even his analysis leaves us with the central burning question: can a poem about a flea be any good? Jacke Wilson considers the question. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Dance Macabre,” “Hero Theme,” and “NewsSting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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52 min
April 28, 2017
90 Mark Twain’s Final Request
In 1910, the American author Mark Twain took to his bed in his Connecticut home. Weakened by disease and no longer able to write, the legendary humorist (and author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), made a final request. What was the request? And what does it tell us about the life and career of a great writer? Host Jacke Wilson explores the mystery. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Darxieland” and “Tenebrous Brothers Carnival – Act Two” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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52 min
April 21, 2017
89 Primo Levi
Primo Levi (1919-1987) lived quietly and wrote with restraint. An Italian Jewish writer, professional chemist, and Holocaust survivor, he was, said Italo Calvino, “one of the most important and gifted writers of our time.” Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at his life, his mysterious death, and his most important works, including If This Is a Man (US title: Survival in Auschwitz) and The Periodic Table, named by the Royal Institution of Great Britain as the greatest science book ever written. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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63 min
April 14, 2017
88 The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance, the great flowering of African American arts and culture in the early twentieth century, is hard to define and easy to admire. Coupled with the Great Migration, in which hundreds of thousands of Southern black workers moved to the rapidly industrializing cities of the North, the Harlem Renaissance was a time of great artistic expression, as musicians, visual artists, and writers forged a new consciousness. The works they produced reflected a spirit of change, progress, and optimism – but underlying the excitement were also a sense of struggle; reflective themes of nostalgia, guilt, and regret; and a clear-eyed view of racial relations in American culture. Host Jacke Wilson looks at the works of Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and the many others who turned Harlem into the center of a worldwide movement. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “The Mooche” and “Creole Love Call” by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (feat. Adelaide Hall) “Young Woman’s Blues” by Bessie Smith “I’m Just Wild About Harry” from Shuffle Along (1921) (feat. Thelma Carpenter) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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55 min
April 7, 2017
87 Man in Love: The Passions of D.H. Lawrence
The Edwardian novelist D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) lived and wrote with the fury of a thousand suns. His novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, and The Rainbow are commonly regarded as some of the greatest novels in literature – and for Lawrence, who also wrote eight other novels, ten collections of short stories, and 800 poems, they were only a fraction of his volcanic outpouring of words and ideas. How did this son of a barely literate coal miner end up one of the most prolific and sensational writers ever to have lived? What fueled his passions? How did he channel his highly imaginative world views into his novels? And what are we to make of him today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the man who called himself a “savage pilgrim.” FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Piano Between” and “Drums from the Deep” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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57 min
April 2, 2017
86 Don Juan in Literature (aka The Case of the Red-Hot Lover)
From his earliest days as a popular legend, through many appearances in drama and poetry and fiction and film, the sexual conquistador Don Juan has been the vehicle for authors and artists to wrestle with themes like sexual desire, guilt, honor, gender relations, and the psychology of an unrepentant sinner. Early versions of Don Juan condemned this profligate lover to hell, but as society’s views of morality evolved, so too did Don Juan, with some fascinating results. Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the many faces of Don Juan, from the character’s earliest stage appearance in 1630 to the recent Jersey Boy incarnation in the film version Don Jon (2013), with stops along the way for Moliere, Mozart, Goldoni, George Bernard Shaw, Sam Malone from Cheers – and of course, the great “satiric epic” Don Juan, written by the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Lord Byron. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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56 min
March 27, 2017
85 Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
In 1813, a young author named Jane Austen built on the success of her popular novel Sense and Sensibility with a new novel about the emotional life of an appealing protagonist named Elizabeth Bennet, who overcomes her mistaken first impressions and finds true love with the enigmatic and ultimately appealing Mr. Darcy. The novel was called Pride and Prejudice, and for more than 200 years it’s been celebrated as one of the great pinnacles in the history of novels – and indeed, in all of literature. What was Jane Austen’s background, and how did she come to write such a marvelous novel? What accounts for the book’s success? And what lessons can we take from it today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at one of the most beloved works in literary history – and tells a story of his own youthful efforts to avoid being part of someone else’s Austen-influenced plot. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Danse Macabre – Xylophone Version” and “Samba Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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69 min
March 17, 2017
84 The Trials of Oscar Wilde
In February of 1895, the playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) continued an astonishing run of theatrical success with the opening of his artistic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. Three months later, he was imprisoned on charges of “gross indecency.” In this special St. Patrick’s Day episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the career of Oscar Wilde, Irish boy wonder, and the forces that led to his tragic demise. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “NewsSting” and “Modern Piano Epsilon – The Small” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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73 min
March 10, 2017
83 Overrated! Top 10 Books You Don’t Need to Read
Life is short, and books are many. How many great books have you read? How many more have you NOT read? How to choose? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a discussion of overrated classics and the pleasures of shortening one’s list of must-reads. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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61 min
March 3, 2017
82 Robinson Crusoe
In 1719, a prolific author and political agitator named Daniel Defoe published a long-form narrative about a shipwrecked sailor stranded on a desert island, who lives in solitude for 27 years before famously seeing a human footprint on the sand. Often viewed as the first novel written in English, Robinson Crusoe was a smash hit in its day and has been popular ever since. Who was Daniel Defoe, and how did he go from being the owner of a brick-and-tile factory to being the author of 500 works (and a paid spy)? How does his classic adventure story forge a path for novels and novel writing? How did this work become so popular – and why did its protagonist, a man coming to grips with both solitude and the absence of society, become a modern literary myth? And finally, we take a look at the story of Alexander Selkirk, the real-life survivor who may have served as the inspiration for Defoe’s classic character. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “NewsSting” and “Secret of Tiki Island” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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61 min
February 24, 2017
81 Faust (aka The Devil Went Down to Germany)
Have you ever wanted something so badly you’d sell your soul to get it? Youth? Wealth? Sex? Power? Knowledge? We call it making a deal with the devil, or in more literary terms, a Faustian bargain. But who was Faust? How did his tale first get told? How was his legend advanced, and what great works did he inspire? In this special episode of The History of Literature, we look at the historical Faust and dig into the literary myth of Faustian bargains, from Icarus and the Temptations of Christ, through Christopher Marlowe and Goethe, all the way to bluesman Robert Johnson and his legendary trip to the Crossroads. FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson “NewsSting” and “Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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53 min
February 17, 2017
80 Power Play! Shakespeare’s Henry V
Who rules us and why? What does Shakespeare’s Henry V (c. 1599) tell us about the character of a leader? What does it tell us about the character of the people governed by such a man? Host Jacke Wilson jumps from kings to presidents, from the battlefields of France in the early fifteenth century, to the Elizabethan stage in the early seventeenth century, to the Lincoln Memorial and what one of President Richard M. Nixon’s closest aides called “the weirdest day so far.” FREE GIFT!  Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “NewsSting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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66 min
February 10, 2017
79 Music That Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
In 1851, a 30-year-old Frenchman named Gustave Flaubert set out to write a novel about a discontented housewife in a style that would melt the stars. After five years of agonizing labor, his book Madame Bovary (1856) changed the world of literature forever. How did Madame Bovary influence authors as different as Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov? Host Jacke Wilson takes a special Valentine’s Day look at Flaubert’s innovative novelistic style and his wonderfully compelling heroine, the woman stuck in the provinces who “wanted to die, but who also wanted to live in Paris.” Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
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48 min
February 3, 2017
78 Jane Eyre, The Good Soldier, Giovanni’s Room (with Margot Livesey)
Writing about the Scottish-born novelist Margot Livesey, the author Alice Sebold remarked, “Every novel of Margot Livesey’s is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery.” How has Margot Livesey managed to create this suspense in novel after novel, including in contemporary classics such as The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, and her most recent work, Mercury? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by the author for a conversation about her readerly passions and writerly inspirations, including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Danse Macabre – Violin Hook” and “Lift Motif” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
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70 min
January 27, 2017
77 Top 10 Literary Cities
What makes a city a great literary city? Having a tradition of famous authors? A culture of bookstores and cafes and publishing houses and universities? Inspiring great books? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, for a discussion of the cities where literature finds itself most at home – including their choices for the world’s ten greatest literary cities. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “The Secret of Tiki Island” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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58 min
January 18, 2017
76 Darkness and the Power of Literature – The Forbidden Stories of North Korea (with Terry Hong)
For 70 years, the people of North Korea have lived through a totalitarian nightmare – and those of us in the outside world have had little access to their experience. How have generations of oppression and terror affected the psychology of everyday people? How do they feel about their situation? What are their hopes? What are their dreams? How do they think, and how do they live? Like so much else about North Korea, these questions were shrouded in darkness…until now. Terry Hong, reader extraordinaire and the curator of the website BookDragon, joins us to talk about an astonishing new development: the publication of short stories by North Korea’s first dissident writer. Works Discussed: The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea, by “Bandi” (preorder only until March 7, 2017) Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea, by Jang Jin-sung Recommended Books about North Korea: Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee A Kim Jong-il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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44 min
January 11, 2017
75 The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
With a strong claim to be the first novel in history, the Japanese classic The Tale of Genji (ca. 1001-1012), by Murasaki Shikibu, or Lady Murasaki, is one of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces. But who was Lady Murasaki, and what compelled her to write this story of an idealized prince and his many lovers? How innovative was she? And do the intrigues of the imperial Japanese courts from a thousand years ago still have the power to fascinate, entertain, and instruct us today? Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Ritual” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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49 min
January 1, 2017
74 Great First Chapters (with Vu Tran)
It’s a new year! A time for fresh beginnings! And on the History of Literature Podcast, it’s a time to celebrate beginnings. Vu Tran, author of the novel Dragonfish and a professor of creative writing at the University of Chicago, joins us to discuss ten great first chapters – how they work, how they affect the reader, and how they fulfill their author’s intentions. Works Discussed: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison The Secret History, by Donna Tartt The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami Beloved, by Toni Morrison Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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71 min
December 27, 2016
73 Javier Marias and the Philosophical Novel
The Spanish novelist Javier Marías (b. 1951) has led a fascinating life, from his childhood as the son of a philosopher to his role as the king of a Caribbean island that has been ruled by a succession of writers. Marías’s philosophical novels have been translated into 42 languages and celebrated throughout Europe – and yet, as the New York Times Book Review noted, he remains largely unknown in America. Why is that? And what are Americans missing? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club and an ardent devotee of Javier Marías, to discuss Marías and his novel A Heart So White. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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52 min
December 19, 2016
72 The Best Christmas Stories in Literature
Sure, we all know the story of Frosty and Rudolph… but what about literary Christmas stories? How have great authors treated (or mistreated) this celebrated holiday? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a look at the ten best Christmas stories in literature. Authors discussed include Dostoevsky, Dickens, Willa Cather, Mark Twain, Ntozake Shange, Roderick Thorpe, Dr. Seuss, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Hans Christian Andersen, Chekhov, O. Henry, and more. PLUS a special holiday tribute to Gar, the worst producer in the history of podcasting. Show Notes: Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Follow Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @writerjacke (Jacke) and @literatureSC (Mike). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). (Also featuring cameo appearances by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sir Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Sir Elton John, Jimmy Stewart, and Frank Sinatra.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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81 min
December 12, 2016
71 Did Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel Prize?
In 1959, a young singer-songwriter named Bob Zimmerman changed his name. As Bob Dylan, he then went on to change the world. After being lauded for more than 50 years for his songs and lyrics, this icon of the Sixties seemingly had achieved everything possible… and then the Nobel Committee awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature. But does a writer of song lyrics deserve to be ranked among the world’s finest poets and novelists? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, for a freewheelin’ conversation about the legendary Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan Songs: “Tangled Up in Blue” (performed by K.T. Tunstall); “Lay Lady Lay”; “My Back Pages” (performed by the Byrds); “Every Grain of Sand” (performed by Emmylou Harris) Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
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68 min
December 5, 2016
70 Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Just after World War II, the poet and critic W.H. Auden said that Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (ca. 1959) is “of great relevance to our time, though it is gloomier, because it is about a society that is doomed. We are not doomed, but in such immense danger that the relevance is great. [Rome] was a society not doomed by the evil passions of selfish individuals…but by an intellectual and spiritual failure of nerve that made the society incapable of coping with its situation.”  Why is Julius Caesar so continually important to those living in a liberal democracy? What does it tell us about the relationship of an individual to society and the state? And as the citizens of a republic lose their faith in institutions, how do we reconcile the noble ambition of a Caesar with the high-minded (but bloody) principles of the assassin Brutus? In this episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at Shakespeare’s play, the portrayals of Brutus (James Mason) and Mark Antony (Marlon Brando) in the 1953 film, the fraught morality of assassination, the surprising links between John Wilkes Booth and the play, and an essay from The Journal of Democracy describing the declining faith in liberal democracies in 2016. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
November 28, 2016
69 Virginia Woolf and Her Enemies (with Professor Andrea Zemgulys) / Children’s Books
Early in her career, novelist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote a critical essay in which she set forth her views of what fiction can and should do. The essay was called “Modern Fiction” (1919), and it has served critics and readers as a guide to Modernism (and Woolf) ever since. But while it’s easy to follow her arguments about the authors who became giants in the world of literature such as Joyce and Chekhov, it’s less easy to understand her statements about the authors she criticized, contemporary best sellers H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and John Galsworthy. What was behind her savage criticism of these three? What does her animosity tell us about Woolf’s views of fiction? Professor Andrea Zemgulys of the University of Michigan joins Jacke to help him figure this out. Then a pair of children’s book experts (Jacke Wilson Jr. and Jacke Wilson Jr. Jr.) join Jacke in the studio to discuss buying holiday books for children. Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Quirky Dog,” “Sweeter Vermouth, and “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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55 min
November 23, 2016
68 Listener Feedback and Thanksgiving Thoughts
It’s the Thanksgiving episode! Jacke and Mike respond to listener feedback and discuss some literary things to thankful for. Authors discussed include Edith Wharton, John Fowles, Ernest Hemingway, Vu Tran, Lydia Davis, Gary Snyder, Walt Whitman, Elena Ferrante, Walker Percy, Madeleine Thien, James Wood, Harold Bloom, and more! Show Notes:  Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Darxieland” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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45 min
November 18, 2016
67 Pascal’s Wager and an American Election
Jacke digs into his origins in rural Wisconsin and offers some thoughts on race, literature, and the recent election. Also featured: René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, and Simone de Beauvoir. Show Notes:  We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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85 min
November 4, 2016
66 James Baldwin, Wallace Stegner, GB Tran, Lois Duncan (with author Shawna Yang Ryan)
What can we do to unlock the past? How do family secrets affect us? Author Shawna Yang Ryan has spent a lot of time thinking about these issues – and in this episode, she joins Jacke for a discussion of some of her favorite books, including the novel that led her to rethink her understanding of the American West and the graphic novel about a family’s journey that can bring her to tears. SHAWNA YANG RYAN is a former Fulbright scholar and the author of Water Ghosts (Penguin Press 2009) and Green Island (Knopf 2016). She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her short fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Asian American Literary Review, Kartika Review, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. She is the 2015 recipient of the Elliot Cades Emerging Writer award. Originally from California, she now lives in Honolulu. Works Discussed: Green Island and Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan Another Country by James Baldwin Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran Locked in Time by Lois Duncan Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt Yi Yi [A One and a Two…] directed by Edward Yang Show Notes: We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” and “Greta Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
October 28, 2016
65 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (with Professor James Chandler)
By any measure, Mary Shelley (1797-1851) lived a radical life. As the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, two philosophers devoted to principles of freedom and equality, she grew up in a tumultuous world of exciting new ideas and strong advocacy for social change. After she and the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley eloped at a young age, they spent a rainy summer with Lord Byron and two other friends in a cottage in Geneva, Switzerland, where they passed the time by inventing ghost stories. And it was in that cottage that what is probably the most famous Halloween story of all time, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), was brought to life. What ideas shaped this famous story of a scientist who successfully animates a corpse before ruing the consequences? What does the novel have to say about the importance of human relationships in our society? And how does the novel connect to Frank Capra’s Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life?  In this special Halloween episode, we’ll talk to Professor James Chandler of the University of Chicago, author of An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema, about the fascinating world of Mary Shelley, her novel Frankenstein, and the films they inspired.  Works Discussed: An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema, by James Chandler Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley Show Notes: We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Supernatural Radio A” and “Greta Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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73 min
October 24, 2016
64 Dorothy Parker
“She was a combination of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth,” said Alexander Woolcott. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) wrote short stories, poems, reviews, screenplays, and more. Perhaps most famously, she was part of the group of New Yorkers known as the Algonquin Round Table, which met every day for lunch and eventually grew famous for their witticisms, put-downs, and general high spirits. A woman of brilliance as well as deep contradiction, Parker at her best combined romantic optimism with a dark, biting pessimism that still feels modern. In this episode, Jacke is joined by the President of the Literature Supporters Club for a field report of the Algonquin Hotel today and a discussion of Parker’s life, works, and top ten quips. Show Notes:  We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “I Wished on the Moon” by Billie Holiday (1935) and Ella Fitzgerald and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra (1962)   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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48 min
October 14, 2016
63 Chekhov, Bellow, Wright, and Fox (with Charles Baxter)
In this special episode, the revered American author Charles Baxter joins Jacke to discuss some of his favorite books, including works by Anton Chekhov, Saul Bellow, James Wright, and Paula Fox. “Charles Baxter’s stories have reminded me of how broad and deep and shining a story can be, and I am grateful.” — Alice Munro  CHARLES BAXTER is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Works Discussed: Collected Poems by James Wright Herzog, Henderson the Rain King, and Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow Desperate Characters and The Widow’s Children by Paula Fox Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov Show Notes: We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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70 min
October 7, 2016
62 Bad Poetry
Everyone loves and admires a good poem…but what about the bad ones? After discussing his own experience writing terrible poetry, Jacke analyzes the 10 things that make a poem go wrong, assesses the curious role of Scotland and Michigan in developing bad poetry, and reviews some candidates for the worst poet in history, including:  * Jennifer Aniston, whose astonishingly bad love poem to John Mayer graced (disgraced?) the pages of Star magazine; * James McIntyre, the Canadian poet known as “the Chaucer of Cheese”; * Julia A. Moore, the “Sweet Singer of Michigan,” whose poems were described as “worse than a Gatling gun” and “rare food for the lunatic,” but who insisted on giving public performances (to her husband’s mortification and Mark Twain’s delight); * Margaret Cavendish, the seventeenth-century aristocrat whose nature poems took her into the unintentionally comic realm of extreme bad taste (and near cannibalism);  …and many others as well. It’s a celebration of bad poetry… the agony and the ecstasy… the cringeworthy and the triumphant… or, as William McGonagall, one of the best (worst?) of the bad poets might say:  “This episode is very fine / Indeed I think it very fine.” Show Notes:  We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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86 min
September 30, 2016
61 In the Mood for a Good Book – Wharton, Murakami, Chandler, and Fowles (with Vu Tran)
What do Edith Wharton, Haruki Murakami, Raymond Chandler, John Fowles, Alfred Hitchcock, and Wong Kar-wai have in common? All are known for their ability to generate a particular mood and atmosphere – and all were selected by our guest, Professor Vu Tran of the University of Chicago, as being particularly inspirational as he wrote his novel Dragonfish. In this episode, Vu and Jacke discuss what makes these works so compelling, how the works helped Vu write his novel, and how a certain American city produces an intense feeling of endless hope and melancholy, twenty-four hours a day. VU TRAN is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of Chicago and the author of Dragonfish: A Novel (2015). Professor Tran has been described as “a fiction writer whose work thus far is preoccupied with the legacy of the Vietnam War for the Vietnamese who remained in the homeland, the Vietnamese who immigrated to America, and the Americans whose lives have intersected with both.” “Richly satisfying work….[Has] a place on the top shelf of literary thrillers.” —Gerald Bartell, San Francisco Chronicle Works Discussed: Dragonfish: A Novel by Vu Tran The Magus by John Fowles The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock) In the Mood for Love (dir. Wong Kar-wai) Show Notes: We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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73 min
September 23, 2016
60 Great Literary Endings
Everyone always talks about the greatest openings in the history of literature – I’m looking at you, Call me Ishmael – but what about endings? Aren’t those just as important? What are the different ways to end short stories and novels? Which endings work well and why? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at great literary endings, with some assistance from David Lodge, Charles Baxter, Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, Samuel Beckett, Iris Murdoch, Uncle Wiggily, The Third Man, Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, Henry James, E.B. White, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, David Foster Wallace, O. Henry, Ian McEwan, Thomas Mann, and Joseph Conrad. Show Notes:  We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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61 min
September 16, 2016
59 Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) lived a life that, in retrospect, looks almost like one of her short stories: sudden, impactful, and lastingly powerful. Deeply Catholic, O’Connor portrayed the American South as a place full of complex characters seeking redemption in unusual and often violent ways. She once said that she had found that violence was “strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace,” and it is this confrontation – restless faith crashing into pain and evil – that energizes O’Connor’s best works. Possessed of almost supernatural writerly gifts, O’Connor’s insight and artistry place her in the uppermost echelon of American authors. Host Jacke Wilson tells the story of O’Connor’s life, her most famous works, and his own near-connection to the author…before concluding with some troubling recent discoveries and a preview of a deeper examination of O’Connor and her place in American letters. Show Notes:  See the photo of the young Flannery O’Connor at the Amana Colonies at https://jackewilson.com/2014/08/08/writers-laughing-flannery-oconnor/. Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Porch Blues” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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67 min
September 9, 2016
58 Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists (with Professor Paul Peppis)
Embattled and arrogant, the novelist and painter Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) was deeply immersed in Modernism even as he sought to blast it apart. He was the type of person who would rather hate a club than join it – and while his taste for the attack led to his marginalization, his undeniable genius made him impossible to ignore. Eventually, his misanthropic views led him down some dark paths, as the freedom and energy of the early twentieth century gave way to totalitarian regimes and the horrors of modern war. Professor Paul Peppis, an expert in the politics, art, and literature of the Modernist era, joins Jacke for a discussion of Wyndham Lewis and his leadership of the thrilling, doomed artistic revolution known as Vorticism. Show Notes:  Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Modern Piano Epsilon – The Small” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
September 2, 2016
57 Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme – All About Short Stories (And Long Ones Too)
What makes a short story a short story? What can a short story do that a novel can’t? Can a story ever be TOO short? The President of the Literature Supporters Club stops by to discuss the length of fiction, with some help from Lydia Davis, Donald Barthelme, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Munro, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Roberto Bolano, Georges Simenon, Alberto Moravia, Augusto Monterroso, Jonathan Franzen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow, and Franz Kafka. Show Notes:  Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Spy Glass,” “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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50 min
August 26, 2016
56 Shelley, HD, Yeats, Frost, Stevens – The Poetry of Ruins (with Professor Bill Hogan)
In 1818, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley published his classic poem “Ozymandias,” depicting the fallen statue of a once-powerful king whose inscription “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” has long since crumbled into the desert. A hundred years later, a set of Modernist poets revisited the subject of ruins, injecting the poetic trope with some surprising new ideas. Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College joins Jacke for a look at the treatment of ruins in the poetry of H.D. (1886-1961), William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Robert Frost (1874-1963), and Wallace Stevens (1879-1955). Works Discussed: “Ozymandias” (1818) – Percy Bysshe Shelley “The Walls Do Not Fall” (1944) – H.D. “The Tower” (1928) – W.B. Yeats “The Directive” (1946) – Robert Frost “The Anecdote of the Jar” (1919) and “The Man on the Dump” (1939) – Wallace Stevens Show Notes:  Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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65 min
August 19, 2016
55 James Joyce (with Vincent O’Neill)
Vincent O’Neill hails from Sandycove, Dublin, where he grew up in the shadow of the tower made famous by the opening chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses. After a childhood spent tracing the steps of Joyce’s characters, Vincent developed a love for the theatre, eventually becoming the co-founder and artistic director of the Irish Classical Theatre Company in Buffalo, New York. He joins Jacke Wilson for a discussion of James Joyce and the theatre, including a staging of Joyce’s play Exiles, the magic of Joyce’s language, and the long journey to bring an adaptation of Finnegan’s Wake to the stage. Show Notes:  Learn more about the Irish Classical Theatre Company at irishclassical.com. Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
August 12, 2016
54 The Greatest Books Ever (Part 2)
What books are essential? Who has the authority to choose them, and what is their selection process? First, Jacke and Mike continue their look at the College Board’s 101 Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers. Then Jacke proposes a different method for determining which books are relevant in today’s world – and tests the results against the College Board’s efforts. You can find a PDF of the College Board’s list at: http://www.uhlibrary.net/pdf/college_board_recommended_books.pdf Shane Sherman’s List of Lists can be found at: http://thegreatestbooks.org/ His methodology is described at: http://thegreatestbooks.org/lists/details Show Notes:  Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Bass Walker,” “Sweeter Vermouth,” “Greta Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
August 5, 2016
53 Romeo and Juliet
In 1964, the Oxford professor John Barrington Wain wrote: “…Romeo and Juliet is as perfectly achieved as anything in Shakespeare’s work. It is a flawless little jewel of a play. It has the clear, bright colours, the blend of freshness and formality, of an illuminated manuscript.” First produced in 1594, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet became an immediate sensation, and the story of the star-crossed lovers has been a core part of Western civilization ever since. Why is the play so popular? What does it tell us about falling in love – and how does that differ from being in love? And what does any of this have to do with George Carlin? Show Notes:  Brand new! Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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45 min
July 29, 2016
52 Recommend This! The Best 101 Books for College-Bound Readers
What works of literature are essential? When we start reading literature, where do we begin? The College Board, an organization that prepares standardized tests for millions of American young people, has published list of 101 recommended books for college-bound readers. High schools and colleges across the country take their lead from this list, and students are encouraged to use it as a guide to a summer of literature. But is the list any good? Can it be improved? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of the list’s most worthy selections…and its most egregious omissions. You can find a PDF of the full list at: http://www.uhlibrary.net/pdf/college_board_recommended_books.pdf Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Bass Walker” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
July 18, 2016
51 Coleridge, Kubla Khan, and the Person from Porlock – A Literary Mystery
In 1797, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge took two grains of opium and fell into a stupor. When he awoke, he had in his head the remnants of a marvelous dream, a vivid train of images of the Chinese emperor Kubla Khan and his summer palace, Xanadu. The vision transformed itself into lines of poetry, but as he started writing, he was interrupted by a Person from Porlock, who arrived at Coleridge’s cottage on business and stayed for an hour. when Coleridge returned to his work, the vision had been lost, and the fragmentary nature of the poem Kubla Khan has haunted its admirers ever since. The resentment has centered around the bumbling Person from Porlock, whose visit remains shrouded in mystery. The scholar Jonathan Livingston Lowes put it bluntly: “If there is any man in the history of literature who should e hanged, drawn, and quartered,” he wrote, “it is the man on business from Porlock.” Who was this Person from Porlock, and why was he knocking on the door of Coleridge’s cottage? How did Coleridge handle the interruption, and what did it mean for him and his art? And finally, what might we take from this vivid legend today? Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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69 min
July 11, 2016
50 Othello
One of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (ca. 1603) is perhaps the most difficult of them to watch. The malevolent Iago, viewed by some as evil incarnate, has been infuriating audiences for centuries – legend has it that at one performance in the Old West, a cowboy in the audience was so offended by Iago’s machinations he pulled out his pistol and shot him. And theater professionals are well accustomed to the gasps, cries, and occasional screams from the audience as they view the horrendous scene, in which the jealous lead character is finally driven to kill his wife, the innocent Desdemona. What motivates Iago? Why is Othello so susceptible? And what themes in Othello still resonate today? Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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35 min
July 4, 2016
49 MFA Programs – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
For decades, the Master of Fine Arts degree has quietly dominated the American literary scene. There are now over 100 programs where professors and students go about the business of turning dreams into fiction through the alchemy – or as some would say, the meatgrinder – known as the writing workshop. It’s a phenomenon like no other in the history of literature. What goes on at these MFA programs? What good comes out of them? And what impact are they having on contemporary American literature? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of MFA programs. Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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54 min
June 27, 2016
48 Hamlet
Hamlet (ca 1599-1602) has been called the greatest play ever written in English – and even that might not be giving it enough credit. Many would rank it among the greatest achievements in the history of humankind. Jacke Wilson takes a deeper look at the Prince of Negative Capability and his famous soliloquy. Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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36 min
June 20, 2016
47 Hemingway vs Fitzgerald
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) were the pole stars of the Lost Generation, the collection of young American authors who came of age in the Paris and New York of the 1920s. The Hemingway-Fitzgerald relationship has been examined for decades and continues to fascinate. Why are we so drawn to these two authors? What do they represent in American literature? Who was the better author, and why? Jacke and Mike take a look at the great Hemingway-Fitzgerald debate – and challenge themselves to find ten new things to say about these American icons. Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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50 min
June 13, 2016
46 Poetry of the T’ang Dynasty
China’s T’ang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) valued poets and poetry like no other culture before or since. In this episode, Jacke Wilson takes a look at what may have been the greatest flourishing of poetry in the history of the world. Poets discussed include Ezra Pound (1885-1972), T’ao Ch’ien (365-427), Wang Wei (ca. 699-761), Li Bai (Li Po) (701-762), and Tu Fu (712-770). Show Notes:  You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Tea Roots” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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72 min
June 6, 2016
45 Augustine and The Confessions (pt 2)
Continuing the journey with a deeper look at the incredible achievements of St. Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.), a luminary of the early Catholic church, one of the most profound thinkers in Western culture, and the author of a work the likes of which the world had never seen, The Confessions. Host Jacke Wilson identifies five key themes in The Confessions and shows how the themes build up to the autobiography’s culminating passage. Works Discussed: The Confessions of St. Augustine (tr. Maria Boulding) Show Notes: You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Virtutes Vocis” and “Virtutes Instrumenti” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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62 min
May 30, 2016
44 Augustine and The Confessions (pt 1)
The journey continues! Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at one of the deepest thinkers in the Western tradition, St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.), and the literary form he pioneered and perfected. Who was Augustine? What led him to produce one of the most influential books ever written? And what can we gain from reading The Confessions today? In this first of a two-part episode, Jacke considers Augustine’s relationship to God, the impact of his studies in rhetoric on his attempts to write an autobiography, and what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would have made of Augustine’s description of tragedy. Works Discussed: The Confessions of St. Augustine (tr. Maria Boulding) The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche Show Notes: You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Virtutes Vocis” and “Virtutes Instrumenti” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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51 min
May 23, 2016
43 Seeing Evil (with Professor Rebecca Messbarger)
What is evil? Is it a force that lives outside us? Or something that dwells within? And how do we recognize it? Professor Rebecca Messbarger joins Jacke to discuss the problems of seeing evil and the particular ways that post-Fascist Italian writers dealt with the dilemma. We also hear the story of how a mild-mannered Italian professor’s scholarly research eventually led to her roaming the Internet in an attempt to purchase a cadaver. Books Discussed: The Lady Anatomist: The Life and Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini by Rebecca Messbarger Alabama Moon by Watt Key Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda Todo Modo by Leonardo Sciascia Family Sayings by Natalia Ginzburg Show Notes: You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Spy Glass” and “Bushwick Tarantella Loop” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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73 min
May 16, 2016
42 Was Prince a Poet?
He was a supremely talented musician and composer  – but was he the voice of his generation? Jacke and Mike take a look at the life and lyrics of Prince. Show Notes: You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
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46 min
May 9, 2016
41 The New Testament (with Professor Kyle Keefer)
Charles Dickens called the New Testament “the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.” Thomas Paine complained that it was a story “most wretchedly told,” and argued that anyone who could tell a story about a ghost or even just a man walking around could have written it better. What are the New Testament’s literary qualities? What can we gain from studying the New Testament as a literary work? Professor Kyle Keefer, author of The New Testament as Literature – A Very Short Introduction, joins host Jacke Wilson to discuss what it means to read the New Testament as literature. Show Notes: You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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76 min
May 2, 2016
40 Radha Vatsal, Author of “A Front Page Affair”
Host Jacke Wilson is joined by special guest Radha Vatsal, author of the historical mystery A Front Page Affair. Radha starts by talking about her own adventure leaving India to study in America at the age of 16, which eventually led to an interest in the action film heroines and female journalists at the start of the twentieth century. Radha also recommends four books for listeners and describes the historical research necessary to create the character of Kitty Weeks, a plucky female journalist in 1910s New York City who owns her own car and wants to write about more than fashion and gossip. Works Discussed: A Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery) by Radha Vatsal “The Forgotten Female Action Stars of the 1910s” by Radha Vatsal (article in The Atlantic) The Waterworks by E.L. Doctorow The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914 by Philipp Blom Front-Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880-1930 by Jean Marie Lutes Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space by Alice Fahs A FRONT PAGE AFFAIR description: New York City, 1915 The Lusitania has just been sunk, and headlines about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the Great War are splashed across the front page of every newspaper. Capability “Kitty” Weeks would love nothing more than to report on the news of the day, but she’s stuck writing about fashion and society gossip over on the Ladies’ Page―until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat. Determined to prove her worth as a journalist, Kitty finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’ attempt to remain neutral―and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known. Radha Vatsal’s A Front Page Affair is the first book in highly anticipated series featuring rising journalism star Kitty Weeks. Advance reviews: “The fascinating historical details add flair to this thoroughly engaging mystery starring an intelligent amateur sleuth reminiscent of Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy. Vatsal’s debut will leave readers eager for Kitty’s next adventure.” – Booklist “This lively and well-researched debut introduces a charming historical series and an appealing fish-out-of-water sleuth who seeks independence and a career in an age when most women are bent on getting married, particularly to titled Englishmen. Devotees of Rhys Bowen’s mysteries will enjoy making the acquaintance of Miss Weeks.” – STARRED Library Journal review; March Debut of the Month “[A] spirited debut…Vatsal deftly intertwines the tumult of the era, from emerging women’s rights to spreading international conflict, into this rich historical.” – Publishers Weekly “This first in a planned series is a nice combination of mystery and thriller seasoned by historical facts and a look at women’s lives before woman’s liberation.” – Kirkus About the Author: RADHA VATSAL was inspired by 1910s action-film heroines to create a heroine, Capability “Kitty” Weeks, an aspiring journalist who finds herself plunged into the tumultuous world of 1910s New York. Vatsal was born in Mumbai India, and has a Ph.D.from the English Department at Duke University (with a focus on silent-era film history). She lives in New York with her husband and their two daughters.You can find Radha at www.radhavatsal.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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59 min
April 25, 2016
39 Graham Greene
Jacke and Mike reconsider the life and works of the great twentieth-century British novelist Graham Greene. Works discussed include The End of the Affair, The Power and the Glory, The Quiet American, Babbling April, and The Third Man. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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55 min
April 18, 2016
38 Literary Duos (Part Two)
When are two artists or characters more than the sum of their parts? How is that magic created? And what does it mean for the rest of us? Part two of a conversation with host Jacke Wilson and his guest, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, on great literary duos. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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52 min
April 11, 2016
37 Literary Duos (Part One)
What makes a great literary duo? Two authors inspiring one another? Two characters who fall in love? Best friends? Rivals? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by the President of the Literature of the Supporters Club to discuss. Jacke and Mike also respond to a listener question about building a World Literature syllabus. But first, Jacke draws upon some listener feedback to take a look at the condition America’s condition is in. What kind of country gives a goldfish plastic surgery? This episode is dedicated to a certain special someone. Thank you, Mr. Hot Wing. Works Discussed: The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell The Arabian Nights Moon Palace by Paul Auster Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Blow-Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante Zadig by Voltaire The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer The Decameron by Boccaccio Orientalism by Edward Said Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami “The Thousand and One Nights” by Jorge Luis Borges Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Sheherezade” by Edgar Allen Poe The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow The Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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67 min
March 28, 2016
36 Poetry and Empire (Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Petronius, Catullus)
What happens when a republic morphs into empire? What did it mean for the writers of Ancient Rome – and what would it mean for us today? Jacke Wilson takes a look at the current state of affairs in America and the Roman examples of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Petronius, and Catullus. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Drums of the Deep” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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75 min
March 21, 2016
35 A Conversation with Ronica Dhar
In this episode, Jacke welcomes special guest Ronica Dhar, who presents Five Books (or actually Four Books and a Movie) To Lower Your Blood Pressure. Highlights include a poem by Ronica’s former teacher and mentor, letters to a samurai written by a zen master who invented a type of pickle, and a fourteenth-century Kashmiri mystic who wrestled with God and her in-laws with a fierceness that would have made Beyoncé proud. Ronica Dhar graduated from the University of Chicago and was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan where she received the Meijer award and the Hopwood award.  Her first book, Bijou Roy, was called a “thoughtful, elegant novel” by the author Ann Patchett. After years spent living in Washington D.C. and New York City, Ronica recently returned to Detroit, the city of her childhood. Works Discussed: Bijou Roy (Ronica Dhar) Praise Song for the Day (Elizabeth Alexander) Aleutian Sparrow (Karen Hesse) I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (tr. Ranjit Hoskote) The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman  (Takuan Soho) Samsara  (directed by Ron Fricke) You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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47 min
March 14, 2016
34 Borges and the Search for Meaning
When times are tough, what does literature have for us? Jacke takes a break from the history of literature to reflect on a death in his family, the loss of Sir George Martin, and some thoughts on the meaning of life from Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges. You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Works Discussed: A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis) Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Danse Macabre – Sad Part” and “Lone Harvest” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 “Pepperland” (Martin) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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43 min
March 7, 2016
33 – The Bhagavad Gita
Written over the span of 800 years from ca. 400 B.C. to ca. 400 A.D, the Mahabharata tells a riveting tale of disputed kingship and warring families. But just as the action-packed narrative reaches its climax, the story pauses to convey a dialogue between the reluctant warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna, who dramatically reveals himself as the incarnation of God. This passage, known as the Bhagavad Gita, has proved inspirational to hundreds of millions of religious seekers and was regarded by philosophers from Henry David Thoreau to Mahatma Gandhi as perhaps the greatest distillation of philosophy and religion ever written. How does this philosophical treatise fit into this fast-paced story? What lessons does it have for us? And how did a two-thousand-year-old argument that a warrior should fulfill his duty on the battlefield end up inspiring some of the most famous advocates of non-violence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766). Books Discussed: The Bhagavad Gita (tr. Easwaran) Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (tr. Mitchell) The Norton Anthology of World Literature (Third Edition) (Vol. Package 1: Vols. A, B, C) Music Credits: “Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA). “Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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45 min
March 3, 2016
32 The Best Debut Novels of All Time (A Conversation with the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club)
What makes a great first novel? Which do we prefer: the freshness of a new style (even if it contains mistakes), or the demonstration of competence (even if it breaks no new ground)? Does it matter if the book is the best (or only) novel by that author? Or do we prefer the debuts that initiated a long, distinguished career? Join host Jacke Wilson for a conversation with his friend, the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club, on the best debut novels in the history of literature. Books Discussed: Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Frankenstein by Mary Shelley The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Broom of the System: A Novel by David Foster Wallace Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë The Trial by Franz Kafka The Bluest Eye by...Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
January 25, 2016
28 The Ramayana
It’s been called “the greatest of all Indian epics – and one of the world’s supreme masterpieces of storytelling.” Nobody can deny the power of this ancient tale of Rama, a warrior king in exile, and his beloved wife Sita. Combining intense action scenes with keen insights into spiritual and psychological motivations, the Ramayana continues to delight and enchant readers around the world. But what does the story mean for us today? How do its values correspond with our own? Do we agree with its views of what it means to be a great ruler? A great husband? A great wife? Author Jacke Wilson takes a look at The Ramayana, one of two great Indian epic stories, on his journey through the history of literature.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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64 min
January 18, 2016
27 The Upanishads (Part Two)
How did the Universe begin? What is the nature of individual consciousness? How do these relate to one another? Host Jacke Wilson continues his look at the set of ancient Indian mystic writings known as the Upanishads (ca. 700 B.C.) and rediscovers the impact they once had on his own spiritual journey.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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41 min
January 11, 2016
11 The Upanishads (Part One)
Thousands of years ago, a group of Indian mystics conducted investigations into the universe and the nature of human consciousness. Using deep meditative techniques, they developed vivid ideas about the human soul and its relationship to a single spiritual force. Known today as the Upanishads (ca 700 B.C.), these philosophical and epistemological teachings have inspired hundreds of millions of practitioners of the Hindu religion–as well as many other seekers of wisdom and truth. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson introduces his project to investigate the Upanishads to see what these ancient texts might (or might not) be able to provide to a modern-day seeker.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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60 min
January 7, 2016
10 Indian Literature: A Cosmic Feast
Recalling his own long-ago transition from China to India, our host previews our journey’s next stop, where we will immerse ourselves in the literature of a spectacular culture. Marked by classics like the Rig Veda (1500 – 1200 B.C.) and the Upanishads (ca. 900 B.C.), the Ramayana (ca. 550 B.C.), and the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita (400 B.C. – 400), classic Indian literature is known for its deep engagement with universal questions like how the world was created, what our understanding of God is and can be, how we should treat one another, and what it means to be human. Jacke Wilson prepares our palate for a feast of Indian literature, one of the greatest achievements in the history of civilization.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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25 min
January 4, 2016
9 Confucius
Perhaps the most influential teacher in the history of the world, Confucius (551-479 B.C.) left a literary legacy that continues to inspire and provoke. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the historical Confucius, the impact that the five works known as the “Confucian canon” has had on China, and the collection of sayings and anecdotes known as the Analects.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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31 min
December 21, 2015
8 The Shi Jing (Chinese Classical Poetry)
Our history of literature journey continues by traveling to the other side of the globe, where Chinese poets are busy recording ancient folk songs and verse that together convey a picture of life in ancient China, from peasants and farmers to soldiers and diplomats. Eventually a selection of these poems will be gathered into a single collection edited by Confucius. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the 305 ancient Chinese poems known as the Shi Jing (also known as the Classic of Poetry or Book of Songs).Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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53 min
December 17, 2015
7A Proust, Pound, and Chinese Poetry
A young Jacke Wilson immerses himself in great books on his way from Taiwan to Tibet – and finds out what Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust, and Chinese poetry can teach him about literature and life.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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54 min
December 14, 2015
7 Greek Comedy – Aristophanes
Author Jacke Wilson examines the life and works of Aristophanes, whose comic plays included The Clouds, which pokes fun at philosophers such as Socrates, and Lysistrata, where the females of Athens and Sparta go on a sex strike in an attempt to end the war.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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48 min
December 7, 2015
6 Greek Tragedy – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides
Author Jacke Wilson examines the works of three great Greek tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides – and attempts to solve the mystery of why Friedrich Nietzsche admired two of the three and despised the other.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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58 min
November 30, 2015
5 Greek Tragedy (Part One)
How was tragedy invented? Why was it so popular in Ancient Greece, and what power does it have for us today? Using the discussion of tragedy in Aristotle’s Poetics, author Jacke Wilson takes a look at tragedies from ancient times to Breaking Bad.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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52 min
November 23, 2015
4 Sappho
Ancient Greece viewed her as Homer’s poetic equal; Plato referred to her as the “tenth muse.” As a fearless and lyrical chronicler of female desire, she had a profound impact on literature and society. Author Jacke Wilson takes a look at the genius of Sappho, the first great female writer in the history of literature.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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28 min
November 16, 2015
3A Odysseus Leaves Calypso
Responding to a listener email, author Jacke Wilson takes a deeper look at one of the Odyssey’s most famous passages. Why does Odysseus leave Calypso, and what does it tell us about Homer and his genius? And is it fair to compare Achilles and Odysseus with Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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19 min
November 9, 2015
3 Homer
He was a blind poet whose stories of heroes and gods helped launch an incredible era of literary and cultural flourishing. History of Literature host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the influence that Homer had on the minds of Ancient Greece – and the resonance that the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey still have for us today.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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37 min
October 29, 2015
2A The Book of Job
Why does an all-good, omnipotent God permit pain and suffering among the innocent? Jacke Wilson takes a look at the masterful Book of Job.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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16 min
October 26, 2015
2 The Hebrew Bible
Examining the literary qualities of the most successful religious text in the history of the world.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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36 min
October 15, 2015
1A – The Discovery of Gilgamesh
What happens when a Victorian-era archaeologist thinks he’s made the discovery of a lifetime? The answer may surprise you…Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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15 min
October 12, 2015
1 The Epic of Gilgamesh
Starting our journey with the surprisingly modern story of an ancient warrior-king whose restlessness drives him to seek immortality.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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37 min
October 10, 2015
Episode 0 – Battling the Beast
Introducing the wildly unqualified host, Jacke Wilson.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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16 min
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