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The History of Literature

Updated 7 days ago

Rank #54 in Books category

Arts
Books
History
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Literature enthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics.Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature.

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Literature enthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics.Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature.

iTunes Ratings

226 Ratings
Average Ratings
188
13
5
11
9

Love it!!!!!

By vybgior - Sep 17 2019
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Love it! So thoughtfully done!

Take it from a lit major

By Bokonon2017 - Dec 29 2018
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This is the most astute, engaging, informative, and entertaining lit podcast out there, bar none.

iTunes Ratings

226 Ratings
Average Ratings
188
13
5
11
9

Love it!!!!!

By vybgior - Sep 17 2019
Read more
Love it! So thoughtfully done!

Take it from a lit major

By Bokonon2017 - Dec 29 2018
Read more
This is the most astute, engaging, informative, and entertaining lit podcast out there, bar none.

Listen to:

Cover image of The History of Literature

The History of Literature

Updated 7 days ago

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Literature enthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics.Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature.

47 Hemingway vs Fitzgerald

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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).

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Jun 20 2016

50mins

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83 Overrated! Top 10 Books You Don’t Need to Read

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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.

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Mar 10 2017

1hr 1min

Play

119 The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

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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!

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 22 2017

1hr 22mins

Play

169 Dostoevsky

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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.

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Nov 28 2018

48mins

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142 Comedian Joe Pera Talks with Us (with Joe Pera)

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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.

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May 07 2018

53mins

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59 Flannery O’Connor

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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

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Sep 16 2016

1hr 7mins

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32 The Best Debut Novels of All Time (A Conversation with the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club)

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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...

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Mar 03 2016

1hr

Play

98 Great Literary Feuds

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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.

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Jun 22 2017

1hr 14mins

Play

110 Heart of Darkness – Then and Now

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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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Sep 18 2017

1hr 40mins

Play

137 Haruki Murakami

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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.

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Apr 01 2018

1hr 5mins

Play

Macbeth

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It's been called "the great Shakespearean play of stage superstition and uncanniness." It's also one of Shakespeare's four major tragedies, and for more than four hundred years it's proved horrifying to audiences and captivating to scholars. And it's a perfect play for October, with witches and prophesies, murder and mayhem, and a madly ambitious would-be king and his fiendish paramour. In this special Halloween episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at Shakespeare's Macbeth: its origins, its inspirations, and the moments of what Dr. Johnson called Shakespeare's "touches of judgment and genius."

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.

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Oct 28 2019

1hr 31mins

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102 Pablo Neruda

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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).

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Jul 27 2017

1hr 10mins

Play

65 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (with Professor James Chandler)

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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

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Oct 28 2016

1hr 13mins

Play

162 Ernest Hemingway

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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.

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Oct 03 2018

1hr 6mins

Play

132 Top 10 Literary Villains

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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.

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Feb 23 2018

1hr 22mins

Play

147 Leo Tolstoy

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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!

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Jun 13 2018

1hr 2mins

Play

120 The Astonishing Emily Dickinson

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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!

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 30 2017

1hr 14mins

Play

2 The Hebrew Bible

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Examining the literary qualities of the most successful religious text in the history of the world.

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Oct 26 2015

36mins

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111 The Americanest American – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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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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Sep 25 2017

1hr 5mins

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Marcel Proust

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Marcel Proust (1871-1922) did little of note until he turned 38 years old - but from that point forward, he devoted the rest of his life to writing a masterpiece. The result, the novel In Search of Lost Time, published in seven volumes from 1913 to 1927, stands as one of the supreme achievements of Modernism or any other period. Written in Proust's inimitable, discursive prose, the novel recreates the memories of a lifetime, infusing a search for the past with an almost mystical belief in the power of beauty and experience to be ever-present, alive, unified, and universally important. Drawing upon everything in Proust's life, from his childhood bedtime kisses from his mother to his travels through high Parisian society, the towering novel stands alone for its deep artistic and psychological insights.

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.

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Jul 22 2019

1hr 1min

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Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston in 1932, the daughter of a German-born professor, Otto Plath, and his student, Aurelia Schober. After her father died in 1940, Plath's family moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, where her mother taught secretarial studies at Boston University and Plath embarked on a path that she would follow the rest of her life: she was a gifted student, she wrote poetry and stories, she won awards and prizes and scholarships - and she began to suffer from the severe depression that would ultimately lead to her death.

Plath's life, including her incendiary marriage to British poet Ted Hughes, will be discussed in a separate episode. In this episode, we focus on Plath's poetry, as superfan Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, selects five poems to introduce Plath: The Applicant, Lady Lazarus, Morning Song, The Colossus, and The Stones.

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.

Music Credits:

“Allemande Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dec 02 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

Margaret Atwood

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A week ago, Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) turned 80. A month ago, she was awarded the Booker Prize for her eighteenth novel, The Testaments. But how did the little girl who grew up in the forests of Canada turn into one of the most successful and celebrated authors of her day? And what do we make of someone whose fierce independence is matched only by her commitment to defying all stereotypes and categorizations? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and career of the incredible Margaret Atwood.

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.

Music Credits:

“Fuzzball Parade," "Glitter Blast," "Magistar," and "Funkorama" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Nov 26 2019

1hr 27mins

Play

One-Hit Wonders! (with Mike Palindrome)

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We all know how difficult it is to scale the mountain of success, whether you're a musician or a novelist. But why do some artists reach the summit again and again, while others spend the rest of their careers stuck in the valley, gazing up and thinking about what might have been? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at some classic "one-hit wonders" in the world of literature and popular music.

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.

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Nov 18 2019

57mins

Play

Thomas Hardy

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He was born to a lower class family of tradesmen in 1840. Eighty eight years later, he died as one of the most celebrated writers in England. His name was Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and he was at the same time the product of the Victorian era and one of its greatest critics. But how did this man go from being a builder and architect to writing poetry and eventually the novels that made him famous? What made this budding young priest turn away from the church? And why, after becoming a successful and highly accomplished novelist did he quit writing novels altogether, turning back to poetry for the remainder of his years?

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.

Music Credits:

“Piano Between” and "Allemande Sting" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Nov 11 2019

53mins

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George Saunders (with Mike Palindrome)

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Jacke and Mike take a look at contemporary author George Saunders, author of Pastoralia, Tenth of December, and Lincoln at the Bardo, In spite of some inauspicious beginnings, Saunders somehow managed to ascend to literary greatness, setting aside a career in mining to become, in the words of poet Mary Karr, "the best short-story writer in English--not 'one of,' not 'arguably,' but the best."

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.

Music Credits:

“Quirky Dog” and "Amazing Plan" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Nov 04 2019

57mins

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Macbeth

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It's been called "the great Shakespearean play of stage superstition and uncanniness." It's also one of Shakespeare's four major tragedies, and for more than four hundred years it's proved horrifying to audiences and captivating to scholars. And it's a perfect play for October, with witches and prophesies, murder and mayhem, and a madly ambitious would-be king and his fiendish paramour. In this special Halloween episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at Shakespeare's Macbeth: its origins, its inspirations, and the moments of what Dr. Johnson called Shakespeare's "touches of judgment and genius."

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.

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Oct 28 2019

1hr 31mins

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Alfred Hitchcock (with Mike Palindrome)

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Jacke's joined by the Hall of Fame Guest Mike Palindrome (President of the Literature Supporters Club) for a look at the ten greatest films by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock directed dozens of films, including masterpieces of the suspense genre like Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, Saboteur, Notorious, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, Lifeboat, Spellbound, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, and many more. Which ten will make the official History of Literature Podcast list? 

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.

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Oct 21 2019

1hr 18mins

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Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe's first novel Things Fall Apart (1959) ushered in a new era where African countries, which had recently achieved post-colonial independence, now achieved an independence of a different kind - the freedom of imagination and artistry, as African authors told the stories of their geography, their culture, and their experience from the point of view of Africans, and not from the point of view of those who perceived them from only from the outside. "It sparked my love affair with African literature," Toni Morrison said. Maya Angelou said it was a book where “all readers meet theirr brothers, sisters, parents, and friends - and themselves - along Nigerian roads.” Margaret Atwood called Achebe “a magical writer...One of the greatest of the twentieth century.” And Nelson Mandela, who read Achebe's works while in captivity, said he was a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down.”

In this episode of The History of Literature, we look at the life and legacy of Chinua Achebe, the impact of Things Fall Apart, and Achebe's critique of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

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.

Music Credits:

“Unnamed Africa Rhythm” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Oct 10 2019

47mins

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Blood and Sympathy in the 19th Century (with Professor Ann Kibbie)

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"England may with justice claim to be the native land of transfusion," wrote one European physician in 1877, acknowledging Great Britain’s role in developing and promoting human-to-human transfusion as treatment for life-threatening blood loss. But what did this scientific practice mean for literature? How did it excite the imagination of authors and readers? And how does our understanding of transfusion help us to understand our own reading of historical and contemporary scientific advancements?

In today's episode, Jacke talks to Professor Ann Kibbie of Bowdoin College about her new book, Transfusion: Blood and Sympathy in the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, which examines the scientific and literary treatment of the nineteenth-century practice of transfusion, including the way transfusion seeped into the works of authors like George Eliot, Adam Smith, and Bram Stoker, whose Dracula stands as a culmination of the practice of transfusion and the elemental feelings it arouses. 

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.

Music Credits:

“Midnight Tale” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Oct 03 2019

1hr 1min

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Weeping for Gogol

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"Gogol was a strange creature," said Nabokov, "but genius is always strange." Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809 – 1852) rose from obscurity to a brilliant literary career that forever changed the course of Russian literature. Born in 1809, he and his contemporary Pushkin influenced the titans who followed, including Tolstoy and Doestoevsky and Chekhov. Best known for his novel Dead Souls, his play, The Government Inspector, and a handful of classic short stories like “Diary of a Madman” and “The Nose,” it is his short story “The Overcoat” that perhaps best expresses his artistry and influence. As Doestovsky famously said, “we all come out from under Gogol’s overcoat.” But who was this unusual writer? Where did he come from? What was so different about his fiction, and what made it resonate with readers? And why does his story “The Overcoat” still have the power to make Jacke weep?

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.

Music Credits:

“Amazing Plan” and “Piano Between” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Sep 26 2019

1hr 33mins

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Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes (with Yuval Taylor)

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They were collaborators, literary gadflies, and champions of the common people. They were the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. Their names were Zora Neale Hurston (1891 - 1960), the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967), the author of “the Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “Let America Be America Again.” After meeting at a great gathering of black and white literati, the two writers traveled together through the rural South collecting folklore, collaborated on a play, wrote scores of loving letters to one another - and then had a bitter and passionate falling-out. On today's episode, author Yuval Taylor joins Jacke to talk about his book, Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal.

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.

Music Credits:

“Dixie Outlandish” and “Piano Between” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Sep 16 2019

1hr 1min

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The Brontes

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Although their lives were filled with darkness and death, their love for stories and ideas led them into the bright realms of creative genius. They were the Brontes - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - who lived with their brother Branwell in an unassuming 19th-century Yorkshire town called Haworth. Their house, a parsonage, sat on a hill, with the enticing but sometimes dangerous moors above and a cemetery, their father’s church, and the industrializing town below. It was a dark little home, with little more than a roof to keep out the rain, a fire to keep things warm at night, and books and periodicals arriving from Edinburgh and London to excite their imagination. And from this humble little town, these three sisters and their active, searching minds exerted an influence on English literature that can still be felt nearly two hundred years later.

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.

Music Credits:

“Ashton Manor" and "Piano Between" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Sep 09 2019

1hr

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Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) went from a childhood in the western islands of Scotland to the heights of literary popularity and success, beloved and admired for his adventure stories Treasure Island and Kidnapped and his eerie portrait of a double life The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dismissed by Virginia Woolf as a writer for children and by H.G. Wells as a demonstration of the triumph of talent over genius, Stevenson nevertheless thrilled generations of audiences and inspired countless other writers, including Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Hillary Mantel, Vladimir Nabokov, Graham Greene, and Jorge Luis Borges, who declared that reading Stevenson was "among the greatest literary joys I have ever experienced."

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.

Music Credits:

"Wholesome," "Magistar," and "Symmetry" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Music Credits:

"Wholesome," "Magistar," and "Symmetry" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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Aug 31 2019

54mins

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Marcel Proust

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Marcel Proust (1871-1922) did little of note until he turned 38 years old - but from that point forward, he devoted the rest of his life to writing a masterpiece. The result, the novel In Search of Lost Time, published in seven volumes from 1913 to 1927, stands as one of the supreme achievements of Modernism or any other period. Written in Proust's inimitable, discursive prose, the novel recreates the memories of a lifetime, infusing a search for the past with an almost mystical belief in the power of beauty and experience to be ever-present, alive, unified, and universally important. Drawing upon everything in Proust's life, from his childhood bedtime kisses from his mother to his travels through high Parisian society, the towering novel stands alone for its deep artistic and psychological insights.

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.

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Jul 22 2019

1hr 1min

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George Eliot

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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.

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Apr 08 2019

1hr 2mins

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Samuel Beckett (with Nic Barilar)

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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.

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Apr 01 2019

1hr 19mins

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182 Darkness and Light (with Jessica Harper)

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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.

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Mar 06 2019

48mins

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181 David Foster Wallace (with Mike Palindrome)

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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.

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Feb 27 2019

1hr 1min

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180 Donald Barthelme

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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.

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Feb 20 2019

59mins

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179 The Oscars by Decade (with Brian Price)

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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.

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Feb 13 2019

1hr 3mins

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