The History of Literature

The History of Literature

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. Support the show by visiting patreon.com/literature or paypal.me/jackewilson.

Episodes

May 17, 2021 70 min
Jacke takes a look at the astonishing life and writings of the ultimate enfant terrible of poetry, Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91), Symbolist poet, literary bad boy, and eventual mercenary arms dealer, who gave up literature by the age of 21 but whose brilliant work continues to fascinate and inspire. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyo...
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During his life, Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was a beloved national figure, a bald and bespectacled librarian by day who spent his evenings writing smart, accomplished, and hilariously self-deprecating poems. After his death, his reputation and legacy became more complicated, as revelations about his personal life threatened to darken a once-bright sky. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at a near-perfect poet and a far-from-perfect...
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The Graduate! Dustin Hoffman! Mike Nichols! Simon and Garfunkel! Mrs. Robinson! Plastics! Elaaaaaaaaine.... The movie version of The Graduate is one of the most beloved films of the twentieth century...but have you ever read the book? Jacke hasn't! That's why he's so pleased to present a guest episode from the Overdue podcast, in which hosts Andrew and Craig dive into The Graduate by Charles Webb. Enjoy! OVERDUE is a po...
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Ralph Waldo Ellison (1913-1994) began life as an infant in Oklahoma City and ended it as one of the most successful and celebrated novelists in the world. And this reputation was largely due to one book, the masterpiece Invisible Man (1952), which transcended the limitations that the American reading public placed on African American writers to become what Time magazine later called "the quintessential American picaresque of th...
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April 26, 2021 60 min
Salman Rushdie (1947- ) became famous in the literary world in 1981, when his second novel Midnight's Children became a bestseller and won the Booker Prize. By the end of that decade, he was perhaps the most famous author in the world, as the fatwa calling for his execution made global headlines. Throughout these years, and despite nearly unimaginable circumstances, Rushdie has continued his devotion to the art of fiction, prod...
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April 19, 2021 63 min
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was a journalist, an author, an artist, a poetic novelist, a beacon of modernism, an icon and an iconoclast. She was also a pioneer; a famous wit; an expatriate in Paris in the 1920s (where she befriended James Joyce and became one of the key members of the Lost Generation); a fixture of Greenwich Village both in the 1910s and in the decades after World War II; an early avatar of queer literature; and above...
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April 12, 2021 66 min
Jacke and Mike take a look at the life and works of Thucydides (c. 460 to c. 400 B.C.), an Athenian general whose History of the Peloponnesian War has earned him the title of "the father of scientific history" or sometimes "the other father of history." We discuss the highlights of Thucydides, what it's like to read him in 2021, whether it's better to read him straight through or only for the famous parts (s...
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April 5, 2021 75 min
Jacke takes a look at the life and works of American novelist Henry James (1843-1916). 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. New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke ...
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March 29, 2021 50 min
She was admired by Dr. Johnson, revered by Jane Austen, and referred to as "the mother of English fiction" by Virginia Woolf. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and works of Frances Burney (1752-1840), author of the influential early novels Evelina (1778), Cecilia (1782), and Camilla (1796). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at his...
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Jacke hosts Jenny Minton Quigley, editor of the new collection LOLITA IN THE AFTERLIFE: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century, for a discussion of Vladimir Nabokov's classic (and controversial) 1958 novel. Jenny Minton Quigley is the daughter of Lolita's original publisher in America, Walter J. Minton. Lolita in the Afterlife includes contributions by the followin...
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March 18, 2021 64 min
Jacke continues this week's look at Willa Cather by zeroing in on the style and substance of My Antonia (1918), Cather's celebrated novel about Bohemian immigrants struggling to survive on the unforgiving prairies of Nebraska. 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 Twitte...
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March 15, 2021 66 min
Willa Cather (1873-1947) went from a childhood in Nebraska to a career in publishing in New York City, where she became one of the most successful women in journalism. And then, after a period as an editor for one of the most famous magazines in America, she focused on writing novels about the hardscrabble lives of immigrants trying to tame the Midwestern prairie, including enduring classics like O Pioneers! and My Antonia. In this...
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Following our last episode with Patricia Engel, Jacke takes a closer look at Gabriel García Márquez, including his literary influences, his search for truth in nostalgia and history, and his use of invention and the marvelous to approach a kind of heightened sense of what's possible, what's actual, and what's essential. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) ...
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Author Patricia Engel joins Jacke to talk about her childhood in New Jersey, her artistic family, her lifelong love of stories and writing, her new novel Infinite Country, and "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother" by Gabriel García Márquez, a story she first read as a 14-year-old and which she returns to often. PATRICIA ENGEL is the author of Infinite Country, a Reese’s Book Club p...
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After taking a look at the eventful life and dramatic death of Yukio Mishima in our last episode, Jacke turns to a closer look at the works of Mishima, including appraisals by Jay McInerney and Haruki Murakami, before turning to a deep dive into the world of Spring Snow, the first volume in Mishima's four-book masterpiece The Sea of Fertility. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We ...
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March 1, 2021 58 min
In November of 1970, the most famous novelist in Japan dropped off the final pages of his masterpiece with his publisher, then went to a military office in Tokyo, where he and a small band of supporters took the commander hostage. The novelist - whose name was Yukio Mishima - then appeared on the balcony before a crowd of a thousand soldiers and supporters. After exhorting them to overthrow the Japanese government and return Japan ...
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February 25, 2021 46 min
Jacke takes a look at adult literacy and continuing education, anti-literacy laws in nineteenth-century America, and two famous passages from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), in which the young slave manages to overcome obstacles and teach himself to read and write. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, ja...
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February 22, 2021 60 min
When Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was a child, her father made the Hansberry name famous by fighting for justice in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. By the time she was thirty, she herself was famous as the author of A Raisin in the Sun (1959), which tells the story of a black family attempting to purchase a home in a white neighborhood. In this episode, we look at the brief life and towering accomplishments of ...
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The History of Literature presents a short story by Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, produced by Storybound. PLUS! In preparation for our Writers Block episode, we hear from three great writers - Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch, and Franz Kafka - who privately (and achingly) wrote about not writing. Enjoy! Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, was a finalist for t...
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February 15, 2021 66 min
Anna North, author and journalist, joins us for a full discussion of the Western genre, how twenty-first-century authors have revived the form with modern-day sensibilities and a more layered understanding of history, her love of George Herriman's quietly subversive Krazy Kat comics, and her new novel Outlawed, a riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform ...
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