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The History of Literature

Arts & Culture Podcasts

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.

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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

310 Lorraine Hansberry

2/22/2021
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 the woman who was the godmother to Nina Simone's daughter and...

Duration:00:59:57

309 The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (a Storybound project)

2/18/2021
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 the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, a finalist for The...

Duration:00:59:40

308 New Westerns (with Anna North)

2/15/2021
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 the Wild West. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or...

Duration:01:05:57

307 Keats's Ode to Psyche

2/11/2021
In 1819, John Keats wrote a letter to his brother George and his sister-in-law Giorgiana, who had recently moved from London to America. In the letter, Keats included a poem, which he introduced as "the first and the only one with which I have taken even moderate pains...I hope it will encourage me to write other things in even a more peaceable and healthy spirit." The poem was called “Ode to Psyche,” and it has taken its place among five other poems Keats wrote in 1819 and that are now...

Duration:01:00:47

306 Keats's Great Odes (with Anahid Nersessian)

2/8/2021
In 1819, John Keats quit his job as an assistant surgeon, abandoned an epic poem he was writing, and focused his poetic energies on shorter works. What followed was one of the most fertile periods in the history of poetry, as in a few months' time Keats completed six masterpieces, including such celebrated classics as "To Autumn," "Ode to a Nightingale," and "Ode on a Grecian Urn." Now, two hundred years later, an American scholar has written an exciting new book called Keats's Odes: A...

Duration:01:10:12

305 The Remains of the Day

2/4/2021
Following up on the recommendation of our guest Chigozie Obioma, Jacke takes a closer look at Kazuo Ishiguro's novel The Remains of the Day, including the story of how Ishiguro came to write it, what he found missing, and how the singer Tom Waits helped show Ishiguro how to transform the novel into great art. 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...

Duration:00:57:05

304 Kazuo Ishiguro (with Chigozie Obioma)

2/1/2021
In this episode, we talk to Chigozie Obioma, whom the New York Times has called "the heir to Chinua Achebe." We discuss his childhood in Nigeria, his novels The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities, what he's discovered about how fiction works, his love for the novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and his recent work with Alexander (www.alxr.com), a platform for nonfiction storytelling that unites award-winning writers, filmmakers, and actors. Help support the show at...

Duration:01:12:35

303 The Search for Darcy - Jane Austen, Tom Lefroy, and the World of Pride and Prejudice

1/28/2021
In our last episode, we examined the evidence of Jane Austen's 1995-96 dalliance with her "Irish friend," the gentlemanlike (but impoverished) young law student Tom Lefroy. Intriguingly, she began writing Pride and Prejudice, her classic novel of romance, love, and mixed messages, later that year. Might Tom have been the inspiration for the beloved Mr. Darcy? And might Jane herself have been the model for the even more beloved Elizabeth Bennet? Jacke takes a look at the possible connections,...

Duration:01:12:12

302 Jane in Love - The Story of Jane Austen and Thomas Lefroy

1/25/2021
In the Christmas holidays of 1795-96, a young Irishman named Thomas Lefroy left his legal studies in London to visit some relatives who lived in the countryside. While staying with them, he attended a series of provincial balls that also happened to be attended by the Austens, including the 20-year-old Jane Austen. "I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved," Jane later wrote to her sister Cassandra. "Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking." What...

Duration:01:31:14

301 Reading Proust with Strangers

1/21/2021
Jacke kicks off the next hundred episodes with a discussion of the Netflix series Lupin, the story of Proust begging his neighbors for quiet and secretly paying newspapers for good reviews, and a visit from Mike Palindrome to discuss his project to read Proust in an online community. Along the way, we discuss Within a Budding Grove (i.e. what makes it the dark horse favorite of many Proustians) and Mike selects his Top Ten Tweets from the #ProustTogether project. Help support the show at...

Duration:01:01:19

300 Frederick Douglass

1/18/2021
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born into the anonymity of slavery and died as the most famous African American of the nineteenth century. After a harrowing escape to freedom in 1838, he devoted the rest of his life to issues of justice and equality, applying his talents as an orator, journalist, autobiographer, fiction writer, publisher, government appointee, advocate, and intellectual to help transform a country from its origins as a slaveholding nation, to one ravaged by Civil War, to...

Duration:01:07:55

299 The Cherry Orchard

1/14/2021
In 1971, critic J.L. Styan wrote: "In The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov consummated his life’s work with a poetic comedy of exquisite balance." In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at Chekhov's final play, including a draft of the Top 10 lines of dialogue. 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...

Duration:00:56:30

298 Amyra León!

1/11/2021
Jacke talks to Amyra León, author of the new book Concrete Kids, about her background, her artistic projects, and how influences like James Baldwin, Frida Kahlo, and Frederick Douglass helped make her the person she is today. Concrete Kids is part of The Pocket Change Collective (Penguin Random House), a new pocket-sized nonfiction series centered around timely issues and written by today’s leading activists. Amyra León is an author, musician, playwright, and activist. Her work transcends...

Duration:01:07:14

297 The Scarlet Letter

1/7/2021
Following our last episode on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jacke takes a look at The Scarlet Letter (1850), which tells the story of a 17th-century New England woman (Hester Prynne) struggling to maintain her dignity in spite of a shameful punishment imposed by her Puritan community. After offering some introductory thoughts, Jacke reads the first ten pages of the novel/romance, providing some light commentary along the way. Enjoy! Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or...

Duration:01:00:46

296 Nathaniel Hawthorne

1/4/2021
In this episode, Jacke discusses the life and works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), including his major themes, the distinction he drew between "romances" and "novels," his friendship with Herman Melville, his childhood in Salem, and his uneasy relationship with his Puritan ancestors. We also declare a Tweet of the Week (which fits right into our Hawthorne discussion) and look ahead to our deep dive into Hawthorne's masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter (1850). Help support the show at...

Duration:00:56:54

295 The Past, The Future, and Chekhov

12/30/2020
It's still Chekhov month! In this episode, Jacke sets the table for the History of Literature's analysis of The Cherry Orchard (1904) with a look back, a look ahead, and a preview of the play's major themes. 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....

Duration:00:48:13

294 Three Sisters (More Chekhov!)

12/24/2020
In the third installment of Chekhov's Four Major Plays, Jacke takes a look at Three Sisters, which tells the story of three sisters living in a provincial capital and longing for Moscow. 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...

Duration:01:02:38

293 Ebeneezer Scrooge

12/21/2020
In this holiday-themed episode, a sentimental Jacke takes a look at Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843), and the creation of Ebeneezer Scrooge. 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 a coffee?...

Duration:01:32:58

292 Uncle Vanya (Chekhov)

12/17/2020
In the second installment of our look at Chekhov's four major plays, Jacke takes a look at Uncle Vanya (1898), the story of an estate manager struggling to make sense of his life. 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...

Duration:00:57:21

291 The Book of Firsts (with Ulrich Baer and Smaran Dayal)

12/14/2020
Ever wonder who wrote the first play in the North American colonies? Or who was the first published African American poet? Or what year it was when an Arab American first published a novel in the United States? Or who wrote the first published gay-themed poetry in America? The answers to all of the above might surprise you - sometimes because they're earlier than you expected, and sometimes because they're later. Sometimes the "first" comes from a famous writer, and sometimes the authors...

Duration:01:19:26