<p>Amateur literary 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.</p>
Blood and Sympathy in the 19th Century (with Pr...
Weeping for Gogol
Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes (with Yu...
Robert Louis Stevenson
Samuel Beckett (with Nic Barilar)
182 Darkness and Light (with Jessica Harper)
181 David Foster Wallace (with Mike Palindrome)
180 Donald Barthelme
179 The Oscars by Decade (with Brian Price)
178 "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson (with Evie...
177 Sherwood Anderson (with Alyson Hagy)
176 William Carlos Williams (The Use of Force)
175 Virgin Whore - The Virgin Mary in Medieval ...
174 David Foster Wallace (A Mike Palindrome Spe...
173 The Yellow Wallpaper (with Evie Lee)
172 Holiday Movies (with Brian Price)
171 To Sleep Perchance to Dream - On Writers an...
170 Toni Morrison
168 Jhumpa Lahiri ("The Third and Final Contine...
167 F Scott Fitzgerald
166 Stephen King (with the Sisters of Slaughter)
165 Ezra Pound
164 Karl Marx
163 Gabriel Garcia Marquez (with Sarah Bird)
162 Ernest Hemingway
160 Ray Bradbury (with Carolyn Cohagan)
159 Herman Melville
158 "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien
157 Travel Books (with Mike Palindrome)
156 The Sonnet
154 John Milton
153 Charles Dickens
152 George Sand
151 Viking Poetry - The Voluspa (with Noah Tetz...
150 Chekhov's "The Lady with the Little Dog"
149 Raising Readers (aka The Power of Literatur...
148 Great Literary Hoaxes
147 Leo Tolstoy
146 Power Ranking the Nobel Prize for Literature
145 Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know - The Story...
144 Food in Literature (with Ronica Dhar)
143 A Soldier's Heart - Teaching Literature at ...
142 Comedian Joe Pera Talks with Us (with Joe P...
141 Kurt Vonnegut (with Mike Palindrome)
140 Pulp Fiction and the Hardboiled Crime Novel...
139 A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka
138 Why Poetry (with Matthew Zapruder)
137 Haruki Murakami
136 The Kids Are Alright (Aren't They?) - Makin...
135 Aristotle Goes to the Movies (with Brian Pr...
How a 2,500-year-old treatise on Greek tragedy can unlock the secrets of storytelling.
134 The Greatest Night of Franz Kafka's Life
133 The Hidden Machinery - Discovering the Secr...
132 Top 10 Literary Villains
131 Dante in Love (with Professor Ellen Nerenbe...
130 The Poet and the Painter – The Great Love A...
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...
129 Great Sports Novels – Where Are They? (with...
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?
128 Top 10 Animals in Literature (with Mike Pal...
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?
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.
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”),
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.
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,
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?
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.
121 A Portrait of the Poet as a Young Man – Joh...
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...
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 ninetee...
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,
118 Oscar’s Ghost – The Battle for Oscar Wilde’...
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,
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,
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,
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.
114 Christopher Marlowe – What Happened and Wha...
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-...
113 Special Episode – Introducing the Smart Awe...
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 ...
112 The Novelist and the Witch-Doctor – Unpacki...
“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.
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,
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 Ch...
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,
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 br...
107 The Man and the Myth – Arthur Conan Doyle a...
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,
106 Literature Goes to the Movies, Part Two – F...
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,
105 Funny Women, Crimes Against Book Clubs, Geo...
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.
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 defens...
103 Literature Goes to the Movies Part 1 – Grea...
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 featur...
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),
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.
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.
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,
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,
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...
96 Dracula, Lolita, and the Power of Volcanoes ...
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 Lolit...
95 The Runaway Poets – The Triumphant Love Stor...
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,
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),
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 wi...
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?
91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write a Poem ...
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 th...
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?
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.
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 t...
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 – ...
86 Don Juan in Literature (aka The Case of the ...
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,
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 fin...
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,
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...
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.
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?
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,
79 Music That Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary b...
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 for...
78 Jane Eyre, The Good Soldier, Giovanni’s Room...
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.
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,
76 Darkness and the Power of Literature – The F...
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 peo...
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,
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,
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.
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,
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 p...
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,
69 Virginia Woolf and Her Enemies (with Profess...
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 Modern...
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,
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.
66 James Baldwin, Wallace Stegner, GB Tran, Loi...
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,
65 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (with Professor ...
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...
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 Algonq...
63 Chekhov, Bellow, Wright, and Fox (with Charl...
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 a...
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 ba...
61 In the Mood for a Good Book – Wharton, Murak...
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,
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?
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 ...
58 Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists (with Profe...
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 le...
57 Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme – All About ...
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,
56 Shelley, HD, Yeats, Frost, Stevens – The Poe...
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.
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,
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.
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,
52 Recommend This! The Best 101 Books for Colle...
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 coll...
51 Coleridge, Kubla Khan, and the Person from P...
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.
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 – legen...
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...
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.
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...
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.
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 w...
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?
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 de...
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.
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...
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,
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.
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,
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.
36 Poetry and Empire (Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Pet...
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,
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,
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 Borg...
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,
32 The Best Debut Novels of All Time (A Convers...
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...