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Episodes

Oct. 1, 2020

270 Edgar Allan Poe - "The Black Cat"

In 1843, Edgar Allan Poe, desperate for money and terrified that his wife was about to die, "became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." Fueled by alcohol and despair, he fell into "fits of absolute unconsciousnes...

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Sept. 28, 2020

269 Shakespeare and the Generation of Genius - The Role of Performing…

Robin Lithgow spent her life immersed in the performing arts, including a childhood in the theater and decades spent as an educator and arts administrator. But it wasn't until she read a little-known work by Erasmus that she ...

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Sept. 24, 2020

268 Forgotten Women of Literature 4 - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695) was born in Mexico or, as it was known then, New Spain. She was a poet, a philosopher, a dramatist, a scholar, a poet, and a nun, known in her time as the …

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Sept. 21, 2020

267 Great Scot! The 6 Best Scottish Writers (with Margot Livesey)

Fan favorite Margot Livesey returns to the History of Literature to discuss her new novel, The Boy in the Field , and to help Jacke choose the greatest writers in Scotland's history. MARGOT LIVESEY is the New York Times bests...

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Sept. 18, 2020

266 Bonus Episode! "Hop-Frog" by Edgar Allan Poe

Jacke makes up for a mistake with a special bonus episode on Edgar Allan Poe's bizarre short story "Hop-Frog; Or, the Eight Chained Orang-Outangs" (1849). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature...

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Sept. 15, 2020

265 Forgotten Women of Literature 3 | Aemelia Lanyer

The "Forgotten Women of Literature" series continues with a look at Aemilia Bassano Lanyer (1569-1645), the first Englishwoman to publish a volume of poetry, the protofeminist Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, which tells the story o...

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Sept. 14, 2020

264 HoL Presents Tommy Orange's "Copperopolis" (a Storybound Project)…

The History of Literature Podcast presents "Copperopolis," written and performed by Tommy Orange, and produced by Storybound, a radio theater podcast. PLUS Jacke Lonelyhearts takes a look at the personal ads in The New York R...

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Sept. 10, 2020

263 Forgotten Women of Literature 2 - Cai Yan (Wenji)

Cai Yan (Wenji) (c. 178 - c. 250?) was the daughter of Cai Yong, one of the most famous scholars of the Han Dynasty. After being widowed at a young age, Cai Wenji was abducted by a nomadic tribe, where …

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Sept. 7, 2020

262 Ovid

Ovid (43 BCE - 17 or 18 AD) was one of the most successful poets in the Roman Empire--until he was banished from Rome by Augustus himself. What led to his exile? What had he written, and how might it …

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Sept. 3, 2020

261 Forgotten Women of Literature - Enheduanna (with Charles Halton)

Jacke and special guest Charles Halton take a look at the poetry of Enheduanna (2286-2252 BC), a high priestess in ancient Mesopotamia who is the earliest known poet whose name has been recorded. Charles Halton (Ph.D., Hebrew...

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Aug. 31, 2020

260 HoL Presents Diksha Basu from the Storybound Project

Jacke Wilson and the History of Literature Podcast present a special guest episode from the Storybound project. Storybound is a radio theater program designed for the podcast age. Hosted by Jude Brewer and with original music...

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Aug. 27, 2020

259 Shakespeare's Best | Sonnets 129 and 130 ("Th'expense of spirit i…

In the fourth and final installment of A Month of Shakespearean Sonnets, Jacke takes a look at two sonnets from the Dark Lady sequence, Sonnet 129 ("Th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame") and Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eye...

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Aug. 24, 2020

Hatchet Jobs! When Reviewers Attack

The vast majority of book reviews are informative and genteel. What books get that treatment, and why? Jacke and Mike take a look at the some of the most savage book reviews of all time. Help support the show at …

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Aug. 20, 2020

Shakespeare's Best | Sonnet 116 ("Let me not to the marriage of true …

Continuing the "Shakespeare on Thursdays" theme for August, Jacke takes a look at Sonnet 116 ("Let me not to the marriage of true minds"), another one of Shakespeare's most beloved and well known sonnets. What does the poem s...

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Aug. 17, 2020

TS Eliot | The Waste Land

In 1922, T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), an American living in England, published The Waste Land, widely viewed as perhaps the greatest and most iconic poem of the twentieth century. Virginia Woolf recognized its power immediately, p...

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Aug. 13, 2020

Shakespeare's Greatest Sonnets | Sonnet 29 ("When in disgrace with Fo…

Hello August! Hello world! Hey world, you've kicked us around long enough - it's time for us to return to our former glory! Jacke takes a look at the fourteen-line misery-jealousy-recovery-triumph story of Shakespeare's Sonne...

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Aug. 10, 2020

Anna Karenina

In 1870, the 42-year-old Russian author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) told his wife that he "wanted to write a novel about the fall of a society woman in the highest Petersburg circles, and...to tell the story of the woman and her …

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Aug. 6, 2020

Shakespeare's Greatest Sonnets | Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to …

What did Shakespeare do when the bubonic plague shut down London's theaters? Apparently he wrote poetry instead, including some or all of his 154 sonnets. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare the...

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Aug. 3, 2020

The Brontes' Secret Scandal (with Finola Austin)

Novelist Finola Austin joins Jacke for a discussion of her new novel Bronte's Mistress , which provides a fascinating new perspective on one of literature's most famous families. FINOLA AUSTIN, also known as the Secret Victor...

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July 30, 2020

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was a naturalist, a conservationist, and a highly successful children's book author and illustrator, whose stories of Peter Rabbit and other anthropomorphized animals have sold more than 150 million...

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July 20, 2020

Stendhal

In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and works of French author Stendhal (1783-1842), whose innovative novels The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma made him one of the greatest and most influential no...

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July 16, 2020

The History of Literature Presents: Storybound (with Mitchell S. Jack…

The History of Literature presents some content from another Podglomerate podcast, Storybound. In this episode from Storybound's first season, author Mitchell S. Jackson reads from his memoir, Survival Math: Notes on an All-A...

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July 13, 2020

Raymond Carver (with Tom Perrotta)

Novelist and screenwriter Tom Perrotta joins Jacke for a discussion of his blue collar New Jersey background, the cultural shock of attending Yale University, and the profound impact that Raymond Carver's first collection of ...

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July 9, 2020

Giovanni Boccaccio | The Decameron

As the Black Death swept through the city of Florence, Italian poet and scholar Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) began writing his classic tale of survival and revelry. The Decameron (1349-1353) tells the story of ten individua...

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