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June 5, 2020

Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman 3

What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to love and be loved? What sacrifices do we make in order to bring about happiness? And how can we do any of this if we're uncertain about the …

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June 3, 2020

Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman 2

Think about your life: Have you always gotten what you wanted? Have you LET yourself be happy? Have you kept secrets - from others, or even yourself? In this episode, Jacke returns to the great Canadian writer Alice Munro for...

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June 1, 2020

Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman

"She is our Chekhov," said Cynthia Ozick, "and she is going to outlast most of her contemporaries." Ozick was talking about the great Alice Munro, the Canadian writer whose short stories about ordinary women and men have garn...

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May 28, 2020

C.S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was an Irish-born writer who spent most of his adult life in Oxford and Cambridge, studying, teaching, enjoying the company of friends (including J.R.R. Tolkien) - and also writing some of the ...

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May 25, 2020

The Diary of Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was a successful administrator and general man-about-town in Restoration London. As a devoted theatergoer, a capable bureaucrat, and a privileged witness of the King and his court, he saw firsthand ma...

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May 21, 2020

James Baldwin - Going To Meet the Man

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a fearless artist, an uncompromising critic, a brilliant essayist, and an American who lived within his time and yet was decades ahead of it. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Going To Meet ...

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May 18, 2020

William Faulkner - A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner (1897-1962) is one of the most celebrated and divisive figures in American literature. Widely recognized as one of the greatest novelists America has produced, his fiction and his life have become the stuff o...

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May 14, 2020

Baldwin v Faulkner

In the 1950s, William Faulkner (1897-1962) was one of most celebrated novelists in America, highly praised for this formal innovation, his prodigious storytelling gifts, and his sweeping, multigenerational portrait of Souther...

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May 11, 2020

England vs France - A Literary Battle Royale

"Our dear enemies," a French writer once said of the English. Englishman John Cleese called them "our natural enemies" and joked "if we have to fight anyone, I say let's fight the French." With the exception of a few big …

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May 7, 2020

"The Country Husband" by John Cheever

John Cheever (1912-1982) scratched the surface of the American suburbs and found that they were built over a deep pit of despair. His short stories and novels, which chronicled the lives of those damaged psyches trying to put...

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May 4, 2020

Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) went from a childhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a wildly successful literary career, as his poems, short stories, and essays stunned the world with their inventiveness, intellectual seriousn...

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April 30, 2020

"A Village After Dark" by Kazuo Ishiguro

In this special quarantine edition, Jacke takes a brief look at the life and works of Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and his short story, "A Village After Dark." Help support the show at patreon.com...

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April 27, 2020

Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was born in Algeria to French parents. After his father died in World War I, when Albert was still an infant, the family was reduced to impoverished circumstances, forced to move in with relatives in ...

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April 23, 2020

"Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler

Imagine a plague that ravages the world and impairs the ability of humans to communicate with one another. What kind of society would we have? Who would take power and how would they hold it? What would the world be …

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April 20, 2020

The Best of the Bard: Top 10 Greatest Lines in Shakespeare

When was The Bard at his best? How great did the GOAT get? Hall-of-fame guest Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a discussion of the Top 10 Greatest Lines of Shakespeare. Help su...

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April 16, 2020

The Distance of the Moon by Italo Calvino | The African Library Proje…

Another special quarantine edition! In this action-packed episode, Jacke talks to Robyn Speed and Tatiana Santos of the African Library Project ( africanlibraryproject.org ), an organization that has helped create or improve ...

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April 13, 2020

A Lost Spring (with Professor Mitchell Nathanson)

Professor Mitchell Nathanson, author of Jim Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original , joins Jacke for a discussion of athletes, heroes, and A.E. Housman. Why do we celebrate athletes? How do we view them when their athleticis...

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April 9, 2020

After Rain by William Trevor

William Trevor was born in Ireland in 1928. When he was 26, he moved to England, where for the next 62 years he quietly became one of the most celebrated writers in the English-speaking world. In today's History of Literature...

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April 2, 2020

Extra by Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li (1972- ) was born in Beijing, China, the daughter of a teacher and a nuclear physicist. She dreamed of studying in America, hoping to escape an oppressive political regime and an unhappy family life. But when she arr...

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March 30, 2020

The Trials of Phillis Wheatley

In 1773, Phillis Wheatley became the first person of African descent to publish a book of poems in the English language. It was yet another milestone in Wheatley's extraordinary life, which began with a childhood in Africa, a...

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March 26, 2020

Kate Chopin

From within the quarantine, Jacke travels to 1893 and the Louisiana bayou, where he finds Kate Chopin, pioneering feminist and author of the classic novel The Awakening , writing her short story "Desiree's Baby," in which a w...

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March 23, 2020

Kipling, Kingsley, and Conan Doyle - When Writers Go to War (with Sar…

In early 1900, the paths of three British writers - Rudyard Kipling, Mary Kingsley, and Arthur Conan Doyle - crossed in South Africa, during what has become known as Britain's last imperial war. In this episode, Sarah LeFanu,...

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March 21, 2020

Special Quarantine Edition - Gusev by Anton Chekhov

More bonus content! For those of you living in isolation (and those of you who aren't), Jacke explores the depths of the human condition - as well as its ultimate beauty - with the help of Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) and …

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March 16, 2020

Special Quarantine Edition - Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne…

As the world deals with a pandemic, we turn to one of America's greatest (and least appreciated) writers, Katherine Anne Porter, and her masterpiece, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, a short novel that tells the story of Miranda, a ne...

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