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Episodes

Dec. 6, 2021

364 Bob Dylan, the Blues, and Songs with Literary Power (with Mike Ma…

What happened in the Sixties? How did singers of popular music transform from mere entertainers to the poetic bards of their generation? Were these songs literature? If so, what does that mean? And if not, what exactly are th...

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Dec. 2, 2021

363 William Butler Yeats

Born into a remarkable family full of talented artists, the Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats (1865-1938) nevertheless stood out. Deeply immersed in mysticism and the occult - along with Irish politics, the devel...

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Nov. 29, 2021

362 Kurt Vonnegut (with Tom Roston)

Jacke talks to journalist Tom Roston about his new biography of Kurt Vonnegut, The Writer's Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse Five . PLUS Jacke reads excerpts from one of Vonnegut's most famous speec...

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Nov. 25, 2021

361 Five Glimpses of Gratitude (Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sh…

Feeling grateful, Jacke rummages through the literary storage trunk to find works on gratitude by five poets and essayists: Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sharon Olds, Henry David Thoreau, and W,S. Merwin. Enjoy! Help sup...

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Nov. 22, 2021

360 FMK Shakespeare! (with Laurie Frankel) | Tolstoy's Gospel (with S…

It's a good day for cooking! First up: Scott Carter, author of the play Discord: The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy , joins Jacke for a look at the gospel as updated by Leo …

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Nov. 18, 2021

359 Forgotten Women of Literature 6 - Eliza Haywood and Fantomina | P…

During her stormy and mysterious life, Eliza Haywood (1693?-1756) was one of the most prolific writers in England. Her "amatory fictions" were unapologetically sensationalistic, earning her the opprobrium of her mostly male c...

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Nov. 15, 2021

358 The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature (with Farah Jasm…

In her new book Read Until You Understand , beloved professor Farah Jasmine Griffin entwines memoir, history, and art in exploring the culture of Black genius and the lessons and legacies of Black lives and literature. In thi...

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Nov. 11, 2021

357 Little Women Remixed (with Bethany C. Morrow) | Thomas Jefferson'…

It's a literary feast! National bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow joins Jacke for a discussion of her novel So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix , in which four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil...

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Nov. 8, 2021

356 Louisa May Alcott

"I could not write a girls' story," Louisa May Alcott protested after a publisher made a specific request that she do so, "knowing little about any but my own sisters and always preferring boys." But she agreed to try, and …

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Nov. 4, 2021

355 Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Brilliant and contentious, the Swiss-born political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (`1712-1768) is one of the key figures of the Enlightenment, with a fame and influence that continues to this day. But although we know him...

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Nov. 1, 2021

354 Treasure Island Remixed (with C.B. Lee)

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure Treasure Island gave the world a number of familiar pirate tropes, like parrots on shoulders and X marks the spot. But it also helped lock us into a somewhat limited view of life on ...

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Oct. 28, 2021

353 Oscar Wilde in Prison (with Scott Carter)

Even the best biographical depictions of Oscar Wilde often skip over the years he spent in prison, perhaps because the episode is so sad and painful. But in doing so, they miss the profundity of his life and writings. In …

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Oct. 25, 2021

352 Charles Baudelaire (with Aaron Poochigian)

The American poet Dana Gioia calls Charles Baudelaire "the first modern poet," adding "In both style and content, his provocative, alluring, and shockingly original work shaped and enlarged the imagination of later poets, not...

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Oct. 18, 2021

351 Mary Wollstonecraft (with Samantha Silva)

The writer, philosopher, and trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft is perhaps best known as the mother of the author of Frankenstein , but this amazing figure deserves more attention than a line in Mary Shelley's biograph...

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Oct. 11, 2021

350 Mystery! (with Jonah Lehrer)

Mysteries! Beloved by adults and children alike, it's hard to imagine a genre with a more universal appeal. But what makes mysteries so compelling? What is it about mysteries - and human beings, for that matter - that makes m...

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Oct. 4, 2021

349 Kafka's Metamorphosis (with Blume)

A special guest stops by to help Jacke talk about life, literature, and one of the world's great masterpieces: The Metamorphosis , by Franz Kafka. Hope you enjoy! Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofli...

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Sept. 27, 2021

348 Philip Roth (with Mike Palindrome)

As a child growing up in Newark, New Jersey in the 1930s and 40s, Philip Milton Roth (1933-2018) never thought about being a writer. By the time he died, he had become one of the most famous and celebrated figures …

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Sept. 20, 2021

347 The Prisoner and His Prize - The Story of O Henry (with Jenny Min…

William Sidney Porter (1862-1910) packed a lot of life into his 47 years, traveling from a childhood in North Carolina to work as a rancher and bank teller in Texas to a desperate escape to Honduras, where he hoped to …

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Sept. 13, 2021

346 For Whom the Beast Leaps

John Marcher has been waiting all his life for something rare and strange to happen to him - something that will leap out of the darkness and attack him like a Beast in a Jungle. His friend May Bartram has …

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Sept. 6, 2021

345 Great Literary Centuries (with Mike Palindrome)

How's literature doing these days? Does the twenty-first century look as good for literature as the nineteenth did? How about the seventeenth? And the twentieth was no slouch... In this episode, Mike Palindrome, the President...

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Aug. 30, 2021

344 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Beast

A man has lived his life convinced that something rare and strange lies in wait for him - a monumental catastrophe that has never happened to anyone before. He shares his secret apprehension with one person, until his fear be...

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Aug. 23, 2021

343 The Feast in the Jungle

Squirrel-voiced waiter-host Jacke Wilson invites his listeners to a literary feast! In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Henry James's long-short-story masterpiece, "The Beast in the Jungle." (Don't worry if you've never re...

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Aug. 16, 2021

342 The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (with Laura Marsh)

In the aftermath of World War II, author Graham Greene was in personal and professional agony. His marriage was on the rocks, his soul was struggling to find its home, and his restless spirit had taken him into the bedrooms …

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Aug. 9, 2021

341 Constance and Henry - The Story of "Miss Grief"

In the immediate aftermath of her death at the age of 53, Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was considered one of the greatest writers of her day, but her reputation soon faded. A hundred years later, she was little more...

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