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Episodes

March 22, 2021

318 Lolita (with Jenny Minton Quigley)

Jacke hosts Jenny Minton Quigley, editor of the new collection LOLITA IN THE AFTERLIFE: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century , for a discussion of Vladimir Nabokov...

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March 18, 2021

317 My Antonia by Willa Cather

Jacke continues this week's look at Willa Cather by zeroing in on the style and substance of My Antonia (1918), Cather's celebrated novel about Bohemian immigrants struggling to survive on the unforgiving prairies of Nebraska...

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March 15, 2021

316 Willa Cather (with Lauren Marino)

Willa Cather (1873-1947) went from a childhood in Nebraska to a career in publishing in New York City, where she became one of the most successful women in journalism. And then, after a period as an editor for one of …

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March 11, 2021

315 Gabriel García Márquez and the Incredible and Sad (and Marvelous)…

Following our last episode with Patricia Engel, Jacke takes a closer look at Gabriel García Márquez, including his literary influences, his search for truth in nostalgia and history, and his use of invention and the marvelous...

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March 8, 2021

314 Gabriel García Márquez (with Patricia Engel)

Author Patricia Engel joins Jacke to talk about her childhood in New Jersey, her artistic family, her lifelong love of stories and writing, her new novel Infinite Country , and "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndir...

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March 4, 2021

313 "Spring Snow" (from The Sea of Fertility) by Yukio Mishima

After taking a look at the eventful life and dramatic death of Yukio Mishima in our last episode, Jacke turns to a closer look at the works of Mishima, including appraisals by Jay McInerney and Haruki Murakami, before turning...

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March 1, 2021

312 Yukio Mishima

In November of 1970, the most famous novelist in Japan dropped off the final pages of his masterpiece with his publisher, then went to a military office in Tokyo, where he and a small band of supporters took the commander …

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Feb. 25, 2021

311 Frederick Douglass Learns to Read

Jacke takes a look at adult literacy and continuing education, anti-literacy laws in nineteenth-century America, and two famous passages from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), in which the young slave ma...

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Feb. 22, 2021

310 Lorraine Hansberry

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 …

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Feb. 18, 2021

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

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 -...

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Feb. 15, 2021

308 New Westerns (with Anna North)

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 lov...

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Feb. 11, 2021

307 Keats's Ode to Psyche

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...

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Feb. 8, 2021

306 Keats's Great Odes (with Anahid Nersessian)

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, …

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Feb. 4, 2021

305 The Remains of the Day

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 …

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Feb. 1, 2021

304 Kazuo Ishiguro (with Chigozie Obioma)

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 ...

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Jan. 28, 2021

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

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,...

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Jan. 25, 2021

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

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 bal...

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Jan. 21, 2021

301 Reading Proust with Strangers

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 t...

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Jan. 18, 2021

300 Frederick Douglass

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 iss...

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Jan. 14, 2021

299 The Cherry Orchard

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 ...

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Jan. 11, 2021

298 Amyra León!

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...

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Jan. 7, 2021

297 The Scarlet Letter

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 sh...

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Jan. 4, 2021

296 Nathaniel Hawthorne

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 i...

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Dec. 30, 2020

295 The Past, The Future, and Chekhov

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 …

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