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Episodes

Dec. 24, 2020

294 Three Sisters (More Chekhov!)

In the third installment of Chekhov's Four Major Plays, Jacke takes a look at Three Sisters , which tells the story of three sisters living in a provincial capital and longing for Moscow. Help support the show at patreon.com/...

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Dec. 21, 2020

293 Ebeneezer Scrooge

In this holiday-themed episode, a sentimental Jacke takes a look at Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843), and the creation of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/...

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Dec. 17, 2020

292 Uncle Vanya (Chekhov)

In the second installment of our look at Chekhov's four major plays, Jacke takes a look at Uncle Vanya (1898), the story of an estate manager struggling to make sense of his life. Help support the show at patreon.com/literatu...

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Dec. 14, 2020

291 The Book of Firsts (with Ulrich Baer and Smaran Dayal)

Ever wonder who wrote the first play in the North American colonies? Or who was the first published African American poet? Or what year it was when an Arab American first published a novel in the United States? Or who …

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Dec. 10, 2020

290 The Seagull (Chekhov)

In 1896, the 36-year-old Chekhov suffered one of the worst experiences of his life, when his play The Seagull was performed in front of an audience so hostile that one of the lead actresses lost her voice. Two years later, …

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Dec. 7, 2020

289 Swann's Way

Since its first appearance, Marcel Proust's magnum opus In Search of Lost Time has delighted and confounded editors, readers, and critics. Published in seven volumes over a fourteen-year period, the enormous novel has general...

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Dec. 3, 2020

288 The Triumph of Broadway (with Michael Riedel)

Author and notorious New York Post columnist Michael Riedel joins Jacke to discuss his new book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway , which explores the world of big-budget Broadway musicals in the 1990s. Along the w...

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Nov. 30, 2020

287 The Heptameron | Marguerite de Navarre

In her lifetime, Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) was known as a benevolent and capable leader, a protectress of free thinkers, and one of the most intelligent women in France. She was also the producer of great literature, ...

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Nov. 26, 2020

286 JRR Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was a professor, academic essay, and professional linguist - but the world knows him best as the author of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955). In this episode, Jacke ...

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Nov. 23, 2020

285 Herodotus

Herodotus (c. 484 - 425? BCE) has been called both "The Father of History" and "The Father of Lies." His accounts of the ancient world, including a deep dive into all aspects of geography, biology, and culture (among many oth...

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Nov. 19, 2020

284 Westerns (with Anna North)

Jacke continues the Thursday Theme for November with a look at a genre that began in the nineteenth century and nearly dominated the twentieth: the Western. What happened to western fiction? What was a "classic western" and w...

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Nov. 16, 2020

283 Planes, Trains & Automobiles - Top 10 Literary Modes of Transport…

From the dramatic trains of Anna Karenina to the wide-open roads of Jack Kerouac, getting around has always played a central role in literature. But not all means of transportation are equal! In this lighthearted episode of t...

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Nov. 12, 2020

282 Science Fiction

In Part 2 of our look at great literary genres, Jacke probes the development of science fiction, from ancient Greek travels to the moon to the amazing stories of the twentieth century. Along the way, he chooses four candidate...

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Nov. 9, 2020

281 The Great Gatsby

Jacke takes a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, The Great Gatsby (1925), which has been called by one newspaper "the American masterwork, the finest work of fiction by any of this country's writers." But what makes i...

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Nov. 5, 2020

280 Romance Novels

Jacke starts a new Thursday Theme with a look at genre fiction. First up: Romance novels! Every year, over a billion dollars are spent on these books about love and relationships and...well, what else do we consider fundament...

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Nov. 2, 2020

279 Jean Rhys

Jacke takes a look at the life and works of Jean Rhys (1890-1979), whose masterpiece Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), reimagined Jane Eyre from the point of view of "the madwoman in the attic," and still stands as one of the …

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Oct. 29, 2020

278 The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe (with Evie Lee)

In this special Halloween episode, Jacke and Evie take a look at Edgar Allan Poe's great revenge story, "The Cask of Amontillado" (1846), written when Poe was destitute and in the depths of despair. Enjoy! Help support the sh...

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Oct. 26, 2020

277 George Orwell

George Orwell (1903-1950) was one of the twentieth century's great literary figures. An English novelist, who also excelled at essays and journalism, he fought all his life against injustice, snobbery, hypocrisy, deception (i...

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Oct. 22, 2020

276 Edgar Allan Poe Invents the Detective Story | "The Purloined Lett…

In 1965, the critic Joseph Wood Krutch studied the available evidence and came to a surprising conclusion. "Edgar Allan Poe," he wrote, "invented the detective story in order that he might not go mad." Arthur Conan Doyle, a m...

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Oct. 19, 2020

275 Hemingway and the Truth (with Richard Bradford)

Professor Richard Bradford, author of the new biography The Man Who Wasn't There: A Life of Ernest Hemingway , joins Jacke to talk about Hemingway's uneasy relationship with the truth. RICHARD BRADFORD is Research Professor i...

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Oct. 15, 2020

274 Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

He was "the king of poets," said Rimbaud, "a true God." T. S. Eliot called him a deformed Dante and said, “I am an English poet of American origin who learnt his art under the aegis of Baudelaire and the …

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Oct. 12, 2020

273 The Book for Book Lovers - The Call Me Ishmael Phone Book (with S…

Authors Stephanie Kent and Logan Smalley join Jacke to talk about their new book for book lovers, The Call Me Ishmael Phone Book: An Interactive Guide to Life-Changing Books . If you love books, and talking about books, and p...

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Oct. 8, 2020

272 "William Wilson" by Edgar Allan Poe (with Evie Lee)

Evie Lee, a Vice President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a look at Poe's classic doppelgänger story, "William Wilson" (1839). Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/sho...

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Oct. 5, 2020

271 "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace (A Mike Palindrome Solo S…

It's another much-anticipated, often-requested Mike Palindrome Solo Episode! In this special installment of The History of Literature Podcast, Jacke turns the keys over to Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporte...

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