The History of Literature

The History of Literature


Latest Episodes

Marcel Proust
July 22, 2019

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) did little of note until he turned 38 years old - but from that point forward, he devoted the rest of his life to writing a masterpiece. The result, the novel In Search of Lost Time, published in seven volumes from 1913 to 1927,

George Eliot
April 08, 2019

Perhaps the greatest of all the many great English novelists, George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans in 1819 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Her father Robert managed an estate for a wealthy family; her mother Christina was the daughter of a local mill-

Samuel Beckett (with Nic Barilar)
April 01, 2019

We're back! A newly reenergized Jacke Wilson returns for a deep dive into the life, works, and politics of Samuel Beckett. Yes, we know him as one of the key figures bridging the gap between modernism and post-modernism - but was he more than just a highl

182 Darkness and Light (with Jessica Harper)
March 06, 2019

Jessica Harper has had the kind of life it would take ten memoirs to capture. Born in 1949, she went from a childhood in Illinois to a career as a Broadway singer, a Hollywood actor and movie star, a songwriter, an author of children’s books, an author of

181 David Foster Wallace (with Mike Palindrome)
February 27, 2019

Frequent guest Mike Palindrome takes the wheel for another solo episode on David Foster Wallace, including a deep dive into Wallace's unfinished manuscript The Pale King, published posthumously in 2011.DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (1962-2008) was an American auth

180 Donald Barthelme
February 20, 2019

Donald Barthelme’s “The Balloon” (1966) is one of the strangest and most enduring short stories to come out of the second half of the twentieth century. Filled with Barthelme’s gift for observation and detail, his wild imagination, and his playful wit, “T

179 The Oscars by Decade (with Brian Price)
February 13, 2019

Screenwriter and film scholar Brian Price (author of Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting: Aristotle and the Modern Screenwriter) joins Jacke for a decade-by-decade look at the Oscar Winners for Best Picture. Which decade had the best mov

178 "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson (with Evie Lee)
February 06, 2019

In this episode, we take a look at the classic twentieth-century American short story, "The Lottery" (1948) by Shirley Jackson. Why did it cause such an uproar? Who banned it and why? And how well does it hold up today? We'll be discussing all this and mo

177 Sherwood Anderson (with Alyson Hagy)
January 30, 2019

One hundred years ago, a collection of short stories by a little-known author from Ohio burst onto the literary scene, causing a minor scandal for their sexual frankness. In the years since, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (1919) became more famous fo

176 William Carlos Williams (The Use of Force)
January 23, 2019

Today, the American modernist poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) is famous among poetry fans for his vivid, economical poems like "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This Is Just to Say." But for most of his lifetime, he struggled to achieve success comparab