81 Faust (aka The Devil Went Down to Germany)

Have you ever wanted something so badly you’d sell your soul to get it? Youth? Wealth? Sex? Power? Knowledge? We call it making a deal with the devil, or in more literary terms, a Faustian bargain. But who was Faust? How did his tale first get told? How was his legend advanced, and what great works did he inspire? In this special episode of The History of Literature, we look at the historical Faust and dig into the literary myth of Faustian bargains, from Icarus and the Temptations of Christ, through Christopher Marlowe and Goethe, all the way to bluesman Robert Johnson and his legendary trip to the Crossroads.

FREE GIFT! 

Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last!

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson

“NewsSting” and “Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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80 Power Play! Shakespeare’s Henry V

Who rules us and why? What does Shakespeare’s Henry V (c. 1599) tell us about the character of a leader? What does it tell us about the character of the people governed by such a man? Host Jacke Wilson jumps from kings to presidents, from the battlefields of France in the early fifteenth century, to the Elizabethan stage in the early seventeenth century, to the Lincoln Memorial and what one of President Richard M. Nixon’s closest aides called “the weirdest day so far.”

FREE GIFT! 

Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last!

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“NewsSting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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79 Music That Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

In 1851, a 30-year-old Frenchman named Gustave Flaubert set out to write a novel about a discontented housewife in a style that would melt the stars. After five years of agonizing labor, his book Madame Bovary (1856) changed the world of literature forever. How did Madame Bovary influence authors as different as Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov? Host Jacke Wilson takes a special Valentine’s Day look at Flaubert’s innovative novelistic style and his wonderfully compelling heroine, the woman stuck in the provinces who “wanted to die, but who also wanted to live in Paris.”

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

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78 Jane Eyre, The Good Soldier, Giovanni’s Room (with Margot Livesey)

Writing about the Scottish-born novelist Margot Livesey, the author Alice Sebold remarked, “Every novel of Margot Livesey’s is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery.”

How has Margot Livesey managed to create this suspense in novel after novel, including in contemporary classics such as The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, and her most recent work, Mercury? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by the author for a conversation about her readerly passions and writerly inspirations, including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Danse Macabre – Violin Hook” and “Lift Motif” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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77 Top 10 Literary Cities

What makes a city a great literary city? Having a tradition of famous authors? A culture of bookstores and cafes and publishing houses and universities? Inspiring great books? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, for a discussion of the cities where literature finds itself most at home – including their choices for the world’s ten greatest literary cities.

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“The Secret of Tiki Island” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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76 Darkness and the Power of Literature – The Forbidden Stories of North Korea (with Terry Hong)

For 70 years, the people of North Korea have lived through a totalitarian nightmare – and those of us in the outside world have had little access to their experience. How have generations of oppression and terror affected the psychology of everyday people? How do they feel about their situation? What are their hopes? What are their dreams? How do they think, and how do they live? Like so much else about North Korea, these questions were shrouded in darkness…until now. Terry Hong, reader extraordinaire and the curator of the website BookDragon, joins us to talk about an astonishing new development: the publication of short stories by North Korea’s first dissident writer.

Works Discussed:

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea, by “Bandi” (preorder only until March 7, 2017)

Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea, by Jang Jin-sung

Recommended Books about North Korea:

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee

A Kim Jong-il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

 

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75 The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki

With a strong claim to be the first novel in history, the Japanese classic The Tale of Genji (ca. 1001-1012), by Murasaki Shikibu, or Lady Murasaki, is one of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces. But who was Lady Murasaki, and what compelled her to write this story of an idealized prince and his many lovers? How innovative was she? And do the intrigues of the imperial Japanese courts from a thousand years ago still have the power to fascinate, entertain, and instruct us today? 

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Ritual” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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74 Great First Chapters (with Vu Tran)

It’s a new year! A time for fresh beginnings! And on the History of Literature Podcast, it’s a time to celebrate beginnings. Vu Tran, author of the novel Dragonfish and a professor of creative writing at the University of Chicago, joins us to discuss ten great first chapters – how they work, how they affect the reader, and how they fulfill their author’s intentions.

Works Discussed:

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

 

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73 Javier Marias and the Philosophical Novel

The Spanish novelist Javier Marías (b. 1951) has led a fascinating life, from his childhood as the son of a philosopher to his role as the king of a Caribbean island that has been ruled by a succession of writers. Marías’s philosophical novels have been translated into 42 languages and celebrated throughout Europe – and yet, as the New York Times Book Review noted, he remains largely unknown in America. Why is that? And what are Americans missing? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club and an ardent devotee of Javier Marías, to discuss Marías and his novel A Heart So White.

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

 

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72 The Best Christmas Stories in Literature

Sure, we all know the story of Frosty and Rudolph… but what about literary Christmas stories? How have great authors treated (or mistreated) this celebrated holiday? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a look at the ten best Christmas stories in literature. Authors discussed include Dostoevsky, Dickens, Willa Cather, Mark Twain, Ntozake Shange, Roderick Thorpe, Dr. Seuss, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Hans Christian Andersen, Chekhov, O. Henry, and more. PLUS a special holiday tribute to Gar, the worst producer in the history of podcasting.

Show Notes:

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

Follow Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @writerjacke (Jacke) and @literatureSC (Mike).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

(Also featuring cameo appearances by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sir Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, Sir Elton John, Jimmy Stewart, and Frank Sinatra.)

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