114 Christopher Marlowe – What Happened and What If?

In 1921, T.S. Eliot wrote, “When Shakespeare borrowed from him, which was pretty often at the beginning, Shakespeare either made something inferior or something different.” He was talking about Shakespeare’s near-contemporary Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), whose literary career was cut short by his murder at the age of 29, though not before he established himself as one of the most accomplished and innovative poets who ever lived. A scholar, a spy, a poet, a tragedian, a counterfeiter, an influencer of Shakespeare – wrestling with Marlowe’s interests and ambiguities could fill a hundred novels. Theories have long abounded: was his death ordered by the Crown? Or perhaps it was staged – paving the way for Marlowe, in hiding, to continue to write plays under the name William Shakespeare. But assuming that he did die in that tavern brawl, the questions are no less appealing: what would he have done, had he lived? How might he have continued to influence Shakespeare – and how might Shakespeare have influenced him? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the life and works of the extraordinary Christopher Marlowe.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

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112 The Novelist and the Witch-Doctor – Unpacking Nabokov’s Case Against Freud (with Joshua Ferris)

“I admire Freud greatly,” the novelist Vladimir Nabokov once said, “as a comic writer.” For Nabokov, Sigmund Freud was “the Viennese witch-doctor,” objectionable for “the vulgar, shabby, fundamentally medieval world” of his ideas. Author Joshua Ferris (The Dinner Party, Then We Came to the End) joins Jacke for a discussion of the author of Lolita and his special hatred for “the Austrian crank with a shabby umbrella.”

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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111 The Americanest American – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 1984, the literary scholar Harold Bloom had this to say about Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Emerson is the mind of our climate, the principal source of the American difference in poetry, criticism and pragmatic post-philosophy…. Emerson, by no means the greatest American writer… is the inescapable theorist of all subsequent American writing. From his moment to ours, American authors either are in his tradition, or else in a counter-tradition originating in opposition to him.” Who was Emerson? How did he become so influential? What did he unlock in American literature? And what can we take from his works today?

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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110 Heart of Darkness – Then and Now

Jacke and Mike discuss Joseph Conrad’s short novel Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, and Eleanor Coppola’s documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. Then Jacke offers some thoughts on the recent events in Charlottesville, compares them with the themes in Conrad, and argues that America’s “new normal” might be best understood as an existential journey for the twenty-first century.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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109 Women of Mystery (with Christina Kovac)

Author Christina Kovac (The Cutaway: A Thriller) joins Jacke for a discussion of crime fiction, writing a strong female protagonist, working in the local news business, and her “holy trinity” of female crime writers: Laura Lippmann, Tana French, and Megan Abbott.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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108 Beowulf (aka Need a Hero? Get a Grip…)

The poem called Beowulf (ca. 850 AD) was composed in Old English during what is known as the Middle Ages. Telling the tale of a hero who fights two monsters and a dragon, the three-thousand-line poem is traditionally viewed as one of the few bits of brightness in an otherwise dark age. Set in Scandinavia, the poem offers a tantalizing window into a culture undergoing a transition, as the Anglo-Saxon speaker embraces the newly adopted religion Christianity while nevertheless expressing nostalgia for the heroic days of yore. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the classic poem Beowulf and the questions it raises today.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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107 The Man and the Myth – Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes (with Mattias Bostrom)

Continuing our series on literary myths, we’re joined by Mattias Bostrom, author of From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, for a conversation about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his astonishing creation, Sherlock Holmes.

Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation. Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

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).

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106 Literature Goes to the Movies, Part Two – Flops, Bombs, and Stinkeroos

Ah, the sweet smell of success… and the burning stench of failure. Continuing their two part conversation on literary adaptations, Jacke and Mike choose ten of the worst book-to-movie projects of all time. How could so many people, working so hard and with such great source material, go so wrong? And why is Gary Oldman screaming that he is in hell? We’ll find out!

Works discussed include The Dead, Battlefield Earth, Portnoy’s Complaint, the X-Men movies, The Golden Compass, The Human Stain, The Girl on the Train, Zardoz, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Enduring Love, Dune, Gone with the Wind, Beauty and the Beast, The Cat in the Hat, Anna Karenina, Alice in Wonderland, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Scarlet Letter, Watchmen, and Jules and Jim.

Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation. Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

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).

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

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105 Funny Women, Crimes Against Book Clubs, George Orwell, and More (with Kathy Cooperman)

Kathy Cooperman, author of the new novel Crimes Against a Book Club, joins the show to discuss everything from the secret lives of book clubs to her own journey from improv to lawyering to becoming an author. She also tells Jacke about an inspiring Bette Davis movie, some books that she’s loved, and what a move from the East Coast to the West Coast taught her about the way men and women deal with the aging process.

Works discussed include:

Down and Out in Paris in London by George Orwell

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by Maarten Troost

A Shock to the System by Jeremy Brett

Mr. Skeffington (with Bette Davis)

Do you love literature and the arts?  Would you like to support the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

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).

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

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104 King Lear

We all know that Shakespeare’s King Lear is one of the greatest tragedies ever written. But was it too tragic? Dr. Johnson thought it might be. Leo Tolstoy thought it was just a bad play – causing George Orwell to come valiantly to Shakespeare’s defense. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the play that starts with a famous nothing and ends with a horrible something, moving from fairy tale to something far darker.

Do you love literature and the arts?  Are you looking for a way to express your support for the History of Literature Podcast? Please visit patreon.com/literature and consider making a modest monthly donation, which will help to keep the show up and running. Your generous contribution is greatly appreciated!

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).

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