In 1922, the miserable genius Franz Kafka wrote a short story, Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist), about another miserable genius: a man whose “art” is to live in a cage and display his fasting ability to crowds that don’t always appreciate what he is trying to do. Inspired by actual historical figures, though suffused with nostalgia and Kafka’s penetrating insight, the story asks us to reconsider our conceptions of art and spectacle, life and death, hunger and humanity. Host Jacke Wilson is joined by superguest Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, to feast on one of the greatest short stories ever written.
For more on Franz Kafka, try Episode 134 – The Greatest Night of Franz Kafka’s Life
For more on short stories, try Episode 57 – Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme – All About Short Stories (And Long Ones Too)
For a deep dive into Alice Munro’s “A Bear Came Over the Mountain,” try Episode 115 – The Genius of Alice Munro
For a deep dive into Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” try Episode 110 – Heart of Darkness – Then and Now
Help support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.
In his new book Why Poetry, the poet Matthew Zapruder has issued “an impassioned call for a return to reading poetry and an incisive argument for its accessibility to all readers.” The poet Robert Hass says, “Zapruder on poetry is pure pleasure. His prose is so direct that you have the impression, sentence by sentence, that you are being told simple things about a simple subject and by the end of each essay you come to understand that you’ve been on a very rich, very subtle tour of what’s aesthetically and psychologically amazing about the art of poetry.”
In this episode, Matthew Zapruder joins Jacke for a discussion on why poetry is often misunderstood, and how readers can clear away the misconceptions and return to an appreciation for the charms and power of poetry. Along the way, they discuss poems by W.H. Auden, Brenda Hillman, and John Keats, and the views of critics like Harold Bloom, Giambattista Vico, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Paul Valery.
Help support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.comor facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at email@example.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.
Villains! Bad guys ! Femme fatales! We love them in movies – but what about literature? What makes villains so effective (and so essential)? What do they tell us about their authors – and what can they tell us about ourselves? In this episode, Jacke and Mike select the Top 10 Literary Villains of all time.
Works, authors, and characters discussed include Shakespeare, Euripides, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Klosterman, John Milton, John Fowles, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Emily Bronte, Othello, Medea, Hannibal Lecter, Iago, Lady Macbeth, Charles Dickens, Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Judge Holden, Michael Corleone, HAL 9000, Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange, The Wicked Witch of the West, C.S. Lewis, Ian Fleming, Professor Moriarty, Captain Hook, Long John Silver, Beowulf, Grendel, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at firstname.lastname@example.org or @WriterJacke.
Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was the greatest poet of his era and one of the greatest artists of all time. His masterpiece, the Divine Comedy (or simply Comedìa or Commedia), written between 1312-1320, which describes his journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Heaven (Paradiso), stands as one of the greatest achievements of Western Civilization. “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them,” T.S. Eliot once wrote, “there is no third.”
But years before Dante placed the beloved figure of Beatrice at the heart of the Divine Comedy, he wrote a shorter, more intimate work devoted to his love for her. Called La Vita Nuova (or Vita Nova or A New Life), the combination of poetry and prose tells an astonishing story of his love for Beatrice, from the moment he first saw her (when both were children) to the moment he learned of her death.
In this episode, host Jacke Wilson is joined by two special guests: Professor Ellen Nerenberg, Dean of the Arts and Humanities, Hollis Professor of Romance Languages and Literature, and Professor of Italian at Wesleyan University; and Anthony Valerio, author and editor of several works of fiction and nonfiction, including Dante in Love: Dante Alighieri’s Vita Nuova Reinterpreted, a 2017 translation of Dante’s youthful and enduring masterwork.
Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at email@example.com.