94 Smoke, Dusk, and Fire – The Jean Toomer Story

Jean Toomer (1894-1967) was born into a prominent black family in Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t until he returned to the land of agrarian Georgia that he was inspired to write his masterpiece Cane (1923), a towering achievement that went on to influence the writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the Lost Generation. While Toomer’s own life presents a portrait of a man searching for an identity in a world of too-rigid categorization, the confident and self-assured Cane stands for a universality that defies categorization and bridges American divisions. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson reflects upon his own search for identity in small-town Wisconsin, which coincidentally was one of the places where Jean Toomer landed as well.

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Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard 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:

“I Been ‘Buked” (trad. Negro Spiritual), performed by the Georgia Spiritual Ensemble.

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

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93 Robert Frost Finds a Friend

It’s a curious but compelling story: it starts in the years just before World War I, when struggling poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) hastily packed up his family and moved to London in search of a friend. Although Frost’s efforts to ingratiate himself with W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound fizzled, he soon found a man, critic Edward Thomas (1878-1917), who championed Frost’s poetry and became one of Frost’s best friends. Frost in turn inspired Thomas to write poetry as well – until something happened on one of their walks in the woods that would forever change them both. Host Jacke Wilson is joined by Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College, who recounts the story of Frost and Thomas: their friendship, their falling out, and how one of Frost’s (and America’s) most famous poems, “The Road Not Taken,” inspired by Frost’s views of Thomas, has been widely misunderstood by generations of readers.

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Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard 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).

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

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92 The Books of Our Lives

“In the middle of life’s journey,” wrote Dante Alighieri, “I found myself in a selva oscura.” Host Jacke Wilson and frequent guest Mike Palindrome take stock of their own selva oscura in a particularly literary way: What books have they read? What books have been the most important to them? What do they expect to come next? It’s a celebration of reading – and friendship – on this episode of The History of Literature Podcast.

Authors discussed include: John D. Fitzgerald, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Elena Ferrante, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Jay McInerney, Rene Descartes, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, Graham Greene, Patrick O’Brian, Marcel Proust, Javier Marias, Haruki Murakami, Paul Celan, and Leo Tolstoy.

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 postcard 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).

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91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write a Poem About a Flea

John Donne (1572-1631) may have been the most wildly inventive poet who ever lived. But that doesn’t mean he was the most successful. Dr. Johnson, writing a hundred years later, objected to Donne and the other Metaphysical Poets for the way in which they “yoked together with violence” heterogenous ideas. T.S. Eliot found something much richer in the poems, but even his analysis leaves us with the central burning question: can a poem about a flea be any good? Jacke Wilson considers the question.

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 postcard 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).

“Dance Macabre,” “Hero Theme,” and “NewsSting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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90 Mark Twain’s Final Request

In 1910, the American author Mark Twain took to his bed in his Connecticut home. Weakened by disease and no longer able to write, the legendary humorist (and author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), made a final request. What was the request? And what does it tell us about the life and career of a great writer? Host Jacke Wilson explores the mystery.

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 postcard 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).

“Darxieland” and “Tenebrous Brothers Carnival – Act Two” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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89 Primo Levi

Primo Levi (1919-1987) lived quietly and wrote with restraint. An Italian Jewish writer, professional chemist, and Holocaust survivor, he was, said Italo Calvino, “one of the most important and gifted writers of our time.” Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at his life, his mysterious death, and his most important works, including If This Is a Man (US title: Survival in Auschwitz) and The Periodic Table, named by the Royal Institution of Great Britain as the greatest science book ever written.

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 postcard 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).

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

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88 The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance, the great flowering of African American arts and culture in the early twentieth century, is hard to define and easy to admire. Coupled with the Great Migration, in which hundreds of thousands of Southern black workers moved to the rapidly industrializing cities of the North, the Harlem Renaissance was a time of great artistic expression, as musicians, visual artists, and writers forged a new consciousness. The works they produced reflected a spirit of change, progress, and optimism – but underlying the excitement were also a sense of struggle; reflective themes of nostalgia, guilt, and regret; and a clear-eyed view of racial relations in American culture. Host Jacke Wilson looks at the works of Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and the many others who turned Harlem into the center of a worldwide movement.

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 postcard 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).

“The Mooche” and “Creole Love Call” by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (feat. Adelaide Hall)

“Young Woman’s Blues” by Bessie Smith

“I’m Just Wild About Harry” from Shuffle Along (1921) (feat. Thelma Carpenter)

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87 Man in Love: The Passions of D.H. Lawrence

The Edwardian novelist D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) lived and wrote with the fury of a thousand suns. His novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, and The Rainbow are commonly regarded as some of the greatest novels in literature – and for Lawrence, who also wrote eight other novels, ten collections of short stories, and 800 poems, they were only a fraction of his volcanic outpouring of words and ideas. How did this son of a barely literate coal miner end up one of the most prolific and sensational writers ever to have lived? What fueled his passions? How did he channel his highly imaginative world views into his novels? And what are we to make of him today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the man who called himself a “savage pilgrim.”

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 postcard 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).

“Piano Between” and “Drums from the Deep” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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86 Don Juan in Literature (aka The Case of the Red-Hot Lover)

From his earliest days as a popular legend, through many appearances in drama and poetry and fiction and film, the sexual conquistador Don Juan has been the vehicle for authors and artists to wrestle with themes like sexual desire, guilt, honor, gender relations, and the psychology of an unrepentant sinner. Early versions of Don Juan condemned this profligate lover to hell, but as society’s views of morality evolved, so too did Don Juan, with some fascinating results. Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the many faces of Don Juan, from the character’s earliest stage appearance in 1630 to the recent Jersey Boy incarnation in the film version Don Jon (2013), with stops along the way for Moliere, Mozart, Goldoni, George Bernard Shaw, Sam Malone from Cheers – and of course, the great “satiric epic” Don Juan, written by the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Lord Byron.

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).

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

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85 Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

In 1813, a young author named Jane Austen built on the success of her popular novel Sense and Sensibility with a new novel about the emotional life of an appealing protagonist named Elizabeth Bennet, who overcomes her mistaken first impressions and finds true love with the enigmatic and ultimately appealing Mr. Darcy. The novel was called Pride and Prejudice, and for more than 200 years it’s been celebrated as one of the great pinnacles in the history of novels – and indeed, in all of literature. What was Jane Austen’s background, and how did she come to write such a marvelous novel? What accounts for the book’s success? And what lessons can we take from it today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at one of the most beloved works in literary history – and tells a story of his own youthful efforts to avoid being part of someone else’s Austen-influenced plot.

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).

“Danse Macabre – Xylophone Version” and “Samba Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

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