Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) began her career as a poet of love and ended it as the poet of suffering and heartbreak, thanks in no small part to the totalitarian Russian regime she suffered under. On today’s special Valentine’s Day edition of The History of Literature, we look at Akhmatova’s poetry and life, and consider what might be her moment of greatest happiness: the youthful affair she had in Paris with Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). What happened when these two soul mates met? How did it affect their art? What happened to them afterwards? And what does it mean for us today?
We often think of James Joyce as a man in his thirties and forties, a monkish, fanatical, eyepatch-wearing author, trapped in his hovel and his own mind, agonizing over his masterpieces, sentence by sentence, word by laborious word. But young James Joyce, the one who studied literature in college and roamed the night-time streets of Dublin with his friends, laughing and carousing and observing the characters around him, was a different person altogether – or was he? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the James Joyce who studied his fellow Dubliners – and then wrote a masterful collection of short stories that he named after them.
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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.
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“The Secret of Tiki Island” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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