231 James Baldwin | Going To Meet The Man

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a fearless artist, an uncompromising critic, a brilliant essayist, and an American who lived within his time and yet was decades ahead of it. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Going To Meet the Man,” Baldwin’s provocative story of the power dynamics at play within a white Southern man who attends a lynching. (Warning: This story of racism, violence, and sexual activity is graphic and brutal. Listeners may want to exercise caution.)

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

230 William Faulkner – A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner (1897-1962) is one of the most celebrated and divisive figures in American literature. Widely recognized as one of the greatest novelists America has produced, his fiction and his life have become the stuff of legend. In this episode of The History of Literature, Jacke talks through our understanding of Faulkner and what he means to us today. Are these the revelations of a Southern prophet? Or “corncobby chronicles” (as Nabokov put it)? And how do we assess a writer whose undeniable storytelling power was accompanied by personal views that shock us today? Can we see those moral blindspots when we look at his fiction? What truths do we find in his works – and are they the truths he wanted us to see? And finally, Jacke and Mike take a deeper look at Faulkner’s masterpiece, “A Rose for Emily.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“DarxieLand” and “Greta Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

227 “The Country Husband” by John Cheever

John Cheever (1912-1982) scratched the surface of the American suburbs and found that they were built over a deep pit of despair. His short stories and novels, which chronicled the lives of those damaged psyches trying to put an alcohol-fueled gloss on the world’s dark stains, earned him admiration and acclaim – and seem to have done little to ease his own pain. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at one of Cheever’s masterpieces, “The Country Husband” (1954), which tells the story of a man who survives a plane crash only to find that nothing in his world as a husband and father has changed. What other breaks in the continuum might there be? Can any of them pull him out of his nightmarish fugue state? Is a dying star destined to fall and fade, or can it point the way to something grand?

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Et Voila” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

226 Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) went from a childhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a wildly successful literary career, as his poems, short stories, and essays stunned the world with their inventiveness, intellectual seriousness, and flights of imagination. He was more than a writer, and maybe more even than an icon: he was what we might call a human literary genre, the creator of a type of literature that he alone practiced and perfected. In this episode, Jacke and Mike celebrate the works of Borges and take a look at the writers he influenced.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Tango de Manzana” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

225 “A Village After Dark” by Kazuo Ishiguro

In this special quarantine edition, Jacke takes a brief look at the life and works of Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and his short story “A Village After Dark.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Onion Capers” and “Magistar” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

215 Kate Chopin

From within the quarantine, Jacke travels to 1893 and the Louisiana bayou, where he finds Kate Chopin, pioneering feminist and author of the classic novel The Awakening, writing her short story “Desiree’s Baby,” in which a woman in love struggles against the racial prejudice of the antebellum South.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“DarxieLand” and “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

202 Chekhov


Jacke welcomes in the new year by taking a deep dive into the melancholy (and beautiful) short story “Gooseberries” (1898), by the Russian genius Anton Chekhov.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

180 Donald Barthelme

Donald Barthelme’s “The Balloon” (1966) is one of the strangest and most enduring short stories to come out of the second half of the twentieth century. Filled with Barthelme’s gift for observation and detail, his wild imagination, and his playful wit, “The Balloon” represents for many the work of a postmodern master at his postmodern peak. But who was Donald Barthelme? Why were “The Balloon” and his other stories so popular? And are these postmodern stories interesting merely as a reflection of their era, or do they still have meaning for us today? Mike Palindrome joins us for a discussion of Donald Barthelme and “The Balloon.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

177 Sherwood Anderson (with Alyson Hagy)

One hundred years ago, a collection of short stories by a little-known author from Ohio burst onto the literary scene, causing a minor scandal for their sexual frankness. In the years since, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919) became more famous for its insightful portrayal of a town filled with friendly but solitary individuals, who wrestle with questions of love and lust, art and ambition, deep frustrations and the desire for spiritual uplift. How well have these stories held up? And how well do they speak to us today? We’ll talk with Alyson Hagy, author of the new novel Scribe, about this often overlooked American masterpiece – and we’ll see how it’s informed her own writing career.

SHERWOOD ANDERSON (1876-1941) grew up in a small town in Ohio before leaving in a state of desperation for Chicago and a literary career. His novels and short stories were often cited by the next generation of American writers (Wolfe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald) as helping them to develop their own literary voice.

ALYSON HAGY was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of eight works of fiction, including Scribe and Boleto. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

176 William Carlos Williams (“The Use of Force”)

Today, the American modernist poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) is famous among poetry fans for his vivid, economical poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say.” But for most of his lifetime, he struggled to achieve success comparable to those of his contemporaries Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. Toiling away as a physician in working-class neighborhoods in New Jersey, Williams tried to write poems and short stories whenever he could, often typing for a few minutes in between patient visits. In this episode of The History of Literature, Jacke and Mike take a look at Williams’s incredible short story “The Use of Force,” in which a physician wrestles with a young patient determined to preserve her secret at all costs.

NOTE: This is another self-contained episode of The History of Literature! We read the story for you – no need to read it yourself first (unless you want to!).

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.