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/

229 Baldwin v Faulkner

In the 1950s, William Faulkner (1897-1962) was one of most celebrated novelists in America, highly praised for this formal innovation, his prodigious storytelling gifts, and his sweeping, multigenerational portrait of Southern society.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a writer on the rise, youthful and energetic, fearless and incisive, known for essays and commentary as brilliant as his fiction.

In this episode of The History of Literature, we take a look at the public debate surrounding the civil rights movement, which Faulkner addressed in a (purportedly) drunken interview in which he said, “If I have to choose between the United States Government and Mississippi then I’ll choose Mississippi. If it came to fighting I’d fight for Mississippi against the United States, even if it meant going out into the street and shooting Negros.” At calmer points, Faulkner freely acknowledged that desegregation was the correct view “morally, legally, and ethically” but was not, in his view, “practical.”

In 1956, writing in the pages of the Partisan Review, Baldwin responded to these and other Faulkner statements with a brief, dazzling essay “Faulkner and Desegregation,” in which he analyzed Faulkner’s position on race, linked Faulkner’s publicly expressed views to the inner world of the Southerner of the 1950s, and – it became clear a few months later – set the stage for his own efforts to inhabit and portray the mindset of a white Southerner in his fiction.

How does the fiction of these two men work? What did it say about race and power and the precarious balance of a time, a place, and an era? What does understanding this mean for us today? We’ll explore those questions in our next two episodes, where we look at a pair of short stories, Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man.”

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 “Allemande Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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

146 Power Ranking the Nobel Prize for Literature

The Nobel Prize for Literature has a special place in the literary landscape. We revere the prize and its winners – and yet we often find ourselves puzzled by the choices. The list of fantastic writers who never won a Nobel Prize is as long and distinguished as the list of those who did.

In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at the Nobel Prizes by decade, attempting to determine which decade had the best (and worst) group of authors. Do we select your favorites? Overlook some hidden gems? Let us know!

For a list of Nobel Prize Winners for Literature by Decade, visit historyofliterature.com/nobel-prizes-by-decade/

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC.

101 Writers at Work

We’re back! Recovered, rested, and ready to go with a brand new set of 100 episodes. In episode #101, we kick things off with superguest Mike Palindrome of the Literature Supporters Club who joins Jacke for a discussion of writers and their day jobs. How did famous writers earn their living? How did the experience of working help (or hinder) their writing? We look at everything, from the fascinating to the mundane. All this, plus a special trivia contest!

Have you always wanted to support the show? Well, now you can! Just head over to patreon.com/literature to sign up for a modest monthly donation to help me defray costs. All your support is greatly appreciated!

Writers discussed include J.D. Salinger, Jack London, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Douglas Adams, Dorothy L. Sayers, William Carlos Williams, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, Julia Child, Roald Dahl, Zane Grey, Graham Greene, William S. Burroughs, Robert Frost, John Ashberry, Tomas Transtromer, Amy Bloom, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wallace Stevens, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou, Jeffrey Eugenides, James Wood, John LeCarre, Ian Fleming, Elmore Leonard, Harper Lee, Primo Levi, Sebastian Junger, Scott Turow, David Foster Wallace, and Joseph Heller.

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).