347 The Prisoner and His Prize – The Story of O Henry (with Jenny Minton Quigley)

William Sidney Porter (1862-1910) packed a lot of life into his 47 years, traveling from a childhood in North Carolina to work as a rancher and bank teller in Texas to a desperate escape to Honduras, where he hoped to avoid federal prosecution for embezzlement. Eventually he spent three years in prison, where he began writing short stories under the name “O. Henry.” By the time he emerged he was nationally famous, and his subsequent years in New York City, where he wrote “The Gift of the Magi” among many other popular stories, were highly productive. After his death, his friends started a prize in his name, and today the annual prize – along with the volume of prizewinning short stories – has become a fixture on the American literary landscape.

In this episode, Series Editor Jenny Minton Quigley joins Jacke to discuss O. Henry and the prize in his name, which has been retooled for 2021. Jenny describes the fiction she and her colleagues reviewed, the state of the American short story, and the influence that this year’s guest editor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, had on the finished product, The Best Short Stories 2021: The O. Henry Prize Winners.

 

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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346 For Whom the Beast Leaps

John Marcher has been waiting all his life for something rare and strange to happen to him – something that will leap out of the darkness and attack him like a Beast in a Jungle. His friend May Bartram has agreed to wait with him. Together, the pair have been analyzing and enduring this unusual life-situation for years…until finally the Beast appears, first to her, and then to him.

In this episode, Jacke concludes the three-part series on the Henry James masterpiece “The Beast in the Jungle,” reading the end of the story and relating the tantalizing connections to Henry James’s own relationship with fellow author and close friend Constance Fenimore Woolson. But don’t worry! If you missed the first two parts, you can find them in the archive or just start here – Jacke provides everything you need to know. Enjoy!

 

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

 

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345 Great Literary Centuries (with Mike Palindrome)

How’s literature doing these days? Does the twenty-first century look as good for literature as the nineteenth did? How about the seventeenth? And the twentieth was no slouch… In this episode, Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a discussion of the Top 10 Greatest Literary Centuries, starting from the year 1000 and continuing to the present day.

 

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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344 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Beast

A man has lived his life convinced that something rare and strange lies in wait for him – a monumental catastrophe that has never happened to anyone before. He shares his secret apprehension with one person, until his fear begins to dominate her life as well. What will happen to him? To her? To them?

In this episode, Jacke continues his review of Henry James’s amazing novella “The Beast in the Jungle.” (Don’t worry if you haven’t listened to the first part – this one has everything you need!)

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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343 The Feast in the Jungle

Squirrel-voiced waiter-host Jacke Wilson invites his listeners to a literary feast! In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Henry James’s long-short-story masterpiece, “The Beast in the Jungle.” (Don’t worry if you’ve never read the story or haven’t been able to find room in your heart for Henry James before–this episode is for anyone hungry enough to listen!)

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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342 The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (with Laura Marsh)

In the aftermath of World War II, author Graham Greene was in personal and professional agony. His marriage was on the rocks, his soul was struggling to find its home, and his restless spirit had taken him into the bedrooms of multiple women. After several tumultuous years (“grotesquely complicated” was how he described his personal life), he sat down to record his feelings about one lover in particular, the wealthy (and married) American heiress, Catherine Walston. The result was one of the most powerful, suspenseful, and moving novels of all time. In this episode, Jacke talks to Laura Marsh about the enduring appeal of The End of the Affair.

Laura Marsh is the literary editor of The New Republic and co-host of the podcast “The Politics of Everything.” She has written for the New York Review of Books, The Nation, Dissent, The Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review. Previously she was an editor at the New York Review of Books.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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341 Constance and Henry – The Story of “Miss Grief”

In the immediate aftermath of her death at the age of 53, Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was considered one of the greatest writers of her day, but her reputation soon faded. A hundred years later, she was little more than a footnote in her friend Henry James’s biography, until scholars began to rediscover her life and works. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at one of her most famous short stories, “Miss Grief,” in which an aspiring writer of artistic ambition seeks out the opinion and assistance of a more established author. The story, written after Woolson had tried unsuccessfully to meet James for the first time, is often viewed as anticipatory of the relationship that she and James went on to have.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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340 Forgotten Women of Literature 5 – Constance Fenimore Woolson

When she died tragically at the age of 53, Constance Fenimore Woolson was ranked with the greatest female writers of all time, including Jane Austen, George Eliot, and the Brontes. What happened to her reputation after that? Did her friend Henry James sink her reputation as an author and a person? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the hugely successful (and now often overlooked) nineteenth-century American author Constance Fenimore Woolson.

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

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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339 Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was one of the most famous American writers of the mid-twentieth century. As a key member of a group of writers known as the “Beat Generation,” his works explored the role of the individual in post-war America. His most famous work, On the Road (1957), has sold millions of copies and continues to inspire seekers of nonconformity and spiritual uplift. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and works of the King of the Beats, and along the way offers some thoughts on how to read literature from the past, even when the churning world progresses past some (but not all) of the ideas within.

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

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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338 Finding Yourself in Hollywood (with Meg Tilly)

Jacke talks to actress and novelist Meg Tilly about her unusual childhood, her life as a ballet dancer and Hollywood star, and her current life writing thrillers in the peaceful Pacific Northwest.

THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is the pulse-pounding story of a brave woman who finds herself falling for a big-shot film director while trying to stay one step ahead of the man who will do anything to find her.

Meg Tilly may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include The Big Chill, Valmont, and, more recently, Bomb Girls and the Netflix movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. After publishing six standout young adult and literary women’s fiction novels, the award-winning author/actress decided to write the kind of books she loves to read: romance novels. Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

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