391 Mark Twain’s Publishing Fiasco | Great Literary Terms and Devices Part 2 (with Mike Palindrome)

Mark Twain was an enormously successful writer and a horrendous businessperson, with a weakness for gadgets and inventions that cost him a fortune. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at his efforts to start his own publishing company, which started off strong but quickly descended into bankruptcy and ruin. What was he trying to accomplish? And what were the books that brought him down?

After that, Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for part two of a discussion on great literary terms and devices. The two old friends recount the first ten they chose and – tongues firmly in cheek – select THE GREATEST LITERARY TERMS OF ALL TIME, numbers 11-20.

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390 Victor Hugo

In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Victor Hugo (1802-1885), whose poetry, plays, and novels made him one of the leaders of the nineteenth-century Romantic movement. In addition to his famous novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, we also look at some of his lesser known works; his family background; the legend of his conception in a Roman temple atop a mountain; his belief in the transformation of poetry throughout the history of human civilization; and the gusto with which he approached both life and literature.

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389 Thomas Pynchon (with Antoine Wilson)

“A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.” Such is the opening of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), the novel that won the National Book Award but repulsed the Pulitzer Prize Committee. Pynchon’s special blend of paranoia and postmodernism made him one of the hallmark authors of the Cold War era. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Pynchon’s life and works, then is joined by a contemporary author, Antoine Wilson (Mouth to Mouth), for a discussion of his writing process and his recent trip to Pynchonland.

ANTOINE WILSON is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris ReviewStoryQuarterlyBest New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Los Angeles. His website is: AntoineWilson.com.

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388 Sense and Sensibility

“I am never too busy to think of S&S,” Jane Austen wrote to her sister, referring to her 1811 novel by its initials, “I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child.” Sense & Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first published novel. First begun when she was in the throes of her doomed dalliance with Thomas Lefroy, the novel contains the familiar Austen project of a Hero, a Heroine, a Search for Love, and the Obstacle Called Money. In this case, the heroines are two sisters named Elinor and Marianne, representing the “sense” (prudence, restraint) and “sensibility” (passion, impulsiveness) of the title.

In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the writing of Sense & Sensibility; the still common themes contained within this classic novel; and the 1995 film adaptation, in which Emma Thompson, herself in the midst of an Austen-like entanglement, nevertheless drives a shiv into Jacke’s battered old heart.

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387 Loving Virginia Woolf | Fashion in Literature (with Lauren S. Cardon)

What’s it like to be in love with a genius? How does one express oneself? Jacke takes a look at a beautiful 1926 love letter that Vita Sackville-West sent to Virginia Woolf. Then Professor Lauren S. Cardon, author of FASHIONING CHARACTER: Style, Performance, and Identity in Contemporary American Literature, stops by for a discussion of how authors use fashion choices to reveal character – and how this has changed over time.

Lauren S. Cardon is Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama and the author of Fashion and Fiction: Self-Transformation in Twentieth-Century American Literature and The “White Other” in American Intermarriage Stories, 1945-2008.

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386 Gogol’s Ukrainian Nights | HOL Presents “Mysteries of a Merlin Manuscript” (A Book Dreams Podcast)

Jacke takes a look at Nikolai Gogol’s early stories about his native Ukraine, including two famous descriptions of Ukrainian nights. Then Jacke turns things over to Eve and Julie from the Book Dreams Podcast, as they interview a scholar about a surprising find: in 2019, a librarian in Bristol discovered four scraps of parchment bearing the names “Merlin” and “Arthur.” Their guest, Dr. Laura Chuhan Campbell, was part of an interdisciplinary team working to determine the origins and significance of these medieval manuscripts.

Learn more about the Book Dreams Podcast at https://www.bookdreamspodcast.com/

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385 The Gettysburg Address

In November of 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln boarded a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His heart was heavy with the cost of two years of a bitter civil war, his body fatigued and feverish from what was likely the onset of smallpox. In the midst of personal grief and political turmoil, he drafted and delivered one of the greatest political speeches ever written. In roughly 270 words, the Gettysburg Address (or “America’s Gospel,” as Tom Brokaw called it) managed to pay tribute to fallen soldiers, dedicate a cemetery in their honor, and crystallize the central dilemma at the heart of the American experiment. In this episode, Jacke looks at ten sentences that defined a nation and asked it to look deeply into its past, its future, and its soul.

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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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384 A Writer’s Tools – Top 10 Literary Terms and Devices | PLUS F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Writing Advice

Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club, joins Jacke to select the top 10 literary terms and devices of all time. PLUS Jacke reads a letter to a young writer from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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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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383 The Radical Woman Who Wrote ‘Goodnight Moon’ – The Story of Margaret Wise Brown (with the New Yorker’s Anna Holmes)

“Goodnight comb and goodnight brush…And goodnight to the old lady whispering hush…Goodnight moon..”

Telling the “story” of a darkening room at bedtime, Goodnight Moon (1947) has gone from near obscurity to selling close to a million copies a year. But if you thought – as Jacke did – that the author of this odd, quiet book was probably something of a quiet old lady whispering hush herself, you couldn’t be more wrong. Margaret Wise Brown was radical young woman who blew her money on furs and trips to Europe, had long-term relationships with both men and women, and spent her weekends hunting rabbits. In this episode, Anna Holmes, who wrote about Margaret Wise Brown for the New Yorker, joins Jacke to discuss the surprising story behind a beloved children’s classic.

Be sure to read Anna Holmes’s essay about Margaret Wise Brown’s life and works in the New Yorker.

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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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382 Forbidden Victorian Love (with Mimi Matthews) | The Poet Who Hated Love | Does Margot Still Love Boswell and Johnson

Love is all around! On podcasts as well as holidays… In this episode, Jacke talks to USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews about her love for the Victorian era and how that fueled her latest work, the historical romance The Siren of Sussex, in which an ambitious equestrienne teams up with a devastatingly handsome half-Indian dressmaker to take London society by storm – unless their professional plans are thwarted by their amorous propensities toward one another. Jacke also checks in with friend of the show Margot Livesey about her first reading of the classic biography Life of Johnson by her fellow Scot, James Boswell – does it still hold up? And finally, Jacke throws a bone to love’s wretched dogs, who might find some company in the misery of ancient Rome’s Catullus, whose love for “Lesbia” placed him on the knife edge between self-loathing and despair.

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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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