38 Literary Duos (Part Two)

When are two artists or characters more than the sum of their parts? How is that magic created? And what does it mean for the rest of us? Part two of a conversation with host Jacke Wilson and his guest, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, on great literary duos.

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

37 Literary Duos (Part One)

What makes a great literary duo? Two authors inspiring one another? Two characters who fall in love? Best friends? Rivals? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by the President of the Literature of the Supporters Club to discuss. Jacke and Mike also respond to a listener question about building a World Literature syllabus. But first, Jacke draws upon some listener feedback to take a look at the condition America’s condition is in. What kind of country gives a goldfish plastic surgery?

This episode is dedicated to a certain special someone. Thank you, Mr. Hot Wing.

Works Discussed:

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

The Arabian Nights

Moon Palace by Paul Auster

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Blow-Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

Zadig by Voltaire

The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer

The Decameron by Boccaccio

Orientalism by Edward Said

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

“The Thousand and One Nights” by Jorge Luis Borges

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

“The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Sheherezade” by Edgar Allen Poe

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

The Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

36 Poetry and Empire (Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Petronius, Catullus)

What happens when a republic morphs into empire? What did it mean for the writers of Ancient Rome – and what would it mean for us today? Jacke Wilson takes a look at the current state of affairs in America and the Roman examples of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Petronius, and Catullus.

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Drums of the Deep” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

35 A Conversation with Ronica Dhar

In this episode, Jacke welcomes special guest Ronica Dhar, who presents Five Books (or actually Four Books and a Movie) To Lower Your Blood Pressure. Highlights include a poem by Ronica’s former teacher and mentor, letters to a samurai written by a zen master who invented a type of pickle, and a fourteenth-century Kashmiri mystic who wrestled with God and her in-laws with a fierceness that would have made Beyoncé proud.

Ronica Dhar graduated from the University of Chicago and was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan where she received the Meijer award and the Hopwood award.  Her first book, Bijou Roy, was called a “thoughtful, elegant novel” by the author Ann Patchett. After years spent living in Washington D.C. and New York City, Ronica recently returned to Detroit, the city of her childhood.

Works Discussed:

Bijou Roy (Ronica Dhar)

Praise Song for the Day (Elizabeth Alexander)

Aleutian Sparrow (Karen Hesse)

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (tr. Ranjit Hoskote)

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman  (Takuan Soho)

Samsara  (directed by Ron Fricke)

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

34 Borges and the Search for Meaning

When times are tough, what does literature have for us? Jacke takes a break from the history of literature to reflect on a death in his family, the loss of Sir George Martin, and some thoughts on the meaning of life from Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges.

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Works Discussed:

A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Danse Macabre – Sad Part” and “Lone Harvest” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Pepperland” (Martin)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

33 – The Bhagavad Gita

Written over the span of 800 years from ca. 400 B.C. to ca. 400 A.D, the Mahabharata tells a riveting tale of disputed kingship and warring families. But just as the action-packed narrative reaches its climax, the story pauses to convey a dialogue between the reluctant warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna, who dramatically reveals himself as the incarnation of God. This passage, known as the Bhagavad Gita, has proved inspirational to hundreds of millions of religious seekers and was regarded by philosophers from Henry David Thoreau to Mahatma Gandhi as perhaps the greatest distillation of philosophy and religion ever written.

How does this philosophical treatise fit into this fast-paced story? What lessons does it have for us? And how did a two-thousand-year-old argument that a warrior should fulfill his duty on the battlefield end up inspiring some of the most famous advocates of non-violence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Books Discussed:

The Bhagavad Gita (tr. Easwaran)

Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (tr. Mitchell)

The Norton Anthology of World Literature (Third Edition) (Vol. Package 1: Vols. A, B, C)

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

32 The Best Debut Novels of All Time (A Conversation with the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club)

What makes a great first novel? Which do we prefer: the freshness of a new style (even if it contains mistakes), or the demonstration of competence (even if it breaks no new ground)? Does it matter if the book is the best (or only) novel by that author? Or do we prefer the debuts that initiated a long, distinguished career? Join host Jacke Wilson for a conversation with his friend, the President of the Literature Supporters’ Club, on the best debut novels in the history of literature.

Books Discussed:

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Broom of the System: A Novel by David Foster Wallace

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O’Connor

Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Dangling Man by Saul Bellow

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner

White Teeth: A Novel by Zadie Smith

Brick Lane: A Novel by Monica Ali

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Speedboat by Renata Adler

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Roderick Hudson by Henry James

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Adam Bede by George Eliot

Childhood by Leo Tolstoy

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Sweeter Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

31 Secret Societies!

We thought we were done with conspiracies and conspiracy theories – but that was before we heard more about Justice Scalia’s bizarre final days. What hold do secret societies have over our imagination? Why do people join them? And what are we to make of those who do? Jacke Wilson takes another dive into the rabbit hole of mystery, intrigue, and the crazy world of a four-hundred-year-old secret society.

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Drums of the Deep”  and “This House” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

30 More Conspiracy!

What do Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, Stephen King, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Justice Antonin Scalia have in common? Jacke Wilson connects the dots with another look at conspiracy literature, literary conspiracies, and the people who love them. (Part 2 of 2.)

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Drums of the Deep”  and “This House” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

29 Conspiracy!

Who runs things? Well, okay, sure…but who really runs things?

Conspiracy theories fascinate us with their possibilities, thrill us with their sense of unveiling secrets, and tap into some of our deepest anxieties and psychological needs. And sometimes, they turn out to be true. Jacke Wilson takes a break from the history of literature to examine the nature of conspiracy theories and their role in literature and the literary life. (Part 1 of 2.)

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Corruption” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail