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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373 Roald Dahl

Born in Wales to parents of Norwegian descent, Roald Dahl (1916-1990) grew up to become one of England’s most famous writers. Although Dahl was an accomplished writer of short stories for grownups, he is today known best for his well-loved children’s novels, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, BFG, Matilda, and Danny, the Champion of the World. Dahl also had a fascinating past as a WWII fighter pilot, an intelligence agent, and the husband of the Hollywood star (and Academy Award winner) Patricia Neal. What secrets were in his past? What do we find unsavory about him today? And what kind of impact do his books still 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.