228 England vs France – A Literary Battle Royale

“Our dear enemies,” a French writer once said of the English. Englishman John Cleese called them “our natural enemies” and joked “if we have to fight anyone, I say let’s fight the French.” With the exception of a few big twentieth-century alliances, the French and the English have been at each others’ throats for a thousand years. Occasionally this has meant taking up arms and fighting for land or religion or rule. But what about culture? What if the battlefield were a literary one? What if supremacy was determined not by the sword but by the pen? In this episode, Jacke and Mike choose their sides and get ready to wage a literary battle between two proud, rivalrous, and highly literate nations.

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.


152 George Sand

George Sand wrote an astonishing number of novels and plays, and had friendships and affairs with an astonishing range of men and women. She dressed in men’s clothing, and she inspired a host of 19th century authors and artists, including Russian writers like Turgenev and Dostoevsky and British writers like Mary Ann Evans, who adopted the name George, as in George Eliot, out of tribute to her French predecessor. In this episode of the History of Literature, we travel to 19th Century France, for a look at the life and works of the inimitable and indefatigable George Sand.

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.


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