426 Matsuo Bashō – Haiku’s Greatest Master

In addition to being what is probably the most widely used poetic form, haiku is almost certainly the most often misunderstood. In this episode, Jacke examines the life and works of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), haiku’s greatest master, as he sorts through his thoughts on the uses (and potential misuses) of the haiku form. What makes much of it so bad? And how does that differ from what is truly great?

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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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425 Tom Stoppard (with Scott Carter)

Born Tomáš Sträussler, in what was then Czechoslovakia, celebrated playwright Tom Stoppard (1937- ) became one of the best known British playwrights in the world. Known for his with and humor, his facility with language, and the depth of his philosophical inquiries, he found success with plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Coast of Utopia, The Invention of Love, and The Real Thing. He has also been a successful writer for radio, television, and film, with scripts like Shakespeare in Love and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade benefiting from his eye for drama and ear for dialogue. In this episode, Jacke talks to television producer and playwright Scott Carter about his admiration for Tom Stoppard’s life and works.

Additional listening suggestions:

Samuel Beckett
114 Christopher Marlowe
353 Oscar Wilde in Prison (with Scott Carter)

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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424 Karel Čapek (with Ian Coss)

Czech novelist Karel Čapek (1890-1938) might be best known as the pioneering science fiction writer who first coined the term “robot.” But readers have long appreciated the transcendent humanity of his works. “There was no writer like him,” Arthur Miller once said, “prophetic assurance mixed with surrealistic humor and hard-edged social satire: a unique combination…a joy to read.” In this episode, Jacke talks to podcast producer Ian Coss about the life of Karel Čapek, his contributions to literature, and how Čapek’s celebrated novel War with the Newts inspired Ian’s audio fiction series Newts, a farcical, yet deadly serious tale about an alternate history of the 1930s, in which the Western world discovers, exploits, educates, arms, and is ultimately overthrown by a species of highly intelligent, three-foot tall salamanders. SPECIAL BONUS CONTENT: We conclude the episode with a trailer for Newts.

Additional listening suggestions:

Subscribe to Newts at the following links:

Help support the History of Literature Podcast 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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423 Roger Ebert

Jacke spends his birthday reflecting on Chicago film critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013), the Judd Apatow show Freaks and Geeks, and other literature-and-life topics. Enjoy!

Additional listening suggestions:

421 HOL Goes to the Movies
79 Music that Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
149 Raising Readers (aka The Power of Literature in an Imperfect World

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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422 Wallace Stegner (with Melodie Edwards)

During his lifetime, Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) became famous for his prizewinning fiction and autobiographical works; his dedication to environmental causes; and his initiation of the creative writing program at Stanford University that bears his name. His most celebrated works, including Angle of Repose, The Spectator Bird, and Crossing to Safety are still much-loved and widely read – even as accusations have emerged that in at least one instance, Stegner appropriated and plagiarized the work of another writer. In this episode, Jacke talks to Melodie Edwards, independent bookstore owner and host of the Peabody-nominated, Murrow-winning podcast The Modern West (produced by Wyoming Public Radio and PRX) about the “dean of American western writing” and his complicated legacy.

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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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421 HOL Goes to the Movies (A Best-of Episode with Brian Price, Meg Tilly, and Mike Palindrome)

Summertime! The season for watching blockbuster movies in arctic conditions, heart-pounding suspense flicks that heat the blood, and cool-breeze dramas that stir the soul. In this best-of episode, Jacke celebrates the summer with portions of conversations with three previous guests, Brian Price, Meg Tilly, and Mike Palindrome.

Additional listening suggestions:

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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420 Honoré de Balzac (with Carlos Allende)

Very few novelists can match the ambition or output of French novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850). A pioneer of the great nineteenth-century “realism” tradition, his novel sequence La Comédie Humaine presents a panoramic view of post-Napoleonic France. Containing something like 90 finished novels and novellas, Balzac’s achievement has influenced writers like Hugo, Dickens, Flaubert, and Henry James. In this episode, Jacke talks to contemporary novelist Carlos Allende (Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love) about his love for Balzac and his works.

Additional listening suggestions:

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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419 Christina Rossetti

It’s the Christina Rossetti episode! Jacke finally musters up the energy to finish what he started, and takes a look at one of the great poets of the Victorian era (and the creator of “Goblin Market,” one of the strangest poems he has ever read. How did this seemingly prim, even matronly woman, known for her religious devotion and for rejecting three suitors on mostly religious grounds, come to write such a bizarre and hedonistic poem? What did she say about posing for the pre-Raphaelites and their paintings? What did John Ruskin and Virginia Woolf say about her? Let’s find out!

Additional listening suggestions:

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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418 “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

Because Jacke could not stop for the scheduled episode topics, a certain poem kindly stopped for him. Luckily it’s one of the greatest poems of all time! It’s by the 19th-century American genius Emily Dickinson, and it packs into seven short stanzas a journey through life, death, and the cosmos.

Read a copy of the poem here:

Because I could not stop for Death – (479)

Additional listening suggestions:

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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417 What Happened on Roanoke Island? (with Kimberly Brock)

It’s one of the great mysteries in American history. The “lost colony” of Roanoke Island, where 120 or so men, women, and children living in the first permanent English settlement in North America simply disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a mysterious word carved into a tree trunk. While historians remain baffled, speculation has run rampant, with everything from massacre to relocation to space alien abduction taking their turns as potential theories. What happened to those people? And is there any way to tell their story? In this episode, Jacke talks to author Kimberly Brock about her novel The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare, which extends the mystery of Roanoke and its legacy from the late seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth.

Additional listening suggestions:

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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