The History of Literature #169 – Dostoevsky

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881) was, in the estimation of James Joyce, “the man more than any other who has created modern prose.” “Outside Shakespeare,” Virginia Woolf wrote, “there is no more exciting reading.” His influence is as impossible to understand as it is to overstate: he is widely credited as the forerunner of modern psychology, existentialist philosophy, the detective novel, and the prison memoir – and is, by any measure, one of the pinnacles of Russian literature. In this episode of The History of Literature, we consider the life and works of one of the greatest novelists the world has ever known.

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.

Advertisements

The History of Literature #168 – Jhumpa Lahiri (“The Third and Final Continent”)

What was it like to relocate from India to London to America in the early 1970s? And how can a daughter hope to recapture the experience of her father and convey it in fiction? In today’s episode of the History of Literature, Jacke and Mike look at a contemporary classic story, Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Third and Final Continent.” Along the way, they discuss the tropes of immigrant fiction, the pros and cons of epiphany stories, and whether a story is a “city” or “an old friend.” (Yes, that’s another one of Mike’s special theories.)

JHUMPA LAHIRI was born in 1967 in London, England, the daughter of Bengali Indian emigrants. She moved to the United States when she was two years old and grew up in Rhode Island. A graduate of Boston University, she began writing and publishing her stories of first-generation Indian-American immigrants in the 1990s. Her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, was a huge critical and commercial success, selling over 15 million copies and earning Lahiri the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

NOTE: This is a self-contained episode of The History of Literature, in which both the story and a discussion of it are provided. No prior reading necessary (unless you’d like to)!

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.

The History of Literature #167 – F Scott Fitzgerald (“Babylon Revisited”)

LOGO-COVERS

What happens when the party is over? Can you ever truly escape your past? Jacke and Mike take a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1931 story of guilt and melancholy, “Babylon Revisited.”

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940) was the quintessential Jazz Age writer. While he’s known today primarily as the author of the near-perfect novel The Great Gatsby, in his lifetime he was far more famous for his short stories, which millions of readers encountered through big-circulation magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. Fitzgerald published 65 stories in The Saturday Evening Post, including “Babylon Revisited,” which tells the story of an American father living in post-Crash Paris, hoping for a reunion with his nine-year-old daughter–but fearing the reminders from his past that might make that impossible.

NOTE: This is a self-contained episode of The History of Literature, in which both the story and a discussion of it are provided. No reading necessary (unless you’d prefer it that way)!

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.

The History of Literature #166 – Stephen King (with the Sisters of Slaughter)

LOGO-COVERS

STEPHEN KING (1947- ) was born in the northern state of Maine, where he has lived most of his life. For more than forty years, he has been the world’s leading practitioner of scary fiction. He’s also won numerous awards, including the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Medal of Arts. His books have sold more than 350 million copies.

MICHELLE GARZA and MELISSA LASON (aka the SISTERS OF SLAUGHTER) have been writing horror fiction since they were young girls growing up in rural Arizona. The twin sisters have been widely praised for their demented fairytales and historical hellscapes, including Mayan Blue and Kingdom of Teeth. Their most recent work is a collaborative project, Silverwood: The Door, which delivers serialized fiction in a throwback to the era of Dickens and Little Nell. They are lifelong fans of Stephen King, The X-Files, and werewolves.

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. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

The History of Literature #164 – Karl Marx

LOGO-COVERS

Karl Marx (1818-1883) turned his early interest in literature and philosophy into a lifelong study of the socioeconomic forces unleashed by the rise of capitalism. His works The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, among others, influenced the course of the twentieth century like few others. But who was Karl Marx? How did his ideas become so widespread? And how did his thinking and writing impact literature? We’ll talk about Karl Marx and Marxist Literary Theory with Mike Palindrome, the President of the Literature Supporters Club, who has spent more than twenty years reading literary theory as an amateur enthusiast.

Mike’s recommendations:

  • “Ideological and Ideological State Apparatuses” by Louis Althusser
  • Mythologies by Roland Barthes
  • Debt:  The First 5,000 Years by Daniel Graeber
  • The Political Unconscious by Fredric Jameson
  • Utopia or Bust by Benjamin Kunkel
  • The Year of Dreaming Dangerously by Slavoj Zizek
  • What is to be Done? by Vladimir Lenin

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. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

The History of Literature #163 – Gabriel García Márquez (with Sarah Bird)

In this episode, Jacke welcomes author Sarah Bird to the program to talk about her background, her writing, and her readerly passion for the fiction of the great twentieth-century novelist, Gabriel García Márquez.

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ (1927-2014) was one of the most revered and influential novelists of the twentieth century. Born in a small town in Colombia, which he later made famous as the fictionalized village “Macondo,” he drew upon the stories and storytelling styles of his grandparents and parents to formulate what came to be called “magical realism.” His books One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera have sold tens of millions of copies and stand as a testament to the power of fiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

SARAH BIRD is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, the recipient of the Texas Institute of Letters’ Award for Distinguished Writers, and a six-time winner of the Austin Chronicle’s Best Fiction Writer Award. Her most recent novel, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, tells the story of Cathy Williams, a former slave who disguised herself as a man in order to fight alongside the Buffalo Soldiers.

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. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

 

162 Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was one of the most famous American writers of the twentieth century. His plain, economical prose style–inspired by journalism and the King James Bible, with an assist from the Cezannes he viewed in Gertrude Stein’s apartment–became a hallmark of modernism and changed the course of American literature. In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at an author and novel, The Sun Also Rises (1927), they’ve been reading and discussing for decades.

Want more Hemingway? We took a new look at an old argument in Episode 47 Hemingway vs Fitzgerald.

Love everything about the Lost Generation? Spend some time with the coiner of the phrase in Episode 127 Gertrude Stein.

Rather be tramping through Europe? Try Episode 157 Travel Books (with Mike Palindrome).

Looking for Irving’s New Yorker piece? Visit Literature’s Great Couples on Tinder.

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. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.