History of Literature #90 – Mark Twain’s Final Request

 

In 1910, the American author Mark Twain took to his bed in his Connecticut home. Weakened by disease and no longer able to write, the legendary humorist (and author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), made a final request. What was the request? And what does it tell us about the life and career of a great writer? Host Jacke Wilson explores the mystery.

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History of Literature #89 – Primo Levi

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Primo Levi (1919-1987) lived quietly and wrote with restraint. An Italian Jewish writer, professional chemist, and Holocaust survivor, he was, said Italo Calvino, “one of the most important and gifted writers of our time.” Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at his life, his mysterious death, and his most important works, including If This Is a Man (US title: Survival in Auschwitz) and The Periodic Table, named by the Royal Institution of Great Britain as the greatest science book ever written.

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History of Literature #88 – The Harlem Renaissance

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The Harlem Renaissance, the great flowering of African American arts and culture in the early twentieth century, is hard to define and easy to admire. Coupled with the Great Migration, in which hundreds of thousands of Southern black workers moved to the rapidly industrializing cities of the North, the Harlem Renaissance was a time of great artistic expression, as musicians, visual artists, and writers forged a new consciousness. The works they produced reflected a spirit of change, progress, and optimism – but underlying the excitement were also a sense of struggle; reflective themes of nostalgia, guilt, and regret; and a clear-eyed view of racial relations in American culture. Host Jacke Wilson looks at the works of Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and the many others who turned Harlem into the center of a worldwide movement.

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History of Literature #87 – Man in Love: The Passions of D.H. Lawrence

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The Edwardian novelist D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) lived and wrote with the fury of a thousand suns. His novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, and The Rainbow are commonly regarded as some of the greatest novels in literature – and for Lawrence, who also wrote eight other novels, ten collections of short stories, and 800 poems, they were only a fraction of his volcanic outpouring of words and ideas. How did this son of a barely literate coal miner end up one of the most prolific and sensational writers ever to have lived? What fueled his passions? How did he channel his highly imaginative world views into his novels? And what are we to make of him today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the man who called himself a “savage pilgrim.”

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Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature postcard as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last!

Show Notes: 

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

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

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC.

Music Credits:

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

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

History of Literature #86 – Don Juan in Literature (aka The Case of the Red-Hot Lover)

From his earliest days as a popular legend, through many appearances in drama and poetry and fiction and film, the sexual conquistador Don Juan has been the vehicle for authors and artists to wrestle with themes like sexual desire, guilt, honor, gender relations, and the psychology of an unrepentant sinner. Early versions of Don Juan condemned this profligate lover to hell, but as society’s views of morality evolved, so too did Don Juan, with some fascinating results. Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the many faces of Don Juan, from the character’s earliest stage appearance in 1630 to the recent Jersey Boy incarnation in the film version Don Jon (2013), with stops along the way for Moliere, Mozart, Goldoni, George Bernard Shaw, Sam Malone from Cheers – and of course, the great “satiric epic” Don Juan, written by the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Lord Byron.

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Write a review on iTunes (or another site), then send us an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com to receive your free History of Literature card as a thank you gift. Act now while supplies last!

Show Notes:  Continue reading