History of Literature #111 – The Americanest American – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In 1984, the literary scholar Harold Bloom had this to say about Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Emerson is the mind of our climate, the principal source of the American difference in poetry, criticism and pragmatic post-philosophy…. Emerson, by no means the greatest American writer… is the inescapable theorist of all subsequent American writing. From his moment to ours, American authors either are in his tradition, or else in a counter-tradition originating in opposition to him.” Who was Emerson? How did he become so influential? What did he unlock in American literature? And what can we take from his works today?

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

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History of Literature #110 – The Heart of Darkness – Then And Now

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Jacke and Mike discuss Joseph Conrad’s short novel Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, and Eleanor Coppola’s documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. Then Jacke offers some thoughts on the recent events in Charlottesville, compares them with the themes in Conrad, and argues that America’s “new normal” might be best understood as an existential journey for the twenty-first century.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

History of Literature #109 – Women of Mystery (with Christina Kovac)

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Author Christina Kovac (The Cutaway: A Thriller) joins Jacke for a discussion of crime fiction, writing a strong female protagonist, working in the local news business, and her “holy trinity” of female crime writers: Laura Lippmann, Tana French, and Megan Abbott.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

History of Literature #108 – Beowulf (aka Need a Hero? Get a Grip…)

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The poem called Beowulf (ca. 850 AD) was composed in Old English during what is known as the Middle Ages. Telling the tale of a hero who fights two monsters and a dragon, the three-thousand-line poem is traditionally viewed as one of the few bits of brightness in an otherwise dark age. Set in Scandinavia, the poem offers a tantalizing window into a culture undergoing a transition, as the Anglo-Saxon speaker embraces the newly adopted religion Christianity while nevertheless expressing nostalgia for the heroic days of yore. Jacke Wilson takes a look at the classic poem Beowulf and the questions it raises today.

Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Support the show at patreon.com/literature.

 

History of Literature #107 – The Man and the Myth – Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle (with Mattias Bostrom)

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Continuing our series on literary myths, we’re joined by Mattias Bostrom, author of From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, for a conversation about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his astonishing creation, Sherlock Holmes.

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Show Notes: 

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

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Music Credits:

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