History of Literature #119 – The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Very few works of art have had the cultural and literary impact of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. An immediate success upon its publication in 1951, and popular with teenagers (and adults) ever since, the book has sold over 65 million copies – and inadvertently led to two notorious assassination attempts in the 1980s. Have we moved beyond The Catcher in the Rye? Are its innovations still as fresh as they once were? Do its themes of alienation and disaffection still resonate? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a reconsideration of the book that critic Adam Gopnik called “one of three perfect American novels.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!

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History of Literature #118 – Oscar’s Ghost – The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy (with Laura Lee)

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In Episode 87, we looked at the trials of Oscar Wilde and how they led to his eventual imprisonment and tragically early death. This episode picks up where that one left off, as the incarcerated Wilde writes a manuscript, De Profundis, that eventually leads to a bitter feud between two of his former friends and lovers. Laura Lee, author of Oscar’s Ghost: The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy, joins Jacke to discuss De Profundis, the battle between Lord Alfred Douglas and Wilde’s literary executor Robert Ross, and how Wilde’s legacy grew out of a web of blackmail, revenge, jealousy, resentment, and high courtroom drama.

Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

FOR A LIMITED TIME: Special holiday news! Now for a limited time, you can purchase History of Literature swag (mugs, tote bags, and “virtual coffees” for Jacke) at historyofliterature.com/shop. Get yours today!

History of Literature #117 – Machiavelli and The Prince

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Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) went from being a little-known functionary to one of the most famous and controversial political theorists of all time. His masterpiece Il Principe (or in English, The Prince) has been read, studied, and argued about for 500 years. “A guidebook for statesmen,” said Benito Mussolini. “A handbook for gangsters,” said Bertrand Russell. Why has The Prince been so successful? What does it say about leadership and the role of government and the governed? And what is its relevance today? Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at the disarmingly straightforward text of The Prince – and the experience of reading it during a turbulent time.

Support the show at patreon.com/literature. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.