The History of Literature #157 – Travel Books (with Mike Palindrome)

“The world is a book,” said Augustine, “and those who do not travel read only one page.” But what about books ABOUT traveling? Do they double the pleasure? Transport us to a different place? Inspire and enchant? Or are they more like a forced march through someone else’s interminable photo album? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins us for a look at his literary journey to London and Stockholm, summer reading, and a draft of the greatest travel books of all time.

Works and authors discussed include As You Like It by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy by C.L. Barber, Virginia Woolf, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Bill Bryson, Herodotus, Rick Steves, Eat Pray Love, Under a Tuscan Sun, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, My Life in Franceby Julia Child, Invisible Cities and other works by Italo Calvino, The Travels of Marco Polo, Patricia Highsmith, James Joyce, Henry James, Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, Another Day of Life by Kapuscinski, What Is the What by Dave Eggers, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, Roots by Alex Haley, Under the Tuscan SunA Sentimental Journey by Laurence Stern, the Let’s Go series, the Lonely Planet series, Across Asia on the CheapInto the Wild and other works by Jon Krakauer, the Odyssey, Mark Twain, India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, A Room with a View, Kingsley Amis, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, The Way of the White Clouds by Lama Anagarika Govinda.

Blasphemous! Hear the original discussion of Shakespeare’s comedies in Episode 83 – Overrated! Top 10 Books You Don’t Need To Read.

Nabokov’s Lolita gets a day in the sun in Episode 112 – The Novelist and the Witch Doctor – Unpacking Nabokov’s Case Against Freud (with Joshua Ferris).

A trip through Tibet? Reading Madame Bovary? Yes indeed. Hear the whole story in Episode 79 – Music that Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

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.

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The History of Literature #156 – The Sonnet

“A sonnet,” said the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “is a moment’s monument.” But who invented the sonnet? Who brought it to prominence? How has it changed over the years? And why does this form continue to be so compelling? In this episode of the History of Literature, we take a brief look at one of literature’s most enduring forms, from its invention in a Sicilian court to the wordless sonnet and other innovative uses.

Professor Bill walked us through a sonnet by Robert Hayden in Episode 97 – Dad Poetry (with Professor Bill).

One of the world’s great sonneteers, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, had her moment in Episode 95 – The Runaway Poets – The Triumphant Love Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the lovers whose first words to one another magically form a perfect sonnet, found one another in Episode 53 – Romeo and Juliet.

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 #155 – Plato

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“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition,” said Alfred North Whitehead, “is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” We’ve all heard the name of Plato and his famous mentor Socrates, and most of us have encountered the dialogues, a literary-philosophical form he essentially invented. We know the themes he advanced, his general views of metaphysics, and his interest in knowledge and its importance as a virtue. But what do we know about Plato the man? How did this person come to write works that would be read and wrestled with more than two thousand years later? And how do Plato’s literary skills help to deepen his arguments and enrich his narratives?  In this episode of The History of Literature, we look at the fascinating figure of Plato and his great mentor/creation, Socrates.

Like Greek thought and literature? Try Episode 4 – Sappho.

Stop the presses! Go back even further in time to Episode 3 – Homer.

Like philosophy and philosophers? Try Episode 117 – Machiavelli and The Prince.

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 #154 – John Milton

John Milton (1608 – 1674) was a revolutionary, a republican, an iconoclast, a reformer, and a  brilliant polemicist, who fearlessly took on both church and king. And he ranks among the greatest poets of all time, a peer of Shakespeare and Homer. Philip Pullman, the author who named his trilogy (His Dark Materials) after a Miltonic phrase, said, “No one, not even Shakespeare, surpasses him in his command of the sound, the music, the weight and taste and texture of English words.” In this episode of the History of Literature, we look at the life and works of one of the seventeenth-century’s greatest individuals.

For more on Satan as a runaway character in Milton’s masterpiece Paradise Lost, try Episode 132 – Top 10 Literary Villains.

We covered the OG blind bard Homer all the way back in Episode 3 – Homer.

For another seventeenth-century writer (who isn’t Shakespeare), try Episode 91 In Which John Donne Decides to Write About a Flea.

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.