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

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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.

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

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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

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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.