The History of Literature #197 – Margaret Atwood

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A week ago, Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) turned 80. A month ago, she was awarded the Booker Prize for her eighteenth novel, The Testaments. But how did the little girl who grew up in the forests of Canada turn into one of the most successful and celebrated authors of her day? And what do we make of someone whose fierce independence is matched only by her commitment to defying all stereotypes and categorizations? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and career of the incredible Margaret Atwood.

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.

Music Credits:

“Fuzzball Parade,” “Glitter Blast,” “Magistar,” and “Funkorama” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The History of Literature #196 – One-Hit Wonders

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We all know how difficult it is to scale the mountain of success, whether you’re a musician or a novelist. But why do some artists reach the summit again and again, while others spend the rest of their careers stuck in the valley, gazing up and thinking about what might have been? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at some classic “one-hit wonders” in the world of literature and popular music.

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.

The History of Literature #195 – Thomas Hardy

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He was born to a lower class family of tradesmen in 1840. Eighty eight years later, he died as one of the most celebrated writers in England. His name was Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and he was at the same time the product of the Victorian era and one of its greatest critics. But how did this man go from being a builder and architect to writing poetry and eventually the novels that made him famous? What made this budding young priest turn away from the church? And why, after becoming a successful and highly accomplished novelist did he quit writing novels altogether, turning back to poetry for the remainder of his years?

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.

Music Credits:

“Piano Between” and “Allemande Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The History of Literature #194 – George Saunders

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Jacke and Mike take a look at contemporary author George Saunders, author of Pastoralia, Tenth of December, and Lincoln at the Bardo, In spite of some inauspicious beginnings, Saunders somehow managed to ascend to literary greatness, setting aside a career in mining to become, in the words of poet Mary Karr, “the best short-story writer in English–not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the best.”

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.

Music Credits:

“Quirky Dog” and “Amazing Plan” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The History of Literature #193 – Macbeth

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It’s been called “the great Shakespearean play of stage superstition and uncanniness.” It’s also one of Shakespeare’s four major tragedies, and for more than four hundred years it’s proved horrifying to audiences and captivating to scholars. And it’s a perfect play for October, with witches and prophesies, murder and mayhem, and a madly ambitious would-be king and his fiendish paramour. In this special Halloween episode, host Jacke Wilson takes a look at Shakespeare’s Macbeth: its origins, its inspirations, and the moments of what Dr. Johnson called Shakespeare’s “touches of judgment and genius.”

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.

The History of Literature #192 – Alfred Hitchcock

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Jacke’s joined by the Hall of Fame Guest Mike Palindrome (President of the Literature Supporters Club) for a look at the ten greatest films by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock directed dozens of films, including masterpieces of the suspense genre like Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, Saboteur, Notorious, Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, Lifeboat, Spellbound, The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, and many more. Which ten will make the official History of Literature Podcast list?

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.

The History of Literature #191 – Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe’s first novel Things Fall Apart (1959) ushered in a new era where African countries, which had recently achieved post-colonial independence, now achieved an independence of a different kind – the freedom of imagination and artistry, as African authors told the stories of their geography, their culture, and their experience from the point of view of Africans, and not from the point of view of those who perceived them from only from the outside. “It sparked my love affair with African literature,” Toni Morrison said. Maya Angelou said it was a book where “all readers meet theirr brothers, sisters, parents, and friends – and themselves – along Nigerian roads.” Margaret Atwood called Achebe “a magical writer…One of the greatest of the twentieth century.” And Nelson Mandela, who read Achebe’s works while in captivity, said he was a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down.”

In this episode of The History of Literature, we look at the life and legacy of Chinua Achebe, the impact of Things Fall Apart, and Achebe’s critique of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

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.

Music Credits:

“Unnamed Africa Rhythm” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/