Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was one of the most famous American writers of the mid-twentieth century. As a key member of a group of writers known as the “Beat Generation,” his works explored the role of the individual in post-war America. His most famous work, On the Road (1957), has sold millions of copies and continues to inspire seekers of nonconformity and spiritual uplift. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and works of the King of the Beats, and along the way offers some thoughts on how to read literature from the past, even when the churning world progresses past some (but not all) of the ideas within.
Jacke talks to actress and novelist Meg Tilly about her unusual childhood, her life as a ballet dancer and Hollywood star, and her current life writing thrillers in the peaceful Pacific Northwest.
THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is the pulse-pounding story of a brave woman who finds herself falling for a big-shot film director while trying to stay one step ahead of the man who will do anything to find her.
Meg Tilly may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include The Big Chill, Valmont, and, more recently, Bomb Girls and the Netflix movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. After publishing six standout young adult and literary women’s fiction novels, the award-winning author/actress decided to write the kind of books she loves to read: romance novels. Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.
Debut novelist A. Natasha Joukovsky (The Portrait of a Mirror) joins Jacke for a discussion of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ovid’s myth of Narcissus, the fascinating power of recursions, and a life lived in the worlds of literature, business, and art.
THE PORTRAIT OF A MIRROR is a stunning reinvention of the myth of Narcissus as a modern novel of manners, about two young, well-heeled couples whose parallel lives intertwine over the course of a summer, by a sharp new voice in fiction.
A. NATASHA JOUKOVSKY holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She spent five years in the art world, working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before pivoting into management consulting. The Portrait of a Mirror is her debut novel. She lives in Washington, D.C.
In gratitude to Natasha for appearing on The History of Literature Podcast, a donation has been made to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund (lgbtqfund.org).
Finally! At long last, Jacke responds to years of requests from his Brazilian listeners to take a closer look at Machado de Assis, the novelist whom critic Harold Bloom called simply “a miracle.” In this episode, author and Brazilian friend Claudia Laitano joins Jacke to discuss Machado’s life, works, and legacy. Enjoy!
Born into a well-to-do family in New Zealand, Katherine Mansfield began writing fiction at the age of 10. But it was in England and continental Europe that her writing took flight, as she drew upon Chekhov and the new spirit of Modernism to advance (and perfect) the short story form before dying a tragically early death. Her work was “the only writing I have ever been jealous of…,” Virginia Woolf wrote. “Probably we had something in common which I shall never find in anybody else.” In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the life and career of Katherine Mansfield, including a close-up look at her masterpiece “The Garden Party.”
It’s the OG of experimental literature! (In English, anyway…) In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the wild and woolly Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. And in spite of Dr. Johnson’s famous claim that “nothing odd will do long – Tristram Shandy did not last!” we’re still talking about this classic eighteenth-century novel. Who was Sterne? What rules did he break? And what power does it have for a reader today?
Since its first appearance, Marcel Proust’s magnum opus In Search of Lost Time has delighted and confounded editors, readers, and critics. Published in seven volumes over a fourteen-year period, the enormous novel has generally been recognized as both the highest form of artistic achievement and one of the most difficult reading experiences imaginable. In this episode, Jacke and Mike discuss Swann’s Way (1913) to see whether this opening volume serves as a good introduction to the entire work.
The History of Literature presents some content from another Podglomerate podcast, Storybound. In this episode from Storybound’s first season, author Mitchell S. Jackson reads from his memoir, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, with sound design and original music composed by Zane featuring Stephanie Strange.
STORYBOUND is a radio theater program designed for the podcast age. In each episode, listeners will be treated to their favorite authors and writers reading some of their most impactful stories, designed with powerful and immersive sound environments. Brought to you by Lit Hub Radio and The Podglomerate.
Novelist and screenwriter Tom Perrotta joins Jacke for a discussion of his blue collar New Jersey background, the cultural shock of attending Yale University, and the profound impact that Raymond Carver’s first collection of short stories, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, had on him as an aspiring young writer trying to find his place in the world.
The fourth part of a three-part episode run! Jacke takes the advice of a listener and adds William Faulkner’s “Dry September” (1931) to the Baldwin-Faulkner consideration. NOTE FOR LISTENERS: This story (and our discussion of it) contains disturbing references to sexual violence, racial slurs, and race-based hate crimes. Please exercise discretion in listening or playing for others.
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