When she died tragically at the age of 53, Constance Fenimore Woolson was ranked with the greatest female writers of all time, including Jane Austen, George Eliot, and the Brontes. What happened to her reputation after that? Did her friend Henry James sink her reputation as an author and a person? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at the hugely successful (and now often overlooked) nineteenth-century American author Constance Fenimore Woolson.
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).
German artist Charlie Stein joins Jacke for a discussion of art in literature, including her series 100 Paintings Imagined by Authors, in which she and her partner Andy Best use textual clues and historical context to reimagine artworks that are described in great works of literature. You can see examples of their work at charliestein.com/100-paintings-imagined/
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?
Novelist Laurie Frankel joins Jacke to talk about her writing, her theater background, and her new novel One Two Three. Then Jacke and Laurie geek out on Shakespeare and choose the Top 10 Things To Love About Hamlet.
Laurie Frankel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of novels such as The Atlas of Love, Goodbye for Now, and the Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick This Is How It Always Is. Frankel lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter, and border collie. She makes good soup.
As the world struggles to emerge from a global pandemic, Jacke takes a look at our relationship with nature, turning to William Wordsworth’s classic sonnet “The World Is Too Much With Us” to see if its concerns are applicable today.
Yang Huang, author of the new novel My Good Son, joins Jacke for a discussion of her childhood in China, how censorship restricted her ability to imagine stories, and how George Eliot’s Middlemarch helped her break free from these limitations. We also discuss her work as a novelist and what it’s like to be an Asian American during a period of highly visible anti-Asian sentiment.
YANG HUANG grew up in China and has lived in the United States since 1990. Her novel MY GOOD SON won the University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize. Her linked story collection, MY OLD FAITHFUL, won the Juniper Prize, and her debut novel, LIVING TREASURES, won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal. She works for the University of California, Berkeley and lives in the Bay Area with her family. To learn more about Yang and her writing, visit http://www.yanghuang.com or follow her on Twitter: @yangwrites.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was a soldier, a civil servant, a playwright, and a poet. He was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner for almost five years. Later in life, he turned to writing novels, and through his masterpiece Don Quixote, he became the most celebrated and important figure in Spanish literature. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Cervantes’ incredible life and his most indelible creations, including the ingenious (and deluded) knight, his trusty squire, and the blurry landscape where windmills are giants and life is a romantic adventure..