The History of Literature #300 – Frederick Douglass

300 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born into the anonymity of slavery and died as the most famous African American of the nineteenth century. After a harrowing escape to freedom in 1838, he devoted the rest of his life to issues of justice and equality, applying his talents as an orator, journalist, autobiographer, fiction writer, publisher, government appointee, advocate, and intellectual to help transform a country from its origins as a slaveholding nation, to one ravaged by Civil War, to a collection of former enemies trying to find reconciliation, forgiveness, and a path to a brighter future.

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The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #45 – Augustine and The Confessions (pt 2)

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Continuing the journey with a deeper look at the incredible achievements of St. Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.), a luminary of the early Catholic church, one of the most profound thinkers in Western culture, and the author of a work the likes of which the world had never seen, The Confessions.  Host Jacke Wilson identifies five key themes in The Confessions and shows how the themes build up to the autobiography’s culminating passage.

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The History of Literature #44 – The Confessions of St. Augustine

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The journey continues! Host Jacke Wilson takes a look at one of the deepest thinkers in the Western tradition, St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.), and the literary form he pioneered and perfected. Who was Augustine? What led him to produce one of the most influential books ever written? And what can we gain from reading The Confessions today? In this first of a two-part episode, Jacke considers Augustine’s relationship to God, the impact of his studies in rhetoric on his attempts to write an autobiography, and what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would have made of Augustine’s description of tragedy.

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Works Discussed:

The Confessions of St. Augustine (tr. Maria Boulding)

The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche

Show Notes: 

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Virtutes Vocis” and “Virtutes Instrumenti” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Augustine and the Art of Not Yet

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“I had been putting off the moment when by spurning earthly happiness I would clear space in my life to search for wisdom; yet even to seek it, let alone find it, would have been more rewarding than discovery of treasure or possession of all the world’s kingdoms, or having every bodily pleasure at my beck and call. I had been extremely miserable in adolescence, miserable from its very onset, and as I prayed to you for the gift of chastity I had even pleaded, “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet.”

Good news! Tomorrow we’ll release our long-awaited podcast episode on St. Augustine and his amazing book, The Confessions. You can prepare by revisiting our episode on The New Testament or our episodes on Greek tragedy.

Greek Tragedy? Yes indeed. It turns out that St. Augustine was a great chronicler of tragedy. He went to see them, wept and mourned, and then agonized over what it all meant.

I have to say, I recalled reading Augustine with interest many years ago, but this time I was simply blown away. His intellectual honesty, his precision in describing his struggle, his humor, his humility…it’s a great, great book.

A fun episode – make sure you subscribe on iTunes (or Stitcher) so you don’t miss a thing!

The History of Literature Episode 41: Reading The New Testament as Literature (with Professor Kyle Keefer)

Charles Dickens called the New Testament “the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.” Thomas Paine complained that it was a story “most wretchedly told,” and argued that anyone who could tell a story about a ghost or even just a man walking around could have written it better. What are the New Testament’s literary qualities? What can we gain from studying the New Testament as a literary work? Professor Kyle Keefer, author of The New Testament as Literature – A Very Short Introduction, joins host Jacke Wilson to discuss what it means to read the New Testament as literature.

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