The History of Literature #183 – Samuel Beckett (with Nick Barilar)

LOGO-COVERS

We’re back! A newly reenergized Jacke Wilson returns for a deep dive into the life, works, and politics of Samuel Beckett. Yes, we know him as one of the key figures bridging the gap between modernism and post-modernism – but was he more than just a highly refined artist generating art for art’s sake? Was he engaged with his times? And if so, how might that engagement have affected his writings? We’ll immerse ourselves in Waiting for Godot and some of Beckett’s other works for our answer, with special guest Nic Barilar, PhD Student in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

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 #177 – Sherwood Anderson (with Alyson Hagy)

LOGO-COVERS

One hundred years ago, a collection of short stories by a little-known author from Ohio burst onto the literary scene, causing a minor scandal for their sexual frankness. In the years since, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919) became more famous for its insightful portrayal of a town filled with friendly but solitary individuals, who wrestle with questions of love and lust, art and ambition, deep frustrations and the desire for spiritual uplift. How well have these stories held up? And how well do they speak to us today? We’ll talk with Alyson Hagy, author of the new novel Scribe, about this often overlooked American masterpiece – and we’ll see how it’s informed her own writing career.

SHERWOOD ANDERSON (1876-1941) grew up in a small town in Ohio before leaving in a state of desperation for Chicago and a literary career. His novels and short stories were often cited by the next generation of American writers (Wolfe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald) as helping them to develop their own literary voice.

ALYSON HAGY was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of eight works of fiction, including Scribe and Boleto. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

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 #176 – William Carlos Williams (“The Use of Force”)

LOGO-COVERS

Today, the American modernist poet William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) is famous among poetry fans for his vivid, economical poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say.” But for most of his lifetime, he struggled to achieve success comparable to those of his contemporaries Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. Toiling away as a physician in working-class neighborhoods in New Jersey, Williams tried to write poems and short stories whenever he could, often typing for a few minutes in between patient visits. In this episode of The History of Literature, Jacke and Mike take a look at Williams’s incredible short story “The Use of Force,” in which a physician wrestles with a young patient determined to preserve her secret at all costs.

NOTE: This is another self-contained episode of The History of Literature! We read the story for you – no need to read it yourself first (unless you want to!).

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.

History of Literature Podcast #63 – Books I Have Loved (with Charles Baxter)

charlesbaxter

In this special episode, the revered American author Charles Baxter joins Jacke to discuss some of his favorite books, including works by Anton Chekhov, Saul Bellow, James Wright, and Paula Fox.

“Charles Baxter’s stories have reminded me of how broad and deep and shining a story can be, and I am grateful.” — Alice Munro 

CHARLES BAXTER is the author of the novels The Feast of Love(nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collectionsGryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, andHarmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Play

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:07:02 — 46.3MB) | Embed

Works Discussed:

Collected Poems by James Wright

Herzog, Henderson the Rain King, and Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow

Desperate Characters and The Widow’s Children by Paula Fox

Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov

Show Notes: 

We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

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

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

Music Credits:

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

“Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

The History of Literature #49 – MFA Programs (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

history-of-literature-for-fb-db

For decades, the Master of Fine Arts degree has quietly dominated the American literary scene. There are now over 100 programs where professors and students go about the business of turning dreams into fiction through the alchemy – or as some would say, the meatgrinder – known as the writing workshop. It’s a phenomenon like no other in the history of literature. What goes on at these MFA programs? What good comes out of them? And what impact are they having on contemporary American literature? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of MFA programs.

Play

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).

Scenes from a Marriage (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Back by popular demand… it’s an Objectino! This time, a scene from a marriage….

A JACKE WILSON OBJECTINO*

HIM: Okay, I think I’ll head out to the dentist’s office.

HER: Already? Your appointment’s not for twenty minutes. It takes ten minutes to get there.

HIM: Well, by the time I park, get checked in…

HER: You could wait here five minutes and still make it in plenty of time.

HIM: Why would I wait here? I’m ready to go. Maybe they can take me early, and I can just get on with my day. What if I hit traffic or something?

HER: You just don’t want to sit here and try to relax, do you? Because then you’d think about yourself. And how much you hate yourself. That would be five minutes of torture, wouldn’t it?

HIM: Maybe I’ll have car trouble. Maybe their parking lot will be under construction…

HER: Maybe you’ll never have to spend five minutes alone with your own thoughts. Ever again.

HIM: WELL IF I LEAVE NOW IT’S A POSSIBILITY!!!!


Continue reading

Greatest First Lines Ever – Contest Update!

Wow, the contest to win a free book by telling me your favorite first line is going really well. Thanks to everyone for your comments, emails, voicemails, and speakpipe recordings. The entries are fabulous, especially the ones I get to hear read in your own voice. And at the end I get to give away books – another great pleasure. Keep ’em coming, folks! You’re really making my week fun.

Check out the previous post for more rules and guidelines. But the nutshell version is this: there are very few rules. Just give my special Jacke Wilson hotline a call (it’s a regular call, don’t worry) at

1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766)

Or just leave your entry in the comments.

You can also email me at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or follow the speakpipe instructions here to just click a button and talk at your computer for a few seconds. No strings attached!

I may pick your entry to read on a future podcast dedicated to great first lines. And of all the entries, I will pick one to win a free book of your choice. Or maybe more than one, because how can I ever choose?

Good luck!

And now… put on some headphones… sit back… and let this one wash over you…. onward and upward, people. Onward and upward…