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Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) would be essential to the history of literature had she never written a word – but she did write words, lots of them, and they’ve led to her having an uneasy position in the canon of English literature. Avant-garde pioneer? Literary charlatan? Or underappreciated genius? In this episode, we look at the fascinating life and works of the incomparable (and irrepressible) Gertrude Stein.
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Music Credits: “When You’re Down, My Dear” by Josh Hetherington and Ronny Haynes, from Show Me Where It Hurts, available at showmewhereithurts.bandcamp.com
What happens when writers try to get along with other writers? Sometimes it goes well – and sometimes it ends in a fistfight, a drink in the face, or a spitting. Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a look at some of literature’s greatest feuds. Authors discussed include Gore Vidal, Gertrude Stein, Norman Mailer, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, Rick Moody, Jonathan Franzen, Colson Whitehead, Lillian Hellman, John LeCarre, Richard Ford, Dale Peck, Edmund Wilson, Margaret Drabble, Salman Rushdie, Edgar Allan Poe, and A.S. Byatt.
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Embattled and arrogant, the novelist and painter Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) was deeply immersed in Modernism even as he sought to blast it apart. He was the type of person who would rather hate a club than join it – and while his taste for the attack led to his marginalization, his undeniable genius made him impossible to ignore. Eventually, his misanthropic views led him down some dark paths, as the freedom and energy of the early twentieth century gave way to totalitarian regimes and the horrors of modern war. Professor Paul Peppis, an expert in the politics, art, and literature of the Modernist era, joins Jacke for a discussion of Wyndham Lewis and his leadership of the thrilling, doomed artistic revolution known as Vorticism.
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“Modern Piano Epsilon – The Small” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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What can I say about the Writers Laughing series? It’s hugely popular and it’s not hard to see why. We all love books, we all love authors, we all love seeing them in their unguarded moments. And laughter is a beautiful thing. I suppose I’ve posted about 30 or so of these. Time for a top ten!
Number 10 (tie): Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers
Number 9: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
Number 8: Seamus Heaney
Number 7: Lorrie Moore
Number 6: Alice Munro (with special guest Margaret Atwood)
That’s it for now…bask in the happy mood and check back for the top 5!
Note: Commentary and image credits are at the original posts.
Stein was stern. Photo after photo, the same expression. Dour. Fierce. Almost combative.
But that’s not good enough for us, is it? We like laughing writers!
And… here we go!
Yes! Of course! The little dog on her lap (or maybe it’s the one up by her head)? One of them is making her laugh!
And here’s a bonus photo. Not quite a laugh, but…
That happy face is certainly thanks to the baby. WHO IS JACK HEMINGWAY. Ernie’s boy.
What a great day. Love Gertrude. Love her even more when she’s laughing. Happy Monday, people!