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.
“There are only three or four American novelists who can be thought of as ‘major’,” said Gore Vidal. “And Edith Wharton is one.” In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at the life and works of Edith Wharton (1862-1937), author of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, with a special deep dive into her short story “Roman Fever.”
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It’s the Halloween Episode! After some false starts (thanks, Gar!), Jacke settles in to discuss some ghost stories, including a few old chestnuts, a little Toni Morrison, a little Henry James, and a LOT of real-life phenomena. Along the way, he discusses how ghost stories work and what reasonable explanations might explain them. Because everything can ultimately be explained…. right…?
Life is short, and books are many. How many great books have you read? How many more have you NOT read? How to choose? Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, joins Jacke for a discussion of overrated classics and the pleasures of shortening one’s list of must-reads.
Everyone always talks about the greatest openings in the history of literature – I’m looking at you, Call me Ishmael – but what about endings? Aren’t those just as important? What are the different ways to end short stories and novels? Which endings work well and why? In this episode, Jacke and Mike take a look at great literary endings, with some assistance from David Lodge, Charles Baxter, Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, Samuel Beckett, Iris Murdoch, Uncle Wiggily, The Third Man, Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, Henry James, E.B. White, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, David Foster Wallace, O. Henry, Ian McEwan, Thomas Mann, and Joseph Conrad.