22 episodes

It’s the groves of academe: Bennington College, the wildest and wickedest school in America. In the last great decade: the 1980s. Bennington class of ’86, class of Bret Easton Ellis, future writer of American Psycho and co-leader of the literary Brat Pack; Jonathan Lethem, future writer of Motherless Brooklyn and MacArthur Fellow; and Donna Tartt, future writer of The Secret History and Pulitzer Prize winner. All three are, at various times, infatuated and disappointed with one another, their friendships stimulated and fueled by rivalry as much as affection. And all three will mythologize Bennington in their fiction—fiction that, as we’ll discover, isn’t always fiction, is often fact—and thereby become myths themselves. From the Peabody-nominated C13Originals studios and Vanity Fair's Lili Anolik, comes the latest installment in the “Once Upon a Time…” franchise, Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College. This is a tale of money, murder, madness, and—of course—genius. This is, too, a multi-dimensional expose: the secret history of The Secret History revealed; the secret history of three of the greatest writers of Generation X revealed; and the secret history of Generation X itself revealed. This follows Season One of the franchise, Once Upon a Time...in the Valley, a real-life psychological thriller about underage adult star Traci Lords.

Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College C13Originals

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.8 • 1.5K Ratings

It’s the groves of academe: Bennington College, the wildest and wickedest school in America. In the last great decade: the 1980s. Bennington class of ’86, class of Bret Easton Ellis, future writer of American Psycho and co-leader of the literary Brat Pack; Jonathan Lethem, future writer of Motherless Brooklyn and MacArthur Fellow; and Donna Tartt, future writer of The Secret History and Pulitzer Prize winner. All three are, at various times, infatuated and disappointed with one another, their friendships stimulated and fueled by rivalry as much as affection. And all three will mythologize Bennington in their fiction—fiction that, as we’ll discover, isn’t always fiction, is often fact—and thereby become myths themselves. From the Peabody-nominated C13Originals studios and Vanity Fair's Lili Anolik, comes the latest installment in the “Once Upon a Time…” franchise, Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College. This is a tale of money, murder, madness, and—of course—genius. This is, too, a multi-dimensional expose: the secret history of The Secret History revealed; the secret history of three of the greatest writers of Generation X revealed; and the secret history of Generation X itself revealed. This follows Season One of the franchise, Once Upon a Time...in the Valley, a real-life psychological thriller about underage adult star Traci Lords.

    Murder By Numbers

    Murder By Numbers

    Bennington. Spring, 1983-Spring, 1985. Bret lives The Rules of Attraction, then sells Less Than Zero. Bret befriends David Lipsky, then be-enemies David Lipsky.
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    • 53 min
    Donna Lou

    Donna Lou

    Mississippi, 1963-1982. Donna’s origin story. And Lord Jim... revealed?
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Mississippi Chippy

    Mississippi Chippy

    Winter, 1982-1983. Over Non-Resident term, Donna gets closer to Jonathan, and becomes Paul McGloin's "Burning Boy."
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    • 1 hr
    Bennington Revisited

    Bennington Revisited

    Bennington. Autumn, 1982. Donna falls under the thrall of a magus-like professor, and the very small, very elite, very male band of students to whom he teaches Ancient Greek. “I can absolutely distinctly remember the three of them, and then the four of them—the three guys but then the four. The guys with Donna.”
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    • 59 min
    Disappear There

    Disappear There

    Bennington. Autumn, 1982. Bret and Donna go on a date.
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    • 51 min
    An Alley Along Melrose

    An Alley Along Melrose

    Los Angeles, 1981-1982. “This rumor went around in 1981, 1982, that kids just were brought to see the body of another kid.” The origin story of Bret Easton Ellis (and Less Than Zero), Part Two.
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    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5
1.5K Ratings

1.5K Ratings

carlgood1 ,

Pretending Bret Easton Ellis is relevant

The host arguing that BEE has any sort of relevance because of an article he once wrote on Charlie Sheen, was awkward and unconvincing.

Still, I’m fascinated by the subject, even if it’s just middle aged people taking a trip down memory lane. But let’s not pretend it’s more than that.

Will Scrillz ,

Good writing, horrible storytelling

I should have paid attention to how long winded and tangential the about section is because the show is ten times worse. In the second hour of listening to the narrator talk about Brett Easton Ellis’ high school experience, she went into a lengthy discussion on the parties of the family of the former girlfriend of the high school friend that was the loose basis for one of the characters in Ellis’ first book and I realized it had been an hour since I knew or cared what she was talking about and even longer since I had heard about Bennington or the “literary brat pack”. The whole thing comes across like a dissertation that wasnt long enough so the narrator added any myopic detail or superfluous adjective possible to get to the required page count. I was actively yelling get to the point and found myself getting angry because it felt like there was a good story there that the narrator just refuses to tell.

On the other hand, if you want to know wayyyyy more about Brett Easton Ellis’ experiences at Buckley high school than anybody on this planet ever should, this podcast is for you.

mpolikbu ,

Unethical, kind of corny

I was curious about this podcast as a Bennington graduate but I find it very difficult to listen to. The invasion of privacy into Donna Tartt’s life, speculation and uncritical interviews with people who claimed to have known her is particularly unpleasant. The insistence that the narrator of the Secret History is a surrogate for Tartt is just bad reading. And the narrator is kind of corny.

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