583 episodes

Amateur enthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics. Episodes are not in chronological order and you don't need to start at the beginning - feel free to jump in wherever you like! Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature. Support the show by visiting patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. Contact the show at historyofliteraturepodcast@gmail.com.

The History of Literature Podglomerate

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 1K Ratings

Amateur enthusiast Jacke Wilson journeys through the history of literature, from ancient epics to contemporary classics. Episodes are not in chronological order and you don't need to start at the beginning - feel free to jump in wherever you like! Find out more at historyofliterature.com and facebook.com/historyofliterature. Support the show by visiting patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. Contact the show at historyofliteraturepodcast@gmail.com.

    603 Rethinking Ralph Waldo Emerson (with James Marcus)

    603 Rethinking Ralph Waldo Emerson (with James Marcus)

    Born more than two centuries ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson has long been recognized as a giant of nineteenth-century American letters. But what can he offer readers today? In this episode, Jacke talks to author James Marcus, author of the new book Glad to the Brink of Fear: A Portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which reconsiders Emerson's reputation as a "starry-eyed prophet of self-reliance" in favor of a more complicated figure who spent a lifetime wrestling with injustice, philosophy, art, desire, and suffering.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    602 Thomas Hardy's "Spellbound Palace," The Birthplace of the King James Bible, and a Royal Setting for Shakespeare and His Plays (with Gareth Russell) | My Last Book with Jess Cotton

    602 Thomas Hardy's "Spellbound Palace," The Birthplace of the King James Bible, and a Royal Setting for Shakespeare and His Plays (with Gareth Russell) | My Last Book with Jess Cotton

    We humans imprint ourselves on our surroundings - and they, in turn, have the power to affect us. In this episode, Jacke talks to Gareth Russell (The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court) about the building that Thomas Hardy famously called a "Spellbound Palace" in one of his finest poems. We'll hear about the building's history and why it holds a special place in literary history, including the planning of the King James Bible and as a site for early Shakespeare performances. PLUS Jess Cotton (John Ashbery: A Critical Life) selects her choice for the last book she will ever read.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
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    • 1 hr 19 min
    601 Thomas Hardy (with Margot Livesey)

    601 Thomas Hardy (with Margot Livesey)

    It's the start of a new hundred episodes! Fresh off her tour for her new novel The Road from Belhaven, superguest Margot Livesey joins Jacke for a discussion of mistakes in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Then Jacke tells Margot the heartrending story of Hardy's fraught relationship with his first wife Emma - and how Emma's death unlocked some of his greatest poetry.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    600 Doctor Johnson! (with Phil Jones) | A Very Special My Last Book (with Rupert Holmes)

    600 Doctor Johnson! (with Phil Jones) | A Very Special My Last Book (with Rupert Holmes)

    It's another milestone for the History of Literature Podcast! Jacke celebrates the six hundredth episode of the podcast with a return to one of his old favorites, the "harmless drudge" himself, Dr. Johnson, with the help of Johnsonian expert Phil Jones (Reading Samuel Johnson: Reception and Representation, 1750-1970). PLUS Rupert Holmes (Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide) shares his choice for the last book he will ever read.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    599 Alejandro Jodorowsky, Filmmaker and Philosopher (with William Egginton) | My Last Book with David Sterling Brown

    599 Alejandro Jodorowsky, Filmmaker and Philosopher (with William Egginton) | My Last Book with David Sterling Brown

    While avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky might be most famous for the wildly ambitious version of Dune that never got made - in spite of having actors and artists like Orson Welles, Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger, Pink Floyd, H.R. Giger, and Mœbius attached to the project - he was also the creative force behind several dynamic and influential films. In this episode, William Egginton (The Rigor of Angels: Borges, Kant, Heisenberg, and the Ultimate Nature of Reality) returns to discuss his new book, Alejandro Jodorowsky: Filmmaker and Philosopher. PLUS David Sterling Brown (Shakespeare's White Others) stops by to discuss his choice for the last book he will ever read.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 15 min
    598 Forgotten Women of Literature 8 - Charmian Kittredge London (with Iris Jamahl Dunkle) | What's Great About Christopher Isherwood (with Mike Palindrome) | My Last Book with Duncan Yoon

    598 Forgotten Women of Literature 8 - Charmian Kittredge London (with Iris Jamahl Dunkle) | What's Great About Christopher Isherwood (with Mike Palindrome) | My Last Book with Duncan Yoon

    Charmian Kittredge London (1871-1955) may be best known as the wife of the famous American writer Jack London, but she was herself a literary trailblazer - and the epitome of a modern woman. In this episode, Jacke talks to biographer Iris Jamahl Dunkle (Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer) about the intriguing life and inspirational career of an underappreciated literary figure. PLUS Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, makes the case for the greatness of Christopher Isherwood, and Duncan Yoon (China in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century African Literature) stops by to discuss his choice for the last book he will ever read.
    Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/donate. The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.
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    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1K Ratings

1K Ratings

RequisiteNickname ,

Enriching our lives

Jacke Wilson is giving us all a valuable service, for free. He helps us feel like we aren’t alone. There are others who share our love of literature. Jacke is our Virgil, guiding us through the modern world, helping us to understand, to be seen, to enrich our lives. Thank you Mr Wilson and of course Mr Palindrome, not to mention the many guests who all strive to make this world a more beautiful place

DRLee13 ,

Interesting & Smart

Thank you, again, Jacke. This podcast is a joy to listen to. Another masterful interview with Robin Lane Fox. I'm still trying to understand what or who Gar is.

Kafka's peach ,

Solo shows are great, but the guests can be tiresome

Jacke is impressively prolific in his output and when he’s in his stride the level of quality is high. I love the structured yet conversational style, and his obvious passion for and insight into the books and writers he discusses. The high number of ads and the rambling intros have always been a bit tedious (I sometimes have to skip ahead 20 minutes just to get to the actual meat of the episode), but I don’t mind dealing with them if the core of the show is good.

Sadly Jacke has been hinting for awhile that he’s losing enthusiasm for the project and, reasonably enough, feeling the burnout of such an intense podcasting schedule. The last year (2023) in particular saw a shift to an almost entirely guest-based format, which is understandable from a production standpoint but unfortunate from a listener one. Jacke’s solo shows have always been the heart of HOL for me, while his interview episodes are much more hit or miss, and in my opinion poorly vetted for quality and interest. Too many academics pushing recondite (and occasionally quite fringe) theories make the show feel less like a chat with a well-read friend and more like a campus lecture series. I used to enjoy when he would get fiction writers on to discuss their favorite books, but even that hasn’t been a regular feature for quite some time.

The highs are still high enough to keep me subscribed, but I’d personally prefer a reduced release schedule with a higher standard of quality to the current model of constant but rather skippable output.

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