The History of Literature

The History of Literature


Latest Episodes

601 Thomas Hardy (with Margot Livesey)
April 15, 2024

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 Hard

600 Doctor Johnson! (with Phil Jones) | A Very Special My Last Book (with Rupert Holmes)
April 08, 2024

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 (

599 Alejandro Jodorowsky, Filmmaker and Philosopher (with William Egginton) | My Last Book with David Sterling Brown
April 04, 2024

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 at

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
April 01, 2024

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 (

597 Karl Ove Knausgaard (with Bob Blaisdell) | My Last Book with Nicholas Dames
March 25, 2024

Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard (b. 1968) became known in his home country - or at least its literary circles - when he put out two well-received novels in the late 1990s. But it was the publication of his six-volume autobiographical series Min Kamp,

596 The Power of Stories (with J Edward Chamberlin) | Taylor Swift and Emily Dickinson | Flannery O'Connor (with Mike Palindrome) | My Last Book with Shin Yu Pai
March 18, 2024

It's a literary smorgasbord! First, Jacke dives into the recent news of the surprising connection between Taylor Swift and Emily Dickinson. Next, he welcomes Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, for a discussion of why Mike has be

595 Machiavelli (with Gabriele Pedulla) | My Last Book with Sarah Ruden
March 11, 2024

For centuries, Machiavelli has been viewed as everything from an insightful pragmatist to the mouthpiece of Satan. In this episode, Jacke talks to Italian scholar Gabriele Pedull about his book On Niccol Machiavelli: The Bonds of Politics, which offers

594 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
March 04, 2024

The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) has been called the last person to have read everything. He is also one of the greatest poet-critics in the history of literature, known for works like "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Kubla Khan,"

593 Vladimir Propp (with Mike Palindrome) | The Russian Gothic (with Valeria Sobol) | My Last Book with Vanessa Riley
February 26, 2024

It's a multi-course literary feast at the History of Literature Podcast! Today we serve up some thoughts on books and the arts from Galileo Galilei; Mike Palindrome and his decades of reading Russian folktale theorist Vladimir Propp; Professor Valeria Sob

592 Virgil (with Sarah Ruden) | Darwin and Gaskell | My Last Book with Tom Holland
February 19, 2024

Virgil (or Vergil) was the most celebrated poet of Ancient Rome - and also one of the most enigmatic. In this episode, Jacke talks to biographer and translator Sarah Ruden about her book Vergil: A Poet's Life. PLUS some thoughts on Charles Darwin's last b