The History of Literature

The History of Literature

Latest Episodes

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

591 William Wordsworth
February 12, 2024

Jacke takes a look at the life and works of Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850). Help support the show The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomera

590 Blotted Lines (with Adhaar Noor Desai) | My Last Book with Lara Vetter
February 08, 2024

How do geniuses compose their poetry and prose? Do they carefully and laboriously revise until they achieve perfection? Or does perfection just flow out of them - as it reportedly did for Shakespeare? In this episode, Adhaar Noor Desai (Blotted Lines: Ear

589 Dante and Friendship (with Elizabeth Coggeshall) | My Last Book with Dr Tara Bynum
February 05, 2024

We know - or we think we know - what friendship is today, but what did it mean to Dante? In this episode, Jacke travels back to the Middle Ages with Professor Elizabeth Coggeshall (On Amist: Negotiating Friendship in Dante's Italy) to discuss how Dante a

588 China in African Literature (with Duncan Yoon) | My Last Book with Katherine Howe
February 01, 2024

Many readers today are familiar with the impact that Western countries have had on Africa, as told through the eyes of writers in both Africa and the West. But what about China and its growing influence in Africa? How have twentieth- and twenty-first-cent

587 Byron's Letters (with Andrew Stauffer) | My Last Book with Jonathan van Belle
January 29, 2024

Few writers have achieved the celebrity of the notorious Romantic poet Lord Byron. But what was he like in private? In this episode, Jacke talks to Andrew Stauffer about his new book, Byron: A Life in Ten Letters. PLUS Jonathan van Belle (Henry at Work: T

586 The Czech Manuscripts Hoax (with David Cooper) | My Last Book with Jesse Kavadlo
January 25, 2024

In 1817 and 1818, the discovery of two sets of Czech manuscripts helped fuel the Czech National Revival, as promoters of Czech nationalism trumpeted these centuries-old works as foundational texts of a national mythology. There was only one problem: they

585 Plots and the Modern Novelist (with Pardis Dabashi) | My Last Book with Anne Enright
January 22, 2024

As far back as Aristotle, plots have been viewed as essential components of long-form narratives. So what happened when Modern novelists like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and Djuna Barnes began turning away from conventional plots? Why d

584 A Conversation with James MacManus | My Last Book with Peter K Andersson
January 18, 2024

James MacManus was a foreign correspondent for The Guardian during a golden era of covering wars in faroff places. In this episode, Jacke talks to James about his career as a journalist, his transition to becoming the managing director of the Times Litera

583 Margaret Cavendish (with Francesca Peacock) | My Last Book with Patrick Whitmarsh
January 15, 2024

Philosopher, poet, playwright, science fiction writer, scientist, and celebrity Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was a public and publishing sensation. In this episode, Jacke talks to biographer Francesca Peacock about her new book, Pure Wit: The Revolution