Farah Jasmine Griffin on the Lessons and Legacies of Black Literature
From the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
In her new book Read Until You Understand, beloved professor Farah Jasmine Griffin entwines memoir, history, and art in exploring the culture of Black genius and the lessons and legacies of Black lives and literature. In this episode, Professor Griffin joins Jacke for a discussion of her father, the role literature played in her life after her father’s untimely death, and the lifetime she’s spent traveling through literature in search of a deeper understanding of concepts like mercy, love, justice, rage, beauty, and joy.
PLUS Scott Carter, author of the play Discord: the Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy joins Jacke for another look at three famous historical figures who each wrote their own version of the gospels. In this installment, Scott tells Jacke about the approach taken by Victorian supernova Charles Dickens.