On Sophocles, Boswell, and the Power of 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.
Jacke had big plans to make this episode all about the poetry of William Butler Yeats…and then listener feedback to the last episode overtook him. So instead of lazing about on the “Lake Isle of Innisfree”, he returns to the subject of Sophocles and the power of literature, as introduced in the conversation with Bryan Doerries, the Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions. After checking in with Friend of the Show Margot Livesey as she reads Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Jacke turns to a special message from a longtime listener whose own life had been changed by the work that Bryan and his theater company do. We hope you enjoy this special episode devoted to the power of literature.