American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Episode 339: Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps, Chapters 5-6

What a great novel! I finish my thoughts on Mary McCarthy's debut novel THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS in this episode. These chapters look at American Trotskyism and the psychological confessional.

Episode 338: Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps, Chapters 1-4

We begin a new series looking into the early works of the brilliant Mary McCarthy. In this episode we begin with THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS, a novel of interconnected stories dealing with the contradictions in the life of a modern American woman.

Episode 337: The Future is Female, Part 5

This is the finale episode covering the stories in THE FUTURE IS FEMALE written since 1963. One of the highlights of this section is Ursula K Le Guin's "Nine Lives" about cloning and individualism. Overall a nice anthology. Next up, Mary McCarthy.

Episode 336: The Future is Female, Part 4

This episode continues my review of the THE FUTURE IS FEMALE anthology. I look at stories from the 1960s. Women writers in during the "New Wave" era looked at themes of gender, population, family, and sexuality with a bit more intensity.

Episode 335: The Future is Female, Part 3

A few more stories from THE FUTURE IS FEMALE anthology. These are stories from the mid-1950s, including Zenna Henderson's "Ararat" and Alice Jones' "Created He Them" (a forerunner of A HANDMAID'S TALE)

Episode 334: The Future is Female, 1945-1951

This episode looks at three stories from THE FUTURE IS FEMALE edited by Lisa Yaszek. These stories cover the years 1945 to 1951 and include Wilmar Shiras' "In Hiding".

Episode 333: The Future is Female, Part 1

In this episode I look at five stories collected in THE FUTURE IS FEMALE edited by Lisa Yaszek.
Clare Winger Harris, "The Miracle of the Lily"
Leslie F. Stone, "The Conquest of Gola"
C. L. Moore, "The Black God's Kiss"
Lesli Perri, "Space Episode"
Judith Merril, "That Only a Mother"

Episode 332: Willa Cather: Sapphira and the Slave Girl

Willa Cather wrote SAPPHIRA AND THE SLAVE GIRL in 1940. This novel takes us back to pre-Civil War Virginia and looks at the sexual politics in a slave-owning household. Perhaps it is not her best novel, but it certainly gets the sexual tension in such households correct.

Episode 331: Willa Cather, Lucy Gayheart

This episode includes my thoughts on LUCY GAYHEART by Willa Cather. This novel tells the story of a naive young woman who falls in love with a married singer in Chicago. But her silliness does not excuse her scorned suitor from feeling he has been put into the imaginary "friendzone". That was a thing in the 1920s too? Men never change.

Episode 330: Willa Cather, Shadows on the Rock, 2

We say good bye to colonial French Canada and another of Willa Cather's excellent novels in part two of my review of SHADOWS ON THE ROCK. I loved the characters and setting in this one.

Episode 329: Willa Cather: Shadows on the Rock, 1

What was life like on late 17th century French Canada? I have no idea, but Willa Cather paints a nice picture of a socially diverse but united community. And in good Cather style we see the conflict between the evolving frontier and the home culture.

Episode 328: Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop, 2

Spoiler alert. He dies.

In this episode, I look at the the second half of DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather. We continue to follow two priests who play a role in taming the New Mexico frontier, for better or for (probably) worse.

Episode 327: WIlla Cather: Death Comes for the Archbishop, 1

After the U.S. stole half of Mexico, the Catholic church formed a new diocese in New Mexico. In DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP, Willa Cather tells the story of how the church played its role in bringing this frontier to heel.

Episode 326: Willa Cather, The Professor’s House-2

In this episode, I finish looking at Willa Cather's THE PROFESSOR'S HOUSE. In the second half we get a look at the background of Tom Outland, a look at the ancient southwest civilizations, amateur archeology, the indifference of bureaucracy, and the resolution to the Professor's mid-life crisis.

Episode 325: Willa Cather: The Professor’s House, Part 1

I look at the first half of THE PROFESSOR'S HOUSE by Willa Cather. This book is a fascinating look at academia, family, and a mid-life crisis.

Episode 324: I Am Back! Willa Cather, A Lost Lady

In this episode I take a look at a splendid little novel deconstructing the heroic age of the frontier: A LOST LADY by Willa Cather. While only 100 pages, it seems to tell the entire story of the American West.

Episode 323: The Writings of Abraham Lincoln 1865

The finale of my series on Abraham Lincoln and on American political history in the 19th century. Next up, "Twentieth Century Girls": A series on American women writers.

Episode 321: Lincoln Re-elected (Writings of Abraham Lincoln 1864)

In 1864, Grant took command of the Union armies, Lincoln was re-elected, Atlanta fell and Sherman gave his president Savannah as a Christmas present. We look at all of these things and the impact of emancipation on American politics and the war effort in this episode.

Episode 320: Writings of Abraham Lincoln 1863

The war turned to the Union's favor in 1863 in no small part due to the Emancipation Proclamation. In this episode I look at the consequences of emancipation on the war through Lincoln's writing, the major turning points of the siege of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, and the growing opposition of the "peace" Democrats.

Episode 319: Dark Days of Defeat and the Slavery Question (Writing of Abraham Lincoln, 1862)

1862 was a bad year for the Union army and Abraham Lincoln with numerous defeats and military frustrations along with some Democratic gains in the mid-term elections. But it was also the year in which runaway slaves forced Lincoln to rethink the meaning of the war.

Episode 318: The First Year of the Civil War (Writings of Abraham Lincoln 1861)

In this episode, I look at the writings of Abraham Lincoln during his trip to Washington and the first year of the Civil War. Here the major issues include his policy toward the border states and the early wartime questions about slavery.

Episode 317: Election of 1860 and Secession: (Writings of Abraham Lincoln 1860)

In this episode I look at the writings of Abraham Lincoln from 1860. This was the year of the election that won Lincoln the presidency and saw the first state secede from the Union.

Episode 316: Cooper Union Speech and More: Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 Writings

In this episode, I look at the writings and speeches of Abraham Lincoln from 1859. The most notable document is the "Cooper Union" speech Lincoln gave in New York City, but there are some other interesting texts, including a speech he gave in Milwaukee on technology and labor.

Episode 315: The Moral Argument (Lincoln-Douglas Debates 5-6-7)

In this episode, we see how Abraham Lincoln lifted his 1858 debates with Stephen Douglas to a new level by pursuing the moral argument against slavery and against its expansion.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Future Plans

The Philip K. Dick Book Club will be on hiatus for a while, but here are my future plans. Let me know if you have any additional ideas.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 150: When the Rough Draft is Better than the Final Product: Radio Free Albemuth

In this "finale" of the Philip K. Dick Book Club, I look at RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH. This novel is far superior to the re-write (VALIS). I love the look at a slowly creeping dystopia and the necessity of futile but inevitably victorious resistance.

Episode 314: Lincoln Douglas Debates 3 & 4

In this episode, I look at the third and fourth of the great Lincoln-Douglas debates. It seems to me that Lincoln was on the defensive in these two debates. He has yet to lift the subject of the debate to issue of the morality of slavery.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 149: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

The best of Philip K. Dick's later novels is THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER. It explores the religious culture of California during Dick's own life. We get some Bishop Pike, some John Allegro and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and some Alan Watts.

Episode 313: Lincoln-Douglas Debates 1 and 2

This podcast is the first of three episodes exploring the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

In addition to reading them I watched the reenactments aired by C-SPAN in the 1990s. I recommend them.

Philip K. Dick Book Club: Episode 148: God Help Me!: The Divine Invasion

We have come all this way in order to read Philip K. Dick's most disappointing book. It is an opaque novel that betrays much of what Dick established in his earlier career on what it means to be human and how to respond to power. But share your thoughts.