Literary History

Ibn Battuta, the Traveler of Islam

Ibn Battuta's 14th-century travels were extensive. He was away from home for roughly 24 years and during that time traveled through virtually every Muslim nation and territory, becoming the traveler of the age.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an orator, writer, statesman and social reformer. His early life shaped the truly remarkable advocate he became, and the two primary causes he campaigned for — the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage.

William Moulton Marston & the Creation of Wonder Woman

Most people know Wonder Woman as an embodiment of truth and justice, but don't know much about the comic's earlier years or its creator. Marston lived an unconventional life, and in many ways, Wonder Woman was an expression of that life.

Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a journalist. And his poetry career didn't start out particularly well.

Live From Salt Lake Comic Con FanX: H.P. Lovecraft

Writer H.P. Lovecraft created worlds and stories that continue to be influential more than 80 years after his death. His life story is at turns odd, sad, problematic and utterly fascinating.

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who, in addition to being a spy, was a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator, and the first woman in English literature known to have made her living as a writer.

Two Other Alcotts: Bronson and May

Louisa was not the only notable Alcott. Her father, Bronson Alcott, made a name for himself as a philosopher and a teacher. And her youngest sister, May Alcott, was an artist, who was really growing in prominence before she died at an early age.

Louisa May Alcott

Once you examine Louisa May Alcott's life story, the inspirations for her writing become clear. But while she had some things in common with her most famous heroine, a lot sets her apart from Jo March. Read the show notes here.

Codex Gigas

This massive medieval manuscript, nicknamed "The Devil's Bible," contains multiple lengthy entries, a few shorter pieces, and several illustrations. Written by a single scribe, the Codex Gigas is often sensationalized in stories about its creation.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Part 2

Edna St. Vincent Millay was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was one of the Guggenheim Foundation's judges for its poetry fellowships. And she managed to make a great deal of money as a poet in the middle of the Great Depression. Read the show notes here.