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.
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.
The Ottoman Empire's Suleiman the Magnificent was a head of state, a poet, a reformer of the military and a goldsmith. His reign had a significant impact on the law, literature and art of the Ottoman Empire.
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.
Known as Vincent to family and friends, Edna St. Vincent Millay grew up poor, caring for the household and her sisters while her mother worked. From an early age, she showed incredible talent and sowed the seeds of a life of passion and impressive poetry. Read the show notes here.
Ambrose Bierce was a soldier, a journalist, an editor, a satirist and a philosopher. He was a complicated man with an unwavering moral code and a life of experiences both fantastic and horrific, which informed his writing. Read the show note for this episode here.
Abelard was a poet, philosopher and theologian; Heloise was one of his students. This is a tragic love story, complete with lovers forced apart, a secret marriage, a castration and repeated exhumations. Happy Valentine's Day!
In addition to being a poet, Audre was a teacher, speaker, wife and mother, and become an influential presence in the feminist movement. She also wrote candidly about her battle with cancer in her groundbreaking work, "The Cancer Journals."
Audre Lorde called herself a "black feminist lesbian mother poet warrior," but for a lot of people, she's best known for the "poet" part. She was way ahead of her time on a lot of social fronts, including feminism, gay rights, and the sexual revolution.
In 1849, Edgar Allan Poe disappeared for five days before he was found semi-conscious outside of a saloon. He died four days later, presumably from alcohol abuse. Over the years, many alternate cause-of-death theories have emerged. Which is most likely?