Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Winter of Wayback: 1894


This week we’ve set the Wayback Machine to 1894: We’re reading a Kate Chopin story, “The Story of an Hour,” which was originally published in December 1894, in Vogue magazine, as “The Dream of an Hour.” Considering its very short length, the story has a surprising number of plot twists, including one that may have been tacked on to appease the story’s publishers.

We also talk about a variety of other things going on in 1894, including a whole lot of labor unrest. The 1890s are sometimes referred to as “the gay 90s,” and the decade generally marks the beginning of America’s progressive era, but in dipping into the events of the year we have to conclude that 1894 was neither gay nor particularly progressive. We talk about the Pullman strikes, an even more violent labor uprising in Italy, and an anarchist in Paris who killed one, and injured twenty, when he lit a bomb in a train-station cafe.

You can read the full text of Emile Henry’s interrogation, and his courtroom defense, via the archives at Here’s a link to a 2009 BBC article considering whether Henry was the first modern terrorist.

We also talk this week about George W. Johnson, one of the first widely popular African American recording artists, whose name is still unfamiliar to most. You can listen to “The Laughing Song” and (the unfortunately titled) “The Whistling Coon” via

As always, we’d love to hear what you think. You can send us an email, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment right here on the site. Also, don’t forget: We’re still in the thick of our annual fund drive, so if you haven’t already, please check out our Indiegogo campaign and give us a little bit of your hard-earned cash.

You can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file. Or, visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another installment. While you’re there, leave us a rating and a review, which will help us reach new listeners.


Download Winter of Wayback: 1894 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening! And come on back next week!


Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

2 thoughts on “Winter of Wayback: 1894

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