The Great God of Depression #5 – The Shining World


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In the final episode, after years of struggling with depression, William Styron keeps his bargain with his readers, and his wife works hard to keep his spirits up until the very end. Alice Flaherty emerges from her own years of madness to a happier life, albeit a less literary one.

The Great God of Depression is a production of Showcase from PRX’s Radiotopia. It’s produced by Karen Brown and Pagan Kennedy, with support from New England Public Radio. Music and sound design by Ian Coss. Julie Shapiro is the executive producer.

Find links, photos and more information about this episode at

Thanks for additional support from Benjamin Brock Johnson, Whitney Light, Cathleen O’Keefe, Katherine Sullivan, Emily Jones, Abby Holtzman and Ian Fox, Audrey Mardavich and Alex Braunstein, from the PRX Podcast Garage. Thanks to Jack Gilpin, who read for us from Styron’s works, And a very special thanks to Alice Flaherty and Rose Styron, as well as to Alexandra and Tom Styron.

Archival material for the series came from the Rubinstein Library at Duke University, The DANA Foundation, a 1990 interview by NPR’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air, produced by WHYY, The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR, the 92nd Street Y, biographer Jim West, filmmaker Joel Foreman, and the Sun Valley Writers Conference, an annual conference where readers and writers come together to celebrate ideas. Thanks to Librivox reader Stewart Wills for the Moby Dick excerpts. Sarah Shapiro designed our logo, and Michael Vitale and Shane Allesio performed additional music for the series.

Thanks for listening to The Great God of Depression. Suicide can be a difficult topic to hear about, and also hard to talk about if you’re having distressing thoughts yourself. The national suicide prevention hotline is there to help. It’s free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-273-8255.

51 episodes available. A new episode about every 12 days averaging 28 mins duration .