The Essay

Monday - Thursday 23.00 - 23.15

Monday - Thursday series of cultural talks.

Episodes

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Big Emotion20180817

New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks if feelings are becoming data, do they change?

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

A billion-pound industry is emerging to convert our feelings into data. Biosensors, motion trackers and facial-recognition software capture and quantify our emotions, which are then crunched by ‘Sentiment Analysts.’ But while our feelings become big business, they are also getting us into personal trouble. Voicing an opinion online brings backlash from the social-media mob, as if our misworded asides and careless thoughts carry the weight of a tyrant’s edict. New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks will our feelings start to change in this world of magnified emotion?

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Laurence Scott's books include The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic Comma Lightning: In Search of a New Reality (published in July by Heinemann).

Producer: Debbie Kilbride

Big Emotion20180817

New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks: If feelings become data, do they change?

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

A billion-pound industry is emerging to convert our feelings into data. Biosensors, motion trackers and facial-recognition software capture and quantify our emotions, which are then crunched by 'Sentiment Analysts.' But while our feelings become big business, they are also getting us into personal trouble. Voicing an opinion online brings backlash from the social-media mob, as if our misworded asides and careless thoughts carry the weight of a tyrant's edict. New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks will our feelings start to change in this world of magnified emotion?

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Laurence Scott's books include The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic, Comma, Lightning.

Producer: Debbie Kilbride.

Monday - Thursday 23.00 - 23.15

Monday - Thursday series of cultural talks.

20070219

1/4. On Auden

Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

American poet Dana Gioia, now chief executive of the National Endowment for the Arts, considers the wisdom and example of a man whom he considers a guide and mentor.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070220

On Auden

2/4. Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

Award-winning writer Kate Clanchy looks at Auden's earlier works, including Refugee Blues and In Memory of WB Yeats, and explores his political attitudes and their contemporary relevance.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070221

On Auden

3/4. Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

Glyn Maxwell once travelled to Iceland with Simon Armitage in the footsteps of Auden and Louis MacNeice. He explores the distinctive nature of Auden's poems and how they work, with samples including The Fall of Rome and The Shield of Achilles.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070222

On Auden

Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

4/4. Peter Porter explores Auden's plays and libretti. He looks at The Dog Beneath the Skin, written with Christopher Isherwood, and the libretto of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Porter believes that in addition to Auden's stature as one of the 20th Century's finest lyric poets, these works guarantee his place among the finest dramatic writers.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070226

1/4. What Are Friends For? considers the notion of friendship from life in antiquity to the present day.

20070227

2/4. What Are Friends For? Justin Champion considers what friendship meant to the early Christian scholars.

20070228

3/4. What Are Friends For? Justin Champion assesses the writings of Michel Montaigne and Francis Bacon and the importance of friendship in political life.

20070301

Justin Champion ponders the notion of friendship in the 21st century.

20070305

1/4. Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

He considers Blake's Songs of Innocence.

20070306

2/4. Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

He considers Blake's Songs of Experience.

20070307

3/4. Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

He focuses on America and Blake's vision of the mysterious free nation that was developing across the Atlantic.

20070308

Paulin on Blake

4/4. On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

He explores some of Blake's more complex writing in the unfinished epic Vala and confides his own frustration at not having yet grasped the strange and inscrutable mythological world of Blake's creation.

20070312

States of Mind

1/4. Crime writer PD James is the first of four cultural figures to discuss the first impressions made on them by America. They examine the initial incarnation of America in their minds and chart the way it has evolved through subsequent intellectual, physical and cultural discovery.

20070313

States of Mind

2/4. Four of Britain's cultural figures explore their intellectual, physical and cultural discovery of that ever-changing country, America, from first impressions to today.

British-Pakistani writer Kamran Nazeer examines how his idea of America is tied up with law and the inspiration to his younger self of the elderly men and women of the Supreme Court.

20070314

3/4: States of Mind. Four British cultural figures explore their intellectual, physical and cultural discovery of America, from first impressions to today.

20070315

States of Mind

4/4. British cultural figures explore their intellectual, physical and cultural discovery of America from first impressions to today.

Award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen ponders the parcels of exotic gifts that helped form her idea of America as a child.

20070319

Lingua Franca

1/4. SPQR and PIE

Michael Rosen embarks on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language. Sanskrit, Welsh, Iranian and Norwegian, not to mention English, French and German, all share a common linguistic ancestry, being descendants of a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root (PIE). And how influential were the Romans?

20070320

Lingua Franca

2/4. From Amish to Wood Frisian

Michael Rosen continues on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language.

The Germanic family of languages counts over 550 million native speakers, from Australia (English) to the Faroe Islands (Faroese), to South Africa (Afrikaans) to Holland and, of course, Germany.

20070321

Lingua Franca

3/4. The Romance of Romance

Michael Rosen continues on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language. For gold, along the Romance language road, in Catalan and French, Jersey dialect and Lombard, it's or; in Italian and Spanish, oro; while Romanians and Occitanians say aur.

20070322

Lingua Franca

4/4. Marche Slave

Michael Rosen concludes a journey on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language. From vampires to vodka: 1,900 years ago, the Slavic family of languages spread west, probably originally from the Ukraine, to cover much of central Europe.

20070326

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

1/4. They wait for low tide to visit Sambo's Grave, a memorial to a black slave in the windswept marshes at the mouth of the River Lune in Lancashire and use his story to explore the North West's ties with the slave trade.

20070327

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

2/4. Rum, timber and tobacco are all associated with the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven and all have roots in the slave trade. We try to unravel the tangle of connections: from the burial of George Washington's grandmother, Mildred Gale, with her black slave to the creation of the Beilby goblet commemorating a famous slave ship, King George.

20070328

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

3/4. Westminster Hall was the venue for one of the slave trade's most significant heavyweight contests in the eighteenth century, which resulted in slavery being effectively banned in England. In the red corner, one of the unsung heroes of abolition, Granville Sharp, and in the blue corner for the establishment and the status quo, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield.

20070329

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

4/4. A memorial to a four-year-old girl at a Cambridgeshire church provides a clue to the life of the leading black abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano. We explore his links with the girl and consider how their two lives and his great book, The Interesting Narrative, influenced attitudes in 18th-century Britain and promoted the struggle against slavery.

20070409

New Nature Writing - Four Talks for Spring

1/4. Cranes are the tallest, have the longest wingspan and the loudest voice of any bird in Britain. When a handful returned to breed in the Norfolk Broads in the 1980s they were the first to do so since the reign of Henry VIII. Mark Cocker explores how it has become the presiding spirit in its new East Anglian home.

20070410

New Nature Writing - Four Talks For Spring

2/4. If you want to observe the hedgerow and watch the landscape change, there's no better way of doing it than by bicycle. And, if you're lucky, not all the wildlife will be roadkill. Matt Seaton cycles into spring.

20070411

New Nature Writing: Four Talks for Spring

3/4. Kathleen Jamie watches a black grouse lek in Scotland. The strange sex dance of the males in front of watching females takes place on a heather moor at dawn in early spring. The first curlews are calling and a magnificent peaceable assembly of 400 stags have gathered in the secluded glen, their antlers shining in the spring sunshine.

20070412

New Nature Writing - Four Talks For Spring

4/4. After a long, grey, mostly damp winter of gazing at the sky and waiting for the weather to change, most of us long for an early spring, and a chance to look back to the earth, to new growth, colour and warmth.

It's a tempting prospect, but nature abhors hurry almost as much as a vacuum, and we should be careful what we wish for. John Burnside waits for spring.

20070416

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

1/4. Breaking the Time Barrier: Archaeologist Clive Gamble transports us back to a gravel pit in northern France in 1859, to see the first evidence of the Stone Age, proof that mankind lived long before biblical times.

20070417

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

2/4. The Pillars of Wisdom: Richard Fortey is at the Bay of Naples in the 1820s with geologist Charles Lyell, discovering the forces that raised mountains and shaped the Earth.

20070418

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

3/4. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

In a cluttered lab in the 1820s, two German chemists show that living matter and minerals can be chemically identical, slaying the idea of a life force. Written by Andrea Sella.

20070419

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

4/4. On the Revolutions of Astronomy. In 1610, Galileo peering into the night sky with his hand-made telescope discovers four strange stars that will destroy the old concept of the Universe. But his abrasive attitude soon brings him into conflict with others, even his supporters, like Jesuit astronomer Father Orazio Grassi.

Written by Brother Guy Consolmagno.

20070423

The Cult of Childhood

Deborah Bowman presents four radio essays exploring the theme of childhood in the literary culture of the first half of the 20th century, particularly the 1920s and 30s.

1/4. An Age to Be Small In

An introductory essay surveying the interest of writers of this period in children, childishness, baby-talk and the childlike.

20070424

The Cult of Childhood

Deborah Bowman continues her exploration of the theme of childhood in the literary culture of the first half of the 20th century.

2/4. Peter Pans and Pyjama Parties

This essay examines the influence of Freud and the invention of the notion of adolescence, showing how it found its way into literature from Colette to Evelyn Waugh.

20070425

The Cult of Childhood

Deborah Bowman continues her exploration of the theme of childhood in the literary culture of the first half of the 20th century.

3/4. Generation Gap

Deborah investigates the social psychology of the generation gap, a phrase first used by Rose Macaulay in an age worried about the idea that young people might 'rise up' and lay waste to older generations.

20070426

The Cult of Childhood

Deborah Bowman concludes her exploration of the theme of childhood in the literary culture of the first half of the 20th century.

4/4. The Amazing True Story of the Flapper

Deborah argues that Flappers and other kinds of childlike posing were a way of criticising the adult world. Writers featured include Hilaire Belloc and Saki.

20070430

Death and the Philosopher: 1/4. Philosophers die like everyone else, so why are their bodies interesting? Lesley Chamberlain explores.

20070501

Death and the Philosopher: 2/4. No one lives forever, but perhaps ideas might. Lesley Chamberlain explores the tussle between the flesh and mind.

20070502

Death and the Philosopher

3/4. Jeremy Bentham wanted to be stuffed. Lenin, whether he liked it or not, was embalmed. Lesley Chamberlain asks what a philosopher's body tells us about his thoughts when he dies.

20070503

Death and the Philosopher

4/4. The body of Immanuel Kant has been buried, disinterred and reburied several times as his home town of Konigsberg has changed country, name and ideology over time.

Lesley Chamberlain asks how a bundle of bones can carry the power of the ideas that once animated the living philosopher.

20070507

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen embarks on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language.

1/8. SPQR and PIE

Sanskrit, Welsh, Iranian and Norwegian, not to mention English, French and German all share a common linguistic ancestry, being descendants of a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root (PIE). And how influential were the Romans?

20070508

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language.

2/8. From Amish to Wood Frisian

The Germanic family of languages counts over 550 million native speakers, and includes English, Faroese, Afrikaans, Dutch and, of course, German.

20070509

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language.

3/8. The Romance of Romance

In Catalan and French, Jersey dialect and Lombard, it's or; in Italian and Spanish, oro; and Romanians and Occitanians say aur. Michael goes panning for gold along the Romance language road.

20070510

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues on the long and winding linguistic road through the roots of European language.

4/8. Marche Slave

From vampires to vodka: 1,900 years ago, the Slavic family of languages spread west, probably originally from the Ukraine, to cover much of central Europe.

20070514

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues to explore the roots of Europe's languages.

5/8. The Song of the Celt

The Celtic languages of Europe once stretched as far east as Turkey and as far south as Spain. So why today are Celtic tongues only widely spoken in Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Scotland?

20070515

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues to explore the roots of Europe's languages.

6/8. Splendid Isolation

Many Europeans find being in Budapest, Helsinki, or even Bilbao disorientating. Nothing makes sense. Why? The so-called Finno-Ugric and the utterly unique Basque languages are under the microscope.

20070516

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues to explore the roots of Europe's languages.

7/8. Frontiers of the Tongue

What happens when two very different language families rub up against each other? Is it a case of oil and water, or do they merge happily into a new hybrid linguistic brew? Luxembourg, Brussels and Strasbourg all have different stories to tell.

20070517

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen concludes his exploration of the roots of Europe's languages.

8/8. Last Chance to Hear

The death of languages is rarely reported, yet Europe is littered with language corpses. What causes languages to cease to exist? Are ancient dialects seriously threatened? And should we be marching to save Swedish?

20070521

The Great Essayists

Writer and philosopher AC Grayling explores key figures from the rich tradition of English essay writing.

1/4. English nobleman Francis Bacon is considered to be the father of the English essay, and his work, first published at the end of the 16th century, has never been out of print since.

20070522

The Great Essayists

Writer and philosopher AC Grayling continues his exploration of key figures from the glory days of the English essay.

2/4. The essays of English parliamentarian Joseph Addison, born in 1672, are literary gems, showing an ease and lucidity of style combined with great wisdom on the subject of human virtue.

20070523

The Great Essayists

Writer and philosopher AC Grayling continues his exploration of key figures from the glory days of the English essay.

3/4. William Hazlitt was a journalist, critic and radical republican polemicist. He is renowned for the power and beauty of his prose in essays, ranging from a description of Poussin's famous painting of Orion to an evocation of the atmosphere at a bare-knuckle fight on the Hungerford Downs.

20070524

The Great Essayists

Writer and philosopher AC Grayling concludes his exploration of key figures from the glory days of the English essay.

4/4. Matthew Arnold was known not only for his poetry, but also for his essays discussing new ideas about culture and values, and the dwindling significance of religion in the age of Darwin.

20070528

Nightwalks

Four writers fond of walking explore how this simple activity is dramatically transformed at night time.

1/4. Will Self celebrates his role as a twilight walker and looks back at some memorable strolls under the streetlamps, including a recent one in the 'chilly north'.

20070529

Nightwalks

Four writers fond of walking, explore how this simple activity is dramatically transformed at night time.

2/4. Novelist Tim Parks sets out with his wife Rita and daughter Lucia for The Witches Fountain, just outside Verona, and on arrival there makes a discovery about Mr Bimbo.

20070530

Nightwalks

Four writers fond of walking explore how this simple activity is dramatically transformed at night time.

3/4. Alain de Botton believes that the only way to appreciate how electricity is carried, in all its power and vastness, is to stroll beneath the pylons at midnight.

20070531

Nightwalks

Four writers fond of walking explore how this simple activity is dramatically transformed at night time.

4/4. Novelist Kate Pullinger has two routes home in her city: one is short and edgy, the other is longer but more relaxing. She explores the possibilities of both.

20070604

In the week marking Elgar's 150th anniversary, four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

1/4. Elgar and Academe

Elgar was appointed the first Peyton Professor of Music at Birmingham University in 1905 and in a series of lectures outlined, among other things, his view of the future for English Music. Julian Rushton, a former Professor of Music at the University of Leeds, takes this as his staring point to examine Elgar's relationship with the musical academic world, both during his lifetime and afterwards.

20070605

In the week marking Elgar's 150th anniversary, four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

2/4. Elgar and Religion

Elgar's masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius was given a notoriously inadequate first performance, which may have undermined his Catholic faith. After Gerontius, he began work on a trilogy of oratorios based on the life of Christ and his Apostles, but completed only two of them, The Apostles and The Kingdom. Pianist and conductor Stephen Hough, himself a Catholic, wonders how deeply rooted Elgar's faith actually was.

20070606

In the week marking Elgar's 150th anniversary, four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

3/4. Elgar and the Establishment

Elgar was the son of a local Worcester shop-keeper, yet became a pillar of the establishment as Sir Edward Elgar of Broadheath, OM. David Cannadine, Professor of British History at the University of London's Institute of Historical Research, reflects on the images Elgar cultivated of himself and how far these are relevant or helpful today.

20070607

In the week marking Elgar's 150th anniversary, four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

4/4. Elgar and Englishness

Ernest Newman described Elgar's music as expressive of 'the very soul of our race'. Nalini Ghuman, Professor of Music at Mills College California, argues that the critical obsession with identifying in Elgar's music an essential Englishness has served to confine the music within the nation's boundaries.

20070611

No Particular Place to Go

A series of radio essays in which acclaimed travel writers examine four great works of British travel literature, books that changed the way we saw the world and the art of writing about it.

1/4. William Dalrymple pays homage to Fanny Parkes, author of A Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, an 18th century chronicle of her travels in India. Dalrymple considers Parkes' extraordinary achievement in bringing a 'true picture of early colonial India' to life.

20070612

No Particular Place to Go

A series of radio essays in which acclaimed travel writers examine four great works of British travel literature, books that changed the way we saw the world and the art of writing about it.

2/4. Tahir Shah sheds light on one of the giants of 20th-century British travel writing, Bruce Chatwin, and his acclaimed account of Aboriginal Australia in The Songlines.

20070613

No Particular Place to Go

A series of radio essays in which acclaimed travel writers examine four great works of British travel literature, books that changed the way we saw the world and the art of writing about it.

3/4. Colin Thubron celebrates Robert Byron's seminal 1937 travelogue, The Road to Oxiana.

20070614

No Particular Place to Go

A series of radio essays in which acclaimed travel writers examine four great works of British travel literature, books that changed the way we saw the world and the art of writing about it.

4/4. Joanna Kavenna discusses the significance of Louis MacNeice and WH Auden's Letters from Iceland (1937), a ground-breaking mixture of travelogue, poetry and prose.

20070618

What Are Friends For?

1/4. Cicero claimed 'When a man thinks of a true friend, he is looking at himself in the mirror'. Professor Justin Champion considers the notion of friendship from life in antiquity to the present day.

20070619

What Are Friends For?

2/4. 'Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:13). Professor Justin Champion considers what friendship meant to the early Christian scholars.

20070620

What Are Friends For?

3/4. Francis Bacon wrote 'Those that want friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own hearts'. Professor Justin Champion assesses the writings of Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon, and the importance of friendship in political life.

20070621

What Are Friends For? 4/4. Professor Justin Champion ponders the notion of friendship in the 21st century.

20070625

Conflict and Culture

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 was a source of huge distress and hardship, but was also a powerful catalyst for artistic and cultural development. Some artists fled north, like the painters Monet and Pissarro, others such as Zola and Maupassant took the war as the touchstone for some of their greatest writing.

1/4. Defeat

Prof Julian Jackson of Queen Mary, University of London, explores the impact of the conflict and the Paris Commune on day-to-day French life and the way artists responded to it.

20070626

Conflict and Culture

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 was a source of huge distress and hardship, but was also a powerful catalyst for artistic and cultural development.

2/4. Revolution

Prof Julian Jackson of Queen Mary, University of London, continues his exploration of the impact of the conflict and the Paris Commune on day-to-day French life and the way thinkers and artists responded to it.

20070627

Conflict and Culture: The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 was a source of huge distress and hardship, but was also a powerful catalyst for artistic and cultural development.

3/4. From Humiliation to Regeneration

Prof Julian Jackson of Queen Mary, University of London, continues his exploration of the impact of the conflict and the Paris Commune on day-to-day French life and the way thinkers and artists responded to it.

20070628

Conflict and Culture

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 was a source of huge distress and hardship, but was also a powerful catalyst for artistic and cultural development.

4/4. From Regeneration to Revenge

Prof Julian Jackson of Queen Mary, University of London, concludes his exploration of the impact of the conflict and the Paris Commune on day-to-day French life and the long social, political and cultural shadow that it cast.

20070702

States of Mind

Four British cultural figures explore how their first impressions of America developed through intellectual, physical and cultural discoveries.

1/4. Crime writer PD James discusses his idea of America.

20070703

States of Mind

Four British cultural figures explore how their first impressions of America developed through intellectual, physical and cultural discoveries.

2/4. British-Pakistani writer Kamran Nazeer examines how his idea of America is tied up with the law, and how his younger self was inspired by the elderly men and women of the Supreme Court.

20070704

States of Mind

Four British cultural figures explore how their first impressions of America developed through intellectual, physical and cultural discoveries.

3/4. As someone with dual English and American nationality, writer Will Self examines how attitudes to America have changed since 9/11 and explores the dangers inherent in knee-jerk liberal anti-Americanism.

20070705

States of Mind

Four British cultural figures explore how their first impressions of America developed through intellectual, physical and cultural discoveries.

4/4. Award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen ponders the parcels of exotic gifts that helped form her idea of America as a child, and how this sense of otherness has been continued in adulthood by the distinctive work of American classical composers.

20070709

In Search of Contentment

1/4. Chris Stewart, drummer turned sheep-farmer turned writer has been collecting stories of people who have dropped out of the race for wealth and recognition. From his idyllic farm in Andalucia, he now tries to discover the threads that bind those who have found contentment together.

20070710

In Search of Contentment

2/4. How does a long train journey, a moment to sit back, relax and quietly relish success, turn into too much time in which to brood? Scottish novelist and columnist AL Kennedy finds herself bereft of contentment, but the search goes on.

20070711

In Search of Contentment: 3/4. Tom Hogkinson, magazine editor, takes a practical approach to seeking out contentment. For him it lies in a hammock, strumming away on the ukulele.

20070712

In Search of Contentment

4/4. Inspired by the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poet Sa Di and the words of her own father, Sufi writer Isidris Shah, author and documentary maker Saira Shah describes how her travels have brought her into contact with those who strive for contentment whilst living on the edge.

20070716

Life, But Not As We Know It

A biologist, a writer and a philosopher each explore their fascination with the notion of extraterrestrial intelligence and what such a discovery could mean for the future of humanity.

1/3. Biologist Jack Cohen on why the discovery of aliens would change our view of biology, evolution and organised religion.

20070718

Life, But Not As We Know It

A biologist, a writer and a philosopher each explore their fascination with the notion of extraterrestrial intelligence and what such a discovery could mean for the future of humanity.

2/3. Writer Andrew Crumey delves into our literary past to discover a fascination with alien life dating back to the middle ages and beyond.

20070719

Life, But Not As We Know It

A biologist, a writer and a philosopher each explore their fascination with the notion of extraterrestrial intelligence and what such a discovery could mean for the future of humanity.

3/3. Philosopher Nick Bostrom explains why he believes that the discovery of aliens would be a disaster for the future of humanity and lead to the end of civilisation as we know it.

20070723

Bibliomania: Buying

1/3. Self-confessed bibliomaniac Ian Sansom explores the history and characteristics of the condition. First identified in 1809 by the Rev Thomas Frognall Dibdin, bibliomania has taken many forms - among them, Ian's obsession with the books no one else wants.

20070724

Bibliomania: Storing

2/3. Self-confessed bibliomaniac Ian Sansom explores the history and characteristics of the condition. A crucial and fraught question for book collectors is that of storage. Where to put the books? And how to order and arrange them? Ian examines the history of book storage, from tables to lecterns to cabinets and shelves, drawing gratefully on the seminal work by Henry Petrowski.

20070726

Bibliomania

3/3. Selling

Self-confessed bibliomaniac Ian Sansom explores the history and characteristics of the condition. Having acquired books, how does one part with them? Ian examines those who have abandoned their collections or disposed of them, from the unimaginably wealthy who buy and sell books like portfolios of stocks to the humble contemporary sellers on Amazon.

20070730

Under the Influence

Three contemporary poets talk about poets whose work has influenced their own.

1/3. Anne Stevenson is now in her seventies and for all her writing life TS Eliot has been a constant presence. It is not his religious thinking, nor his striking imagery that influenced her, but rather the rhythms of Eliot's verse.

20070801

Under the Influence

Three contemporary poets talk about poets whose work has influenced their own.

2/3. Imtiaz Dharker was born in Pakistan, but grew up in a strict Muslim home in Glasgow before eloping with an Indian Hindu. It is not surprising then that she is influenced not by a single writer, but a whole school: the Sangam poets who, two millennia ago, wrote their poems in Tamil.

Although Dharker does not know the language, through the lens of their translator AK Ramanjuan, these ancient poems of love and war have a profound impact on her work today.

20070802

Under the Influence

Three contemporary poets talk about poets whose work has influenced their own.

3/3. Anne-Marie Fyfe grew up in the 1960s in a small coastal town in North Antrim and writes poems about this and the cosmopolitan life of London. However, the writer who has influenced her most is Emily Dickinson. Fyfe explores what draws her to the poet who spent her reclusive life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the mid 19th century writing nearly 1800 poems distinguished by strange sparky imagery and fractured punctuation.

20070806

Stones that Speak

Musicologist and folklorist Tim Healey assesses new insights into the medieval mind as revealed by the lively, sensual and sometimes sinister carvings which adorn England's great cathedrals and remote parish churches.

1/3. Ungodly Entertainments

He considers the Church's ambiguous attitude to music and musicians, both sacred and profane.

20070808

Stones that Speak

Musicologist and folklorist Tim Healey assesses new insights into the medieval mind as revealed by the lively, sensual and sometimes sinister carvings which adorn England's great cathedrals and remote parish churches.

2/3. The Bawdy Tradition

He considers the puzzling placing of blatantly sexual sculptures that adorn many ancient places of worship.

20070809

Stones That Speak

Musicologist and folklorist Tim Healey assesses new insights into the medieval mind as revealed by the lively, sensual and sometimes sinister carvings which adorn England's great cathedrals and remote parish churches.

3/3. Creatures of Nightmare

Gargoyles and grotesques are part of the weird and wonderful bestiary that haunt mediaeval churches. Were they allegories or counter-spells, to ward off the evil eye?

20070813

The Proms at 80

Three prominent musical and cultural historians consider how the Proms have evolved over the years.

1/3. Roderick Swanston reflects on changing tastes as seen in the planning for this summer's programme, using recollections from two past Controllers, William Glock and John Drummond.

20070814

The Proms at 80

Three prominent musical and cultural historians consider how the Proms have evolved over the years.

2/3. Christopher Cook explores the particular challenges of presenting these concerts to radio audiences in the 20th and 21st centuries, and how tastes and fashions have changed.

20070815

The Proms at 80

Three prominent musical and cultural historians consider how the Proms have evolved over the years.

3/3. Ivan Hewett tries to identify the nature and character of Proms audiences and how they differ from classical music audiences elsewhere.

20070820
20070821

On Auden

Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

2/4. Award-winning writer Kate Clanchy looks at Auden's earlier works, including Refugee Blues and In Memory of WB Yeats, and explores his political attitudes and their contemporary relevance.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070822

On Auden

Four poets salute the centenary of WH Auden's birth.

3/4. Glyn Maxwell once travelled to Iceland with Simon Armitage in the footsteps of Auden and Louis MacNeice. He explores the distinctive nature of Auden's poems and how they work, with samples including The Fall of Rome and The Shield of Achilles.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070823

On Auden

Four poets salute the centenary of W H Auden's birth.

4/4. Peter Porter explores Auden's plays and libretti. He looks at The Dog Beneath the Skin, written with Christopher Isherwood, and the libretto of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Porter believes that in addition to Auden's stature as one of the twentieth century's finest lyric poets, these works guarantee his place among the finest dramatic writers.

Read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

20070827

Nocturnes: Three female writers reflect on 11.00pm in three cities. 1/3: Tessa Hadley.

20070828

Nocturnes: Three female writers reflect on 11.00pm in three cities. 2/3: Frances Byrnes.

20070830

Nocturnes: Three female writers reflect on 11.00pm in three cities. 3/3: Trezza Azzopardi.

20070904

Only a Monkey Shaved

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London, takes Gilbert and Sullivan's line 'Darwinian man, though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved' as his starting point to explore the latest scientific evidence about the similarities and differences between us and our closest relatives, the apes.

1/3. He asks what knowing about genes tells us.

20070905

Only a Monkey Shaved

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London, takes Gilbert and Sullivan's line 'Darwinian man, though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved' as his starting point to explore the latest scientific evidence about the similarities and differences between us and our closest relatives, the apes.

2/3. He looks at the response to diseases such as AIDS.

20070906

Only a Monkey Shaved

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London, takes Gilbert and Sullivan's line 'Darwinian man, though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved' as his starting point to explore the latest scientific evidence about the similarities and differences between us and our closest relatives, the apes.

2/3. He compares behaviour.

20070910
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20070912
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20070919
20070920
20070924

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

1/4. Breaking the Time Barrier

Archaeologist Clive Gamble transports us back to a gravel pit in northern France in 1859 to see the first evidence of the Stone Age, proof that mankind lived long before biblical times.

20070925

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

2/4. The Pillars of Wisdom

Richard Fortey is at the Bay of Naples in the 1820s with geologist Charles Lyell, discovering the forces that raised mountains and shaped the Earth.

20070926
20070927

Strange Encounters

Four scientists relive a key moment in their discipline.

4/4. On the Revolutions of Astronomy

In 1610, Galileo peering into the night sky with his hand-made telescope discovers four strange stars that will destroy the old concept of the Universe. But his abrasive attitude soon brings him into conflict with others, even his supporters, such as Jesuit astronomer Father Orazio Grassi.

Written by Brother Guy Consolmagno.

20071001

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik.

1/4. Fifty years ago in October 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik I, the space race began and modernity was born in the mind of Barnsley schoolboy Ian McMillan.

20071002

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking the 50th anniversary of Sputnik.

2/4. Zinovy Zinik remembers trying to escape his Moscow playground by leaping in the air to hitch a lift on the orbiting Sputnik.

20071003

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking the 50th anniversary of Sputnik.

3/4. News of Sputnik and rock and roll arrived in South Africa for Christopher Hope at about the same time. The two have remained fused for him ever since.

20071004

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking the 50th anniversary of Sputnik.

4/4. Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space science at the Open University, discusses how Sputnik gave her a job, and what it meant to the rest of the world.

20071008

Raising My Voice: Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact on their creativity of challenging mental health problems. 1/4. The Novelist.

20071009

Raising My Voice: Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact on their creativity of challenging mental health problems. 2/4: The Multi-Media Artist.

20071010

Raising My Voice: Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact on their creativity of challenging mental health problems. 3/4. The Songwriter and Painter.

20071011

Raising My Voice: Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact on their creativity of challenging mental health problems. 4/4. The Film-Maker.

20071015
20071016
20071017

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

3/4. A memorial to a four-year-old girl at a Cambridgeshire church provides a clue to the life of the leading black abolitionist Olaudah Equiano. We explore his links with the girl and consider how their two lives and his great book, The Interesting Narrative, influenced attitudes in 18th century Britain and promoted the struggle against slavery.

20071018

Britain's Hidden Slave Trade

Historian John Gilmore and writer Angelina Osborne visit four places connected with the British slave trade to tell their stories and reflect on their legacy.

4/4. Westminster Hall was the venue for one of the slave trade's most significant heavyweight contests in the 18th century, which resulted in slavery being effectively banned in England. In the red corner, one of the unsung heroes of abolition, Granville Sharp, and in the blue corner for the establishment and the status quo, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield.

20071029

Maths and Music

The mathematician, Marcus du Sautoy explores the connections between the creative art of music and the steely logic of maths.

1/4. Counter-culture

He starts by looking at the rhythmic complexities in Steve Reich, Messiaen, Ewe music from Ghana and a piece which lasts 1,000 years.

20071030

Maths and Music

Marcus du Sautoy continues his exploration.

2/4. The Music of the Spheres

He examines Pythagoras' theories about the harmonious world, the thorny issue of temperament and why so many cultures divide the scale into 12 notes.

20071031

Maths and Music

With mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

3/4. Theme and Variations

He reveals the symmetry in Bach's Goldberg Variations, the maths behind bell-ringing and Mozart's obsession with numbers.

20071101

Maths and Music

Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy concludes his series.

4/4. Composing with Numbers

He looks at Schoenberg's rectangles, Xenakis' cubes and Messiaen's Mongean shuffle, and reveals that there is music in maths.

20071105

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues his exploration of the ways Europeans speak.

9/12. Lost Your Tongue?

Punjabi, Sylheti, Vietnamese, Hausa and many others have travelled to Europe with their native speakers, yet immediately find themselves surrounded by English, French, German, Dutch and the rest. So what does it take for a non-native language to survive, flourish or simply die?

20071106

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues his exploration of the ways Europeans speak.

10/12. He's My Spar

In recent years, many elements of, for example, Caribbean creoles have begun to spread widely into the broader population. What effect has the arrival of these speakers had on native European languages?

20071107

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen continues his exploration of the ways Europeans speak.

11/12. English Spoken Here

With all-German academic conferences now being conducted exclusively in English, Michael Rosen explores the expanding world of non-native English speakers in Europe. What dangers lurk both for indigenous European languages, and for the purity of English?

20071108

Lingua Franca

Michael Rosen concludes his exploration of the ways Europeans speak.

12/12. Standards and Flags

In his last essay about Europe and its languages, Michael Rosen explores the way standard British English is maintained, finds out about linguistic legislation, and asks whether there's a future for learning modern European languages in an English-dominated world.

20071112

Free Thinking

As part of BBC Radio 3's festival of ideas, Free Thinking, The Essay plays host to writers reflecting on freedom.

1/4. Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie brandishes her writer's passport and asks if it's necessary for a writer to travel widely in order to unleash their imagination. Or can they explore universal human experience, wherever it occurs?

20071113

Free Thinking

A series of essays in which writers reflect on freedom.

2/4. Ben Markovits considers the freedom of the immigrant in Britain.

Half German, half American, part Christian, part Jewish, Ben has never felt fully rooted in a single culture or completely implicated in the society around him. To many, this might sound like the crisis of modern immigration, but for Ben the writer, there is freedom in being rootless in a new place.

20071114

Free Thinking

As part of BBC Radio 3's festival of ideas, Free Thinking, The Essay plays host to writers reflecting on freedom.

3/4. Ukrainian novelist Andrei Kourkov, acclaimed for his often surreal and blackly comic evocation of post-Soviet reality, reflects on the meaning of freedom in his home country, both before and after the collapse of Communism.

20071115

Free Thinking

As part of BBC Radio 3's festival of ideas, Free Thinking, The Essay plays host to writers reflecting on freedom.

4/4. Richard Rai O'Neill reflects on the Romany philosophy of freedom, both the ideal, and the reality.

Richard's grandmother taught him that a Romany life was about Freedom in order to enjoy Health and Love. Richard explores a more pragmatic aspect to Romany philosophy, which is if you're having a tough time financially, it's time to move on to a different place, as a new place brings new luck.

20071119

Emotional Landscapes

Four writers give personal insights into different emotional states.

1/4. Tenderness

Kate Clanchy discusses tenderness. A tender image makes children, or parents, of us all, and that is a disarming, frightening feeling.

20071120

Emotional Landscapes

Four writers give personal insights into different emotional states.

2/4. Patience

Sean O'Brien reflects on the life of his grandmother from Hull in his essay about patience.

20071121

Emotional Landscapes: Four writers give personal insights into different emotional states. 3/4: Guilt. Lavinia Greenlaw explores the feeling of guilt.

20071122

Emotional Landscapes: Four writers give personal insights into different emotional states. 4/4: Courage. Tahmima Anam questions what exactly is meant by courage.

20071126

Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

1/4. He considers Blake's Songs of Innocence.

20071127

Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

2/4. He considers Blake's Songs of Experience.

20071128

Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

3/4. He focuses on America and Blake's vision of the mysterious free nation that was developing across the Atlantic.

20071129

Paulin on Blake

On the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake, Tom Paulin presents a series of spoken essays exploring the life and works of the great non-conformist English visionary, poet and artist.

4/4. He explores some of Blake's more complex writing in the unfinished epic Vala and confides his own frustration at not having yet grasped the strange and inscrutable mythological world of Blake's creation.

20071203
20071204
20071205

No Particular Place to Go

A series of radio essays in which acclaimed travel writers examine four great works of British travel literature, books that changed the way we saw the world and the art of writing about it.

3/4. Colin Thubron celebrates Robert Byron's seminal 1937 travelogue The Road to Oxiana.

20071206
20071210

Greek and Latin Voices

A series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation. Starting, with Homer, the grand old man of European literature, and featuring new translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey, specially created by Oliver Taplin and read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

1/4. Christopher Pelling discusses men, heroes and superheroes.

20071211

Greek and Latin Voices

A series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation. Starting, with Homer, the grand old man of European literature, and featuring new translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey, specially created by Oliver Taplin and read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

2/4. Barbara Graziosi discusses Homer, the bard.

20071212

Greek and Latin Voices

A series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation. Starting, with Homer, the grand old man of European literature, and featuring new translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey, specially created by Oliver Taplin and read by Tim Pigott-Smith.

3/4. Oliver Taplin explores Homer's world.

20071213

Greek and Latin Voices

A series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

4/4. Lapsed Classicist

Irish poet Michael Longley offers a touching personal account of his lifelong relationship with Homer. Texts read by Sian Thomas and John Rowe.

20071217

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

1/8. Horace's Odes, Epistles and Satires have been the cornerstones of much Western poetry. Poets are still drawn to them, but they also have much to say to business people, politicians and lovers. Maria Wyke explores Horace and his world.

20071218

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

2/8. Horace wrote around the time of Jesus Christ, yet contemporary poets still find his poems fine models to emulate. Stephen Harrison and Maureen Almond talk about making Horace new.

20071219

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

3/4. Horace was once much taught in British schools, should he be again? Martha Kearney discusses Latin in the newsroom.

20071220

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

4/8. Horace's 103 Odes are among the towering works of world literature. Sandy McClatchy, Rosanna Warren and Richard Howard examine them.

20080114

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation. Augustine is extraordinarily important to Western culture. Coming to maturity as the Roman Empire fell apart, he straddled two worlds. He wrote prolifically in beautiful Latin prose, launched the self-exploring psychology of western humanity and, at the same time, defined the concept of Original Sin.

1/4. Maria Wyke: The Education of a Latinist

Augustine's penetratingly modern ideas about the teaching of classics to children.

20080115

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the importance of Augustine.

2/4. An examination of the influence Augustine had on the Christian church, with reflections by Dr Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury.

20080116

Greek and Latin Voices

Series on Augustine the man, the philosopher and the writer.

3/4.

Professor Gillian Clark: What Augustine didn't say. She explores the doctrine of the Just War, the idea that sex is sinful and the famous plea of 'give me chastity but not yet'.

20080117

Greek and Latin Voices: Series exploring the writer Augustine. 4/4. One of Augustine's most respected biographers, Dr James J O'Donnell, puts Augustine's life in context.

20080128
20080129
20080130
20080131
20080204

The Great Essayists

Writer and philosopher AC Grayling explores key figures from the rich tradition of English essay writing.

1/4. English nobleman Francis Bacon is considered to be the father of the English essay and his work, first published at the end of the 16th century, has never been out of print since.

20080205
20080206
20080207
20080211

A Sense of Ourselves

Four writers and immigrants to Britain give the outsider's perspective on modern Britishness.

1/4. Jamaican poet James Berry came to Britain 60 years ago as part of the Windrush generation. He talks about the process of rethinking the idea of Britishness he had absorbed as a child of Empire and his subsequent efforts to bring Caribbean culture to bear on Britishness through literature.

20080212

A Sense of Ourselves

Four writers and immigrants to Britain give the outsider's perspective on modern Britishness.

2/4. Nadeem Aslam came to Britain from Pakistan at the age of 14. His last novel Maps for Lost Lovers deals with the emotional life of an immigrant family living in a working-class Pakistani community in the north of England. Nadeem explores the emotional ambiguity underpinning his own relationship to Britain.

20080213

A Sense of Ourselves

Four writers and immigrants to Britain give the outsider's perspective on Britishness.

3/4. Eva Hoffman is a Polish Jew who came to Britain in 1992, having spent most of her adult life in the United States. What she found confounded her prejudices of a stodgy, emotionally closed and uncommunicative culture.

But she also found a society in a state of rapid flux, a culture which seemed unsure of the balance to strike between absorbing outside influence and maintaining traditional values. Eva reflects on how we should handle this crisis of confidence.

20080214

A Sense of Ourselves

Four writers and immigrants to Britain give an outsider's perspective on Britishness.

4/4. Kapka Kassabova is a young poet and novelist who briefly flirted with Britain in the early 1990s when her father brought the family over from Bulgaria.

Thirteen years later, she returned to Britain from New Zealand and has made her home in Edinburgh. She contrasts her impressions formed as a teenager landing in a country where for her peers Bulgaria meant a character from the Wombles with those she has formed as a mature adult.

20080218
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20080220
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20080225

To Russia with Love

In the week leading up to the Russian presidential election, four writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

1/4. Lesley Chamberlain recalls the ice age of the Cold War and how she was able to find solace at the Moscow Hippodrome.

20080226

To Russia with Love

In the week leading up to the Russian presidential election, four writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

2/4. Journalist Vanora Bennett delights in sharing compartments with complete strangers as she explores the idiosyncrasies of travelling by train in Russia.

20080227

To Russia with Love

In the week leading up to the Russian presidential election, four writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

3/4. Simon Sebag Montefiore reflects on possibly the greatest of all historical romances - that between Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin in 18th century St Petersburg.

20080228

To Russia with Love

In the week leading up to the Russian presidential election, four writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

4/4. Prof Simon Franklin embarks on a journey that begins with an attempt to secure a visa and leads, quite unexpectedly, to one of Russia's great icons.

20080303

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of Euripides.

1/4. Prof Christopher Pelling examines the life and work of Euripides, whose surviving tragedies fascinate theatre audiences today as much as in 5th century BC Athens.

20080304

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of Euripides.

2/4. Distinguished neuroscientist Prof Susan Greenfield explores her lifelong passion for Euripides' play The Bacchae, which she says still offers fresh insights into the workings of the human mind.

20080305

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of Euripides.

3/4. Classics professor Simon Goldhill explores how the work of Euripides is open to so many and such different interpretations, and also considers why in recent years his plays are the most frequently staged of all the Greek tragedies.

20080306

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of Euripides.

4/4. Fiona Macintosh, Senior Research Fellow at the Archive for the Performance of Greek Drama at Oxford, explores the enduring popularity of Euripides through the centuries right up to the present day.

20080310

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

1/4. Maria Wyke, professor of Latin at UCL, examines the work of the independent-minded Roman historian Tacitus, focusing on Annals, his most famous surviving work.

20080311

Greek and Latin Voices: Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation. 2/4: Classics lecturer Ellen O'Gorman discusses Tacitus's skill at character portrayal.

20080312

Greek and Latin Voices

Series about the literature which underpins Western civilisation.

3/4. Andy Martin, a writer and French lecturer at Cambridge University assesses Tacitus' influence on writers like Racine and political figures like Napoleon.

20080313

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of Tacitus.

4/4. Rhiannon Ash, Lecturer in Latin and Greek at Oxford University, asks whether Tacitus is still worth reading today.

20080324

Fruits of the Earth

A series in which four writers contemplate why fertility has been such an important preoccupation in the worlds of art and ideas.

1/4. Author AS Byatt examines our changing attitudes to fertility rites and symbols as seen in James George Frazer's The Golden Bough and railway engine design - via Queen Elizabeth I.

Part of Radio 3's Rites of Spring season.

20080325

Fruits of the Earth.

A series in which four writers contemplate why fertility has been such an important preoccupation for humanity and its art and ideas.

2/4. Developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert explains why the most important event in our lives is not birth, marriage or death but gastrulation - an early phase in the development of a human embryo.

Part of Radio 3's Rites of Spring season.

20080326

Fruits of the Earth

A series in which four writers contemplate why fertility has been such an important preoccupation for humanity and its art and ideas.

3/4. Writer Maggie Gee examines popular culture - from P D James' The Children of Men to celebrity baby-brandishing - and what it reveals about attitudes to fertility.

Part of Radio 3's Rites of Spring season.

20080327

Fruits of the Earth

A series in which four writers contemplate why fertility has been such an important preoccupation for humanity and its art and ideas.

4/4. Writer Laura Cumming contemplates the curious nature of fertility today and argues that, despite a wealth of historical allusions to pregnancy, visual art has never fully turned its gaze on the subject.

Part of Radio 3's Rites of Spring season.

20080331
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20080402
20080403
20080407

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring literature underpinning western civilisation.

1/4. Prof Christopher Pelling explores the work of the great Greek historian Herodotus, whose The Histories, the story of the Greco-Persian war in the 5th century BC, was considered the first work of history in western literature.

20080408

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life and work of the Greek historian Herodotus.

2/4. Author Tom Holland recalls his schoolboy passion for Herodotus' shaggy dog stories, complete with naked queens, dolphins and cannibals, and how, through Herodotus' account of the wars between Greece and Persia in the 5th century BC, he was given his first taste of tragedy.

20080409

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life and work of the Greek historian Herodotus.

3/3. Prof Emily Greenwood considers the enduring popularity of Herodotus' work and his importance in travel writing, journalism, anthropology, science, and the art of storytelling.

In the light of Herodotus' tales of cryptic gifts of animals and arrows, goat-footed men, and bald-headed tribes, she also explores what this 5th-century BC historian can tell us about cultural diversity today.

20080410

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life and work of the Greek historian Herodotus.

4/4. Prof Paul Cartledge looks - through the writings of Herodotus - at the famous battle of Thermopylae, where the West met the East, as 300 Spartans faced the might of the Persian army at a pass known as the 'Hot Gates', and the West won and remained free - just.

Prof Cartledge looks at why the Persians lost, why this was such a crucial battle for both sides, and why the 300 Spartans, as they waited for the Persians to attack, spent their time combing their long hair.

20080414

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring literature underpinning western civilisation, focusing on the Roman satirist Juvenal.

1/4. Maria Wyke sets Juvenal in a literary context and considers how Dr Johnson reworked Satire 3 into his poem, London.

20080415

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring literature underpinning western civilisation, focusing on the Roman satirist Juvenal.

2/4. Contemporary writer and satirist Alistair Beaton explains his admiration for Juvenal and how many of the morally questionable ideas of 2nd century Rome are still relevant to 21st century Britain.

20080416

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring literature underpinning western civilisation, focusing on the Roman satirist, Juvenal.

3/4. Dr Fred Jones of Liverpool University examines Juvenal's literary techniques and discovers a collage of genres taken from both Roman and Greek literature.

20080417

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring literature underpinning western civilisation, focusing on the Roman satirist, Juvenal.

4/4. Dr Susanna Braund looks at recent re-interpretations of Juvenal's Satires and sets Roman satire into a wider context of Roman anxiety about masculinity.

20080421

Raising My Voice

Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact of mental health problems on their creativity.

1/4. Songwriter and artist Rachel Studley discusses dealing with her mental illness and progressing towards leading a creative and fulfilling life.

20080422

Raising My Voice

Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact of mental health problems on their creativity.

2/4. Christopher Danes, writer and manic depressive, reflects on the public and personal impact of his illness.

20080423

Raising My Voice

Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact of mental health problems on their creativity.

3/4. Monika Dutta, a filmmaker and multimedia artist, discusses living with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

20080424

Raising My Voice

Four artists working in a variety of fields consider the impact of mental health problems on their creativity.

4/4. Tracey Britton has painted through several episodes of severe psychological dysfunction and she resists the label 'mentally ill', preferring instead to celebrate creativity.

20080428

Symmetry and the Monster

Series exploring the quest to understand one of most famous mathematical problems.

1/4. Professor Mark Ronan, author of the book 'Symmetry and the Monster: The Story of One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics', follows the discovery by the precocious Frenchman Evariste Galois of the 'building blocks' of symmetry. His legacy, published in 1846 - 14 years after his death in a duel, was to set the study of symmetry on a new course and start a new branch of mathematics called group theory.

20080429

Symmetry and the Monster

Series exploring the quest to understand one of most famous mathematical problems.

2/4. Professor Mark Ronan charts the work of Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie as he followed in the footsteps of Evariste Galois, discoverer of symmetry's building blocks. In his exploration of multi-dimensional geometry in the 1870s, Lie built on Galois' discovery and his work paved the way for 20th Century advances in theoretical physics.

20080430

Symmetry and the Monster

Series exploring the quest to understand one of most famous mathematical problems.

3/4. Professor Mark Ronan follows the work, in the 1930s, of mathematician Richard Brauer, who was forced to leave Germany for North America by the Nazis. At Harvard, where he influenced a new generation of mathematicians, he brought the quest to understand symmetry closer to fruition.

20080501

Symmetry and the Monster

Series exploring the quest to understand one of most famous mathematical problems.

4/4. Professor Mark Ronan explains how in 1973 Bernd Fischer discovered a structure of 196,883 dimensions, otherwise known as the Monster. Thus symmetry had come together with the concept of string theory, enabling a much greater understanding of the construction of the universe.

20080505
20080506
20080507
20080508
20080512

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking last year's 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1.

1/4. In October 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik I, the space race began and modernity was born in the mind of Barnsley schoolboy Ian McMillan.

20080513

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking the 50th anniversary in 2007 of the launch of Sputnik 1.

2/4. Zinovy Zinik remembers trying to escape his Moscow playground by leaping in the air to hitch a lift on the orbiting Sputnik.

20080514

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking last year's 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1.

3/4. News of Sputnik and rock and roll arrived in South Africa for Christopher Hope at about the same time. The two have remained fused for him ever since.

20080515

A Beep Heard Around the World

Four personal essays marking last year's 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1.

4/4. Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space science at the Open University, discusses how Sputnik gave her a job, and what it meant to the rest of the world.

20080519

Robert Graves and the Poetic Myth

Writer and broadcaster Graeme Fife explores the work of the poet and novelist Robert Graves.

1/4. Graeme considers the role played by love, war and the unrestrained imagination of childhood in Graves's poetry.

20080520

Robert Graves and the Poetic Myth

Writer and broadcaster Graeme Fife explores the work of the poet and novelist Robert Graves.

2/4. Graeme explores Graves's use of ancient myth in understanding and reflecting the wider world.

20080521

Robert Graves and the Poetic Myth

Writer and broadcaster Graeme Fife explores the work of the poet and novelist Robert Graves.

3/4. Graeme recalls his visits to Graves's home in Mallorca and considers the role in his life of the poet Laura Riding, with whom he had a romantic and professional association, as well as the four other 'muses' that followed in her stead.

20080522

Robert Graves and the Poetic Myth

Writer and broadcaster Graeme Fife explores the work of the poet and novelist Robert Graves.

4/4. Graeme considers the part sexual love, sexless poetic love and marital love all played in Graves' later work.

20080526

New Archaeologies

Series of personal essays about the archaeology of the recent past.

1/4. Dr Beth O'Leary from the University of New Mexico examines the role space archaeology has to play in preserving Tranquility Base - the site on the moon where Apollo 11 landed - for mankind as the first extraterrestrial heritage site.

20080527

New Archaeologies

Series of personal essays about the archaeology of the recent past.

2/4. Archaeologist Laura McAtackney discusses her work at the Long Kesh/Maze prison near Belfast, and focuses on how emotional responses to physical remains can inform histories of place.

20080528

New Archaeologies

Series of personal essays about the archaeology of the past.

3/4. Archaeologist Jeff Oliver discusses how carvings incised upon trees can help archaeologists better understand how landscapes were populated in past times.

20080529

New Archaeologies

Series of personal essays about the archaeology of the recent past.

4/4. Archaeologist Cassie Newland discusses the impact on the surrounding environment of part of the Imperial long wave radio station project in Essex.

20080602

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho.

1/4. Professor Christopher Pelling of the University of Oxford introduces the work of Sappho - regarded as the greatest female poet of ancient literature - and explains her appeal to contemporary audiences.

20080603

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho.

2/4. Writer, critic and academic Margaret Reynolds explores Sappho's sexuality and her erotic poetry - both apparently heterosexual and homosexual.

20080604

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho.

3/4. Award-winning Irish poet Eavan Boland recalls her first encounter with Sappho, as a young graduate student at Trinity College Dublin, and how she integrated the persona and poetry of Sappho into her own work.

20080605

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho.

4/4. Given that Sappho's work survives only in fragments, classics lecturer Barbara Graziosi explores the appeal of the fragmentary to contemporary audiences.

20080609

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the Roman orator, philosopher and statesman Cicero.

1/4. Maria Wyke, Professor of Latin at University College, London's Department of Greek and Latin discusses the end of Cicero's life and his last speeches.

20080610

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the Roman orator, philosopher and statesman Cicero.

2/4. Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, explains why she still reads Cicero.

20080611

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the Roman orator, philosopher and statesman Cicero.

3/4. Paula James, of the Open University's Department of Classical Studies, discusses Roman relationships as annotated by Cicero.

20080612

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the work of the Roman orator, philosopher and statesman Cicero.

4/4. Catherine Steel, of Glasgow University's Department of Classics, talks about Cicero's love for and mastery of gossip.

20080616

English Takeaway

Series exploring British perspectives on China.

1/4. The Great Exhibition and London's Chinese Junk

Patrick Wright recalls a time when British imperial grandeur collided with perceived Chinese primitivism. For Charles Dickens, the Great Exhibition provided proof of Chinese antiquarianism and of a rival for Britain as it ushered in the age of industrialisation.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080617

English Takeaway

Series exploring British perspectives on China.

2/4. Limehouse Chinatown: The Opium Wars Brought Home

Patrick Wright considers the fabled loft of Dr Fu Manchu in Limehouse at the time of the 'Yellow Peril' scare, when the dominant Western culture of the Victorian age suddenly appeared vulnerable to the exoticism of the Orient.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080618

English Takeaway

Series exploring British perspectives on China.

3/4. 'Dumb-Walking-Man': Chiang Yee, the Silent Traveller

Patrick Wright examines a rare Chinese book about London and the English Lakes published in the 1930s. He explores how the enforced exile, Chiang Yee, tried to make sense of British society by comparing it with his native land.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080619

English Takeaway

Series exploring British perspectives on China.

4/4. 'China Stands Up': Maoist Peasant and English Leveller

Patrick Wright looks at how, in the mid-1950s, the artists Stanley Spencer and Paul Hogarth reacted to the People's Republic and its leadership in the company of various Labour MPs.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080623

Nature in China

Series in which writer and climber Robert Macfarlane explores the state of the natural environment in China.

1/4. Wild Water - Swimming in the Ice

Robert joins the veteran winter swimmers in a Beijing park as they break the ice and dive in.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080624

Nature in China

Series in which writer and climber Robert Macfarlane explores the state of the natural environment in China.

2/4. Wild Wall - The Unkempt and Unrestored Wall

Robert visits China's Great Wall.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080625

Nature in China

Series in which writer and climber Robert Macfarlane explores the state of the natural environment in China.

3/4. Wild Mountain - Beginnings

Robert travels to the mountainous heart of China to visit the holy peak of Minya Konka.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080626

Nature in China

Series in which writer and climber Robert Macfarlane explores the state of the natural environment in China.

4/4. Wild Mountain - Endings

Robert uncovers some of Mount Minya Konka's secrets as he descends.

Part of Radio 3's Focus on China season.

20080630

Doctoring Philosophy

Series exploring the philosophical beliefs at the heart of the NHS.

1/4. Health

To mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service, Professor Jonathan Wolff asks whether health really is an intrinsic good and can be measured and quantified, as well as charting changing definitions of sickness and health, from Descartes to RD Laing.

20080701

Doctoring Philosophy

Series exploring the philosophical beliefs at the heart of the NHS.

2/4. Entitlement

Professor Jonathan Wolff explores the consequences of the change in healthcare philosophy that the NHS brought about, as charity was replaced by the concept of universal rights. He considers fears that a new culture of entitlement might undermine traditional values of self-help and self-sufficiency.

20080702

Doctoring Philosophy

Series exploring the philosophical beliefs at the heart of the NHS.

3/4. Equality

Professor Jonathan Wolff asks how successful the NHS has been in reducing health inequalities between different socio-economic groups as well as considering its philosophy of equality of care.

20080703

Doctoring Philosophy

Series exploring the philosophical beliefs at the heart of the NHS.

4/4. Utility

Professor Jonathan Wolff looks back at the philosopher Bentham's utilitarian principles and asks how an over-stretched health service should prioritise when all needs cannot be met.

20080707

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life, work and teaching method of the Athenian philosopher Plato.

1/4. Chris Pelling, Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford, focuses on the way in which Plato's great 'mouthpiece', Socrates, is associated with a method of inquiry and a way of life rather than any particular creed or doctrine. What exactly is 'Socratic dialogue' and how central is it to the work of Plato and to our understanding of his philosophy?

20080708

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life, work and teaching method of the Athenian philosopher Plato.

2/4. MM McCabe, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at King's College, London, explores the question: 'What is knowledge?'

20080709

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life, work and teaching method of the Athenian philosopher Plato.

3/4. Chris Emlyn-Jones, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, explores Plato's idea of philosophy as a drama in which characters reveal emotion as well as intellectual conflict.

20080710

Greek and Latin Voices

Series exploring the life, work and teaching method of the Athenian philosopher Plato.

4/4. Moral philosopher Mary Warnock, possibly best known for chairing inquiries into special education and human fertilisation, examines how Plato's conception of the world was very different from our own, and how his view shaped his ideas.

20080714

Greek and Latin Voices

Series on the influence of the Roman poet Virgil.

1/4. Professor Maria Wyke of the Department of Greek and Latin at University College, London discusses how Virgil's work was received in his own time and how quickly it made an impact.

20080715

Greek and Latin Voices

Series on the influence of the poet Virgil.

2/4. Seamus Heaney reflects on the lasting influence which Virgil has had on his own poetry and on the Western literary tradition, in a talk illustrated with some of Heaney's translations of the Roman poet's work.

20080716

Greek and Latin Voices

Series on the influence of the Roman poet Virgil.

3/4. Professor Charles Martindale of Bristol University traces the way in which Virgil's work has been received through the centuries and asks why he should still be read today.

20080717

Greek and Latin Voices

Series on the influence of the Roman poet Virgil.

4/4. Prof Philip Hardie of Cambridge University considers the themes of exile and utopia that run through Virgil's major works.

20080721

When Writers Play

Series in which writers are invited to muse on their alternative talents as musicians.

1/3. Novelist and journalist Terence Blacker discusses the guitar. His playing took him everywhere. He sees his strumming life appear before him.

20080723

When Writers Play

Series in which writers are invited to muse on their alternative talents as musicians.

2/3. Poet Ruth Padel recalls her role as a viola player, which won out over piano playing and singing. She came to it through countless family promptings.

20080724

When Writers Play

Three writers muse on their alternative talents as musicians.

3/3. Novelist Jonathan Coe recalls his piano playing days, which led to forming a band at the wrong time for his sort of 'sound'. But he played on, it seems.

20080728

Four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

1/4. Elgar and Academe

Elgar was appointed the first Peyton Professor of Music at Birmingham University in 1905 and in a series of lectures outlined, among other things, his view of the future for English Music. Julian Rushton, a former Professor of Music at the University of Leeds, takes this as his staring point to examine Elgar's relationship with the musical academic world, both during his lifetime and afterwards.

20080729

Four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

2/4. Elgar and Religion

Elgar's masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius was given a notoriously inadequate first performance, which may have undermined his Catholic faith. After Gerontius, he began work on a trilogy of oratorios based on the life of Christ and his Apostles, but completed only two of them, The Apostles and The Kingdom. Pianist and conductor Stephen Hough, himself a Catholic, wonders how deeply rooted Elgar's faith actually was.

20080730

Four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

3/4. Elgar and the Establishment

Elgar was the son of a local Worcester shop-keeper, yet became a pillar of the establishment as Sir Edward Elgar of Broadheath, OM. David Cannadine, Professor of British History at the University of London's Institute of Historical Research, reflects on the images Elgar cultivated of himself and how far these are relevant or helpful today.

20080731

Four commentators reflect on aspects of Elgar in the context of his time and after, exploring the contradictions and enigmas in his complex and paradoxical personality.

4/4. Elgar and Englishness

Ernest Newman described Elgar's music as expressive of 'the very soul of our race'. Nalini Ghuman, Professor of Music at Mills College California, argues that the critical obsession with identifying in Elgar's music an essential Englishness has served to confine the music within the nation's boundaries.

20080811
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20080825

Vaughan Williams in the BBC Archives

Series of radio talks for the BBC given by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

1/3. An edited version of a talk entitled the Great Bourgeois, one the composer gave in July 1950 when he was 77. In it Vaughan Williams talks about Bach, his own reputation at that time, how his music should be performed and how Bach belongs to all of us.

20080826

Vaughan Williams in the BBC Archives.

Series of radio talks for the BBC given by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

2/3. An affectionate tribute to Vaughan Williams's friend and fellow composer Gustav Holst, whom he described as 'a visionary but never a dreamer'.

20080828

Vaughan Williams in the BBC Archives.

Series of radio talks for the BBC given by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

3/3. Part of an address Vaughan Williams gave in 1955 about his teachers, including his thoughts about Hubert Parry, who taught him from the age of 17.

20080902

Under the Influence

Contemporary poets talk about writers whose work has influenced them.

1/2. Anne Stevenson is now in her 70s and for all her writing life, TS Eliot has been a constant presence. It is not his religious thinking, nor his striking imagery that influenced her, but rather the rhythms of Eliot's verse.

20080903

Under the Influence

Contemporary writers talk about poets whose work has influenced their own.

2/2. Anne-Marie Fyfe grew up in the 1960s in a small coastal town in North Antrim and writes poems about this lifestyle as well as the cosmopolitan life of London. However, the writer who has influenced her most is Emily Dickinson.

Fyfe explores what draws her to the poet who spent her reclusive life in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the mid 19th century writing nearly 1800 poems distinguished by strange sparky imagery and fractured punctuation.

20080908

It's Big and It's Beautiful: The Rise of Retro Tech

Series considering the meaning of old technology in our modern lives.

1/4. Archaeologist Christine Finn examines the importance of collectors of old technology and their mission to educate and inspire. Focusing on California's Silicon Valley, she argues for the past being important for understanding the technology of the future and considers the various generations of computers and those who collect them.

20080909

It's Big and It's Beautiful: The Rise of Retro Tech

Series considering the meaning of old technology in our modern lives.

2/4. In the heart of the Industrial Revolution in Shropshire, Christine Finn proposes that being 'luddite' is no bad thing: far from closing their eyes to progress, the 19th century workers who protested against industrialisation by destroying mechanical looms were prescient about the consequences of the mechanical age. She examines whether the luddites of today - those who refuse to embrace the ever newer, ever smaller technologies on offer - are similarly prescient.

20080910

It's Big and It's Beautiful: The Rise of Retro Tech

Series considering the meaning of old technology in our modern lives.

3/4. Christine Finn reviews 'retro tech' as a form of aesthetic, asking whether the many designers and consumers who use old forms of technology are being ironic, or do these products have a function which allows a slower and more considered interaction? Do the young Japanese clutching early 90s mobiles really find them easier to use? Are writers who use typewriters simply afraid of change, or are they making a statement about working with what works for them, and not adopting new technology simply because it is there.

20080911

It's Big and It's Beautiful: The Rise of Retro Tech

Series considering the meaning of old technology in our modern lives.

4/4. Christine Finn reflects on Cuba, on the cusp of technological change, but where the old technology still holds sway. And she asks whether the relentless push for the 'mini' and the 'micro' really promotes better communication.

20080922

The Monumental Imperative

Sculptor Andrew Stoddart examines the art and craftsmanship behind great monuments.

1/5. He considers how the Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota works as a sculpture.

20080923

The Monumental Imperative

Sculptor Alexander Stoddart examines the art and craftsmanship behind great monuments.

2/5. Alexander looks at the work dearest to his heart - the Wallace Monument in Stirling.

20080924

The Monumental Imperative

Sculptor Alexander Stoddart examines the art and craftsmanship behind great monuments.

3/5. Looking at the great Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and his statue of Christ and the Apostles.

20080925

The Monumental Imperative

Sculptor Alexander Stoddart examines the art and craftsmanship behind great monuments.

4/5. Looking at one of the great banes of the sculptor's life - the monument that is designed and planned, but never commissioned.

20080926

The Monumental Imperative

Sculptor Alexander Stoddart examines the art and craftsmanship behind great monuments.

5/5. He considers Alfred Gilbert and his little-known tomb to the Duke of Clarence, the eldest son of King Edward VII, who died of pneumonia in 1892.

20080929

Richard Cork's Encounters with Artists

Series in which respected critic Richard Cork relates his encounters with some of the world's most influential artists.

1/5. Richard's very first meeting with Pablo Picasso.

20080930

Richard Cork's Encounters with Artists

Series in which respected critic Richard Cork relates his encounters with some of the world's most influential artists.

2/5. Richard describes meeting French artist Louise Bourgeois, creator of Tate Modern's famous towers and spiders sculpture.

20081001

Richard Cork's Encounters with Artists

Series in which respected critic Richard Cork relates his encounters with some of the world's most influential artists.

3/5. He describes meeting American pop artist Roy Lichenstein

20081002

Richard Cork's Encounters with Artists

Series in which respected critic Richard Cork relates his encounters with some of the world's most influential artists.

4/5. He describes being dazzled by meeting Bridget Riley, one of the founders of the 'Op art' movement.

20081003

Richard Cork's Encounters with Artists

Series in which respected critic Richard Cork relates his encounters with some of the world's most influential artists.

5/5. He visits the paint-smeared studio of celebrated British artist Lucian Freud.

20081006

Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature

Biographical portraits of five 20th-century animal lovers and the creatures and landscapes they championed.

1/5: Ted Ellis - Champion of the Norfolk Broads

By David Matless.

20081007

Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature.

Biographical portraits of five 20th-century animal lovers and the creatures and landscapes they championed.

2/5: Reindeer Herders in the Cairngorms, by Hayden Lorimer.

20081008

Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature.

Biographical portraits of five 20th-century animal lovers and the creatures and landscapes they championed.

3/5: James Wentworth Day - The Prejudiced Naturalist, by David Matless.

20081009

Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature

Biographical portraits of five 20th-century animal lovers and the creatures and landscapes they championed.

4/5: Ludwig Koch and bird song by Hayden Lorimer.

20081010

Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature.

Portraits of animal lovers and creatures and landscapes they championed.

5/5: Marietta Pallis - Swimming in the Eagle, by David Matless.

20081013

To Russia with Love

Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon life-long relationships with the enigmatic nation.

1/5: Theatre director Declan Donnellan reflects on the unexpected discoveries he made while working in Russian theatre and with Russian artistes.

20081014

To Russia with Love

Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

2/5. Prof Simon Franklin embarks on a journey that begins with an attempt to secure a visa and leads, quite unexpectedly, to one of Russia's great icons.

20081015

To Russia with Love

Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

3/5. Journalist Vanora Bennett delights in sharing compartments with complete strangers as she explores the idiosyncrasies of travelling by train in Russia.

20081016

To Russia with Love

Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

4/5. Lesley Chamberlain recalls the ice age of the Cold War and how she was able to find solace at the Moscow Hippodrome.

20081017

To Russia with Love

Five writers, each intimately connected with Russia, examine some of the passions that led them to embark upon a life-long relationship with the nation.

5/5. Simon Sebag Montefiore reflects on possibly the greatest of all historical romances - that between Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin in 18th century St Petersburg.

20081020

From Pens to Ploughshares

1/5. The Morality of Craft

Fiona MacCarthy discusses one of the core beliefs of the Arts and Crafts Movement - that hand-making had a higher moral worth than machine production. She focuses on one of the most ambitious members of the movement, CR Ashbee who, in 1902, persuaded members of his East End of London Guild of Handicraft to resettle with their families in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds.

20081021

From Pens to Ploughshares

2/5. The Politics of Craft

Fiona MacCarthy, an expert on the Arts and Crafts Movement, explores the life of Edward Carpenter, the 'Saint in Sandals', who opted for a life of self-sufficiency and supported himself by making shoes. Carpenter's radical ideals embodied a whole new social order of the craftsman as social protester - the outsider in an increasingly commercial and cynical society.

20081022

From Pens to Ploughshares

3/5. God Made the Countryside

Historian Alan Crawford ponders his time spent as a monk in the countryside, and his admiration for Godfrey Blount and Maude King, writers and craftspeople who singled out the countryside as a God-given realm.

20081023

From Pens to Ploughshares

4/5. Michael Cardew in Africa

Art historian Tanya Harrod explains how the Arts and Crafts Movement transplanted itself to Africa, focusing on the story of potter Michael Cardew who abandoned life in the English West Country for the African Gold Coast.

20081024

From Pens to Ploughshares

5/5. Back to the City

London-based potter Edmund de Waal considers two European emigre potters, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie, who, in contrast with their rural-based English contemporaries, successfully worked in the city.

20081027

Night Walks: Series about the experience of taking a walk after dark. 1/5. Novelist Nicholas Shakespeare visits a Tasmanian beach at night.

20081028

Night Walks

Series about taking a walk after dark.

2/5. Poet Owen Sheers walks through North Manhattan at night, where he finds lonely souls looking at the trees and vibrant street life in the Hispanic quarter.

20081029

Night Walks

Series about the experience of taking a walk after dark.

3/5. Novelist and short story writer Janice Galloway tiptoes the shore at Saltcoats, outside Glasgow and recalls some walks she made during her childhood.

20081030

Night Walks

Series about the experience of taking a walk after dark.

4/5. Novelist and journalist Kamila Shamsie takes to the big boulevards of Paris with her sister, then heads off to some forgotten parts where the sights are stranger.

20081031

Night Walks

Series about the experience of taking a walk after dark.

5/5. Journalist John Walsh takes to the streets of the City of London, where he recalls the words of William Wordsworth and even has fond memories of the 'wobbly bridge'.

20081103

New Generation Thinkers

Series giving a platform for the opinions of up-and-coming thinkers from our universities and think tanks.

1/5. Amira Bennison of Cambridge University discusses Islamic history and globalisation.

20081104

New Generation Thinkers

Series giving a platform for the opinions of up-and-coming thinkers from our universities and think tanks.

2/5. Mathematician Colva Roney-Dougal of the University of St Andrew's considers chaos, risk and the global credit crisis, asking whether current financial difficulties could have been predicted.

20081105

New Generation Thinkers

Series giving a platform for the opinions of up-and-coming thinkers from our universities and think tanks.

3/5. Charles Fernyhough of Durham University looks at developmental psychology and what the study of children's language can teach us.

20081106

New Generation Thinkers

Series giving a platform for the opinions of up-and-coming thinkers from our universities and think tanks.

4/5. Zoe Drayson of Bristol University explores the 'embodied' mind and the role of the body and the environment in producing intelligent behaviour.

20081107

New Generation Thinkers

Series giving a platform for the opinions of up-and-coming thinkers from our universities and think tanks.

5/5. Roberto Trotta, an astrophysicist from Imperial College, London, discusses so-called 'dark energy', asking what it might reveal about the place of mankind in the universe.

20081110

Emotional Landscapes

Leading writers give their own interpretation of a particular emotion.

1/5. Loss

Richard Mabey considers how looking at nature could be a fruitful way of coping with loss.

20081111

Emotional Landscapes: Leading writers give their interpretations of a particular emotion. 2/5. Ambition: Novelist Meg Rosoff asks what, if anything, is wrong with being ambitious.

20081112

Emotional Landscapes

Leading writers give their own interpretation of a particular emotion.

3/5. Courage

Playwright John Godber writes about what courage means for him and his family in light of recent illness.

20081113

Emotional Landscapes

Leading writers give their interpretation of a particular emotion.

4/5. Bitterness

Novelist Naomi Alderman discusses bitterness explaining that we are all susceptible to it. Although we might find it hard to acknowledge, it can be one of the most motivating emotions.

20081114

Emotional Landscapes

Leading writers give their own interpretation of a particular emotion.

5/5. Pride

Novelist and broadcaster Adam Thorpe considers pride and how this can switch so easily between being a valuable and corrosive feeling.

20081117

The Lives of Others

Series of five essays in which anthropologists discuss the status of their discipline, its ethics, responsibilities and practices, and how their long-term research seeks to illuminate our lives by looking at the lives of others.

1/5. The Big Questions

Maurice Bloch, professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, reflects on his work in Madagascar where, late one evening around a Malagasy fireside, he and the villagers discuss the minutiae of life. Together they uncover how understanding a society from within can help to answer life's universal questions.

20081118

The Lives of Others

Series of essays in which anthropologists discuss the status of their discipline, its ethics, responsibilities and practices, and how their long-term research seeks to illuminate our lives by looking at the lives of others.

2/5. Anthropology and Espionage

John Gledhill, professor of social anthropology at the University of Manchester, charts his long-term research among the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, and discusses the ethics and responsibilities of anthropologists in the field as well as uncovering the overlapping history of anthropology and espionage.

20081119

The Lives of Others

Series of essays in which anthropologists discuss the status of their discipline, its ethics, responsibilities and practices, and how their long-term research seeks to illuminate our lives by looking at the lives of others.

3/5. The Global Individual

Adam Kuper, a Fellow of the British Academy, examines how modern anthropology is underpinned by the idea that an individual's beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of their own culture. In an age of expanding globalisation and multiculturalism, he questions the validity of this.

20081120

The Lives of Others

Series of essays in which anthropologists discuss the status of their discipline, its ethics, responsibilities and practices, and how their long-term research seeks to illuminate our lives by looking at the lives of others.

4/5. Anthropology at Home

Having spent time working among UK bookmakers, Rebecca Cassidy of Goldsmith's College, London, discusses the social life of betting shops, the notion of 'anthropology at home' and the value of anthropologists immersing themselves in the lives of others.

20081121

The Lives of Others

Series of essays in which anthropologists discuss the status of their discipline, its ethics, responsibilities and practices, and how their long-term research seeks to illuminate our lives by looking at the lives of others.

5/5. Learning From Russia

Having spent a year living in desolate penal colonies in Russia, Laura Piacentini, a criminologist at the University of Stirling, explains how that country's prisons can offer insights into our expanding prison population and what in fact constitutes human rights.

20130201

The Anglo-Saxons rediscovered through portraits of thirty key figures from the era 550-1066. Martin Carver on Aethelflaed, lady of the Mercians, queen, wife, mother and field marshal.

The Anglo Saxons are somewhat out of fashion, yet the half millennium between the creation of the English nation in around 550 and the Norman Conquest in 1066 was a formative one.

No. 20 Martin Carver on Aethelflaed, lady of the Mercians, queen, mother and field marshal. There are 30 Aethelflaeds in the surviving Anglo-Saxon records, but one stands out about them all. Martin assesses Aethelflaed, Alfred's daughter who played such an important role in English history, yet is not as well known as she deserves to be. With the help of written and archaelogical evidence, we gain an intriguing insight into the life of this brilliant tactician and leader, afraid of nothing and nobody.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

20151001

Novelist and critic Ian Sansom goes in search of the 'average' man or woman.

Big Emotion20180817

New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks if feelings are becoming data, do they change?

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

A billion-pound industry is emerging to convert our feelings into data. Biosensors, motion trackers and facial-recognition software capture and quantify our emotions, which are then crunched by ‘Sentiment Analysts.’ But while our feelings become big business, they are also getting us into personal trouble. Voicing an opinion online brings backlash from the social-media mob, as if our misworded asides and careless thoughts carry the weight of a tyrant’s edict. New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks will our feelings start to change in this world of magnified emotion?

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Laurence Scott's books include The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic Comma Lightning: In Search of a New Reality (published in July by Heinemann).

Producer: Debbie Kilbride

New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks: If feelings become data, do they change?

A billion-pound industry is emerging to convert our feelings into data. Biosensors, motion trackers and facial-recognition software capture and quantify our emotions, which are then crunched by 'Sentiment Analysts.' But while our feelings become big business, they are also getting us into personal trouble. Voicing an opinion online brings backlash from the social-media mob, as if our misworded asides and careless thoughts carry the weight of a tyrant's edict. New Generation Thinker Laurence Scott asks will our feelings start to change in this world of magnified emotion?

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Laurence Scott's books include The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic, Comma, Lightning.

Producer: Debbie Kilbride.

British War Films Of The 50s, Carve Her Name With Pride20120112

Simon Heffer is passionate about the British Second World War films which were made after the war was over. While it is easy to mock some of these films for their cliche-ridden characters - thin-lipped Nazi officers, cheerful British Tommies and understated heroic officers - Carve Her Name with Pride is an exception.

Amongst the most sober and shocking of films from this era, Carve Her Name with Pride is also one of the few films in this genre which has a female lead.

Virginia McKenna stars at Violette Szabo, an ordinary south London shop girl who became a member of the Special Operations Executive, parachuted into Occupied France where she aided the Resistance until her luck ran out and she was captured, tortured and killed by the Germans.

Simon Heffer discusses the adaptation of this real-life story and looks at how it was depicted on screen, from basic training through courage and torture to the tear-jerking closing scenes.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Writer Simon Heffer celebrates the 1958 film Carve Her Name with Pride.

British War Films Of The 50s, Dunkirk20120113

Plucky British Tommies, uncomplaining civilians with stiff upper lips and a determination to "make do and mend", heroic officers with cut-glass accents, not to mention merciless Nazi officers with razor-thin lips: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s, but Simon Heffer is passionate about them and believes they deserve to be taken seriously even today.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

In this fifth and final programme, Simon Heffer considers one of the last and best-loved films of this era - Dunkirk - which was made in 1958 when the novelty and charm of the genre had almost worn off.

Dunkirk is always seen as the defeat which contained the seeds of victory. Simon Heffer explores the film both as celebration of a moment when the courage and determination of the armed forces and civilians were splendidly proved and also as a dark foreshadowing of post-war disappointments.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer on one of the last and best-loved films of the post WWII era: Dunkirk.

British War Films Of The 50s, The Colditz Story20120110

Uncomplaining Tommy Atkins, the Glamour Boys of 657 Squadron and merciless Nazi officers with razor-thin lips: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s, but the historian and columnist Simon Heffer is passionate about them.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

In this second programme, he looks at the prisoner-of-war film, in particular, The Colditz Story. This film not only celebrated British resilience, courage and ingenuity in the face of apparently impossible odds but also, ten years after the war and at a time when Germany was fast rebuilding her old industrial strength, reminded cinema-goers of a time of undisputed British superiority.

In subsequent programmes, Simon Heffer looks at The Dambusters, Carve Her Name with Pride and Dunkirk, celebrating these films not only in their own right but also for their depiction of the changing world of post-war Britain.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer discusses the film The Colditz Story, which celebrated British resilience.

British War Films Of The 50s, The Cruel Sea20120109

Uncomplaining Tommy Atkins, the Glamour Boys of 657 Squadron and merciless Nazi officers with razor-thin lips: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s, but the historian and columnist Simon Heffer is passionate about them.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

He starts with The Cruel Sea, based on a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat, which, far from romanticising or glamorising war, set out to depict the true price which had been paid for victory.

In subsequent programmes, Simon Heffer looks at The Colditz Story, The Dambusters, Carve Her Name with Pride and Dunkirk, celebrating these films not only in their own right but also for their depiction of the changing world of post-war Britain.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer on the film The Cruel Sea, about the price of victory in World War Two.

British War Films Of The 50s, The Dam Busters20120111

Boys' Own pilots with cut-glass accents and no sense of personal fear: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s and to suggest that all they are good for these days is selling Scandinavian lager, but Simon Heffer is passionate about them.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

In the third programme he looks at the depiction of British heroism in The Dambusters - perhaps the British war film to end all British war films - contrasting this with its American counterpart.

"At a time when a sense of national inferiority was setting in compared with the Americans, such understated machismo helped us feel good about ourselves."

In subsequent programmes, Simon Heffer looks at Carve Her Name with Pride and Dunkirk, celebrating these films not only in their own right but also for their depiction of the changing world of post-war Britain.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer discusses the depiction of British heroism in the film The Dam Busters.

Enlightenment Voices, Smith/hume, 02/12/200920091202

Series exploring the work of philosopher and 'father' of modern economics Adam Smith.

Vincent Cable, MP and Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman explores some of Smith's groundbreaking theories and insights into human nature and our relationship with money.

What advice might Smith have for today's economists?

Vincent Cable MP wonders what Smith would make of today's global financial crisis.

Enlightenment Voices, Smith/hume, 04/12/200920091204
Enlightenment Voices, Smith/hume, 04/12/2009 *20091204

Series exploring the work of philosopher David Hume, one of the major figures in the Scottish Enlightenment.

David Hume enjoyed huge fame and respect in his lifetime, yet he considered his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion too provocative to be published within his own lifetime.

Philosopher Professor Simon Blackburn of Cambridge University analyses Hume's ground breaking thoughts about religion in Dialogues.

Simon Blackburn assesses Hume's revolutionary Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Freedom, Episode 120081124

Kamila Shamsie asks if a writer must travel in order to unleash their imagination.

Freedom

Series in which writers reflect on the meaning of freedom.

1/5. Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie brandishes her writer's passport and asks if it necessary for a writer to travel widely in order to unleash their imagination - or can they explore universal human experience wherever it occurs? Is a writer's internal freedom of the mind enough?

Freedom, Episode 220081125

Benjamin Markovits considers the freedom of the immigrant in Britain today.

Freedom

Series in which writers reflect on the meaning of freedom.

2/5. Benjamin Markovits considers the freedom of the immigrant in Britain. Half-German, half-American, part-Christian, part-Jewish, Ben has never felt fully rooted in a single culture or completely implicated in the society around him. To many, this might sound like the crisis of modern immigration: a failure to integrate. But for Ben the writer, there is freedom in being rootless in a new place - a freedom which is far from the isolation it is often associated with.

Freedom, Episode 320081126

Ukrainian novelist Andrei Kourkov reflects on the meaning of freedom in his home country.

Freedom

Series in which writers consider the meaning of freedom.

3/5. Ukrainian novelist Andrei Kourkov - famed for his often surreal and blackly comic evocation of post-Soviet reality - reflects on the meaning of freedom in his home country both before and after the collapse of Communism.

Freedom, Episode 420081127

Richard Rai O'Neill reflects on the Romany philosophy of freedom.

Freedom

Series in which writers reflect on the meaning of freedom.

4/5. Richard Rai O'Neill reflects on the Romany philosophy of freedom - both the ideal and the reality. Born into a large Romany family in 1962, Richard's grandmother taught him that a Romany life was about freedom in order to enjoy health and love.

He also explores a more pragmatic aspect to Romany philosophy that says that in a tough financial period, it's time to move on to a different place as a new place brings new luck.

Freedom, Episode 520081128

Writers explore the meaning of freedom.

Freedom: 5/5. Series in which writers explore the meaning of freedom.

Golding Remembered, John Gray20110923

Political philosopher John Gray examines William Golding's highly original views on the nature of man, evil and civilisation. He discusses Golding's second novel The Inheritors - which follows a group of Neanderthals, as their way of life is changed for ever by the appearance of homo sapiens.

John Gray has written several influential books on politics and philosophy including the groundbreaking examination of the nature of humanity: Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals.

In this series, The Essay marks the centenary of William Golding's birth (19th September 1911), with five programmes looking at different aspects of the novelist's work and life.

William Golding is known for novels including Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors and The Spire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was knighted in 1988. He died in 1993.

Producer: Caroline Hughes

GOLDING REMEMBERED is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC Radio 3.

Philosopher John Gray on novelist William Golding's powerful ideas about civilisation.

Tagore And The Bengali Sensibility, A Public Life20120203

The Indian novelist, critic, musician and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia, Amit Chaudhuri presents five essays on the creative work of Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth. Chaudhuri explores the work, influence and the legacy of one of India's most revered artists and reflects on how Tagore's work provides an appreciation and an understanding of the Bengali intellectual and creative sensibility.

With readings by John Hug.

Amit Chaudhuri on the work and influence of Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore.

The Path And The Poem, Alice Oswald's Dart20100108
The Path And The Poem, Dart20101029

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing in a series about poems that follow paths.

5. Alice Oswald's "Dart".

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing.

The Path And The Poem, Edward Thomas's Old Man20100104
The Path And The Poem, Elizabeth Bishop's Questions Of Travel20100106
The Path And The Poem, Frank O'hara's The Day Lady Died20100107
The Path And The Poem, Norman Maccaig's The Shore Road20100105
The Path And The Poem, Questions Of Travel20101027

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing in a series about poems that follow paths.

3. Elizabeth Bishop's "Questions of Travel.

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing.

The Path And The Poem, The Day Lady Died20101028

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing in a series about poems that follow paths.

4. Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died".

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing.

The Path And The Poem, The Old Man20101025

Andrew Motion explores five walking poets and their walked poems.

1: Edward Thomas's 'Old Man'

Producer: Tim Dee.

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing.

The Path And The Poem, The Shore Road20101026

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing in a series about poems that follow paths.

2. Norman McCaig's "The Shore Road".

Poet and critic Andrew Motion explores the connection between walking and writing.

Wild Things Ii, The Owl20120228

In our imagination owls are often associated with wisdom and magic, with their singular front-facing eyes and silent brooding presence. They appear in a wide range of literature, from Shakespeare to the Harry Potter books. So why are we fascinated by them and what do they in turn tell us about our landscape?

In the second of her Essay series on native British wild animals, the writer and poet Ruth Padel explores what these birds mean to us. Her images range from the owls in Biblical scenes of destruction to the more comic ones in the novels of Max Beerbohm. And she investigates whether our mysterious reactions to these birds are shaped by the fact that owls belong to the night.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel on what owls mean to us and what they can show about the British landscape.

Wild Things Ii, The Snake20120302

The image of the snake is full of symbolism with its connotations of venom and forked tongues. It has inspired poets as diverse as Keats and D.H. Lawrence with its ability to move without limbs. In her final Essay on British wild animals, the poet and writer Ruth Padel explores how our responses to the snake have been shaped by biology, literature and history. She remembers her own experience of watching an adder in Cornwall and asks how snakes fit into our physical and emotional landscape.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel on our feelings towards the snake through biology, history and literature.

Wild Things Ii, The Squirrel20120301

Is the squirrel a bushy-tailed friend or a creature of destruction, chewing through electricity cables and stripping bark from trees? Are the grey ones marauding invaders and the displacers of the red squirrels, or do they too own a place in our physical and emotional landscape?

In her fourth Essay on native British wild creatures, the poet and writer Ruth Padel considers our attitudes to squirrels of both colours and explores how our responses to them have been shaped by biology, history and literature. She traces how the red population evolved, how grey squirrels were introduced and how conservationists are now trying to restore red squirrel numbers. She also evokes the many different ways in which writers through the centuries have responded to them.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel explores our feelings towards squirrels in biology, history and literature.

Wild Things Ii, Wild Ponies20120227

They are some of the oldest wild inhabitants of the British Isles, they pulled Bronze Age chariots and feature in literature and paintings through the centuries. In a second series of Essays on five native wild animals, the poet and writer Ruth Padel investigates how our reactions to wild ponies have been subconsciously shaped by centuries of folklore, literature and biology.

From the shaggy Exmoor pony, 'Skipper', on whom she learned to ride, to the Shetland ponies who were often used down the mines, Ruth explores how different breeds have lived and been used in Britain. She describes how they are evoked in poetry by John Betjeman and U.A Fanthorpe and paintings by the 'Ashington' group of pit painters.

The Essay also looks at the questions over the long term survival and stability of wild ponies. How can they survive the problems of surplus stock, dropping sale prices and over-attentive visitors?

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel explores how history and literature have shaped our reactions to wild ponies.

Wild Things Ii, Wild Salmon20120229

In the 17th century the writer Izaac Walton called salmon "the King of freshwater fish" and they have continued to inspire authors as diverse as Henry Williamson and Ted Hughes. Their vivid life cycle, as they leave freshwater rivers, go to the sea and return home, is one of intense struggle as they swim upstream against the current.

In her third Essay on Britain's wild animals, writer and poet Ruth Padel explores the history of salmon and investigates their significance to the landscape and to our imagination. She compares the lives of wild salmon with those which are farmed and considers the problems for the wild salmon's survival, such as pollution and disease.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel explores the wild salmon's extraordinary life and its impact on humans.

01A Cretan Spring, Mountains20090504
01A Dark History Of British Gardening, Escapism20111031

Jenny Uglow, the biographer and historian whose book 'A Little History of British Gardening' beautifully epitomised the national love of gardens now turns history on its head to consider the less lovely aspects of the British character that blossom in the garden.

In her first essay she looks at our tendency to escape, to bury our heads in the soil, if not the sand, when perhaps we shouldn't. Through history the garden has been a retreat from the world - at no time more so than during the reign of Charles I who took sanctuary in his garden arcadia, blind to the struggles that would soon overwhelm him and plunge the country into civil war.

Jenny traces this tendency for escapism through the Victorian age and the hippies of the 1960s to the present day.

Jenny Uglow explores the British tendency to escape from problems into the garden.

01A Five-day Journey, Marking

01A Five-day Journey, Marking2009110220100920

In this first part of his five day journey the writer Robert Macfarlane walks the Hampshire miles of the South Downs, in monsoon rain and sunshine. He reflects on the relationship between paths and stories, and how old paths were imagined in 19th- and early 20th-century England as ghostly spaces of time-warp and spectres. He considers how paths might be thought of as sculptures, a kind of democratic art-form; and he meets a man who has been on the road for seven years, since the death of his wife. Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs in five days.

01A Good Death2009033020100412
01A Good Death, Mary Beard20100705

Death is the one subject we shy away from, and in our frantic obsession with prolonging our lives, the notion of 'a good death' seems to have lost its relevance. Yet 'the art of dying' has been a defining notion throughout history. Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, explains how the Romans and Greeks approached death and asks whether scenes of showmanship, famous last words, and stoical endings really can help us when we come to face our own inevitable demise.

In these five frank and powerful essays, writers and thinkers ponder the art of dying, and confront taboos around death. They will look at what makes a 'good death' today - is it merely having lived a good life, or is there something intrinsically important in dying well? And, now that our deaths tend to occur in the sterile surroundings of a hospital ward rather than at home surrounded by those we love, they will reflect on how this distancing from death, and loss of control over our demise, has changed our relationship with dying. With references to the portrayal of death in literature, history and religion, as well as personal reflections on hopes and expectations of death, these essays will give five very different perspectives on the art of dying.

Mary Beard asks what the ancient Romans and Greeks can teach us about the art of dying.

01A Laureate's Life, Charles Simic20090427
01A Letter To My Body, Sarah Graham

01A Letter To My Body, Sarah Graham2010092720110606

'A Letter to my Body' is a series of essays in which five thinkers, artists and writers ask themselves how they relate to their own bodies. In this first essay Sarah Graham, who is now a successful therapist and addictions counsellor, explores her at times turbulent relationship with her body. From the age of eight Sarah was given ongoing medical treatment for a disorder of sexual development - but she only learned the real nature of her diagnosis at the age of twenty-five when a gynaecologist finally revealed the truth: that she is an intersex woman. She has XY chromosomes. She had never questioned her sex and had lived her life as a woman. Doctors had even shielded her parents from the truth about her gender. The shock of the revelation led Sarah on a path of depression and addiction which nearly killed her. However she has gradually rebuilt her health and her self esteem. In this essay she makes peace with her body and questions our society's polarised expectations of gender.

Producer: Charlotte Simpson.

Therapist Sarah Graham on how a dramatic discovery about her own body changed her life.

01A Passion For Opera, Tom Sutcliffe2010053120110725

Tom Sutcliffe has a long pedigree when it comes to opera. He was hooked at the age of four. It's given him plenty of time to fathom what it is that makes this theatrical form impinge so powerfully. He argues that while it might seem grand, flamboyant, passionate and overtly emotional, when you look more closely it's the intimacy of it that counts. The aria, and Tom believes these are at its core, is a confessional form. It might be launched into a huge auditorium with gut-busting zeal and massive vocal projection, but what it does is to open the character's emotions up to the audience by way of the music. The music, the singing, is everything, and it's why the aria, which Tom believes is opera's version of the cinematic close-up, is so important.

There are plenty of other elements that contribute. Relevance in setting and substance can be too slavishly observed but they matter as well. Laced with his recollections of the good and the bad in his many years as a critic, Tom makes the case for opera by going beyond the usual cliche's and enthusiasms for grandeur and beauty.

Critic Tom Sutcliffe argues that opera's intimacy lies at the core of its effectiveness.

01A Robert Schumann Album, Clara And Robert20100607
01A Tribute To Mr Purcell, Purcell And Royalty2009031620091116
01An Informal History Of The Male Nude, Edith Hall20120220

In the first of a series of essays on the meaning of the male nude in the visual arts, Edith Hall, traces her fascination with the subject from Myron's bronze Discobolus to the marble form of the Emperor Hadrian's lover, Antinous and reflects on the impact they've had on her understanding of what it means to be a classicist.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Edith Hall reflects on the meaning of the male nude in the art of the ancient world.

01Antony Gormley's Seminal Sculpture, Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill20090615
01Architecture: The Fourth R, The Past Sure Is Tense2010101820110711

Making shelter is a fundamental human activity, so, asks Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sunand Prasad - why don't we talk about it? The way we build reflects society's values and aspirations - but also its fears. In The Essay, Sunand Prasad takes us on a journey through Architecture, from the India he grew up in, to the Utopian vision of Le Corbusier, from the concrete carbuncles of Post-War Britain, to the design that will combat Climate Change.

In this first programme, he examines our relationship with buildings of the past 200 years, in a search for our mistrust of the new. And despite the failed Utopias of 60s tower blocks, Sunand Prasad sees a brave new architecture emerging in their wake.

Sunand Prasad searches for the root of our tense relationship with modern buildings today.

01Are You Paying Attention?, A Worldwide Preoccupation20180226

In the first of five Essays, writer and journalist Madeleine Bunting begins a week-long exploration of why attention has become a major social concern. Attention, she finds, is now big business - where we cast our eyes on a computer screen, and for how long, has become a key factor in advertising. Attention is something we both 'pay' and want to 'attract' - and for a journalist, Madeleine admits, it can be quite addictive. And, as so many people search for their 15 minutes of micro-fame online, getting as much attention as we can seems to have become a worldwide preoccupation. How worried should we be?

01Aspects Of Grainger, The Great Original20110926

Mention the musician Percy Grainger and many people will still only associate him with his greatest commercial success, "Country Gardens", leading to Grainger all too frequently being dismissed as a composer of light music.

This series of the "The Essay" marks the fiftieth anniversary of Grainger's death with programmes devoted to the Australian-born composer and pianist, his music and his sometimes eccentric personal life. British composer Julian Anderson has long been a devotee of Grainger's music and in this programme he considers Grainger's importance and originality, his influences, including his fascination with many different types of music, both old and new and traditional musics from around the world as well as folk and jazz..

Grainger had such a diversity of creative interests, many of which influenced or were reflected in his own music, that he is almost impossible to pigeon-hole. Like Charles Ives and Edgard Varese, Grainger was an independent spirit and one of the most stylistically unpredictable composers in history. Julian Anderson feels that the time has come for a major reassessment of Grainger's importance.

Julian Anderson on the importance of Australian-born composer and pianist Percy Grainger.

01Before 'silent Spring', Chipko

01Before 'silent Spring', Chipko2010101120110829

First published in 1962, Silent Spring was Rachel Carson's warning about the long-term effects of pesticides, a call-to-arms that is widely regarded as the starting point for modern environmentalism. But in many ways Carson was only building on the work of those who'd gone before her. Five writers, scientists and environmental campaigners reflect on the figures whose ideas preceded Silent Spring and laid the foundations of the contemporary green movement.

In the first essay, Indian eco-activist Vandana Shiva considers the Chipko protest of 1730 when 363 Bishnoi people in Rajasthan were massacred for protecting a forest of sacred Khejri trees.

Indian eco-activist Vandana Shiva reflects on the Chipko protest and massacres of 1730.

First published in 1962, 'Silent Spring' was Rachel Carson's warning about the long-term effects of pesticides, a call-to-arms that is widely regarded as the starting point for modern environmentalism. But in many ways Carson was only building on the work of those who'd gone before her. Three writers reflect on the figures whose ideas preceded Silent Spring and laid the foundations of the contemporary green movement.

Producer: Jeremy Grange.

01Bram Stoker, Catherine Wynne20120416

The Irish novelist Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula, died 100 years ago this Friday, and all this week on The Essay five writers will examine his life and works.

Tonight, Dr Catherine Wynne of the University of Hull looks at the key relationships in Stoker's life and examines how the author, overshadowed in death by his most famous creation Dracula, lived a life on the margins of Victorian theatrical society, looking on from the 'wings of the stage' while others bathed in the limelight.

Dr Catherine Wynne on the life of Dracula's creator, Bram Stoker, who died 100 years ago.

01British Cinema Of The 40s, Went The Day Well?

01British Cinema Of The 40s, Went The Day Well?2010091320110906

British cinema of the 1940s freshly interpreted by Simon Heffer who explores old favourites in terms of their social and political message.

The British film industry went into the second world war still relatively naive. It was behind Hollywood in terms of technical accomplishment and behind France in its sophistication - 1939 was, after all, the year of Gone With The Wind and La Regle du Jeu, both unrivalled in Britain at the time.

The early propaganda films were predictably facile and jingoistic; but as the threat of invasion passed and attention turned to winning the war rather than simply defending the country against the Nazi onslaught, British cinema became more subtle. By late in the war, cinema became more concerned with presenting the basis for a new post-war settlement for the British people.

In five personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its consequent loss of individuality and furtherance of collectivism. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

1. Went the Day Well?

In the first programme, Simon Heffer celebrates the 1942 Ealing film, based on a short story by Graham Greene, depicting how a village invaded by Germans unites against them and defeats them. Despite the bloodshed, what emerges is an almost Utopian vision of rural peace that suggests itself as a possible microcosm for a less class-bound future society.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer on the utopian vision of the 1942 Ealing film Went the Day Well?

In three personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its consequent potential loss of individuality. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

01Checkmate, Over The Board20101213

Dr Irving Finkel, Assistant Curator in the Middle Eastern Dept of the British Museum, is an expert on board games from the very earliest games of chance played in caves using knuckle bones of animals for dice to the development of chess. He is most famous for discovering the lost rules to The Royal Game of Ur which he found on a forgotten cuneiform tablet at the British Museum. He has studied how games evolve over time and are carried around the globe by religious mendicants, mercenaries and the like.

Dr Irving Finkel of the British Museum on why chess is the ultimate game.

01Chekhov Essays, Simon Russell Beale2010012520101101

Simon Russell Beale, who is amongst the most distinguished and popular actors on the British stage, reveals what he has learned from Chekhov in terms of theatre-craft.

After Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov is the most performed playwright in the world and amongst the most revered writers of short stories. While the pleasure he has given to theatre audiences and readers is immense, these Essays explore his legacy in terms of the craft and technique that he continues to bequeath to theatre practitioners and writers today. In the first of five programmes celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Chekhov's birth, the hugely popular actor Simon Russell Beale confides how the opportunity to perform in The Seagull with the Royal Shakespeare Company twenty five years ago, transformed his entire career.

"I can't pretend to know precisely what my new employers saw in me, but I suspect that they wanted to use me, at least initially, as a comic actor - or as a young character actor, to use the old terminology. This was not unexpected. I could not imagine myself, even in my most self-deluded moments, as Lysander or Romeo or Sebastian....And then Terry Hands, the Artistic Director at the time, cast me as Konstantin in The Seagull by Anton Chekhov....".

Simon Russell Beale on how performing in Chekhov's The Seagull changed his entire career.

01Chopin20100301

Pianist Piers Lane discusses Chopin's complex relationship with Romantic music.

01Dark Arcadias, Colin Burrow On Fntasies For Children20110704

In the first of five essays about the history of an idea, the literary critic Colin Burrow explores fantasies in the children's stories of his late mother Diana Wynne Jones.

Critic Colin Burrow discusses fantasies in the childrens' stories of Diana Wynne Jones.

01Darwin's Children20090209
01Doctoring Philosophy, Health20090727
01Earth Music Bristol, The Glee Instinct20111121

Richard Mabey

The Glee Instinct

Richard Mabey reflects on how and why we like to sing together. The first of five essays inspired by the musical content of the first Earth Music Bristol festival.

Richard Mabey reflects on the compulsion of so many organisms, from humans to cicadas, not just to sing, but to sing together, ensemble, to "join in" - rowdily, competitively, harmoniously. Largely a personal story: the revelation of early music at school and the romance of singing with girls, listening to roots flamenco in the Extremaduran outback and cranes duetting at the nest in Norfolk (and to David Rothenberg jamming with marsh warblers). Does this choral impulse spring from archetypal group dancing? Is it encoded in us as social glue, a precursor of language?

Richard Mabey is the foremost nature writer in Britain today: among his books are Food for Free, Nature Cure, Flora Britannica, and Whistling in the Dark

Producer: Tim Dee.

Nature writer Richard Mabey reflects on how and why we like to sing together.

01Emotional Landscapes, Loss20090601
01Enlightenment Voices, Diderot, Part 120100118

It is hard to over-estimate the scope and ambition of the Encyclopedie.

Published in two decades after 1751, it was the single greatest publishing enterprise of the European Enlightenment.

Extending to 28 folio volumes, each a thousand pages in length, and with the intention of recording all existing knowledge, both practical and intellectual, the Encyclopedie contained some 72,000 articles by 230 contributors and sold an astonishing 250,000 copies across Europe.

For the first of five programmes, the historian Justin Champion introduces the undertaking, from the commissioning of contributors to the practicalities of printing, binding and distribution, and on to its reception both by ordinary readers and by the political and religious authorities.

In Justin's introduction Denis Diderot, the son of a provincial cutler, is brought back to life as the extraordinary driving passion behind this breathtaking landmark both of publishing history and the Enlightenment project.

Justin Champion introduces French philosopher Denis Diderot's Encyclopedie project.

01Enlightenment Voices, Mary Wollstonecraft, Part 120091123

Series exploring the work of philosopher, writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Distinguished scholar Janet Todd considers Wollstonecraft alongside other great thinkers of the Enlightenment.

She places her passionate belief in feminism within the context of a broader, radical belief in social reform, from state politics to inheritance, slavery, land ownership, capitalism and education.

Reader: Tessa Nicholson.

Janet Todd considers Mary Wollstonecraft alongside other great Enlightenment thinkers.

01Enlightenment Voices, Robert Hooke, Hooke's Diary2009100520101129

For those of us who studied Physics at school, we may know the name of Robert Hooke from "Hooke's Law" - the theory of elasticity. However most people will probably be unaware of Robert Hooke's greater contribution to the development of science during the Enlightenment. To his contemporaries, he was the "ingenius Mr. Hooke". He developed the microscope, spring pocket watch, a marine barometer, the universal joint (which is still used in cars today), was an architect, astronomer and had done much of the work on gravitational theory before Sir Isaac Newton. Very much the man about town and at the centre of events, Professor Lisa Jardine examines Hooke's diary and the insight it gives us into the world of the Enlightenment scientists.

5 October 1675

'By water with Harry to Whitehall. Called first at Merchant Taylors hall. Walked into the Park with Sir Christopher Wren. The King called me to him, bid me shew him my experiment. Followed him through tennis court garden and into his closet. Shewed him the Experiment of Springs. He was very well pleased."

Producer: Sarah Taylor

(Repeat).

Lisa Jardine on what Robert Hooke's diary says about Enlightenment scientists in general.

For those of us who studied Physics at school, we may know the name of Robert Hooke from "Hooke's Law" - the theory of elasticity.

However most people will probably be unaware of Robert Hooke's greater contribution to the development of science during the Enlightenment.

To his contemporaries, he was the "ingenius Mr.

Hooke".

He developed the microscope, spring pocket watch, a marine barometer, the universal joint (which is still used in cars today), was an architect, astronomer and had done much of the work on gravitational theory before Sir Isaac Newton.

Very much the man about town and at the centre of events, Professor Lisa Jardine examines Hooke's diary and the insight it gives us into the world of the Enlightenment scientists.

'By water with Harry to Whitehall.

Called first at Merchant Taylors hall.

Walked into the Park with Sir Christopher Wren.

The King called me to him, bid me shew him my experiment.

Followed him through tennis court garden and into his closet.

Shewed him the Experiment of Springs.

He was very well pleased."

Series exploring the work of scientific pioneer Robert Hooke.

While he was well-known for Hooke's Law - the theory of elasticity - this great scientist was less acknowledged for his greater contribution to the development of science during the Enlightenment.

He developed the microscope, spring pocket watch, a marine barometer, the universal joint - still used in cars today, was an architect, astronomer and had done much of the work on gravitational theory before Isaac Newton.

Professor Lisa Jardine examines Hooke's diary and the insight it gives us into the world of the Enlightenment scientists.

01Enlightenment Voices, Smith/hume, Part 120091130

Series exploring the work of philosopher and 'father' of modern economics Adam Smith.

Professor Alexander Brodie explores Smith's observations on morality and human behaviour.

Smith believed that morality is, or should be, a lifelong project that leaves no space for complacency about our moral status.

Whatever we have achieved already, we could still make progress and we could still fall.

Alexander Brodie examines Smith's observations on morality and human behaviour.

01Enlightenment Voices, Spinoza, Part 120100111
01Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And The Voices Of The Enlightenment2009092820101122

You don't have to be a patriotic Frenchman to consider Voltaire the presiding genius of the European Enlightenment. A brilliant, caustic and prolific polemicist, he left behind some 15 million written words - twenty times the length of the Bible - in almost every literary form, from plays, poems and novels to pamphlets, letters and essays. His subjects included philosophy, science, travel, religion and civil liberties and, by the time he died, aged 84 in 1778, his breathtaking output and canny media manipulation had made him the most famous writer in the world. Even today, his thoughts on religion, tolerance and human rights can seem strikingly contemporary and provocative. And many people may be familiar with his words without realizing it: famous Voltaire sayings include "in the best of all possible worlds", "we must cultivate the garden" and "if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him", though his much quoted rallying cry for tolerant multiculturalism: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" turns out, in fact, to have been invented on Voltaire's behalf by a female English biographer in 1906.

Professor Nicholas Cronk, director of the Voltaire Foundation in Oxford, introduces the great man, places him within the context of other Enlightenment thinkers, and celebrates his timeless satire on the human condition, the novel Candide, which was published 250 years ago.

Reader Simon Russell Beale

Producer Beaty Rubens

(Repeat).

Nicholas Cronk introduces Voltaire and celebrates Candide, a satire on the human condition

01Five Easy Pieces, Young And Old2010051720110530

Christopher Ricks explores some short poems that are worth remembering.

Young and Old: Frances Cornford's 'Childhood' and Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Christoper Ricks discusses Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and Frances Cornford's poem Childhood.

01Free Thinking 2010, New Histories Of The North East, Old Religion, New Ideas20101108

The first of a series of Essays that offer five new perspectives on the history of North East England - all recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival 2010.

Writer Sara Maitland, author of The Book of Silence, devotes much of her life to solitude and prayer. She looks back at the history of religious life in the North East. Unlike Southern England, the region was Christianised from the Celtic tradition of Iona, not continental Europe. This heritage has deeply informed both the landscape and the history of the area - from Lindisfarne to the Prince Bishops. Sara Maitland asks: are there lessons we can take from that life to help us to navigate the modern world?

Producer: Allegra McIlroy.

Writer Sara Maitland explores the history of religious life in the North East.

01Germany Dreaming, Germany Is Your America2010020820110228

After a bizarre dream, author and critic Michael Bracewell is prompted to explore all things German, which means travel and much speculation:

"With the greatest respect to Dr Freud, I have never put much store by the interpretation of dreams. But one night seven years ago I had a dream which actually changed my life. As I slid towards sleep, it seemed as though a corner of the room was beginning to glow..."

The author and critic Michael Bracewell dreams about a visitation by the legendary musician Brian Eno, who informs him that 'Germany is your America', and that he should get out there and explore the place. So after much speculation about things German, after visits to Cologne, Munich and Berlin, and after immersing himself in the music and art of the country (especially electronic music and post modern art) the author is ready to pronounce on his romantic and prejudical responses to the country. There is also its food to consider. And its youthful fashions.

What does he dig up? Lots! Starting with his recollections of a certain youth culture, influenced by the style of Weimar Germany.Which you can hear about in his specially commissioned five part series for The Essay

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Michael Bracewell recalls a youth culture influenced by the style of Weimar Germany.

01Golding Remembered, Judy Golding20110919

Marking the centenary of the birth of the Nobel-winning novelist William Golding, Judy Golding gives a very personal reflection on the rich and strange ways her father's imagination worked.

From her unique perspective, she talks about how William Golding used childhood memories and everyday observations - making them unsettling details in his novels - and blurred the boundary between memory and imagination.

She says "He was extremely - perhaps excessively - imaginative."

Judy Golding recently published a memoir about her upbringing, called The Children of Lovers.

This week, The Essay marks the centenary of William Golding's birth (19th September 1911), with five programmes looking at different aspects of the novelist's work and life.

William Golding is known for novels including Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors and The Spire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was knighted in 1988. He died in 1993.

Producer: Caroline Hughes

GOLDING REMEMBERED is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC Radio 3.

The work of William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, discussed by his daughter Judy.

01Half Shame, Half Glory - Postcards From The Acting Profession, Diana Quick2010062120110523

The actress Diana Quick sees actors as story-tellers, and reflects on how the voice is the most essential of instruments.

Diana Quick was the first woman president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. She is perhaps best known for her role as Julia Flyte in the television production of Brideshead Revisited. Stage credits include: Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Company), Troilus and Cressida (National Theatre), and Mother Courage and Her Children (Royal Court). She has one daughter with actor Bill Nighy; the actress Mary Nighy. Her autobiography A Tug On The Thread is published by Virago.

Series produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Diana Quick reflects on the role of actors as storytellers.

01Happily Ever After, Anthony Horowitz20120206

In this series of five essays, contemporary children's authors and editors each look at a fictional family from children's literature.

They use it as a focal point to explore the changing portrayal of the family in children's books, and consider both what it tells us about the society it reflects, and how relevant it is to determining a young generation's attitudes to the future.

In the first programme, writer Anthony Horowitz discusses Roald Dahl's badly-parented Matilda, and considers how normal dysfunctional family life probably is. However, despite this, he argues that it is essential for all of us to have some sense of family. He reflects on how his own place in his rather eccentric and sometimes unhappy family led to his escape into books, and his creative success.

Anthony Horowitz explores family dysfunction through Roald Dahl's Matilda.

01Haydn Essays, Haydn And God2009070620091019
01Head In The Clouds, The Nebular Turn20090223
01Henry, King Of Kings, Henry As Renaissance Prince2009042020100405
01Home Rule For The Soul, Gandhi Get Your Gun20110503

Professor Sunil Khilnani, author of The Idea of India, sets out on a journey through the ideas of Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj, which argues for freedom but against violence. But does modern India still find a space for such ideas? In the first of his essays, Gandhi Get Your Gun, Khilnani argues that the power of Gandhi's Hind Swaraj still speaks both to India's future and our own.

Autumn 1909. In the middle of the ocean, on a ship bound for South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi is gripped by 'A violent possession' as he furiously writes his first major work, Hind Swaraj. An astonishing critique of modern civilization and a defense of non-violent resistance, it was banned by the British who viewed it as a seditious manifesto.

Gandhi had greater ambitions than mere nationalist uprising. 'The essence of what I have said is that man should rest content with what are his real needs... if he does not have control he cannot save himself.' Written after his encounters with those who advocated revolutionary violence and terrorism in the cause of India's freedom, Hind Swaraj argues for force without violence or hatred as it strives to define what self rule, freedom, actually is.

Sunil Khilnani reveals the driving force behind Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj.

01How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear, Sara Lodge20120430

Marking the centenary of Edward Lear's birth in 1812, this series of five essays considers the exuberant play of Edward Lear as a nonsense poet and artist and the influence of 'nonsense' on modern life.

In the first essay in the series, writer and academic Sara Lodge considers Lear as a tragicomic writer, whose poems reflect the key romantic themes of the time, but seek out the ridiculous amid the sublime.

Writer and academic Sara Lodge considers Edward Lear as a tragicomic writer.

01I Confess: The Power Of The Confession20111010

'What is Truth?' asked Pilate, examining one of the most famous prisoners of all, and he might also have reflected on that perennial legal problem 'How do we get at it?' If Jesus had been a slave, the prefect of Judaea would have had an easy option open to him - torture followed by confession. In the ancient world, confession rested on an unholy assumption about truth: that slaves would only confess the truth if they had been tortured. The master of a slave was a rational creature, and could choose whether to tell or cover up the truth. But the slave was thought of as little above a brute beast who, incapable of such subterfuge, could be forced by violence to disgorge whole what he had seen - truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but only by torture. This was the sordid back-drop to justice which orators like Cicero drew upon when they rose to address the courts of Ancient Rome. Dr Kathryn Tempest of Roehampton University excavates the roots of one of the most powerful legal concepts of all time.

Dr Kathryn Tempest examines the roots of one of history's most powerful legal concepts.

01Interrail Postcards, Adam Thorpe20110627

As the InterRail Pass turns 40, five writers recall personal journeys and explore how the changing shape of Europe and the advent of new technology have changed student travel forever.

1. Adam Thorpe

It is almost forty years since the introduction of the first InterRail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

Five writers of different generations recall the rite of passage of a month's travel with nothing but a rucksack and an InterRail Pass. Each also explores how new technology and the redefined frontiers of Europe and beyond have changed the intoxicating blend of independence and adventure forever.

With his signature blend of lyricism and humour, the novelist Adam Thorpe writes "I'll never forget my trip to Lapland, during which I had the misfortune to be in an all-night sleeper with six Danish girls on their way to be au-pairs in the States...". In his 'postcard' he vividly remembers the sense of absolute arrival into adulthood which the Pass represented and compares his own experiences with those of his own student children.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Adam Thorpe on the sense of arrival into adulthood which the InterRail pass signified.

01It Talks, Cows And Shells20110613

"Money. You don't know where it's been,

But you put it where your mouth is.

And it talks." (Money, by Dana Gioia)

The history of money stretches back some 11,000 years. There have been certain key moments in its development and each essay tells their story and the resonance that these revolutionary blips have had ever since.

1. Cows - round about 9,000BC cattle were first domesticated. Soon after they became units of exchange and thus the idea of money was born: cows became cash on legs. And they still are - in certain parts of Africa commodities (especially brides) are priced in cows. Professor Keith Hart explores the early examples of money as part of an economy of living persons and things.

In the rest of the series, Essayists explore: the emergence of the very first banks; the setting of inter-regional and international standards; how the very first coins helped also foster abstract thought; and the appearance of the first forms of paper money in ancient China.

Series Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Keith Hart on the origins of money as part of an economy of living persons and things.

01Karachi Postcards, Arrival, And The Family Waits For Her...2010031520101206

The London based novelist Kamila Shamsie

returns to her city of birth every winter,

and this time decides to explore it properly:

1. Arrival, and the family waits for her...

Producer Duncan Minshull

"Each time I visit Karachi there is a particular strangeness that accompanies me... invisible to x-ray machines... undetected by sniffer dogs. It is the strangeness of returning."

London based novelist Kamila Shamsie returns to Karachi every January to see her family and old friends. But it's not where she lives anymore, so it has a fresh and often surprising quality to it. Over five 'postcards' for The Essay, she explores the city of her birth in this uncertain and often intriguing light

And the experience of arrival is a big deal. Outside the sleek, spare, deserted airport terminal all of Karachi's life comes towards you...

Novelist Kamila Shamsie describes arriving at Karachi airport.

01Land And Sea And Sky, Out Of The Marvellous2010030820100907

The poet Katrina Porteous lives at the edge of the land in the Northumbrian village of Beadnell and has spent her life exploring and writing about the culture and language of fishing, the land and seascape, the sky full of seabirds and the history of her place. In her essay, 'Out of the Marvellous', recorded on the rocks, in a tarry old fisherman's hut and the ruins of an ancient headland chapel, she reveals how the meeting of land and sea and sky has shaped the way of life of a community, and her own way of seeing and artistic creation.

Poet Katrina Porteous describes living in the Northumbrian coastal village of Beadnell.

01Listener, They Won It, Simon Barnes20120305

In this series, five writers look at how sports have been captured in the arts, from novels to film, photography to painting. Each looks at how the sport illuminates and resonates in the artform, and how it increases our understanding and love of the sport.

Today, award-winning sportswiter and author Simon Barnes considers the immortalisation of Roger Bannister's record-breaking mile in a still photograph - by agency snapper Norman Potter. He argues that these often anonymous or little-known sports photographers have become the architects of the archetypes of our age.

Simon Barnes is Chief Sports Writer and columnist for 'The Times', and author of several books on sport.

Producer: Justine Willett.

Simon Barnes on the immortalisation of Roger Bannister's mile in a still photograph.

01Listener, They Wore It, Tracy Chevalier2011012420111128

Five writers were invited to explore the meaning of clothes and accessories in a particular work of art, be it a story, novel, film, painting or song lyric. How does the clothing resonate? What is the tale behind its depiction? Would the writer wear the garment themselves? Suits and dresses, coats and jewels, and even rags, all feature in accounts by a variety of commentators...

1. Novelist Tracy Chevalier considers how a set of sparkling stones tease

in Guy de Maupassant's famous story - The Necklace.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Tracy Chevalier on the fate of some sparkling stones in de Maupassant's The Necklace.

1. Novelist Tracy Chevalier considers how a set of sparkling stones tease in Guy de Maupassant's famous story - The Necklace.

01Looking And Looking Away, Not Responsibility: Shame20111205

Personal reflections on different aspects of the life, work and influence of WG Sebald by those who knew him, ten years after his death.

WG "Max" Sebald's literary career was at its height when he died in a car crash in December 2001, shortly after the publication of his masterpiece Austerlitz.

From the dual perspective of friend and colleague, Christopher Bigsby remembers WG Sebald in his adopted home of Norwich and reflects on how 'exile' there allowed him to write about the hidden history of his German homeland.

Christopher Bigsby reflects on WG Sebald's writings on his German homeland.

01Looking For Ghosts, Spinoza2009052520100510
01Loving The Raven, The Regency Parrot2009011220091207

Andrew Taylor explores Poe's childhood in England and the inspiration behind his own novel

01Meanings Of Mountains, Japan2011020720120312

The Meanings of Mountains is a series of essays that, following the sun's path from east to west travels from Japan to Peru, reveal the relationships that different peoples have with their mountains. In the first the writer and artist Stephen Gill, who has lived and worked for many years in Japan, delves into the complex feelings that people there have not for their most famous mountain, Fuji, but the one that perhaps is even more important to them - Mount Ogura.

Mt. Ogura is Japan's 'poets' mountain', featuring in centuries of literature, in the works of Teika, Saigyo and Basho. The mountain is only 1,000 feet high, but it rises very steeply, with a gorge snaking round two of its sides, and it has attracted courtiers, priests and poets to its slopes in such numbers that Japan's most famous poetry collection, Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each) bears its name.

Yet, on its northern flank it has an enormous illegal rubbish-tip. When its secret was exposed a few years ago it caused national consternation. Work is going on now to clear the dump and over the past few years tons and tons of rubbish has been collected, as have hundreds of short poems about the famous mountain. These unite classical images of autumn leaves, summer wind and frogs singing with car batteries, empty bottles and broken fridges.

Stephen Gill explores the complex feelings that the Japanese have for Mount Ogura.

01Mentors, Rick Moody20100322
01My Son The Fiddler, Early Days With A Quarter-size Instrument20090810
01Naturalists: Animals And Human Nature, Ted Ellis20090126
01Nature In China, Wild Water - Swimming In The Ice20090713
01New Archaeologies, New Archeologies20090907
01New Generation Thinkers, 2011, The Entrepreneur20120116

A week of essays from five of the BBC Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers begins with a look at 'the entrepreneur'.

The entrepreneur is a cultural figure and policy fix, the trope of the lone hero who conquers the world and saves the economy. Steve Jobs epitomised this figure. But how much can one person do, and does the myth of the entrepreneur have dangerous repercussions for the rest of us?

Philip Roscoe, lecturer at St Andrews University School of Management and one of BBC Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, examines the changing role of the entrepreneur and argues that the myths surrounding these men and women are too simplistic; that thinkers from Tolstoy to Schumpeter to Hayek have long debated the role of the entrepreneur and what society can expect them to achieve.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of the inaugural talent scheme run the BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into fascinating broadcasts.

In subsequent programmes this week, Shahidha Bari reassess the legacy of Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim's account of the West Eastern Divan Youth Orchestra; Alexandra Harris explores the history of artificial light; Zoe Norridge examines the power of photographic images of the Rwandan genocide and Jon Adams questions how modern day writers are borrowing skills from the theologians of old.

Philip Roscoe asks whether our expectations of the lone entrepreneur are unrealistic.

01New Mystery Plays, Creation, By Sean Buckley20110411

by Sean Buckley. New Mystery Plays revisits stories from the Old Testament. Sean Buckley sets The Creation in the mind of a coma victim, creating the world anew.

Jo....Alex Tregear

Nurse....Jonathan Forbes

Dad....Sean Baker

Young Jo....Harper Bone

Sound by Peter Ringrose

Directed by Jessica Dromgoole.

A setting of the Creation in the mind of a coma victim, creating the world anew.

01New Ways Through The Glens, The Dark Years20180219

With the title from an essential work by A.R.B. Haldane, 'New Ways Through the Glens' is Kenneth Steven's personal reflection on the changes brought to the people and landscape of the Scottish Highlands by the arrival of roads and canals in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the first programme he looks at the road building programme of General Wade, who was determined to pacify the warring clans.

01Night Walks, Nicholas Shakespeare20090608
01North East Free Thinkers, T Dan Smith2009102620100830

Four essays about free thinking figures and places in North-East England whose ideas challenged their times, recorded in front of live audiences at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas at The Sage Gateshead in 2009.

In the first essay writer and filmmaker Graeme Rigby looks back at the career of T Dan Smith, the Newcastle city boss whose architectural "Brasilia of the North" captured the headlines in the 1960s. Smith's spectacular fall from grace - jailed for corruption in 1974 - has written him out of history. But do the ideas and regional ambitions of this out-of-the-ordinary politician still resonate today?

Graeme Rigby discusses T Dan Smith, former leader of Newcastle City Council.

01On Directing, Roger Michell20120213

In the first essay of the series, Roger Michell reflects on the mix of emotion he feels on the first day of any production, and allows us to accompany him as he travels to the location of his most recent film Hyde Park On Hudson.

A James Cameron film. A Rupert Goold production. The director has become an acclaimed and authoritative figure - even a star in his own right - but the job itself remains the subject of speculation: what does a director actually do? And what is the mysterious 'process' that sees them from idea to first night? In this Essay series, five innovative practitioners of stage and screen reveal the daily grind of a craft which, despite books and interviews on the subject, remains opaque.

Roger Michell's career has spanned theatre, television and film. Earlier in his career, he worked at the Royal Court and the RSC, where he eventually became a resident director. He continues to divide his time between theatre and film, and recent stage productions include Rope (The Almeida) and Tribes (Royal Court). For BBC television he directed The Buddha of Suburbia (1993) and Persuasion (1995). Some of his films include Notting Hill (1999), Changing Lanes (2002), The Mother (2003), Enduring Love (2004), Venus (2006) and Morning Glory (2010).

Later this year he will direct Richard Nelson's Farewell To The Theatre at the Hampstead Theatre, and then Joe Penhall's new play Birthday at the Royal Court. His latest film Hyde Park On Hudson, starring Bill Murray as Roosevelt, will be released in cinemas this year.

The series is produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Roger Michell explores the emotions that go with starting a film, as he begins his latest.

01On Excess, In Excess20081215
01Pinter's Voices20090216
01Postcards From Istanbul, Mary Beard2010050320110718

Professor Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul, one of the world's greatest and most unique cities, under the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

The city's unique position as the bridge between Europe and Asia made it Emperor Constantine's perfect choice as the new capital of his vast Roman Empire. Renamed Constantinople or the 'New Rome', magnificent buildings, gardens and squares in the Roman model were built, including a vast Hippodrome for chariot races. By examining the fates of these incredible classical riches, Mary Beard explores the rich cultural heritage, and many faces, of this extraordinary city.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia. These essays paint very different and very personal views of Istanbul, past and present.

Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. She also a regular radio broadcaster and writes a blog for the Times Literary Supplement.

Mary Beard casts a classicist's eye over Istanbul under the Roman Emperor Constantine.

01Postcards, The Album20090629
01Reflections On Caravaggio, John Gash20110801

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400 years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. The first is delivered by John Gash, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at Aberdeen University, who introduces the artist, and argues that an existential edge sustained Caravaggio as his technical and creative virtuosity developed. His techniques of painting direct to canvas, and of employing chiaroscuro, contrasts of light and shade, were revolutionary procedures that demonstrate a ceaseless quest for clarity and honesty.

When Caravaggio moves from northern Italy to seek patronage and fame in Rome, the celebrity he attracts there is entwined with visceral and violent behaviour, which itself is then replicated in aspects of his work that depict sacred Christian subjects. The grand religious commissions such as The Martyrdom of St. Matthew negotiate a dangerous boundary between fulfilling the Counter Reformation ideals of the Roman Catholic Church and offending its sense of decorum.

Producer: Chris Spurr.

Art historian John Gash reflects on the life and work of Milanese painter Caravaggio.

01Reflections On Carravaggio20100712

The Milanese painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. The first is delivered by John Gash, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at Aberdeen University, who introduces the artist, and argues that an existential edge sustained Caravaggio as his technical and creative virtuosity developed. His techniques of painting direct to canvas, and of employing chiaroscuro, contrasts of light and shade, were revolutionary procedures that demonstrate a ceaseless quest for clarity and honesty.

When Caravaggio moves from northern Italy to seek patronage and fame in Rome, the celebrity he attracts there is entwined with visceral and violent behaviour, which itself is then replicated in aspects of his work that depict sacred Christian subjects. The grand religious commissions such as The Martyrdom of St. Matthew negotiate a dangerous boundary between fulfilling the Counter Reformation ideals of the Roman Catholic Church and offending its sense of decorum.

Art historian John Gash reflects on the painter Caravaggio 400 years after his death.

01Requiem For Networks, Welcome To The Labyrinth20110321

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of the new information networks. Are they a revolution or a regime change?

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s. Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research. Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication. The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

1: Welcome To The Labyrinth. 'We set great store by the welcome we receive - we have usually travelled a great distance to get there.' Perhaps the hardest labyrinth to get out of is the one you don't even realize you are in?

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

01Rewiring The Mind, The Ethereal Mind2010061420110404

The historian of broadcasting, David Hendy, explores the ways in which the electronic media have shaped the modern mind.

How did wireless conquer the world in the early years of the twentieth century, and how did a fascination with radio among scientists and writers unleash new ideas about the transmission of thought and the utopian potential of invisible forces?

Producer: Matt Thompson.

David Hendy on how wireless communication conquered the world in the early 20th century.

01Robert Graves And The Poetic Myth20090721
01Running The World20100419
01Secret Places In The Four Quartets20090831
01Shakespeare And Love, Margaret Drabble20120423

The first of five essays about love in the work of Shakespeare. The author and critic Margaret Drabble explores how our concepts of love and humanity have been deepened by the power of Shakespeare's poetry and how his many and varied versions of love continue to shape our imaginations. From the first love and love at first sight shared by the teenage Romeo and Juliet to the all consuming last love of the ageing Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare's understanding of love in all its guises remains unparalleled.

Writer Margaret Drabble explores how Shakespeare has deepened our concept of love.

01Strange Encounters - Series 2, Matthew Cobb2009062220100816

Strange Encounters - scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history. Today, biologist Matthew Cobb on the quest for spontaneously generated life. In the sweltering heat of a 17th century Tuscan villa, surrounded by jars of putrefying meat, Francesco Redi doubts the idea, handed down from Aristotle, and accepted unquestioningly by his contemporaries, that insects and reptiles emerge without parents from dead flesh. The painstaking experiments not only established the notion of testing theories by exhaustive experimentation, but also laid the foundations of modern ideas of continuous heredity in all life.

Producer: Roland Pease.

Biologist Matthew Cobb considers the quest for spontaneously-generated life.

01Tagore And The Bengali Sensibility, A Cherished Acquaintance20120130
01Tennyson 200, Vicki Feaver On Ulysses2009080320100802

Series in which contemporary British poets choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.

Vicki Feaver talks about Tennyson's long poem Ulysses, about the aged hero of Greek myth, driven to travel onwards even after reaching his home on Ithaca and his long-suffering wife Penelope. Tennyson was only 24 when he wrote it, soon after hearing of the death of his dear friend Arthur Hallam.

Feaver believes the poem is about far more than physical travel or coping with grief. For her, Ulysses is about the need of the artist always to move forward - not, in her case, to succumb to benign pressure to tend her garden or be a good grandmother but to pursue her art and to follow Tennyson's rallying cry 'to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield'.

Reader: Simon Russell Beale.

Poet Vicki Feaver explains the importance of Tennyson's long poem Ulysses to her.

01The Age Of Creativity, Colin Shindler20110307

This week Radio 3's The Essay explores the way ageing affects creative artists. Five writers, composers and poets, look back at their creative lives and measure the benefits of wisdom against the grim reality of mortality.

We begin today with the reflections of the ever youthful screenwriter Colin Shindler.

Also in the series: Composer Francis Pott, crime writer Frances Fyfield and poet Maureen Duffy.

Screenwriter Colin Shindler explores the effect of ageing on his creativity.

01The Antarcticans, Unveiling Antarctica20111212

To mark the centenary of Roald Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole (to be followed a month later by Captain Scott), this series of The Essay is presented by professionals who have lived and worked in Antarctica.

David Drewry's Essay "Unveiling Antarctica" describes the extraordinary human feats undertaken to measure the depth of the Antarctic ice cap and what lies beneath it.

Working with the Americans under the newly ratified Antarctic Treaty, David pioneered the use of airborne radar to measure the fluctuating thickness of the ice sheets that cover the continent.

"What we did was to fly a radar transmitter in an aircraft, bouncing radio waves downwards through the ice. By measuring the time taken for their return we could calculate how thick the ice was. Because we sent thousands of radio pulses a second, we were able to build up a continuous profile of the ice sheet. And by flying regular tracks across the continent we began to construct a map of the land lying beneath the ice - unveiling the real geography of Antarctica".

The deeper the ice, however, the lower they had to fly to measure it. One sortie, accompanied by the infamously steely-nerved flight engineer -Bones- is graphically retold. They flew at 250 knots whilst the ice flashed by just 25 feet below.

David's work helped to reveal completely unexpected lakes of water deep under the ice. Even today it's not known what primeval creatures may lurk there.

Professor David Drewry is a glaciologist, the former director of The Scott Polar Research Institute and British Antarctic Survey and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has a mountain and a glacier named after him.

Producer Chris Eldon Lee

A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 3.

Glaciologist David Drewry on his adventurous efforts to survey Antarctica's landscape.

01The Book That Changed Me, Homage To Catalonia2011031420120319

Alan Johnston explains how "Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell inspired him to become a journalist - and taught him some dark truths about politics. At one point Johnston looked to be destined for a career in town planning. But that all changed when he came across Orwell's book on the Spanish Civil War. "Homage to Catalonia" set Johnston off down a path that would take him to wars and upheaval in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Afghanistan under the Taleban. He was on a journey that would eventually lead to his being kidnapped in Gaza.

Alan Johnston explains how Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell inspired him.

01The Case For Doubt, Alastair Campbell20120413

5/5. Alastair Campbell on self-doubt.

"Self-doubt that leads to resolution of the doubts can be a remarkable source of energy and creativity".

In the last of five Essays making The Case for Doubt, journalist and broadcaster Alastair Campbell, acknowledging his reputation as a hard man while Tony Blair's spokesman and strategist, admits that self-doubt has always been an essential part of his make-up. But reflecting on Galileo's assertion that self-doubt is 'the father of all invention', he argues that it should be a creative rather than a crippling experience.

This ends the series The Case for Doubt, in which five contributors have argued that Doubt - though sometimes troubling - is meaningful and valuable, and not negative and weak.

Alastair Campbell on how self-doubt can be a remarkable source of energy and creativity.

01The Case For Doubt, Mark Vernon20120409

1/5. Mark Vernon on political doubt.

"Forget that life is enveloped not just by known unknowns but unknown unknowns, and you will fall like Icarus from the sky".

In the Essay this week, five contributors - journalists Mark Vernon, Madeleine Bunting, Alastair Campbell; scientist Susan Greenfield, and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht - make The Case for Doubt - the idea that political, religious, and scientific doubt, even self-doubt, though sometimes troubling, is much more useful and valuable than fixed opinions and beliefs.

In this first Essay on doubt in politics, author and broadcaster Mark Vernon argues that a dislike of doubt in politics implies a loss of faith in politics, and that politicians - for their sake as well as ours - should stop cultivating delusions of omnipotent power.

Producer David Coomes.

Mark Vernon argues that disliking doubt in politics implies a loss of faith in it.

01The Darkest Hour20111003

Insomnia is one of the great obsessions of our time. Writers, artists, thinkers and leaders have always battled with sleep - from Van Gogh to Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher. Shakespeare's night owls are legendary, from Lady Macbeth to Brutus, while Charles Dickens' insomnia took him on nocturnal walks in search of inspiration. But in our 24-hour culture, insomnia - this ability to switch off - has become something of a modern obsession, with today's writers and bloggers thinking nothing of tapping away at keyboards or pounding the streets for solace in the wee small hours.

In the first of this series, in which five night owls explore their own battles with sleeplessness, distinguished author Margaret Drabble looks at ageing and sleeplessness. She asks why, after years of insomnia, it's become something of an old friend to her, and extols the delights of the compensatory nap.

This series will also feature John Sutherland on the rich history of insomnia in literature; A L Kennedy on finding the nights too thrilling for sleep; poet Michael Symmons Roberts on poetry and insomnia; and actor Juliet Stevenson on why a creative life often means a life in search of sleep.

Author Margaret Drabble explores how insomnia has become something of an old friend.

01The Elephant In The Poetry Reading20090119
01The Essay: The Father Instinct, Lou Stein20110425

Writer/director Lou Stein sets out on a quest to understand the connections between fatherhood and creativity. He draws on Greek father-archetypes to gain insight and understanding into today's shifting fatherly landscape.

"If, in my own life so far, I have a bit of the wanderlust of Odysseus, and the rebellious nature of the father-hungry Achilles, it is Hector's ideals which I most aspire to."

There is little doubt that the act of consciously choosing to become a father (as opposed to fathering a child) is a critical choice for any man. But artists who choose to take on the responsibilities of fatherhood have their creative inventions enhanced and challenged in a very specific way. Does the fact of taking on the challenges of fatherhood in the 21st century diminish their creative output in some way by dividing the creativity needed to be a father and needed to be an artist? Or does having a child nourish and advance the artist's creative march forward in an ever-changing world, where the rules of engagement are accelerated in a consumer-lead, technologically driven context.

In the first essay of the series, Lou Stein looks at the historical notions of fatherhood in Western culture, and in particular the shifting expectations of what it means to be a father. Drawing on a number of Greek archetypes of fatherhood, he offers a view of the ancient and contemporary expectations of the father which can help us understand the fatherly landscape we live in today.

Writer/director Lou Stein explores the impact of fatherhood on creativity.

01The Free Thinking Essay20180312

Series of arts programmes.

01The Free Thinking Essay, Welling Up: Women And Water In The Middle Ages20180312

Hetta Howes looks at male fears and why Margery Kempe was criticised for crying and bleeding

Medieval mystic Margery Kempe's excessive, noisy crying made her travelling companions so irritated that they wanted to throw her overboard, while others accused her of being possessed by the devil. But Kempe believed she was using her tears as a way to connect with God, turning the medieval connection between women and water into a form of bodily empowerment and a holy sign. New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes, from City, University of London, explores the connections between medieval women and water.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

01The Future's Not What It Used To Be, Broken Dreams20090824
01The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel In Italy20091214
01The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel Week - Handel In Italy20090413
01The King Returned2010052420110620

The first of five programmes in which Jonathan Sawday paints a picture of Restoration Britain in five essays: the politics, the science, the culture and the philosophy which made this an extraordinary period of history.

In May 1660 Charles II was invited to return to England and take the throne lost by his beheaded father. A dozen years of Puritan rule were overthrown with a resuming of vigorous cultural life. There was an ebullient outpouring of baroque music, liberated playwriting, scientific progress, stately architecture and courtly entertainment that became known as The Restoration.

But in the 1660s how much was really "restored" of pre-Cromwellian Britain - and how much was actually newly introduced? How much that was restored had really never gone away?

Professor Jonathan Sawday attempts to retell the story of the Restoration in a new way - through five essays, each of which provide a shapshot of cultural and intellectual life.

Caricatured as excessive in today's costume drama, this was a time that was also energetic, experimental and outward looking. From the foundation of the Royal Society, to the construction of St. Paul's, to the new contractual nature of government - this was a period which marks the creation of crucial aspects of modern Britain.

Producer: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday presents the first of five portraits of Restoration Britain.

01The Life Cycle Of A Fictional Character - An Alternative History Of The Novel, The World20110221

Critic James Wood explores aspects of novelistic technique through a fictional character.

A young man or woman walks along the street of a modern city. There are all kinds of sensations, apprehensions, and calculations. Buildings, cars, people - the entirety of modern life, at speed - rush at us, and rush past us. Exactly what does this person hear and see and feel, and how is this represented in the modern novel?

James Wood on the novelistic technique of having characters walking along city streets.

01The Mews, The Egg And The Chick2009030920100215
01The Music Appreciation Movement20110822

In the early twentieth century a prominent British movement sprang up under the title 'Music Appreciation', with the aims of introducing to 'ordinary' listeners 'great' or 'serious' music, and teaching them 'the art of listening'. Radio became a chief means by which this misson was to be accomplished, while books, adult education courses and regional 'Music Travellers', also contributed to a new educational field. In this series, musicologist and cultural historian Richard Witts explains the movement's origins, ambitions and idiosyncrasies, and clarifies why it fell out of favour in the second half of the twentieth century. In this first programme he looks at the movement's origins, and the work of its British pioneer, Percy Scholes.

Producer: Sara Davies.

Richard Witts on the origins of Music Appreciation, and the work of pioneer Percy Scholes.

01The Mystical Turn, Wr Inge20110516

Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, explores the revival of interest in mysticism and religious experience generally - at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century.

The late 20th and early 21st century have witnessed a decline in churchgoing with an increased scepticism about institutional religion. At the same time, there has - paradoxically - been an increased desire for spirituality - for God "outside" religion. This is usually regarded as a post Second World War trend, but in this week's Essay series, Jane Shaw explores the late 19th and early 20th century roots of this phenomenon - in what she calls the "mystical turn".

In the first programme in our series, The Mystical Turn, Jane Shaw examines the role of the "gloomy Dean" - Anglican priest and academic WR Inge. His book, Christian Mysticism - published in 1899 after Inge had spoken on the subject at Oxford University's prestigious Bampton Lectures the previous year - had a profound influence on Christian thought and practice, and gave rise to a deluge of books on the subject, the most famous being William James's Varieties of Religious Experience and Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism.

Dr Jane Shaw explores the revival of interest in mysticism at the end of the 19th century.

01The Other Empire20110912

Julian Jackson uncovers the forgotten - and indeed in this country largely unknown - story of the French Empire. In the first of five Essays, he tells the story of France's first war of decolonisation, a slave rebellion in Haiti, sparked off by the French revolution in Paris and led by the charismatic Toussaint L'Ouverture.

The French Empire was second only to the British. At its peak in the 1930s it covered some 10 million square miles with a population of 100 million. It stretched from the West Indies to the South Pacific, from Indo-China to the Maghreb, from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Levant. The Empire may be gone now but its legacy lives on both in France and in the former colonies. With a Muslim population of 4.5 million today, France, thanks to her former Empire, has the largest Islamic population of any country in Europe; couscous is as much national dish as coq au vin (or chicken vindaloo in Britain). And with recent turbulent events in Africa and the Middle East reminding the French and us of the importance of these former links, this is a story that is worth telling in some detail.

France's imperial story which ended with the Algerian War of the 1950s in fact started over a century earlier with the first war of decolonization in the French sugar colony of St Domingue - now Haiti - in the Caribbean. A slave rebellion there, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, resulted in his eventual capture by Napoleon, and death in a jail in the French Jura. But despite his capture, in the end the revolution was successful, 50,000 French troops perished, Napoleon suffered his first ever defeat and Haiti became independent in 1804

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Julian Jackson explores France's first war of decolonisation: a slave rebellion in Haiti.

01The Scientist And The Romantic, The Greenhouse And The Field2009092120100426
01The Sound And The Fury20120123

The author and journalist Andrew Martin has phonophobic traits, which call for some extreme actions:

"So I went out to buy my first box of earplugs. I must have bought... well, about a box a month ever since. The best ones are made of wax; they're covered in cotton wool and they're about the size of aniseed balls. You get twelve in a box. Soon I know I'd become addicted to them. I had also, by then, become addicted to the use at night of electrical fans for the creation of 'white noise'. I kept them going all night long..."

In the first of five essays, author Andrew Martin lays bare his life as

a 'phonophobic'. How to cope with jarring sounds in the modern world.

And is there an another way to live without the daily cacophony?

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Andrew Martin explains 'phonophobia' and the strange measures he takes to banish it.

01The Stewarts, James I

01The Stewarts, James I2010100420110808

Historian and author, Dr Fiona Watson looks at bloody comeback of James I, King of Scots (1394-1437). It's not the greatest start to life when your elder brother gets murdered in a castle dungeon by your wicked uncle, who's muscling in on your sick father, but then it only gets worse for young Prince James. While being sent to safety in France aged 12, he was kidnapped by English pirates. The very next month, his father died and the young prisoner became King of Scots, spending 18 years in captivity. A vital part of this time was spent at the court of Henry V, the victor of Agincourt. It would influence the rest of James's life, giving him fresh (and if you were one of his nobles you might say 'worrying') ideas of what a monarch should be and how a country should be run. The return of the King to Scotland would not only bring bloody vengeance upon the family of his late uncle, the Duke of Albany, but a new and energetic style of kingship. However James had tendency to take things just a bit too far... Fiona introduces one of the most powerful and controversial kings of the medieval Stewart dynasty.

Historian Dr Fiona Watson discusses the bloody comeback of James I, King of Scots.

01The Team Photo, Stella Rimington20110214

Five writers take out a team photo from their past and consider the moment when one is captured not as an individual, but as part of a group.

Most people, at some point in their life, will have been a willing or reluctant member of a team. Whether it was a college year, an army regiment, a business team, a cricket match, am dram theatricals, the pub quiz or the Girl Guides, group photos are our souvenirs - fond or grim reminders of a previous way of life and the people who shared it. In this series, five writers take out a team photograph from their past and take a forensic and philosophical look at the shared strangeness of a moment preserved.

This evening, Stella Rimington, former Director-General of MI5, considers a photograph commemorating a cricket match between the Ladies team from the British High Commission and the Ladies of the Roshanara Club in Delhi, 1966.

Stella Rimington lived in India between 1965 and 1969, having travelled out there with her husband John Rimington, when he was appointed First Secretary (Economic) for the British High Commission in Delhi. She joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1965 and was appointed Director-General in 1992. She was the first woman to hold the post and the first Director-General whose name was publicly announced on appointment. Following her retirement from MI5 in 1996, she became a non-executive director of Marks and Spencer and published her autobiography, Open Secret (Arrow 2002). Her first novel, At Risk, was published in 2004. She is to chair the Man Booker prize in 2011.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Stella Rimington, former director-general of MI5, considers a team photo from her past.

01The Utopian Dream - And Its Disappointments, The Moment Of Hope20090105

Jane Shaw explores the viability of utopian communities.

01The World Turned Upside Down, Valeria Toth2009110920100810

Passports, garden chairs, cars or contraceptives. Four essayists from former Warsaw Pact nations reflect on the changing use and meaning of an apparently banal object - an object that unlocks a wider story about how daily life in their country was transformed by the dramatic events of 1989.

In today's programme, the Hungarian journalist Valeria Toth measures out her life in passports. We hear of the multiple passports of communist Hungary, including red for travel to Warsaw Pact nations, blue for travel outside the Soviet bloc and red with a blue stamp for non-aligned Yugoslavia. Special one-way passports are used to expel troublesome citizens and passport anxiety continues into 1989, when thousands of East Germans enter Hungary and the ditch beside the border fills with discarded passports. Finally, a new era dawns in which - unthinkably - it's even possible to occasionally forget your passport.

Producer: Julia Johnson.

Hungarian journalist Valeria Toth measures out her life in passports.

01The Writer's Dickens, Tessa Hadley On Rooms And Reality20111219

Five contemporary novelists examine the craft of Dickens' prose, and reflect on how the giant of British nineteenth century fiction is both a role model and a shadow looming over their own writing. Taking as their starting point a favourite extract from one of Dickens' novels, each writer discuss Dickens' themes, narrative techniques and writing craft, and tells us what they themselves have learnt from it. They offer thoughtful, unusually engaged and focussed critical appreciation of Dickens' skill, as well as valuable insights into their own work and how they themselves wrestle with the subject and technique under discussion.

Beginning the series is Tessa Hadley, writing on Rooms and Reality. Taking as her starting point the description of the Clenham's house in Little Dorritt, she explores how Dickens paints the reality of his world through his characters' houses, and reflects on how significant houses are her own writing.

Other writers in the series are A L Kennedy, Alexander McCall Smith, Romesh Gunesekera and Justin Cartwright.

Tessa Hadley on how Dickens paints the reality of his world through characters' houses.

01Thomas Lynch's Feast Of Language, Seamus Heaney20110509

Michigan based Thomas Lynch is an accomplished poet, essayist and funeral director whose dry wit and captivating storytelling have won him a devoted following on both sides of the Atlantic. In this series of essays, The Feast of Language, Lynch looks at five of his most beloved poets and examines how their poems have nourished and sustained him throughout his life; how their work, almost literally, can be read as a 'feast'.

Be it the subtle nuances of meaning in an elegant stanza, or the simple, visceral pleasure in the sound of a particular word, Lynch makes it clear that poetry continues to have a profound and revitalizing role in our lives.

Under the umbrella term of "Feast", Lynch explores sex and death, those "bookends of life", alongside religion, love, anecdote, food, personal history and memory, evoking the power and richness of poetic language and its ability to contain such diverse themes.

For Lynch, "Poetry is as good an axe as a pillow": it can comfort as much as it can cause harm. As such, it is the most important art form he knows. In the first programme he turns to the work of Seamus Heaney, for programme two, the American poet, Michael Heffernan, in programme three, Carol Ann Duffy, in programme four Michael Donaghy and finally the modernist, William Carlos Williams.

Michigan-based undertaker and poet Thomas Lynch discusses the work of Seamus Heaney.

01Tolstoy, Dr Rowan Williams20101115

The Archbishop of Canterbury presents an essay on the life and work of Leo Tolstoy.

To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, "The Essay" this week considers the life and work of one of the giants of Russian literature - Leo Tolstoy. Famous for works like the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina and novellas such as Hadji Murad and The Death of Ivan Ilyich Tolstoy continues to fascinate modern audiences. In these programmes, five different presenters explain their own passion for the works of Tolstoy and the Russia he evokes. Coming from very different backgrounds, all the presenters of these essays have had their lives touched - directly and indirectly - by the Tolstoy's works, they are:

Dr Rowan Williams - Archbishop of Canterbury

Writer and newspaper columnist - A.N. Wilson

Helen Dunmore - award winning novelist

Prof Anthony Briggs - a specialist in nineteenth-century Russian literature

Bridget Kendall - BBC Radio correspondent to Moscow 1989-1995

Producer: Mohini Patel.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on his passion for Leo Tolstoy's writing.

01Tomorrow Is Today, Damien Gorman20090511
01Under The Influence20081201

Author Michael Symmons Roberts describes the influence on him of poet David Jones.

01Under The Influence, Michael Symmons Roberts20090518
01Under The Influence, Under The Influence, Jon Boden20110328

Jon Boden is a folk musician who loves post-apocalyptic literature, works such as 'The Changes Trilogy' by Peter Dickinson, in which the people of England develop a dread of technology, Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker', set in the aftermath of such destruction that even the language has fragmented and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road', in which a father and his son desperately push a cart with their few possessions, some tins of food and a pistol through a devastated land.

He thought this was at odds with his work as a performer of traditional English song, music that sometimes celebrates a bucolic idyll. But, after becoming a father, he began to consider the implications of contemporary geo-politics. With the end of an oil dependent economy, would reality and the world depicted in the literature he enjoys coincide? Or might this lead to a world closer to that described in traditional song, and the kind of society that produced that music?

Producer: Julian May.

Jon Boden on the influence of apocalyptic science-fiction on him as a folk singer.

01Visions Of Mary, John Haldane20101220

Professor John Haldane of St Andrews University looks at the origins and meaning of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Catholicism, considering her unique status as chief among the saints, and looking at how her elevation has been received and sometimes criticised. On the only two occasions on which papal infallibility has been invoked it was in the definition of dogmas regarding Mary: first, the Immaculate Conception (that she was conceived without the stain or wound of original sin) defined in 1854, and second the Assumption (that at the end of her life she was 'taken up' body and soul into heaven), defined in 1950. Yet Mary has humble beginnings in the gospels where she is only mentioned in a handful of passages, which makes the large, complex and ornate edifice of Catholic 'Mariology' all the more intriguing in its evolution. Professor Haldane explores the early textual sources and art history of her rise.

John Haldane on the origins and meaning of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

01Walking The Lobster20180212

Writer John Walsh explores the male desire to stand out in all manner of attire, in all eras.

To set the scene he describes a poet of the boulevard who took something strange for a walk, this being a template for the characters who follow. Then there's reference to a Mr Tituss Burgess and to the author himself who is, sartorially, rather hit and miss.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

01What Is History, Today?20111114

This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H. Carr. Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.

E.H. Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982. He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations. But What is History? remains his most famous work.

When What is History? was published it became arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past. Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by the present generation of history undergraduates. But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.

In the first essay, Richard Evans, Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge, introduces Carr the historian and Carr the man. Evans gives a crucial overview of the major theories of What is History? and the particular circumstances of Carr's life which contributed to the book's style.

He delves deep into questions about how the historian chooses which facts to present as history and places What is History in the context of the academic world of the 1960s, a world into which he was entering at the time.

For Evans, reading Carr was a revelation; Carr offered the new generation of academics, like Evans, the freedom to assess history in a wider-reaching, more interdisciplinary fashion. In this essay he offers his personal take on Carr and how Carr's work has influenced him.

Producer: Katherine Godfrey

WHAT IS HISTORY, TODAY? is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC.

Prof Richard Evans introduces Carr the historian and set his work in context.

01When Writers Play20090817
01When Writers Play (series 2), Patrick Gale2009101220100726

Music might feature in the work of many writers, but do many writers play an instrument? Quite a few do, and this essay series charts five writers with musical 'careers'. Here is a bit of autobiography, telling listeners how they started out, their inspirations, their memorable performances and how playing relates to their lives as writers.

And they are keen to demonstrate their musical talents, which you can hear at the end of each essay!

Novelist Patrick Gale begins the series with his recollections of taking up the cello. It was better than playing sports at school and now he's commissioned someone to make him his own instrument.

Novelist Patrick Gale recalls how he got to grips with the cello as a schoolboy.

01Wild Things, The Deer2011013120111017

When newspapers last year reported a killing of a stag in Exmoor, there were fierce reactions of horror. Even though deer can cause huge damage to forests, people are transfixed by their beauty and majesty. We have read about them in literature and seen haunting images of Bambi in the cinema. They represent something majestic, yet vulnerable and are a unique part of the British landscape.

The poet and writer Ruth Padel begins a series of Essays exploring our reactions to 5 British wild animals, by investigating how our reactions to deer have been subconsciously shaped by centuries of folklore, literature and biology. She charts the history of the deer's links with royalty, traces the evolution of the different species in this country and explores the potency of the image of antlers.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel explores how history and literature have shaped British reactions to the deer.

01William Hazlitt - Philosopher20090302
01William Hazlitt - Philosopher, Winterslow20100201
01Work-life Balance2009032320100222
02A Cretan Spring, Gorges20090505
02A Dark History Of British Gardening, Snobbery20111101

Garden snobbery has been with us since the medieval queens imported exotic herbs in the 14th century. Gardens have always been places for a show of wealth and power and, of course, demonstrations of one's good taste and superior class.

Jenny plots the wonderful history of upper-class gardeners trying hard to stay ahead of the lower orders, determined to ape them in the garden. From French parterres to greenhouses and lawnmowers and choice of rose varieties, she shows that every aspect of gardening was an opportunity for snobbery.

Jenny Uglow explores the connections between gardens and snobbery.

02A Five-day Journey, Haunting

02A Five-day Journey, Haunting2009110320100921

Walking the Downs on the Sussex-Hampshire border, Robert Macfarlane explores the poet Edward Thomas's love-affair with paths and tracks. For twenty years, Thomas walked what he called 'the long white roads' and 'frail tracks' of England's chalk country. Then in 1916, he enlisted and was sent as an officer to the chalk landscape of Arras in Northern France, with its far more dangerous paths, 'Where any turn may lead to Heaven / Or any corner may hide Hell'. He was killed on Easter Monday, 1917. Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs over five days.

02A Good Death2009033120100413
02A Good Death, Beryl Bainbridge20100706

Death is the one subject we shy away from, and in our frantic obsession with prolonging our lives, the notion of 'a good death' seems to have lost its relevance. Yet, the art of dying has been a defining notion throughout history. In this throught-provoking essay distinguished writer Beryl Bainbridge looks back at how the notion of death has overshadowed her own life, from her wartime childhood to her adult brush with death, and reveals her hopes and expectations for her own demise.

In these five frank and powerful essays, writers and thinkers ponder the art of dying, and confront taboos around death. They will look at what makes a 'good death' today - is it merely having lived a good life, or is there something intrinsically important in dying well? And, now that our own deaths tend to occur in the sterile surroundings of a hospital ward, rather than at home surrounded by those we love, will reflect on how this distancing from death, and loss of control over our demise, has changed our relationship with dying. With references to the portrayal of death in literature, history and religion, as well as personal reflections on hopes and expectations of death, these essays will give five very different perspectives on the art of dying.

Celebrated writer Beryl Bainbridge on how the idea of death has shaped her life and work.

02A Laureate's Life, Michele Leggott20090428
02A Letter To My Body, Antony Gormley

02A Letter To My Body, Antony Gormley2010092820110607

Sculptor Antony Gormley discusses his relationship to his own body and why it has featured so prominently in his art. He remembers how the experience of being forced to take an afternoon nap during his childhood set him on the path to learning meditation and he explains why he is now making a conscious effort to 'simply be' in the space of the body without seeking to control it or to make constant use of it.

Producer: Charlotte Simpson.

Antony Gormley discusses the relationship between his body and his art.

02A Passion For Opera, Matt Peacock2010060120110726

Matt Peacock is the originator of Streetwise, the community opera project for the homeless set up in 2002. A classically trained singer, he reflects on the way opera has changed the lives of people he's met during the past ten years.

Whilst Matt certainly doesn't claim that Streetwise has solved the problems of homelessness, he speaks with passion about how opera is for everyone. He argues that the teamwork necessary in opera is a perfect way of engaging the 600 homeless people around the UK who undertake the weekly opera projects. If you can't sing a solo, you can join in the chorus. If you don't want to sing, you can make props or help with costumes. The massive scale of an opera means that, for his team, there's a role for everyone and a reason to turn up every week.

Over the years, his opera company have received warm reviews for their performances. And the somewhat surprising success of using opera as a means of support and rehabilitation of homeless people is now being tried in other countries.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Matt Peacock reflects on how opera can transform the lives of homeless people.

02A Robert Schumann Album, Passionate Reader, Pioneering Critic20100608
02A Tribute To Mr Purcell, Purcell In Performance2009031720091117
02An Informal History Of The Male Nude, Partha Mitter20120221

The art historian, Partha Mitter, explores the meaning and power of the male nude in the visual art of the Subcontinent and examines where and how it diverges from the West's Classical ideal.

Poducer: Zahid Warley.

Partha Mitter explores the meaning of the male nude in the visual art of the subcontinent.

02Antony Gormley's Seminal Sculpture, Brancusi's Endless Column20090616
02Architecture: The Fourth R, The Value Proposition2010101920110712

Making shelter is a fundamental human activity, so, asks Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sunand Prasad - why don't we talk about it? The way we build reflects society's values and aspirations - but also its fears. Sunand Prasad takes us on a journey through Architecture, from the India he grew up in, to the Utopian vision of Le Corbusier, from the concrete carbuncles of Post-War Britain, to the design that will combat Climate Change.

In this second programme, he argues that the buildings we work in are just as important as the activities that take place within them. Sunand explains the value of good quality design, from speeding patient recovery, to helping children learn; and why investment in architecture is a commitment to our faith in the future, as well as a way of saving costs.

Sunand Prasad on the value of architecture and the importance of investment in buildings.

02Are You Paying Attention?, Multitaskers And Gorillas20180227

The writer and journalist Madeleine Bunting continues her exploration of the different ways in which we pay, or fail to pay, attention. Inevitably, she argues, attention to one thing always implies withdrawal of it from others, and in our digital age, the battle for our attention, however brief, has become fiercer than ever. And, Madeleine warns, those who think they can successfully multi-task are probably deluding themselves - as the famous 'gorilla experiment', in which subjects failed to see a man in a gorilla costume walking into a basketball match, has demonstrated.

02Aspects Of Grainger, Grainger And Folksong20110927

In the early years of the twentieth century composer Percy Grainger travelled around Britain with a phonograph recording rural folksingers. As a musical anthropologist Grainger was looking for authentically rustic, timeless melodic source material. Meurig Bowen explores Grainger's passion for folksong, how he used it, how it influenced his music and how it compared with other composers' incorporation of folksongs. Might there have been something inherently condescending and exploitative about folksong collecting or was it a fear that, at a time of increasing industrialisation and migration off the land that if these tunes were not captured they could be lost forever?

The programme includes a fascinating recording, made by Grainger himself in 1906, of a folksong sung by a farm bailiff and then how Grainger used the song in one of his most poignant arrangements.

Meurig Bowen explores Percy Grainger's passion for folksong and how it influenced him.

02Before 'silent Spring', John Muir

02Before 'silent Spring', John Muir20101012

Environmental historian Donald Worster explores the life of John Muir, the nineteenth century Scot who emigrated to the United States to become an adventurous and outspoken advocate for the American wilderness.

Donald Worster on John Muir, the Scot who became an advocate for the American wilderness.

02Bram Stoker, Colm Toibin20120417

To mark the centenary of Bram Stoker's death, the novelist Colm Toibin explores the origins of the Irish author's Gothic horror Dracula, assessing the influence of Irish folklore, Gothic theatre, and even the topography of Dublin and London themselves. Did Dracula come into being from Irish Protestant guilt?

Novelist Colm Toibin explores the origins of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

02British Cinema Of The 40s, A Canterbury Tale

02British Cinema Of The 40s, A Canterbury Tale20100914

British cinema of the 1940s freshly interpreted by Simon Heffer who explores old favourites in terms of their social and political message.

In five personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which war-time British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its consequent loss of individuality and furtherance of collectivism. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

2. A Canterbury Tale

Powell and Pressburger's 1944 film, set in the beautiful Kentish landscape largely unchanged since Chaucer's day, tells the stories of three war-time "pilgrims", each of whom travel to Canterbury and experience some radical change in their own lives while also beginning to see a glimmer of a post-war Britain very different from the one they left behind in 1939. Simon Heffer explores how, as the war drew to its close, the use of the English countryside in films became not just a powerful illustration of what Britain had been fighting to preserve, but also how, within that now safely preserved setting, attitudes, roles and mores could and would change.

Simon Heffer celebrates the 1944 Powell and Pressburger film A Canterbury Tale.

02Checkmate, Fool's Mate - Bringing Chess Back Home To India20101214

A photograph of two men playing chess in a flood by Raghubir Singh is the starting point of Anuradha Roy's essay on how Indians have escaped reality into chess.

She writes

"Banaras, 1967. Two men in shorts and singlets are sitting on what looks like a raft. One man's toes are dipping into the water that is all around them. He appears unaware of this. The city seems empty but for these two people. Their raft could be a doorstep, or maybe a tabletop. The water lapping at its edges is floodwater. The rest of the city has probably taken shelter in higher, drier places. But these two men are oblivious to flood and exodus alike. They are absorbed in a chess game that is halfway through, on a chess board almost floating on their half-drowned step.

This photograph by Raghubir Singh captures many things, but mainly the addictiveness of chess and the difficulty of finding a quiet place for a game in a country as crowded as India. If you set up a board for two to play, there will soon be another ten commenting, interrupting, animated."

Indian author Anuradha Roy has written An Atlas of Impossible Longing.

Author Anuradha Roy on the power and poignancy of chess as a metaphor in Indian culture.

02Chekhov Essays, Timberlake Wertenbaker2010012620101102

The playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker writes a love letter to Chekhov to thank him for all that he has taught her in terms of theatre-craft.

After Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov is the most perfomed playwright in the world and amongst the most revered writers of short stories. While the pleasure he has given to theatre audiences and readers is immense, these Essays explore his legacy in terms of the craft and technique that he continues to bequeath to theatre practitioners and writers today. From her best known work, Our Country's Good, to her latest play, The Line, Timberlake Wertenbaker is one of our most highly valued contemporary playwrights. Chekhov is her favourite writer, and in this Essay - couched as a love letter - she reflects on what she has learned from him in terms of theatre-craft.

Timberlake Wertenbaker on what she has learned from Chekhov in terms of theatre craft.

02Chopin20100302

Pianist Piers Lane considers how Chopin innovated piano forms.

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02Dark Arcadias, Tom Nichols On The Depiction Of Poverty20110705

In the second of five essays about the history of an idea, the art historian Tom Nichols explores the depiction of poverty and the paintings of beggars made in the Renaissance.

Tom Nichols on the depiction of poverty and Renaissance paintings of beggars.

02Darwin's Children20090210
02Doctoring Philosophy, Entitlement20090729
02Earth Music Bristol, Birdsong20111122

Tim Birkhead explores how birds learn to sing. The second of five essays inspired by the musical content of the first Earth Music Bristol festival.

How do birds acquire their songs? The answer is mainly through learning. He'll discuss how their predisposition to learn, during a very specific time window, allows us to manipulate what they sing and how important that has been for our own culture by talking about an experiment he did looking at what bird song does to our brain. All of this will be illustrated with examples from canaries, nightingales, bullfinches and some others.

Tim Birkhead is a Professor at the University of Sheffield and a fellow of the Royal Society. He is the author of The Wisdom of Birds and, forthcoming, Bird Sense among many books.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Behaviour expert Professor Tim Birkhead explores how birds learn to sing.

02Emotional Landscapes, Ambition20090602
02Enlightenment Voices, Diderot, Part 220100119

Considering it was published in the 1750s, the Encyclopedie, with its 28 folio volumes and 72,000 articles, puts the wonders of the internet firmly in the shade.

Dr Kate Tunstall and Dr Caroline Warman, both of whom teach French at The University of Oxford, are passionate enthusiasts of the Encyclopedie.

In this evening's programme, they broadcast from the Taylorian Institute in Oxford, pulling volume after immense folio volume from the open shelves to show how the complex system of renvois" or cross-references, makes the Encyclopedie both a mine of information about the Enlightenment and a browser's dream.

Kate Tunstall and Caroline Warman introduce the vast scope of Diderot's Encyclopdie."

02Enlightenment Voices, Mary Wollstonecraft, Part 220091124

Series exploring the work of philosopher, writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Janet Todd of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, a renowned scholar of early women writers, examines Wollstonecraft's love-hate relationship with the character and writings of the great Swiss Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Reader: Tessa Nicholson.

Janet Todd on Mary Wollstonecraft and the character and writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

02Enlightenment Voices, Robert Hooke, Hooke And The Royal Society2009100620101130

The Royal Society celebrates its 350th anniversay this year and in tonight's essay we hear how this week's Enlightenment figure, Robert Hooke was instrumental in its early success. Dr. Felicity Henderson, manager of the RS History of Science events looks through the archives to examine the exploits of the founder members and the Curator of Experiments, Robert Hooke. Their goal was straightforward: they wanted to collect as much information as possible about absolutely everthing (except 'God and the soul', which they decided to avoid from the outset). The Royal Society's motto, 'Nullius in Verba' loosely translates as 'take no-one's word for it'. Felicity sheds light on some of Hooke and his early fellows groundbreaking experiments in their quest to know everything.

Producer: Sarah Taylor

(Repeat).

Dr Felicity Henderson discusses Hooke's influence at the Royal Society.

Series exploring the work of the scientific pioneer Robert Hooke.

Dr Felicity Henderson, manager of the Royal Society's 'History of Science Events' looks through the great science academy's archives to shed light on the ground-breaking exploits of Hooke, who was curator of experiments, as well as the founder members.

She explores how Hooke was instrumental in the organisation's early success.

02Enlightenment Voices, Smith/hume, Part 220091201

Series exploring the work of philosopher and 'father' of modern economics Adam Smith.

Historian and novelist James Buchan looks back to the great thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment and their interpretation of whether 'luxury' was a motivating benefit for society.

Medieval historians felt that luxury was a threat to the immortal soul.

In the 18th century, philosophers moralised on how best to deal with the new commercial society.

James Buchan considers how the idea of medieval 'luxury' became modern political economy.

02Enlightenment Voices, Spinoza, Part 220100112

Series focusing on the work of 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

Prof Susan James from Birkbeck College, University of London, explores Spinoza's philosophical work on the role of democracy in 17th-century Europe.

Spinoza's defence of democracy, along with his commitment to religious pluralism, set him apart from his contemporaries, and started a new line of political thinking which stretches to today.

Reader: Bruce Alexander.

Susan James explores Spinoza's work on the role of democracy in 17th century Europe.

02Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And England20090929

02Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And England20101123

Series exploring the work of the French writer and philosopher Voltaire.

Professor Nicholas Cronk, director of the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford, explores how Voltaire's encounter with English culture both influenced the writer personally and had far-reaching consequences for Enlightenment thinking generally.

He explains why Voltaire came to England in the first place and considers why the book of essays he wrote - Letters Concerning the English Nation - has been described as 'the first bomb thrown at the ancient regime' - a praise of the country and a covert criticism pre-revolutionary France.

With his vivid and often highly contemporary observations on religion, business, politics, science, philosophy and literature, Voltaire's book on England is as striking today as it was to both French and English readers when it was first published in 1733.

Reader: Simon Russell Beale.

Nicholas Cronk discusses the effect of Voltaire's time spent in England.

02Five Easy Pieces, Love And Marriage2010051820110531

Christopher Ricks explores some short poems that are worth remembering.

Love and Marriage: William Blake's 'Hail Matrimony' and Swinburne's 'A Leave-Taking'

Producer: Tim Dee.

Christopher Ricks on two poems: Blake's Hail Matrimony and Swinburne's A Leave-Taking.

02Free Thinking 2010, New Histories Of The North East, Earl Grey And The Promise Of Reform20101109

Five Essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East.

Writer and sociologist Tom Shakespeare looks back at Charles Grey and the Great Reform Act of 1832. Grey was a leading figure in the North East and today his monument stands high above the centre of Newcastle. He became Whig Prime Minister in November 1830, got rid of the rotten boroughs, and took a major step towards modern parliamentary democracy. Following the recent expenses scandal, and with electoral reform on the coalition's agenda, Tom Shakespeare uses this historical comparison to ask: When does one of the oldest parliamentary systems in the world feel ready to reform itself?

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Tom Shakespeare discusses Charles Grey and the Great Reform Act of 1832.

02Germany Dreaming, It's Off To Cologne2010020920110301

After a bizarre dream, author and critic Michael Bracewell is prompted to

explore all things German, which means travel and much speculation: This time he heads for Cologne.

"With the greatest respect to Dr Freud, I have never put much store by the interpretation of dreams. But one night seven years ago I had a dream which actually changed my life. As I slid towards sleep, it seemed as though a corner of the room was beginning to glow..."

The author and critic Michael Bracwell dreams about a visitation by the legendary musician Brian Eno, who informs him that 'Germany is your America', and that he should get out there and explore the place. So after much speculation about things German, after visits to Cologne, Munich and Berlin, and after immersing himself in the music and art of the country (especially electronic music and post modern art) the author is ready to pronounce on his romantic and prejudical responses to the country. There is also its food to consider. And its youthful fashions.

What does he dig up? Lots! And in this second essay, it's Cologne. Which you can hear about in his specially commissioned five part series for The Essay.

Michael Bracewell visits Cologne as he explores all things German.

02Golding Remembered, John Carey20110920

William Golding's biographer John Carey examines the famous novelists complex and changeable relationship with religion and the way this was reflected in his novels.

Golding was brought up in an atheistic household, but his Second World War experiences made him devoutly religious. His stance on religion fluctuated throughout his life - at one point he believed in Gaia the Earth goddess. It was Golding who suggested the name Gaia to his friend James Lovelock, for Lovelock's hypothesis on the Earth.

In writing the biography, John Carey was granted unique access to letters, journals and unpublished works - material which has never before been made public. Here he sketches a revelatory portrait of a man with many sides: war hero, schoolteacher, family man.

In this series, the Essay marks the centenary of William Golding's birth (19th September 1911), with five programmes looking at different aspects of the novelist's work and life.

William Golding is known for novels including Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors and The Spire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was knighted in 1988. He died in 1993.

Producer: Caroline Hughes

GOLDING REMEMBERED is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC Radio 3.

John Carey marks the centenary of the birth of Nobel-winning novelist William Golding.

02Half Shame, Half Glory - Postcards From The Acting Profession, Simon Mcburney2010062220110524

Simon McBurney beckons us to join him on stage, during the run of Samuel Beckett's Endgame, and explores how performing in the same play night after night is a process of refinement rather than repetition.

Simon McBurney is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Complicite Theatre Company. He has devised, directed and acted in over thirty Complicite productions. As an actor, Simon has performed extensively for theatre, radio, film and TV. Feature films include Sleepy Hollow, Kafka, Tom and Viv, Bright Young Things, The Manchurian Candidate, Friends with Money and The Last King of Scotland.

Actor Simon McBurney explores how performing in the same play is a process of refinement.

02Happily Ever After, Anne Fine20120207

In this series of five essays, contemporary children's authors and editors each look at a fictional family from children's literature.

They use it as a focal point to explore the changing portrayal of the family in children's books, and consider both what it tells us about the society it reflects, and how relevant it is to determining a young generation's attitudes to the future.

In the second programme of the series, writer Anne Fine examines family life in Judith Kerr's classic The Tiger That Came to Tea from a feminist perspective. She argues that our nostalgia for the books from our childhood mean that today's children are continually presented with outdated stereotypes of gender roles which no longer reflect today's society - a fact which, she believes, children find it hard to discern themselves.

Anne Fine gives a feminist view of the nostalgia for our favourite childhood books.

02Haydn Essays, Haydn's Odder Instruments2009070720091020
02Head In The Clouds20090224
02Henry, King Of Kings, Henry Tudor And God2009042120100406
02Home Rule For The Soul20110504

Professor Sunil Khilnani, author of The Idea of India, continues his journey through the ideas of Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj, which argues for freedom of both self and nation but against violence. Gandhi is often thought of as a nationalist thinker but Khilnani urges us to think again. Most anti-colonial leaders sought the overthrow of white rule and the retention of the modern economy and state. Gandhi's view was precisely the opposite.

'India is being ground down not under the English heel, but under that of modern civilization', Gandhi wrote, arguing that by enslaving themselves to modern civilization, India had enslaved themselves to the British. True freedom, Swaraj, would only come, he believed, when India and individuals found a way to free themselves for the seduction of modern life.

Sunil Khilnani explores the ideas of freedom in Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj.

02How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear, Matthew Bevis20120501

Marking the centenary of Edward Lear's birth in 1812, this series of five essays considers the exuberant play of Edward Lear as a nonsense poet and artist and the influence of 'nonsense' on modern life.

In the second essay in the series, Keble fellow and writer Matthew Bevis explores the story of nonsense. Looking back to a time before nonsense existed, he considers what nonsense is, how it fitted into the Victorian age and the role of Lear in it's development.

Writer Matthew Bevis explores the historical development of Edward Lear's nonsense poetry.

02I Confess: The Power Of The Confession20111011

How do you catch the truth? Pin it and preserve it like a butterfly? Make the ephemeral and hidden into something both visible and fast? The medieval versions of these questions exercised the Inquisitors of the Western church. They were looking for new ways of getting at truth through confession which went beyond the say-so of the community, and instead entered deep into the hearts and psyches of individuals. This was a knotty problem requiring great subtlety. "Deep is the heart of man, and inscrutable." wrote the Dominican, Bernard Gui, 'The wise inquisitor should be careful to set his course by the replies of the witnesses, the sworn statements of accusers, the counsel of men taught by experience, the shrewdness of his own natural intelligence, and the following lists of questions' (which he went on to supply). And yet, despite all this careful pondering, torture was resorted to again, this time, in the quest to detect and uproot heresy. Once more the queasy relationship between truth and coercion surfaces. Professor John Arnold of Birkbeck College, University of London, takes us into the mental world of the inquisitions.

Confession spans the spiritual and legal. Prof John Arnold explores the Inquisition.

02Interrail Postcards, Roma Tearne20110628

As the Inter-rail Pass turns 40, five writers of different ages and backgrounds recall personal journeys and explore how the advent of new technology and the changing face of Europe have changed student travel forever.

2.Roma Tearne

It is almost forty years since the introduction of the first Inter-rail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

For the Sri Lankan-born writer Roma Tearne, memories of Inter-rail travel are inextricably bound up with her interest in frontiers and national identity. While she mourns the loss of a true sense of passing from country to country when she travels in Europe today, she has no regrets for her memories of frequently being ordered off trains and interviewed by border guards simply because she was Asian.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Roma Tearne on InterRail travel and her interest in frontiers and national identity.

02It Talks20110614

"Money. You don't know where it's been,

But you put it where your mouth is.

And it talks." (Money, by Dana Gioia)

The history of money stretches back some 11,000 years. There have been certain key moments in its development and each essay tells their story and the resonance that these revolutionary blips have had ever since.

2. Banks - these first emerged in Babylonia around 3,000BC. Temples and palaces provided safe havens for the storage of valuables. At first just grain was accepted, later other goods including cattle and agricultural implements were banked. But when precious metals became acceptable, the idea of something not utilitarian having a value became current. Some 1,200 years later the ruler Hammurabi formulated a code to govern banking operations. Right from the beginning there were connections between money, banks, religious and temporal authorities.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Focusing on the first banks - in Babylonia around 3,000 BC.

02John Milton, The Essayist20081209
02Karachi Postcards, Traffic Stops As 'street Cricket' Takes Pride Of Place...2010031620101207

The London based novelist Kamila Shamsie

returns to the city of her birth every winter,

and this time decides to explore it properly:

2. Traffic stops as 'street cricket' takes pride of place...

"Each time I visit Karachi there is a particular strangeness that accompanies me... invisible to x-ray machines... undetected by sniffer dogs. It is the strangeness of returning."

London based novelist Kamila Shamsie returns to Karachi every January to see her family and old friends. But it's not where she lives anymore, so it has a fresh and often surprising quality to it. Over five 'postcards' for The Essay, she explores the city of her birth in this uncertain and often intriguing light.

This time, she takes to the streets to enjoy the mania that is 'street cricket', and explains how this form of the game reflects on the professional version, with its groomed heroes and rivalry with India. Sporting politics are never far away though..

London-based novelist Kamila Shamsie learns about 'street cricket' in Karachi.

02Land And Sea And Sky2010030920100909

The poet and essayist Jeremy Hooker recalls his early life on the south coast, looking across to Isle of Wight, in wartime. The sea and sky were fascinating, and dangerous, and the land fractured, revealing remants of earlier creations and their stories. Out of these the poet was himself made. Hooker considers other poets of the south country -Tennyson, whose memorial he could see on the Island, and Thomas Hardy. Their poetry has a Victorian melancholy which he resists in his own. He contrasts the meeting of land and sea and sky he knew as a boy with that in west Wales, where storms shifted the furniture in his seafront room. And for Hooker the meeting of land and sea and sky, its shifting, its re-arranging and it rhythms provides an example, a poetic discipline.

Poet and essayist Jeremy Hooker discusses his early life spent on the south coast.

02Listener, They Won It, Lynne Truss20120306

In this series, five writers look at how sports have been captured in the arts, from novels to film, photography to painting. Each looks at how the sport illuminates and resonates in the artform, and how it increases our understanding and love of the sport.

Today, writer Lynne Truss looks at George Stubbs' 1770 portrait of the racing legend Eclipse - a masterpiece which manages to capture all the glamour, excitement and yet inevitable cruelty of the sport of horse racing.

Lynne Truss is an author and broadcaster, best known for her book 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves'.

Producer: Justine Willett.

Writer Lynne Truss on the celebrity racehorse Eclipse captured in Stubbs's 1770 portrait.

02Listener, They Wore It, Justin Cartwright2011012520111129

Five writers were invited to explore the meaning of clothes and accessories in a particular work of art, be it a story, novel, film, painting or song lyric. How does the clothing resonate? What is the tale behind its depiction? Would the writer wear the garment themselves? Suits and dresses, coats and jewels, and even rags, all feature in accounts by a variety of commentators...

2. Novelist Justin Cartwright thinks about corporate America,

and how it is vividly caught in the novel, The Man in The Grey

Flannel Suit.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Justin Cartwright on corporate America and the novel The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit.

2. Novelist Justin Cartwright thinks about corporate America, and how it is vividly caught in the novel, The Man in The Grey Flannel Suit.

02Looking And Looking Away, Teaching By Example20111206

Personal reflections on different aspects of the life, work and influence of WG Sebald by those who knew him, ten years after his death.

Uwe Schütte reflects on the life and work of his former teacher WG Sebald.

Uwe Schutte reflects on the life and work of writer WG Sebald, who was once his teacher.

02Looking For Ghosts, Moses Mendelssohn2009052620100511
02Loving The Raven, The Raven In Love2009011320091208

Joanne Harris discusses the women in Poe's life and the influence they had on his stories.

02Meanings Of Mountains, China2011020820120313

The Meanings of Mountains is a series of essays that, following the sun's path from east to west travels from Japan to Peru, reveal the relationships that different peoples have with their mountains. In the second essay Howard Zhang of the BBC's Chinese Service, considers the way that mountains in China have been sacred to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism - sometimes the same mountain revered by devotees of all three. Certain mountains are places of pilgrimage, the Chinese word for which literally means 'paying respect to the mountain', and many monasteries and shrines are hidden away in the hills.

Howard explains the attraction of mountains, throughout Chinese history, to poets and artists - an attraction so deep that landscape paintings are known simply as mountain and river pictures - and intellectuals, who have been drawn from the complex life of the city to a simple, quiet life in the mountains.

But many Chinese are newly rich, able at last and eager, to travel. The holy mountains are becoming places of mass tourism. Howard Zhang contemplates this dilemma and considers the meanings of mountains to the Chinese today.

Producer: Julian May.

Howard Zhang on the sacred mountains of China and what these mean to the Chinese today.

02Mentors, Andy Martin20100323
02Minds At War, Minds At War: Elizabeth Bowen's The Last September20180305

How great artists and thinkers responded to the First World War in individual works of art.

Dr Heather Jones of the LSE explores Elizabeth Bowen's novel "The Last September"

In 1922, 26 counties of Ireland seceded from the UK, becoming independent, a final epilogue to the Great War. It is this story that Bowen chronicles in her great novel, The Last September - an elegy for the death of the Anglo-Irish class for whom the First World War and the violence it triggered in Ireland marked the end.

Heather Jones explores how the novel mirrors Bowen's own contested loyalties between Ireland and England and investigates how the central character mirrors Bowen herself.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

02Minds At War: Elizabeth Bowen's The Last September2016041220180305 (R3)

Dr Heather Jones of the LSE explores Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Last September.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

How great artists and thinkers responded to the First World War in individual works of art.

Dr Heather Jones of the LSE explores Elizabeth Bowen's novel "The Last September"

In 1922, 26 counties of Ireland seceded from the UK, becoming independent, a final epilogue to the Great War. It is this story that Bowen chronicles in her great novel, The Last September - an elegy for the death of the Anglo-Irish class for whom the First World War and the violence it triggered in Ireland marked the end.

Heather Jones explores how the novel mirrors Bowen's own contested loyalties between Ireland and England and investigates how the central character mirrors Bowen herself.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

02My Son The Fiddler, Boarding At The Menuhin School20090811
02Naturalists: Animals And Human Nature, Hayden Lorimer20090127
02Nature In China, Wild Wall - The Unkempt And Unrestored Wall20090714
02New Archaeologies, New Archeologies20090909
02New Generation Thinkers, 2011, Parallels And Paradoxes20120117

A week of essays from five of the BBC Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers continues with a reappraisal of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded by literary critic Edward Said and musician Daniel Barenboim.

Ten years after the first publication of 'Parallels and Paradoxes' - a collection of conversations between Said and Barenboim - New Generation Thinker and lecturer in romanticism at Queen Mary University Shahidha Bari reexamines the ideas behind the founding of the 'West-Eastern Divan Youth Orchestra', which brings together young Arab and Israeli musicians in musical harmony. Bari dissects how Said's politicised conception of the musical 'contrapuntal' might bear upon the Arab Spring and Occupy protest movements today.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of the inaugural talent scheme run the BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into fascinating broadcasts.

In subsequent programmes this week, Alexandra Harris explores the history of artificial light; Zoe Norridge examines the power of photographic images of the Rwandan genocide and Jon Adams questions how modern day writers are borrowing skills from the theologians of old.

Shahidha Bari examines the ideas behind the founding of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

02New Mystery Plays, The Flood, By Lin Coghlan20110412

by Lin Coghlan. New Mystery Plays revisits stories from the Old Testament. Lin Coghlan sets the story of the Ark in a Do It Yourself warehouse.

GIBBONS....Sally Orrock

KEVIN....Stuart McLoughlin

LORD....Sean Baker

LAURA....Lizzy Watts

MUM....Joanna Monro

BOB....Sam Dale

BOOTSEY....Nyasha Hatendi

SUZANNE....Alex Tregear

Sound by Peter Ringrose

Directed by Jessica Dromgoole.

Setting of the story of the Ark in a DIY warehouse. With Sally Orrock.

02New Ways Through The Glens, The Moss Lairds20180220

With the title from an essential work by A.R.B. Haldane, 'New Ways Through the Glens' is Kenneth Steven's personal reflection on the changes brought to the people and landscape of the Scottish Highlands by the arrival of roads and canals in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the second in the series he explores how the central belt of Scotland was transformed by land clearance, just where the Highlands meet the Lowlands.

02Night Walks, Owen Sheers20090609
02North East Free Thinkers, Gertrude Bell20091027
02On Directing, Emma Rice20120214

In the second of five essays, the theatre director Emma Rice explores the role of the director as storyteller, and elaborates on the undertaking that transforms a text into a fully-fledged production.

Emma Rice is the Joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre. For Kneehigh, she has directed for The Red Shoes (2002 Theatrical Management Association [TMA] Theatre Award for Best Director); The Wooden Frock (2004 TMA Theatre Award nomination for Best Touring Production); The Bacchae (2005 TMA Theatre Award for Best Touring Production); Tristan and Yseult (2006 TMA Theatre Award nomination for Best Touring Production); Cymbeline (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company for The Complete Works festival); A Matter of Life and Death (Royal National Theatre production in association with Kneehigh Theatre); Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre); Brief Encounter (tour and West End; Studio 54, Broadway); and Don John (in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic). She was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Director for Brief Encounter.

Emma Rice's most recent production The Wild Bride is currently on tour in San Francisco before moving to New Zealand.

The series is produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Kneehigh Theatre's Emma Rice explores the director's role as a storyteller.

02On Excess, Enough Is Enough20081216
02Pinter's Voices20090217
02Postcards From Istanbul, Elif Shafak2010050420110721

Acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over the unique and very diverse city of Istanbul, a place she still calls home.

"Istanbul is like a huge, colorful Matrushka - you open it and find another doll inside. You open that, only to see a new doll nesting. It is a hall of mirrors where nothing is quite what it seems. One should be cautious when using categories to talk about Istanbul. If there is one thing the city doesn't like, it is clichs."

Carefully avoiding all cliches, Elif Shafak looks at Istanbul's many identities, and its many inhabitants, from the ghosts of the past, to the real Istanbulites, the recent arrivals, to the visitors. Along the way she explains why Istanbul, to her, is a 'She City', a city of women, of widows, mothers and young girls, whose beat and heart is decidedly feminine.

Istanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city in Turkey, and uniquely straddles both the continents of Europe and Asia. These essays paint very different and very personal views of this extraordinary city.

Elif Shafak is the best-selling female author in Turkey. Her controversial novel 'The Bastard of Istanbul' was nominated for the Orange Prize for fiction.

Turkish author Elif Shafak casts a writer's eye over Istanbul and its many identities.

02Postcards, Angela Carter20090630
02Reflections On Caravaggio, Sybille Ebert-schifferer20110803

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. Tonight's essay is by Professor Sybille Ebert-Schifferer, Director at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute in Rome, and author of the monograph Caravaggio, Sehen - Staunen - Glauben [see - be amazed - believe]. She considers his art both sophisticated and unprecedented, and insists that we need to appreciate the values of the age he lived in, in order to understand the painter and his work. Ever socially ambitious, Caravaggio had an overwhelming sense of honour which, when it led to violence, could bring him harm, but it was his ability to create meraviglia, or wonder, in his art that earned him the appreciation of princes and people alike.

Prof Sybille Ebert-Schifferer reflects on the Italian painter Caravaggio.

02Reflections On Carravaggio20100713

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. Tonight's essay is by Professor Sybille Ebert-Schifferer, Director at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute in Rome, and author of the monograph Caravaggio, Sehen - Staunen - Glauben [see - be amazed - believe]. She considers his art both sophisticated and unprecedented, and insists that we need to appreciate the values of the age he lived in, in order to understand the painter and his work. Ever socially ambitious, Caravaggio had an overwhelming sense of honour which, when it led to violence, could bring him harm, but it was his ability to create meraviglia, or wonder, in his art that earned him the appreciation of princes and people alike.

Professor Sybille Ebert-Schifferer reflects on the Italian artist who died 400 years ago.

02Requiem For Networks, Victorian Search Engines20110322

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our modern information networks.

Today the business and academic communities embrace the 'networks' with the same fervor they once showed the electronic media of the 1960s. Thanks to the internet they have the basic model for 'crowd sourcing', 'data farming' and other forms of research. Online communities of 'netizens' continue to multiply and flourish, offering new perspectives on consumption, relationships, political participation and mass communication. The networks today seem ubiquitous and omnipotent: but do they represent a cultural revolution or a total regime change? And what do we understand of their history or their power? Who and what, finally, do the networks connect us to?

2 'Victorian Search Engines.' Sherlock Holmes had his gazetteers, almanacs and timetables; the City had its Stock Exchange, the Parisians had their pneumatiques and Morse had his code; the early telegraph wires followed the existing network of railways throughout the country, receiving, storing and sending on information. All these examples indicate not just ways of distributing data but also ways of thinking. How much of our own thinking about networks has been influenced by the past?

Ken Hollings on how much of our thinking about networks has been influenced by the past.

02Rewiring The Mind, The Cultivated Mind2010061520110405

The historian of broadcasting, David Hendy, explores the ways in which the electronic media have shaped the modern mind.

How effective were the efforts of the BBC to improve the 'public mind' between the wars? Did broadcasts such as W.B. Yeats's poetry recitals or E.M. Forster's talks foster ideas of a 'spiritual democracy' and an enlightened citizenry?

Producer: Matt Thompson.

How effective were BBC efforts to improve the 'public mind' between the two world wars?

02Robert Graves And The Poetic Myth20090722
02Running The World20100420
02Secret Places In The Four Quartets20090901
02Shakespeare And Love, Stanley Wells20120424

Stanley Wells gives the second of five essays about Shakespeare and Love. Shakespeare's work is not generally considered to be autobiographical, but Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells argues there is good reason to believe his varying portrayals of love and romance may reflect the ever-changing nature of Shakespeare's own experiences. The shifts of tone, the variations in the choices of stories he tells and the emotional and sexual relationships he dramatises suggest that his varying portrayals of love may to some extent reflect the ebb and flow of his own emotional journey.

Stanley Wells argues that Shakespeare's many portrayals of love reflect his own life.

02Strange Encounters - Series 2, Stuart Clark2009062320100818

Strange Encounters - scientists revisit mould-breaking experiments in history. Today, astronomer Stuart Clark recalls The Great Solar Storm of 1859, when blood-red aurorae were seen across two thirds of the earth's surface, and newly inaugurated telegraph networks were put out of action by magnetic disruption.

Producer: Roland Pease.

Astronomer Stuart Clark recalls The Great Solar Storm of 1859.

02Tagore And The Bengali Sensibility, The Poet Of A Turning Point20120131
02Tennyson 200, The Kraken2009080520100803

Another chance to hear a series celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of poet Alfred Tennyson - 6th August 1809. Three contemporary British poets each choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.

The Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis thought she had outgrown Tennyson around the time she did her O Levels. In fact, she was slightly embarrassed by her youthful rapture for what she considered his shallow Arthurian romances. Then, living on a boat off a small Spanish town, she was unexpectedly re-introduced to Tennyson by a local swimming pool attendant, and newly discovered his hidden depths. Her chosen poem is The Kraken - a legendary sea-monster inhabiting the "ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep" of the un-chartered ocean, which, when ultimately it rises to the surface, is destined to die.

Gwyneth Lewis finds surprising poetic inspiration in this short, intense and unforgettable poem.

Reader: Simon Russell Beale.

Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis discusses the importance to her of Tennyson's poem The Kraken.

02The Age Of Creativity, Tess Jaray20110308

Tess Jaray is an abstract painter who studied at St Martin's School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where she later taught for many years. In this essay she explores how her experience of ageing has affected her creativity.

She is an abstract painter who began working with pavement patterns in public spaces and urban centres in the 1980's. Her artistic concerns for colour, pattern and rhythm were combined with a new awareness of the possibilities of pavement designs to create a sense of place.

In her essay she explores the changes in attitude and outlook that an artist experiences as they age, from the excitement of youth to the acceptance - or not - of middle and old age. While Tolstoy may have needed to be continually in love to keep his creativity going, for others that eternal search for creative energy make come simply from a bird on a window sill.

Abstract painter Tess Jaray explores the effect of the ageing process on her creativity.

02The Antarcticans, Adelies And Obsession20111213

To mark the centenary of Roald Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole (to be followed a month later by Captain Scott), this series of the Essay is presented by professionals who have lived and worked in Antarctica.

In "Adelies and Obsession" writer and historian Meredith Hooper talks about penguins, past and present. To the men on Scott's expedition, small Adelie penguins were amusing, neatly packaged fresh food.

"A penguin yielded two delicious breast steaks. Fricasseed or in a stew, their flesh was considered as good as beef. Fresh penguin meat was thought to help ward off scurvy. And, if necessary, penguin blubber could be used for cooking".

One hundred years later, Meredith was given privileged access to the private lives of these complex little birds which provide crucial evidence of climate change.

"Records were showing a temperature rise five times the global average. A rise of almost 3 degrees centigrade during the previous 50 years. 30 years of seabird data now seem to link the lives and fates of the local Adelies with climate change"

The penguins' plight causes Meredith to re-examine her own relationship with their habitat and Antarctica's place within her soul.

Meredith Hooper has been on four Antarctic adventures, resulting in four books about the continent. She is a visiting scholar at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Trustee of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and holds the Antarctic Service Medal. She's a key contributor to the Natural History Museum exhibition about polar conquest and recently became famous as the mother who persuaded her son Tom to make the film "The King's Speech".

Producer Chris Eldon Lee

A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 3.

Writer Meredith Hooper witnesses the plight of penguins affected by climate change.

02The Book That Changed Me, The Wrench2011031520120320

The potter and writer Edmund de Waal explains how Primo Levi's book "The Wrench" inspired him. He tells of his long search for a book which would connect with his love of craftsmanship. Here was a work of fiction which spoke to an artist about the beauty and magic of making objects.

Potter and writer Edmund de Waal explains how Primo Levi's book The Wrench inspired him.

02The Case For Doubt, Susan Greenfield20120410

2/5. Susan Greenfield on scientific doubt.

"Scientists inhabit a tilting and inconclusive world; doubt is as natural to us as breathing, even at the moment of seeming break-through".

Doubt in science is tonight's subject in a series of Essays on The Case for Doubt, in which five contributors argue that doubt is a valuable and meaningful strength, and not a crippling and negative weakness.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, a scientist who specialises in the physiology of the brain, argues that doubt among scientists should be 'as natural as breathing', even when breakthroughs occur, and that doubt in science should be integral not so much to what scientists do, as to how they think.

Susan Greenfield argues that doubt among scientists should be 'as natural as breathing'.

02The Darkest Hour20111004

Insomnia is one of the great obsessions of our time. From Van Gogh to Dickens, Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher, our writers, artists, thinkers and leaders seem to have been in constant battle with sleep. But in our current 24-hour culture, insomnia, this ability to switch off, has become something of a modern obsession for us all. In this series, five night owls explore their own battles with sleeplessness, the rituals and frustrations as well as the occasional joys of being awake when the rest of the world sleeps.

Today, literary critic and author John Sutherland on the rich history of insomnia in literature from Macbeth to Heathcliffe, and on the battle so many writers, including himself, seem to have with sleep.

John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College, London. He is an acclaimed literary critic and the author of many award-winning memoirs and books on literary criticism.

Literary critic and author John Sutherland explores the history of insomnia in literature.

02The Elephant In The Poetry Reading20090120
02The Essay: The Father Instinct, John Keane20110426

Lou Stein's investigation into the connections between fatherhood and creativity continues with Gulf War Artist John Keane's look at how his children have influenced how he sees his art and his role as a father. His paintings reflect on the the dire poverty and hopelessness which can flourish in third world countries in conflict. Although the nature of his interests means that he is constantly travelling to politically explosive parts of the world, fatherhood has helped him maintain an emotional balance in his life.

"It was not until my daughter was eleven and my son six that an idea emerged for a painting that blended with the theme of my work at that time, and flowed naturally into the series that I was putting together for an exhibition entitled Intelligent Design. I had become fascinated with the images of the outer reaches of the universe transmitted to us from the orbiting Hubble telescope. The sheer wonder of the vastness of what is out there defies comprehension but inspires awe. And what we see there is what we are. Stardust. Coalesced somehow into an intelligent life form, and circumscribed by love and cruelty. Against this I had also a photograph of my two children, holding hands, standing on a Suffolk beach in front of the ocean and gazing out to the horizon, their backs toward me. The idea occurred to me of substituting the object of their gaze, the chilly greys of the North Sea, for the rich hues of outer space, and this charged the image with a resonance invoking both the micro- and macrocosmic, but more than anything else it just reminded me of that old logo from my own childhood of Start-rite shoes - and this resonance was perfect."

Notes:

JOHN KEANE Gulf War artist John Keane was born in Hertfordshire in 1954 and attended Camberwell School of Art. His work has focused on many of the pressing political questions of our age, and he came to national prominence in 1991 when he was appointed as official British War Artist during the Gulf War. His subject matter has subsequently addressed difficult topics in relation to religiously inspired terrorism such as Guantanamo Bay, the Moscow theatre siege and homegrown violence against civilians. Most recently, he has also become known for the portraits of Mo Mowlam, Jon Snow and Kofi Annan.

Artist John Keane discusses how his children have influenced how he sees his work.

02The Free Thinking Essay, Art For Health's Sake20180313

An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away but could a poem, painting or play have the same effect? Daisy Fancourt is a Wellcome Research Fellow at University College London. In her Essay, recorded with an audience at Sage Gateshead for the Free Thinking Festival, she looks at experiments with results which which prove that going to a museum is known to enhance neuronal structure in the brain and improve its functioning and people who play a musical instrument have a lower risk of developing dementia. What does this mean for our attitudes towards the arts and what impact are arts prescriptions having ?

Daisy Fancourt has published a book called Arts in Health: Designing and researching interventions.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio

Producer: Zahid Warley.

02The Future's Not What It Used To Be, Trust Me, I'm A Scientist20090826
02The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel And Relationships2009042020091215
02The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel Week - Handel And Relationships20090414
02The King Returned2010052520110621

Jonathan Sawday continues his exploration of Restoration Britain. In this essay, how Charles II's return brought a resurrection of the king's bodily powers like his healing "touch". Jonathan Sawday uses this event to tell the story of how the body returned to public life in so many forms - women on stage, sexualised poetry, the return of fashion, the first attempts at surgery - it symbolised a pushing aside of the Godly people who had ruled under Cromwell.

Producer: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday explores the return of the King's 'healing touch'.

02The Life Cycle Of A Fictional Character - An Alternative History Of The Novel, Thought20110222

Critic James Wood explores aspects of novelistic technique through a fictional character

Our hypothetical fictional character does not merely experience the fleeting sensations of urban life. He or she must think - she has a past, and thus a memory; and a mind engaged in purposeful thought about the future. She has regrets and hopes, exuberance and shame; she has siblings and parents, perhaps a spouse or lover. She may believe in God (a significant origin of the stream of consciousness is the Biblical psalm). How does the novelist represent this kind of thought on the page? The novel's ability to depict such thought has "improved" over the last two hundred years, as surely as the combustion engine has become more efficient -- what are the elements of this progress?

James Wood explores how thought has been represented on the printed page over the years.

02The Mews, The Bird In The Spare Room2009031020100216
02The Music Appreciation Movement20110823

In the early twentieth century a prominent British movement sprang up under the title 'Music Appreciation', with the aims of introducing to 'ordinary' listeners 'great' or 'serious' music, and teaching them 'the art of listening'. Radio became a chief means by which this misson was to be accomplished, while books, adult education courses and regional 'Music Travellers', also contributed to a new educational field. In this series, musicologist and cultural historian Richard Witts explains the movement's origins, ambitions and idiosyncrasies, and clarifies why it fell out of favour in the second half of the twentieth century as postmodernism cast doubt on what was 'great' and 'serious'. In this second programme he looks at the work of the educationalist and pioneer schools broadcaster Walford Davies, and one of his team of music educators known dismissively by the Bloomsbury set as 'Walford's Holy Women', Imogen Holst.

Producer: Sara Davies.

Richard Witts on educationalist Walford Davies and Imogen Holst, one of his team.

02The Mystical Turn, William James20110517

Continuing our series, The Mystical Turn, Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, evaluates the enduring influence of American psychologist and philosopher William James's book on personal spirituality, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Harvard professor William James, elder brother of the novelist Henry James, believed that humans have a religious propensity, a natural leaning towards religion. In his Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature - first given as the 1902 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh - James documented numerous events which he believed illustrated his thesis. James's goal was to show the universality of religious experience, and its validity. In doing so, he unearthed the deep current of spiritual seeking that ran through America and Britain at the time and produced a book which still resonates with readers today.

Producer: Ian Willox

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A Chrome Radio production for BBC Radio 3.

Jane Shaw on the enduring influence of Wiliam James's book on personal spirituality.

02The Other Empire20110913

Julian Jackson uncovers the forgotten - and indeed in this country largely unknown - story of the French Empire. In the second of five Essays, he tells the story of France's involvement in sub-Saharan Africa.

The French Empire was second only to the British. At its peak in the 1930s it covered some 10 million square miles with a population of 100 million. It stretched from the West Indies to the South Pacific, from Indo-China to the Maghreb, from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Levant. The Empire may be gone now but its legacy lives on both in France and in the former colonies. With a Muslim population of 4.5 million today, France, thanks to her former Empire, has the largest Islamic population of any country in Europe; couscous is as much national dish as coq au vin (or chicken vindaloo in Britain). And with recent turbulent events in Africa and the Middle East reminding the French and us of the importance of these former links, this is a story that is worth telling in some detail.

The inheritance of France's sub-Saharan empire in Africa is complex: What was once the Upper Volta, then part of French Sudan, then part of Niger in 1927, then divided up between Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan and Niger, then (1947) Upper Volta again - and is now Burkina Faso. The arbitrary divisions imposed by the French - are of course part of the reasons for the difficult history of this region ever since...

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Julian Jackson tells the story of France's involvement in sub-Saharan Africa.

02The Scientist And The Romantic, The Lens And The Lichen2009092220100427
02The Sound And The Fury20120124

The author and journalist Andrew Martin has phonophobic traits, which call for some extreme actions:

"So I went out to buy my first box of earplugs. I must have bought... well, about a box a month ever since. The best ones are made of wax; they're covered in cotton wool and they're about the size of aniseed balls. You get twelve in a box. Soon I know I'd become addicted to them. I had also, by then, become addicted to the use at night of electrcial fans for the creation of 'white noise'. I kept them going all night long..."

Author Andrew Martin lays bare his life as

a 'phonophobic'. How to cope with jarring sounds

in the modern world. And is there another way to live

without the daily cacophony?

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Andrew Martin laments 'piped music' and what he considers to be its worsening quality.

02The Stewarts, James Ii Of Scotland

02The Stewarts, James Ii Of Scotland2010100520110809

Glasgow novelist and crime-writer Louise Welsh gets to grips with the murders which marred the life and reign of James II King of Scots (1430-1460). After his father was murdered down a sewer by a pack of vengeful knights, young King James was wrenched from his mother's custody and found himself in the hands of guardians who thought nothing of murdering young teenage dinner guests when it suited them politically. According to blood-curdling tradition, poor James was forced to watch as the sixteen year old earl of Douglas and his younger brother were despatched at the block. In a modern novel, you'd be screaming for child protection services to step in, but when you're a medieval child King of Scots, you're all alone.

Fiction swirls about James's reign and his later epic feud with the House of Douglas. Even by the 16th century, chroniclers were making up embellishments which amounted to historical fiction. In the 19th century Walter Scott would show a 'Pulp Fiction' like talent for black-humoured dialogue when he ventured into the little butcher's shop of horror stories (some mythical and some all-too-true) from James's reign. Louise looks at the tales and motifs of James's reign from the point of view of a modern crime fiction writer. She traces his development as a character and finally anatomises the most shocking act of James's reign - where he turned into a murderer himself, leading a pack attack with blades and battle axes on a new earl of Douglas. This little after-dinner surprise (called like the first one a 'Black Dinner'), has gripped Scottish historical writers for 560 years and counting...

Louise Welsh on the murders which marred the life and reign of James II, King of Scots.

02The Team Photo, Hisham Matar20110215

Five writers take out a team photograph from their past and consider the moment when one is captured not as an individual, but as part of a group.

Hisham Matar reflects on a photograph of himself as a young boy with the other members of 'the rabbit club' in his grandfather's small Libyan town.

Hisham Matar was born in New York in 1970 and spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo. He has lived in London since 1986. His novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2006. His latest novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, is published by Viking in March 2011.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Novelist Hisham Matar considers a team photo from his childhood in Libya.

02The Utopian Dream - And Its Disappointments, The Dream Of Harmony20090106

Jane Shaw explores the pursuit of harmony by political regimes and religious communities.

02The World Turned Upside Down, Jana Scholze2009111020100811

Passports, garden chairs, cars or contraceptives. Four essayists from former Warsaw Pact nations reflect on the changing use and meaning of an apparently banal object - an object that unlocks a wider story about how daily life in their country was transformed by the dramatic events of 1989.

In today's programme, the furniture curator Jana Scholze remembers her life in communist East Germany and the true meaning of garden furniture.

Producer: Julia Johnson.

Furniture curator Jana Scholze on life in communist East Germany and a garden chair.

02The Writer's Dickens, The Orphan Eye20111220

Five contemporary novelists examine the craft of Dickens' prose, and reflect on how the giant of British nineteenth century fiction is both a role model and a shadow looming over their own writing. Taking as their starting point a favourite extract from one of Dickens' novels, each writer discuss Dickens' themes, narrative techniques and writing craft, and tells us what they themselves have learnt from it. They offer thoughtful, unusually engaged and focused critical appreciation of Dickens' skill, as well as valuable insights into their own work and how they themselves wrestle with the subject and technique under discussion.

In the second essay in the series, Booker-shortlisted novelist Romesh Gunesekera takes an extract from David Copperfield as a starting point for an exploration of Dickens' writing about childhood and the move from childhood into adulthood, a theme which has been significant in his own writing.

Romesh Gunesekera on how Dickens addresses the move from childhood into the world beyond.

02Thomas Lynch's Feast Of Language, Michael Heffernan20110510

Michigan based Thomas Lynch is an accomplished poet, essayist and funeral director whose dry wit and captivating storytelling have won him a devoted following on both sides of the Atlantic. In this series of essays, The Feast of Language, Lynch looks at five of his most beloved poets and examines how their poems have nourished and sustained him throughout his life; how their work, almost literally, can be read as a 'feast'.

Be it the subtle nuances of meaning in an elegant stanza, or the simple, visceral pleasure in the sound of a particular word, Lynch makes it clear that poetry continues to have a profound and revitalizing role in our lives.

Under the umbrella term of "Feast", Lynch explores sex and death, those "bookends of life", alongside religion, love, anecdote, food, personal history and memory, evoking the power and richness of poetic language and its ability to contain such diverse themes.

For Lynch, "Poetry is as good an axe as a pillow": it can comfort as much as it can cause harm. As such, it is the most important art form he knows. In the first programme he turns to the work of Seamus Heaney, for programme two, the American poet, Michael Heffernan, in programme three, Carol Ann Duffy, in programme four Michael Donaghy and finally the modernist, William Carlos Williams.

Michigan-based undertaker and poet Thomas Lynch celebrates his mentor, Michael Heffernan.

02Tolstoy, An Wilson20101116

Writer and newspaper columnist A.N. Wilson presents today's essay on Tolstoy.

To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, The Essay" this week considers the life and work of one of the giants of Russian literature - Leo Tolstoy. Famous for works like the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina and novellas such as Hadji Murad and The Death of Ivan Ilyich Tolstoy continues to fascinate modern audiences. In these programmes, five different presenters explain their own passion for the works of Tolstoy and the Russia he evokes. Coming from very different backgrounds, all the presenters of these essays have had their lives touched - directly and indirectly - by the Tolstoy's works.

Producer: Mohini Patel.

Writer and columnist AN Wilson explains his passion for the works of Leo Tolstoy.

02Tomorrow Is Today, Rita Duffy20090512
02Under The Influence20081202

Alison Brackenbury explores the impact the poet John Clare has had on her writing.

02Under The Influence, Alison Brackenbury20090519
02Under The Influence, Under The Influence, Emma Rice20110329

Emma Rice is associated with Kneehigh, the Cornish theatre company renowned for its epic outside productions, and tours of tiny village halls. Her vivid stagings of 'The Red Shoes' and 'The Wooden Frock' explore the violence, sexual undercurrents and power structures of traditional tales. She has re-imagined film and recreated it as live theatre. The physical theatricality of her shows have struck a chord with audiences, and taken her work from Bodmin to Broadway. In this essay she steps back from the stage and the rehearsal room to reflect on the influences that have shaped her work.

Produer: Julian May.

Emma Rice reveals the influences that stamp her work as a theatre director.

02Visions Of Mary, Helen Bond20101221

The Virgin Mary cuts a familiar figure to us in her iconic blue cloak, but what would life be like for the original peasant girl from Nazareth? Senior lecturer in New Testament history at New College, Dr Helen Bond takes us into the turbulent times of the 1st century, and the Roman repression of Jewish revolts. We look at the traumas and life events that the real Mary might have faced. What kind of social stigma could she have faced for her unusual pregnancy? What manner of religious duties would she be expected to carry out as a Jewish mother? Is it possible to glean anything from texts and archaeology to bring us closer to her? Can we think more about how her life experiences might have shaped her mothering of Jesus?

Dr Helen Bond explores the life and times of Nazareth's most famous peasant girl, Mary.

02Walking The Lobster20180213

Writer John Walsh explores the male desire to stand out in all manner of attire, in all eras.

This time his exemplars hark back to the ancient world, to Caesar and Alcibiades, who wore certain colours and certain styles to signal - well, what exactly? Then the author can't resist denouncing his own look during his student years..

Producer Duncan Minshull.

02What Is History, Today?20111115

This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H. Carr. Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.

E.H. Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982. He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations. But What is History? remains his most famous work.

When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past. Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by History undergraduates. But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.

In the second essay, Dr Elizabeth Buettner, Senior Lecturer in Modern British and Imperial History at the University of York, places What is History? in the context of decolonization and the decline of the British Empire. She sees Carr's work as an historical document of this transformative time.

Buettner looks at Carr's work from the standpoint of someone who entered academia long after Carr had died in 1982, in a time when subjects like race, class, and gender history were the norm. She therefore brings a perspective on the practice of History that is rather different to that of Carr. Nonetheless she finds relevance in What is History? to her modern historical practices and finds Carr's work to be refreshingly progressive.

Dr Elizabeth Buettner places What Is History? in the context of decolonization.

02When Writers Play20090819
02When Writers Play (series 2), Al Kennedy20091013
02Wild Things, The Robin2011020120111018

In the second of her series of Essays considering our responses to the creatures which make up the British landscape, the writer and poet Ruth Padel turns her attention to the robin. She explores why our feelings on seeing their red breasts in winter have grown so strong and finds out that religious symbolism has played a large part. She charts the history of the bird in Britain and traces the ways it has been represented in literature from Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" to Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden". How has this affected the way we perceive it?

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Poet Ruth Padel explores our relationship through the centuries with the robin.

02William Hazlitt - Philosopher, William Hazlitt Senior2009030320100202
02Work-life Balance2009032420100223
03A Cretan Spring, Valleys20090506
03A Dark History Of British Gardening, Hubris20111102

Jenny Uglow plots the history of hubris in the British garden. Gardens have always been places where human ambition has been writ large. The Tudors knew well how to make a spectacular garden that could win favour with the monarch and preferment at court. They made fountains that flowed with wine, mock castles lit with fireworks and grew wonderful plants from the New World.

Gardeners have wanted to tame nature - to sculpt the landscape in massive schemes like Capability Brown or to scorn Nature completely like the Modernists who thought the only way to live was is houses raised up from the earth.

Historian Jenny Uglow explores at how pride and hubris flourish in our gardens.

03A Five-day Journey, Singing2009110420100922

Crossing from Bramber Bank to Kingston Down, in the company of the writer Rod Mengham, Robert Macfarlane considers the Aboriginal Australian concept of the 'songline', whereby walking, wayfaring, singing and folk memory become aligned. He explores some of the ways that landscapes can be sung into being - or en-chanted - and embarrasses a number of passers-by with his own performances. Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs over five days.

03A Five-day Journey, Singing20180220

03A Good Death2009040120100414
03A Good Death, Julia Neuberger20100707

Death is the one subject we shy away from, and in our frantic obsession with prolonging our lives, the notion of 'a good death' seems to have lost its relevance. Yet 'the art of dying' has been a defining notion throughout history. Rabbi Julia Neuberger, reflecting on her own work with the dying, looks as how those of different faiths, or no faith at all, approach death, and at why we should all be planning for the kind of death we want.

In these five frank and powerful essays, writers and thinkers ponder the art of dying, and confront taboos around death. They will look at what makes a 'good death' today - is it merely having lived a good life, or is there something intrinsically important in dying well? And, now that our deaths tend to occur in the sterile surroundings of a hospital ward rather than at home, surrounded by those we love, will reflect on how this distancing from death, and loss of control over our demise, has changed our relationship with dying. With references to the portrayal of death in literature, history and religion, as well as personal reflections on hopes and expectations of death, these essays will give five very different perspectives on the art of dying.

Baroness Mary Warnock on what we can learn from the Romantics when it comes to dying well.

03A Laureate's Life, Keorapetse Kgositsile20090429
03A Letter To My Body, Sheila Cassidy

03A Letter To My Body, Sheila Cassidy2010092920110608

In 1975 Dr Sheila Cassidy was tortured in Chile after she gave medical care to an opponent of the Pinochet regime. She has since made her name both as an expert in palliative care and as a Christian writer. In this essay she explores how her attitude towards her body and her religious faith and work in the hospice movement have been affected by her experiences as a torture victim.

Producer: Charlotte Simpson.

Dr Sheila Cassidy reflects on how surviving torture has affected her life.

03A Passion For Opera, Robert Thicknesse20100602
03A Robert Schumann Album, Schumann And Childhood20100609
03A Tribute To Mr Purcell, Purcell On The Stage2009031820091118
03An Informal History Of The Male Nude, Gabriel Gbadamosi20120222

The male nude in Africa is a vexed, political question. So its perhaps inevitable that the writer and broadcaster, Gabriel Gbadamosi has chosen an olblique, provocative approach to the subject. Drawing on his Yoruba and Irish roots, for the third part of Men Only: An informal History of the Male Nude, he journeys from South London to Nigeria and back again slowly uncovering pleasure as well as paradox. At the beginning and at the end of his exploration he comes face to face with the phallic, trickster god, Eshu - a being at work in traditional sculpture as well as in the photography of the Brixton-based Rotimi Fani-Kayode.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Gabriel Gbadamosi considers the meaning of the male nude in African art.

03Antony Gormley's Seminal Sculpture, Giacometti's La Place20090617
03Architecture: The Fourth R, Culture And Multiculture2010102020110713

Making shelter is a fundamental human activity, so, asks Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sunand Prasad - why don't we talk about it? The way we build reflects society's values and aspirations - but also its fears. Sunand Prasad takes us on a journey through Architecture, from the India he grew up in, to the Utopian vision of Le Corbusier, from the concrete carbuncles of Post-War Britain, to the design that will combat Climate Change.

In this third programme, he assesses the impact of multiculturism on British buildings. As waves of immigrants make their mark on society, Sunand asks, what would a future archaeologist see of their impact on our buildings? He looks at the evolution of architecture as cultures come together; how the spaces around us can promote how we want to live and work; and how, from warehouses to weavers' lofts, the way we use our buildings is constantly adapting, with every social change.

Architect Sunand Prasad assesses the impact of multiculturalism on British buildings.

In this third programme, he assesses the impact of multiculturalism on British buildings. As waves of immigrants make their mark on society, Sunand asks, what would a future archaeologist see of their impact on our buildings? He looks at the evolution of architecture as cultures come together; how the spaces around us can promote how we want to live and work; and how, from warehouses to weavers' lofts, the way we use our buildings is constantly adapting, with every social change.

03Are You Paying Attention?, Escaping The Onslaught20180228

In the third in her series of Essays, writer and journalist Madeleine Bunting grapples with what happens when our bodies and minds can no longer sustain the sensory onslaught offered by digital media, with countless items constantly competing for our attention. For Madeleine herself, the only way to regain her ability to pay deep attention and articulate complex ideas was to cut herself off from digital media for a while; and she recalls how she regained her ability to write during a long and lonely trip to the beaches of the Outer Hebrides.

03Aspects Of Grainger, Grainger The Man20110928

"If you want to understand the music of Percy Grainger, you need to understand the man - where he came from and what he was aiming at". Pianist and writer, Penelope Thwaites' recent research into composer Grainger's family and background has resulted in discoveries which shed intriguing new light on a man whom, Thwaites maintains is one of the least understood figures in musical history.

She outlines his life, beginning in Australia and ending in America, a piano virtuoso mentioned in the company of Rachmaninov and Horowitz, a composer whose music reflected his own attitude to life: constantly setting himself new challenges. Grainger's mother played a pivotal role in his life and Thwaites deplores the subsequent vilification of her by many commentators. She touches on Grainger's private life and sado-masochistic practices and his establishment of a Grainger Museum in Melbourne into which he voluntarily put everything about his life.

Produced by Jeremy Hayes for Potton Hall Productions.

Penelope Thwaites explores the sometimes eccentric personal life of Percy Grainger.

03Before 'silent Spring', Alfred Russel Wallace

03Before 'silent Spring', Alfred Russel Wallace20101013

Nineteenth century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is best known for co-proposing the theory of natural selection with Charles Darwin. But his extensive travels in South America and South East Asia taught him to appreciate the beauty of the natural environment and to understand the impact of human beings on wild places. Botanist Sandy Knapp has followed in Wallace's footsteps across the world and reflects on his surprisingly radical views about our relationship with nature.

Botanist Sandy Knapp on Alfred Russel Wallace and his radical views on the environment.

03Bram Stoker, Christopher Frayling20120418

Sir Christopher Frayling recounts his 1976 research trip through Transylvania, following a route mapped out in Dracula by the character Jonathan Harker. Meeting a band of Zygany gypsies and spending the night in 'Castle Dracula' along the way, Sir Christopher explores to what extent the reality of life in the Romanian region matches the myth created in Stoker's Dracula.

Christopher Frayling takes a trip to Transylvania inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula.

03British Cinema Of The 40s, The Small Back Room

03British Cinema Of The 40s, The Small Back Room2010091520110908

British cinema of the 1940s freshly viewed by Simon Heffer who explores old favourites in terms of their social and political message.

In five personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which war time British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its consequent loss of individuality and furtherance of collectivism. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

3. The Small Back Room

Simon Heffer explores how, now that hostilities were over, this 1949 Powell and Pressburger film about a bomb disposal expert seeking to defuse a cunning new German bomb, told a wartime story in very different ways from the films made during the war. He considers its gritty new realism - alcoholism, depression, sex outside marriage, mindless bureaucracy - realities which could not be depicted during the war. And he looks at how the mood of the film accurately reflects both the struggle of its hero and the post-war world of austerity, rationing and sometimes suffocating state control that its contemporary audience were living in and beginning to chafe against.

Simon Heffer on the view of World War II portrayed by the film The Small Back Room.

In three personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which war time British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its potential loss of individuality. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity, and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

2. The Small Back Room

Simon Heffer explores how, now that hostilities were over, this 1949 Powell and Pressburger film about a bomb disposal expert seeking to defuse a cunning new German bomb, told a wartime story in very different ways from the films made during the war. He considers its gritty new realism - alcoholism, depression, sex outside marriage, mindless bureaucracy - realities which could not be depicted during the war. And he looks at how the mood of the film accurately refects both the struggle of its hero and the post-war world of austerity, rationing and the sometimes suffocating state control that its contemporary audience were living in and beginning to chafe against.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

03Checkmate, Simultaneous Display - Chess On The Air20101215

David Hendy writes:

Is chess the perfect game for radio? An abstract past-time for a medium that's blind? Forget for a moment the aesthetic appeal of those beautifully-carved pieces, or the patterns they make on the board. That's superficial stuff. Below the surface, it's all deep, pure thought. Which is why, back in the eighteenth century, the French teenage-chess-sensation Philidor covered his eyes with a scarf before playing. In blindfolding himself, he was, I think, making it easier to win, not harder.

Talk of code, and radio and chess embrace each other more tightly still. The strange language of the chess manoeuvre is wonderfully efficient. "Bishop to c5", "K4 to Q7". Like the ones-and-zeros of the digital signal, these are messages that can't be degraded by interference. Their meaning survives long-distance.

Dr David Hendy of The University of Westminster is one of our foremost historians of radio and winner of the History Today-Longmans Book of the Year Award in 2008 for his book on Radio 4 "A Life on Air".

The Guardian's Online arts editor, Andy Dickson, described David Hendy's Essay series 'Rewiring the Mind' as "super-thoughtful - best 15 mins of radio for ages".

David Hendy discusses how chess was played and lost on the Third Programme.

03Chekhov Essays, Andrew Hilton2010012720101103

The director Andrew Hilton reveals what he has learned as a director from Chekhov.

After Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov is the most perfomed playwright in the world and amongst the most revered writers of short stories. While the pleasure he has given to theatre audiences and readers is immense, these Essays explore his legacy in terms of the craft and technique that he continues to bequeath to theatre practitioners and writers today. In the third of five programmes celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Chekhov's birth, the director Andrew Hilton reveals the lesson that he learned while recently directing a highly acclaimed production of Uncle Vanya at Bristol Old Vic - that Chekhov's plays contain all the instructions any company needs, if only they will listen.

Andrew Hilton reveals the lesson he learned while directing Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.

03Chopin20100303

Pianist Piers Lane discusses Chopin's often overlooked role as a piano teacher in Paris.

03Dark Arcadias, Robert Burns And Scottish Arcadia20110706

Five essays about the history of an idea. In the third, the literary critic Nigel Leask talks about Robert Burns and arcadia.

Literary critic Nigel Leask discusses Robert Burns and arcadia.

03Darwin's Children20090211
03Doctoring Philosophy, Equality20090730
03Earth Music Bristol, On Lyre Birds And Bell Birds20111123

The third of five essays inspired by the musical content of the first Earth Music Bristol festival.

On his first visit to Australia, the composer (and founder director of Earth Music Bristol) Edward Cowie heard lyre birds singing. He was so impressed that he wrote a piece of choral music inspired by what he heard. Other Australian birds have since found their way into his work. He shares his story and his enthusiasm for these natural masters of song.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Composer Edward Cowie shares his enthusiasm for lyre and bell birds.

03Emotional Landscapes, Courage20090603
03Enlightenment Voices, Diderot, Part 320100120
03Enlightenment Voices, Mary Wollstonecraft, Part 320091125

Series exploring the work of great philosopher, writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, who has built a reputation as a fighter for civil liberties, human rights and social justice, dicusses how Wollstonecraft influenced her life and work.

Reader: Tessa Nicholson.

Barrister Helena Kennedy on how Mary Wollstonecraft influenced her life and work.

03Enlightenment Voices, Robert Hooke, Hooke's Ideas And Methods2009100720101201

Robert Hooke was one of the great experimental scientists of his day. He devised the first successful vacuum pump for Robert Boyle in 1659. This revolutionary piece of apparatus, which was a star turn at Royal Society experiment meetings, overturned Aristotle's 2000 year old dictum that 'nature abhors a vacuum'. His work with microscopes led to the publication of his best selling work, 'Micrographia'. A book so riveting that Samuel Pepys sat up until 2 in the morning reading his copy, calling it 'the most ingenious book that ever I read in my life'. Dr. Allan Chapman, from Wadham College, Oxford (Hooke's Alma Mater) charts the progress of Hooke's discoveries as one of the founding architects of modern science.

Producer: Sarah Taylor

(Repeat).

Allan Chapman explores Robert Hooke's revolutionary ideas and methods.

Robert Hooke was one of the great experimental scientists of his day.

He devised the first successful vacuum pump for Robert Boyle in 1659.

This revolutionary piece of apparatus, which was a star turn at Royal Society experiment meetings, overturned Aristotle's 2000 year old dictum that 'nature abhors a vacuum'.

His work with microscopes led to the publication of his best selling work, 'Micrographia'.

A book so riveting that Samuel Pepys sat up until 2 in the morning reading his copy, calling it 'the most ingenious book that ever I read in my life'.

Dr.

Allan Chapman, from Wadham College, Oxford (Hooke's Alma Mater) charts the progress of Hooke's discoveries as one of the founding architects of modern science.

Series exploring the work of the scientific pioneer Robert Hooke.

Dr Allan Chapman, of Hooke's alma mater, Wadham College, Oxford, explores Hooke's revolutionary ideas and methods.

One of the great experimental scientists of his day, he devised the first successful vacuum pump and his work with microscopes led to the publication of his best-selling work, Micrographia, a book so riveting that Samuel Pepys called it 'the most ingenious book that ever I read in my life'.

03Enlightenment Voices, Spinoza, Part 320100113
03Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire, Sarkozy And The Burka Debate20090930

Series exploring the work of the French writer and philosopher Voltaire.

French journalist Agnes Poirier asks what Voltaire, the father of 'laicite' - France's version of secularism - would say about the debate taking place in her country about banning the burka, the head-to-toe Islamic veil.

Reader: Philip Fox.

Agnes Poirier asks how Voltaire would view the debate in France about banning the burka.

03Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire, Sarkozy And The Burqa Debate20101124

In a series on the great thinkers of the European Enlightenment originally broadcast in 2009, the French journalist Agnes Poirier imagines a dialogue between Voltaire and President Sarkozy on the issue of legislating about the wearing of the burqa in public.

Nicolas Sarkozy is alone at night in the gilded rooms of the Elysee Palace. Carla Bruni is out at a gig with Mick Jagger but the President has something rather more serious on his mind.. - In July 2009, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy set up a Parliamentary committee to consider a possible ban in France of the burqa, the full Islamic dress. Agnes Poirier imagines the ruminations of the tired President: what would Voltaire, the father of "laicite" - the uniquely French interpretation of secularism - say on the matter? Would he ban the burqa? Sarkozy drifts off to sleep and finds himself in the oak-panelled library at the Chateau de Ferney, home of Voltaire.

In a witty and thought-provoking tour de force of an Essay, French journalist Agnes Poirier brings Voltaire and his views firmly into the contemporary realm in an examination of one of the most vexed debates in France today.

French born Agnès Poirier moved to London in 1995 and started writing as an independent journalist for Le Monde (1996) and then for Le Figaro as UK arts correspondent (1997-2001). Between 2001 and 2006, she was a political correspondent and film critic for Libration.

Today, she is a UK editor for French and Italian weeklies Le Nouvel Obs, La Vie, L'Espresso and a regular contributor to the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Al Jazeera on French politics and films. She is also a regular commentator for The Guardian, The Independent On Sunday, The New Statesman and The Observer.

Reader Philip Fox

Producer Beaty Rubens

(repeat).

Agnes Poirier asks how Voltaire would view the debate in France about banning the burka.

Nicolas Sarkozy is alone at night in the gilded rooms of the Elysee Palace.

Carla Bruni is out at a gig with Mick Jagger but the President has something rather more serious on his mind - In July 2009, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy set up a Parliamentary committee to consider a possible ban in France of the burqa, the full Islamic dress.

Agnes Poirier imagines the ruminations of the tired President: what would Voltaire, the father of "laicite" - the uniquely French interpretation of secularism - say on the matter? Would he ban the burqa? Sarkozy drifts off to sleep and finds himself in the oak-panelled library at the Chateau de Ferney, home of Voltaire.

French born Agnès Poirier moved to London in 1995 and started writing as an independent journalist for Le Monde (1996) and then for Le Figaro as UK arts correspondent (1997-2001).

Between 2001 and 2006, she was a political correspondent and film critic for Libration.

Today, she is a UK editor for French and Italian weeklies Le Nouvel Obs, La Vie, L'Espresso and a regular contributor to the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Al Jazeera on French politics and films.

She is also a regular commentator for The Guardian, The Independent On Sunday, The New Statesman and The Observer.

03Five Easy Pieces, Town And Country20110601

Christopher Ricks explores some short poems that are worth remembering.

Town and Country: John Clare's 'I found a ball of grass' and TS Eliot's 'Morning at the Window'.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Christopher Ricks on two poems: John Clare's I Found and TS Eliot's Morning at the Window.

03Five Easy Pieces, Young And Old20100519
03Free Thinking 2010, New Histories Of The North East, Hadrian's Wall - Across The Divide20101110

The latest edition of five essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East

How has Hadrian's Wall affected the long-term relationship between Scotland and England? Poet Bill Herbert was born in Dundee and is now Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. As devolution continues to shift the relationship between the two countries, he explores how the most important Roman site in Britain is a constant reminder of the division between the north of England and the 'wild lands' beyond.

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead, as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Bill Herbert on how Hadrian's Wall affected the relationship between Scotland and England.

03Germany Dreaming, Off To Magical Munich2010021020110302

After a bizarre dream, author and critic Michael Bracewell is prompted to explore all things German, which means travel and much speculation: This time it's Munich.

"With the greatest respect to Dr Freud, I have never put much store by the interpretation of dreams. But one night seven years ago I had a dream which actually changed my life. As I slid towards sleep, it seemed as though a corner of the room was beginning to glow..."

The author and critic Michael Bracewell dreams about a visitation by the legendary musician Brian Eno, who informs him that 'Germany is your America', and that he should get out there and explore the place. So after much speculation about things German, after visits to Cologne, Munich and Berlin, and after immersing himself in the music and art of the country (especially electronic music and post modern art) the author is ready to pronounce on his romantic and prejudical responses to the country. There is also its food to consider. And its youthful fashions.

What does he dig up? Lots! In this third essay, he's Munich bound.

Author and critic Michael Bracewell travels to Munich, exploring all things German.

03Golding Remembered, Nigel Williams20110921

Marking the centenary of novelist William Golding's birth, writer and dramatist Nigel Williams talks about Golding's Lord of the Flies and his act of reimagining it for the stage. The invitation to dramatise one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, led to some memorable encounters with the Nobel prize-winning novelist.

Williams' terrifying dramatisation of Lord of the Flies is frequently performed and was recently staged in the Summer 2011 season at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

In 1953, William Golding was a provincial schoolteacher, writing books in his spare time. His manuscript had been rejected by many publishers until an editor at Faber fished it out of the slush pile. This was to become Lord of the Flies, a book that would sell in its millions and bring Golding worldwide recognition. The message in Lord of the Flies - that inside every child lurks a wild beast, barely contained by society - has made it one of the most chilling and compulsively readable novels of the twentieth century, and an allegory for every lapse in humanity since the Second World War.

This week, The Essay marks the centenary of William Golding's birth (19th September 1911), with five programmes looking at different aspects of the novelist's work and life.

William Golding is known for novels including Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors and The Spire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was knighted in 1988. He died in 1993.

Producer: Caroline Hughes

GOLDING REMEMBERED is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC Radio 3.

Playwright Nigel Williams on William Golding's Lord of the Flies, and it was dramatised.

03Half Shame, Half Glory - Postcards From The Acting Profession, Olivia Williams2010062320110525

Olivia Williams reflects on the actor-director relationship, and takes us on the journey that drove her to become a Surrendered Actor.

Olivia Williams studied English at Cambridge, then Drama at the Bristol Old Vic. Her first major role was as Jane Fairfax in the 1996 ITV production of Emma. Williams made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, after doing a screen test for Kevin Costner. She went on to play a lead role in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998). Other film credits include: The Sixth Sense, Lucky Break, The Heart of Me, and An Education.

Produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Actress Olivia Williams reflects on the actor-director relationship.

03Happily Ever After, Trish Cooke20120208

In this series of five essays, contemporary children's authors and editors each look at a fictional family from children's literature. They use it as a focal point to explore the changing portrayal of the family in children's books, and consider both what it tells us about the society it reflects, and how relevant it is to determining a young generation's attitudes to the future.

In the third programme of the series, children's author Trish Cooke examines the relevance of "self identification" in the books she read as a child and children's books today. With Dominican parents and nine siblings from both the West Indies and the UK, British born Trish asks how the Ladybird reading series Peter and Jane - about white, middle class families - impacted on how she saw herself as a black child growing up on a Bradford council estate in the 1960s. Trish compares the families in her first reading books with the families in her own books and asks how important is it for a child to see their culture reflected in the books they read.

Trish Cooke explores the importance of children's books reflecting different cultures.

03Haydn Essays, Haydn And Cosmology2009070820091021
03Head In The Clouds, Dark Clouds20090225
03Henry, King Of Kings, Henry The Man O' War2009042220100407
03Home Rule For The Soul, Home Rule For The Soul20110505

Professor Sunil Khilnani continues his exploration of the power of Gandhi's ideas of freedom for self and nation in his first major work, Hind Swaraj. Written in a frenzy in the autumn of 1909 when Gandhi was returning to South Africa, Hind Swaraj is a ferocious critique of modern civilization, revolution and violence.

For Gandhi the self was the well spring of all political possibility. 'Politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries'. His attempts to wrestle with the snake of politics, to reject the process of ends and means redefined the scope of political action.

Sunil Khilnani explores the ideas of freedom in Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj.

03How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear, Robert Crawford20120502

Marking the centenary of Edward Lear's birth in 1812, this series of five essays considers the exuberant play of Edward Lear as a nonsense poet and artist and the influence of 'nonsense' on modern life.

In the third essay in the series, Robert Crawford, poet and professor of Modern Literature at the University of St Andrews, speaks about Edward Lear's literary legacy.

He will focus especially on T S Eliot, who often drew on the work of Lear in his writing, even going as far as to write the poem 'How Unpleasant to Meet Mr Eliot'.

Poet and academic Robert Crawford explores Edward Lear's literary legacy.

03I Confess: The Power Of The Confession20111012

Now it's time to step inside the interrogation room in one of the most famous cases of all. In the spring of 1662, in Auldearn in north east Scotland, the peasant woman, Isobel Gowdie, was interrogated for witchcraft. Her confessions, made over a six-week period were studded with startling revelations of the fairy world, shot-through with folklore and charms and well-told anecdotes. They have been arresting the imagination of writers and scholars and artists for hundreds of years. They would even give birth to one of Scotland's best-known orchestral pieces: James Macmillan's 'The Confession of Isobel Gowdie'. But if you ask a witchcraft scholar like Dr Emma Wilby of Exeter University what's so remarkable about those confessions (apart from 'everything'), it's the way Isobel's own voice seems to come through to such an extent that we can begin to disentangle her from her interrogators, that we can begin to see the alchemy behind this unique confession, and to meet Isobel herself, who appears for us through her own words read by the actor Gerda Stevenson.

Isobel Gowdie skilfully elaborated her witch confession. Dr Emma Wilby examines why.

03Interrail Postcards, Charlotte Mendelson20110629

As the Inter-rail Pass turns 40, five writers of different ages and backgrounds recall personal journeys and explore how the advent of new technology and the changing face of Europe have changed student travel forever

3.Charlotte Mendelson

It is almost forty years since the introduction of the first Inter-rail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

Charlotte Mendelson explores travelling by Interrail in the early 1990s - just into the era of the new Europe. At a personal level, she recalls how travel in Europe transformed a timid young, Oxford school girl forever.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Charlotte Mendelson recalls how travelling by InterRail in Europe transformed her life.

03It Talks, Standards20110615

"Money. You don't know where it's been,

But you put it where your mouth is.

And it talks." (Money, by Dana Gioia)

The history of money stretches back some 11,000 years. There have been certain key moments in its development and each essay tells their story and the resonance that these revolutionary blips have had ever since.

3. Standards - Once the idea that things without use had value there had to be some sort of agreement about them. And so in 2,250 BC Cappadocia became the first state to guarantee the weight and purity of its silver ingots and the idea of inter-national and cross boundary standards came into being. Professor Paul Cartledge tracks their evolution and considers their legacy.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Exploring the creation of the first international and cross-boundary standards for money.

03John Milton, The Essayist20081210
03Karachi Postcards, What Women Do In The City!2010031720101208

The London based novelist Kamila Shamsie

returns to her city of birth every winter,

and this time decides to explore it properly:

3. What women do in the city!

Producer Duncan Minshull

"Each time I visit Karachi there is a particular strangeness that accompanies me... invisible to x-ray machines... undetected by sniffer dogs. It is the strangeness of returning."

London based novelist Kamila Shamsie returns to Karachi every January to see her family and old friends. But it's not where she lives anymore, so it has a fresh and often surprising quality to it. Over five 'postcards' for The Essay, she explores the city of her birth in this uncertain and often intriguing light

Now she meets the women of the city. How do they live their daily lives? How do men see them? And what is the difference between what one women in a queue calls 'rights and priviledges' ?

Writer Kamila Shamsie explores the paradoxical lives that women lead in modern Karachi.

03Land And Sea And Sky, Over The Water: Writing Belonging

03Land And Sea And Sky, Over The Water: Writing Belonging2010031020100910

The young Liverpool dramatist and singer Lizzie Nunnery brings an urban eye to bear on the meeting of land and sea and sky in her essay 'Over the Water: Writing Belonging'. Recorded by water, at the pierhead on the Mersey and on the streets of Liverpool, her essay recalls the pleasure of growing up in a city with beaches which she took for granted, then her growing awarenes of how the city grew from the meeting of the land and the sea, how the traffic of people and ideas created the identity of the place, the character of the people, and her own sensibility as a writer.

Dramatist and singer Lizzie Nunnery recalls growing up in Liverpool.

03Listener, They Won It, Richard T Kelly20120307

In this series, five writers look at how sports have been captured in the arts, from novels to film, photography to painting. Each looks at how the sport illuminates and resonates in the artform, and how it increases our understanding and love of the sport.

Today: the grit and steel of rugby league, as Richard T. Kelly considers the plight of the working-class sportsman whose glory days are numbered in Lindsay Anderson's 1960s film, 'This Sporting Life'.

Richard T. Kelly is the author of several books on film, as well as a TV documentary on the dogme movement, as well as two novels.

Producer: Justine Willett.

Author Richard T Kelly on rugby league in Lindsay Anderson's film This Sporting Life.

03Listener, They Wore It, Laura Cumming2011012620111130

Five writers were invited to explore the meaning of clothes and accessories in a particular work of art, be it a story, novel, film, painting or song lyric. How does the clothing resonate? What is the tale behind its depiction? Would the writer wear the garment themselves? Suits and dresses, coats and jewels, and even rags, all feature in accounts by a variety of commentators...

3 The art critic Laura Cumming ponders a particular black dress,

memorably painted by John Singer Sargent in the 1880's...

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Laura Cumming considers a famous black dress, memorably painted by John Singer Sargent.

03Looking And Looking Away, A Translator's View20111207

Personal reflections on different aspects of the life, work and influence of WG Sebald by those who knew him, ten years after his death.

WG "Max" Sebald's literary career was at its height when he died in a car crash in December 2001, shortly after the publication of his masterpiece Austerlitz.

Anthea Bell offers a translator's view on the life and work of WG Sebald.

03Looking For Ghosts, Gabriel Riesser2009052720100512
03Loving The Raven, Through The Door, Beyond The Mirror20090114

Louise Welsh exposes and dissects Edgar Allan Poe's gothic heart.

03Loving The Raven, Through The Door, Beyond The Mirror20091209
03Meanings Of Mountains, Slovenia2011020920120314

Moving westwards from Japan and China, this week's essays about the relationships different peoples have with their mountains reaches Europe, and Slovenia. Matej Zatonjsek, the Cultural Attache at the Slovenian Embassy in London, explains how his people are a nation of mountaineers, with three-quarters of the population climbing in the Julian Alps every year. Endowing mountains with Slovenian names was an expression of independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and a commitment to the language. The country's national myth is centred on Triglav, the country's highest peak and climbing this for Slovenians is akin to making the pilgrimage to Mecca for muslims, a sacred duty and an assertion of identity.

Producer: Julian May.

Matej Zatonjsek explains the deep feeling the people of Slovenia have for their mountains.

03Mentors, Liz Lochhead20100324
03Minds At War, Woolf's Mrs Dalloway20180308

Virginia Woolf spent the First World War on the Home front mainly in London. It was an anxious time; she lost several cousins in the conflict, and her brother-in-law Cecil Woolf died at the Front; in 1915 she suffered a mental breakdown.

For Woolf the war had changed everything, and her three novels written soon after it - Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927) - display a marked shift in style. 'There had to be new forms for our new sensations', she wrote in a 1916 essay, and in 1923 went further:
"We are sharply cut off from our predecessors. A shift in the scale - the war, the sudden slip of masses held in position for ages - has shaken the fabric from top to bottom, alienated us from the past and made us perhaps too vividly conscious of the present."

In 1925, Woolf's brilliant novel Mrs Dalloway would amaze readers with its literary techniques and its counterpointing of society hostess Clarissa Dalloway and war veteran Septimus Warren-Smith. Here was a work of fiction in which the principal characters never meet, where the Victorian staples of plot and family relationships are eclipsed by a new emphasis on what the characters think rather than what they do or say.

For Dame Gillian Beer this thronging novel with its cast of war profiteers, war casualties, and passers-by ultimately has a positive message. In Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf draws the reader and the novel's characters together: "Whether known or unknown to each other, in a shared humanity," she says, "her work draws us all alongside, across time.".

03My Son The Fiddler, Calling On The Great Schnittke20090813
03Naturalists: Animals And Human Nature, James Wentworth Day20090128
03Nature In China, Wild Mountain - Beginnings20090715
03New Archaeologies20090910
03New Generation Thinkers, 2011, Light In The Dark20120118

A week of essays from five of the BBC Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers continues with a look at light.

Alexandra Harris one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers explores the history of artificial light through literary sources. From from early oil lamps, to rushlights, to the illustrious candle - Harris shows how it has changed our lives and focused our thoughts.

Alexandra Harris won the 2010 Guardian First Book Award with Romantic Moderns. Her most recent work is a short biography of Virginia Woolf.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of the inaugural talent scheme run the BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into fascinating broadcasts.

In subsequent programmes this week, Zoe Norridge questions the power of images of Africa in the West and Jon Adams examines how modern day writers are borrowing skills from the theologians of old.

Alexandra Harris explores the history of artificial light through literary sources.

03New Mystery Plays, Exodus, By J Parkes20110413

by J Parkes. New Mystery Plays revisits stories from the Old Testament. J Parkes sets the story of the Flight of the Israelites in an Old Folks' Home in Hackney.

MO....Sally Orrock

MIRIAM....Sue Porrett

FAY....Joanna Monro

HELEN....Jane Whittenshaw

ELISA....Sandra Voe

Sound by Peter Ringrose

Directed by Jessica Dromgoole.

Setting of the story of the Flight of the Israelites in an old people's home in Hackney.

03New Ways Through The Glens, The Colossus Of Roads20180221

With the title from an essential work by A.R.B. Haldane, 'New Ways Through the Glens' is Kenneth Steven's personal reflection on the changes brought to the people and landscape of the Scottish Highlands by the arrival of roads and canals in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this programme he looks at the extraordinary work of Thomas Telford in building roads through the Highlands.

03Night Walks, Janice Galloway20090610
03North East Free Thinkers, William Armstrong2009102820100831

The second in our series of portraits of figures from the history of North East England who challenged their age, recorded in front of audiences at Radio 3's Free Thinking festival at The Sage Gateshead in 2009. Henrietta Heald profiles the Victorian inventor, arms dealer and industrialist William Armstrong. Armstrong brought global fame to the Tyne, employing thousands in the manufacture of machinery, ships - and guns. But he also created the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. He epitomised the dynamism of his age and attracted many epithets, from "visionary genius" to "merchant of death".

Henrietta Heald on the achievements of inventor and industrialist William Armstrong.

03On Directing, Bartlett Sher20120215

Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher explores how a director must search for the play's 'inward sound' when creating theatre.

Bartlett Sher has been nominated four times for the Tony Award, winning it in 2009 for the Broadway revival of South Pacific. Sher was previously the Artistic Director at the Intiman Playhouse in Seattle and is now Resident Director at the Lincoln Centre in New York. His recent work in the UK include the ENO production of Nico Muhly's opera Two Boys. His production of South Pacific will tour across the UK in 2012.

The series is produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Bartlett Sher examines the importance of rhythm when creating theatre.

03On Excess, Sex Mad20081217
03Pinter's Voices20090218
03Postcards From Istanbul, Jason Goodwin20100505
03Postcards, Bruce Chatwin20090701
03Reflections On Caravaggio, Reflections On Caravaggio20110805

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400 years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. Tonight's essay is by Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's College London, who maintains that in his great religious paintings such as The Calling of St. Matthew and The Raising of Lazarus Caravaggio is a master of capturing movement and the vibrancy of exchange. Furthermore, it is contended that in depicting exceptional relations between people and things in his religious works, the artist who espoused a turbulent and morally doubtful way of life, came as near as is possible in painting to representing God.

Caravaggio was no stranger to darkness in his own life, and made evocative use of darkness and shadow in his work, but might he have had a kind of faith that itself could be a midwife to light?

Prof Ben Quash of King's College, London, explores Caravaggio's religious works.

03Reflections On Carravaggio, Reflections On Caravaggio20100714

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. Tonight's essay is by Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's College London, who maintains that in his great religious paintings such as The Calling of St Matthew and The Raising of Lazarus, Caravaggio is a master of capturing movement and the vibrancy of exchange. Furthermore, it is contended that in depicting exceptional relations between people and things in his religious works, the artist who espoused a turbulent and morally doubtful way of life, came as near as is possible in painting to representing God.

Caravaggio was no stranger to darkness in his own life, and made evocative use of darkness and shadow in his work, but might he have had a kind of faith that itself could be a midwife to light?

Professor Ben Quash of King's College, London explores Caravaggio's religious works.

03Requiem For Networks, The Network Goes To War20110323

Writer Ken Hollings unlocks the history, power and revolutionary change of our information networks.

3. The Network Goes To War. The Cold War armed the engines of information.

In the third of his essays, Ken Hollings looks at the impact of the Cold War in determining our information networks. In 1945 Vannevar Bush, the head of US scientific research during World War II, wrote an essay called 'As We May Think' - it argued that, thanks to intricate mass-produced components, a whole new generation of communication devices would soon come into existence. By 1991 CNN was able to transmit a live commentary on the opening salvoes of Operation Desert Storm from the Baghdad Hilton. And even as the cable news network was in its ascendancy and Iraqi Command and Control became paralyzed, the public was also learning about a new communication system called the 'Internet' being used by Kuwaiti citizens to contact the outside world. From Sputnik to the development of the World Wide Web, the Cold War has provided an ideal climate for the network to flourish - with a little help from Neil McElroy, the man responsible for inventing the soap opera.

Writer Ken Hollings discusses the impact of the Cold War on our information networks.

03Rewiring The Mind, The Anxious Mind2010061620110406

The historian of broadcasting, David Hendy, explores the ways in which the electronic media have shaped the modern mind.

Tonight the reporting of the Holocaust in 1945 and television coverage of the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion in 1986. If media have made us all witnesses to horror and tragedy do they also help us to come to terms with suffering, or just leave us depressed at the wrongs in the world?

Producer: Matt Thompson.

David Hendy asks if media reports of tragedy help us to come to terms with suffering.

03Robert Graves And The Poetic Myth20090723
03Running The World20100421
03Secret Places In The Four Quartets20090902
03Shakespeare And Love, Samuel West20120425

In the third of our Shakespeare and Love series of essays, the actor and director Samuel West shares his own passion for the many and varied portrayals of love in Shakespeare's sonnets and plays. For Shakespeare, the opposite of love is not hate but indifference and his understanding of the true nature of love is like no other. The course of true love never does run true for love is neither constant nor predictable or even enjoyable most of the time. For Shakespeare, love's definig character is its compelling strangeness.

Actor and director Samuel West talks of his own passion for Shakespearean love.

03Strange Encounters - Series 2, Jennifer Rohn20090624
03Tagore And The Bengali Sensibility, A Pact With Nature20120201
03Tennyson 200, Come Into The Garden, Maud20090806
03The Age Of Creativity, Frances Fyfield20110309

For all the wisdom, self-awareness, caution and craft that comes with many years as a writer, Silver Dagger award winner Frances Fyfield finds it is another quality altogether that has matured with her; procrastination. Where once she was quick off the mark, keen to hunch over the typewriter or writing pad, now she finds a thousand natural excuses for not getting on with it. A story that once had to be told can now wait until deadline doomsday's clock reaches a minute before midnight.

Frances struggles for the positives as she looks back contemplatively at her creativity.

Crime writer Frances Fyfield explores the way the ageing process affects creative artists.

03The Antarcticans, The Last Huskies20111214

To mark the centenary of Roald Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole (to be followed a month later by Captain Scott), this series of the Essay is presented by professionals who have lived and worked in Antarctica.

In the mid-1990s John Sweeny was a Field Assistant at Rothera Base on the Antarctic peninsula when fate decreed he should drive "The Last Huskies" ever to romp across the continent. The recently-signed Antarctic Treaty dictated that all "non-indigenous species" had to be removed.

"In the past, drivers had been ordered to shoot redundant huskies. I'd done this myself. A bullet to the back of the head for the dog - and a lifelong sense of guilt for me at such a heartless betrayal of trust. But now the eyes of the world were upon us and a more sensitive scenario had to be found."

Realising it would be decidedly un-British to put the dogs down, a plot was hatched for John to take his team to a new life with an Inuit community on the shores of Canada's Hudson Bay.

He recounts their last big adventure north which tragically transformed into a life and death struggle for the huskies.

The words of Amundsen's companion Helmar Hansen speaking a century earlier, echo in his head:

"Dogs like that - who share man's hard times and strenuous work - cannot be looked upon merely as animals. They are supporters and friends. There is no such thing as making a pet out of a sledge dog, these animals are worth much more than that."

John Sweeny is now a forester in Snowdonia.

Producer Chris Eldon Lee

A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 3.

John Sweeny on his desperate efforts to find a new home for Antarctica's last huskies.

03The Book That Changed Me, For Colored Girls...20110316

Writer Bernardine Evaristo describes her love for the book "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange. This collection of poems inspired Evaristo to break into experimental black theatre and ultimately find her own voice as a novelist.

Producer: Smita Patel.

Writer Bernardine Evaristo on how For Colored Girls... by Ntozake Shange inspired her.

03The Case For Doubt, Madeleine Bunting20120411

3/5. Madeleine Bunting on religious doubt.

"Doubt is a glorious reminder of our limitations as human beings, of how suspicious we should be of certainty".

Journalist and writer Madeleine Bunting makes the case for doubt in religion - why religious doubt is a 'glorious

reminder' of our limitations as human beings, why we should always be suspicious of the certainty that breeds intolerance, and how the doubt she so feared as a child has now become a useful ally.

Madeleine Bunting is the third of five contributors making The Case for Doubt - that it is much more meaningful than certainty and much more valuable than fixed opinions and beliefs.

Journalist and writer Madeleine Bunting discusses religious doubt.

03The Darkest Hour20111005

Insomnia is one of the great obsessions of our time. From Van Gogh to Dickens, Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher, our writers, artists, thinkers and leaders seem to have been in constant battle with sleep. But in our current 24-hour culture, insomnia, this ability to switch off, has become something of a modern obsession for us all. In this series, five night owls explore their own battles with sleeplessness, the rituals and frustrations as well as the occasional joys of being awake when the rest of the world sleeps.

Today: though she knows her caffeine-fuelled, all-night writing sessions must end, author A L Kennedy explains why she has always found the nights too thrilling and full of possibility for mere sleep.

Author AL Kennedy explores why she has always found the nights too thrilling to sleep.

03The Elephant In The Poetry Reading20090121
03The Essay: The Father Instinct, Abdulrazak Gurnah20110427

Lou Stein's investigation into the connections between fatherhood and creativity continues with Booker nominated author Abdulrazak Gurnah's emotional return to Zanzibar to see his elderly father. By making contact with him and his native land after a long period of absence, he was able to clearly focus his memories and his father's stories. He shared them with his daughters and then the world with the publication of his award-winning book "Paradise".

"My father was a pious man, but his piety was not oppressive. He did not harangue or lecture people, or engage in any ostentatious acts of observance. When he was younger, he was one of the handful of people who went to the mosque for the dawn prayers, and went to the mosque for all the other prayers in the day when he wasn't at work. Even when he was so unwell, he went to the mosque for at least three of the day's prayers. During the month of Ramadhan he read the Koran from beginning to end, reading for two hours in the afternoon every day instead of taking his usual siesta, pacing himself so that he could complete the reading before the month was out. So it was no surprise that one of the first things that my father should say to me after a 17-year absence was, go to the mosque and say your prayers, for while he did not harangue people about praying, he did not see why he should not harangue his own son."

Notes:

ABDULRAZAK GURNAH (Novelist). Abdulrazak was born in 1948 in Zanzibar, Tanzania and teaches at the University of Kent. His best-known novels are Desertion (2005), By The Sea (2001), and Paradise (1994). The latter was short-listed for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize. It is a compelling story set in East Africa about a young Muslim boy, Yusuf, who is pawned by his father to a rich and powerful trader whom he is told is his "uncle". His search for his own identity and for an understanding of his true father's actions is the centre Gurnah's novel.

Author Abdulrazak Gurnah makes contact with his father after a long period of absence.

03The Free Thinking Essay, Does Trusting People Need A Leap Of Faith?20180314

Tom Simpson looks at a study of suspicion in a 1950s Italian village and the lessons it has for community relations and social tribes now. Edward Banfield's book, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, depicts a village where everyone is out for themselves. New Generation Thinker Tom Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He argues that we are losing the habits of trust that have made our prosperity possible. Unless we learn how to reinvigorate our cultures of trust, we ourselves have a future that is backwards.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

03The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel Week - Handel's Working Practices20090415
03The Great And Good Mr Handel, Handel's Working Practices20091216
03The King Returned2010052620110622

Why were Pepys, Charles II and Christopher Wren all pre-occupied by lenses? Because the microscope, with Robert Hooke's help, was one of the great novelties of the age for the learned. Jonathan Sawday charts how science became one of the unexpected beneficiaries of Charles II's Restoration and how the visual impact of science - the world seen through a lens - offered new ways of thinking about the world around them.

Producers: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday on the impact of Charles II's Restoration on science.

03The Life Cycle Of A Fictional Character - An Alternative History Of The Novel, Speech20110223

Critic James Wood explores what writers do with dialogue in novels.

03The Mews, On The Glove2009031120100217
03The Music Appreciation Movement20110825

In the early twentieth century a prominent British movement sprang up under the title 'Music Appreciation', with the aims of introducing to 'ordinary' listeners 'great' or 'serious' music, and teaching them 'the art of listening'. Radio became a chief means by which this misson was to be accomplished, while books, adult education courses and regional 'Music Travellers', also contributed to a new educational field. In this series, musicologist and cultural historian Richard Witts of Edge Hill University explains the movement's origins, ambitions and idiosyncrasies, and clarifies why it fell out of favour in the second half of the twentieth century. In this third programme he explores the significance of programme notes, and looks at how the BBC took on the mission to inform and educate its audience about classical music.

Producer: Sara Davies.

Musicologist Richard Witts explores the significance of programme notes.

03The Mystical Turn, Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism20110518

In the third programme in our series, The Mystical Turn, Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, explores the appeal of Evelyn Underhill's bestselling book, Mysticism, first published one hundred years ago.

Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness, was a major contribution to the revival of interest in mysticism in the early 20th century, and has been republished many times. For years on the margins of the established Church, Evelyn Underhill was attuned to the spiritual longing of the times. But in contrast to WR Inge - the Oxford don and later Dean of St Paul's Cathedral - whose book, Christian Mysticism, had triggered a revival of interest in mysticism at the end of the 19th century, Underhill took mysticism out of the realm of the purely intellectual and into the practical. Her emphasis was on prayer, meditation and personal ascetism. For her, the mystic way was a largely individual endeavour and it was open to everyone.

Producer: Ian Willox

Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A Chrome Radio production for BBC Radio 3.

Dr Jane Shaw explores the appeal of Evelyn Underhill's bestselling book, Mysticism.

03The Other Empire20110914

Julian Jackson uncovers the forgotten - and indeed in this country largely unknown - story of the French Empire. In the third of five Essays, he tells the story of the imperial troops who fought for France in two world wars.

The French Empire was second only to the British. At its peak in the 1930s it covered some 10 million square miles with a population of 100 million. It stretched from the West Indies to the South Pacific, from Indo-China to the Maghreb, from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Levant. The Empire may be gone now but its legacy lives on both in France and in the former colonies. With a Muslim population of 4.5 million today, France, thanks to her former Empire, has the largest Islamic population of any country in Europe; couscous is as much national dish as coq au vin (or chicken vindaloo in Britain). And with recent turbulent events in Africa and the Middle East reminding the French and us of the importance of these former links, this is a story that is worth telling in some detail.

The armies lauded by de Gaulle on his triumphant return to Paris in 1944, who had liberated Italy and southern France were largely made up of black and North African troops. But this was not true of the French troops that helped liberate Paris because the British, American and Free French had all colluded in ensuring that those troops were white.Tonight, Julian focuses on the vital importance played by colonial troops in the French armies - both in the conquest of other parts of the Empire but also in the First and Second World Wars.

Julian Jackson discusses the imperial troops who fought for France in two world wars.

03The Scientist And The Romantic, The Stinkhorn And The Perfumier2009092320100428
03The Sound And The Fury20120125

The author and journalist Andrew Martin has phonophobic traits, which call for some extreme actions:

"So I went out to buy my first box of earplugs. I must have bought... well, about a box a month ever since. The best ones are made of wax; they're covered in cotton wool and they're about the size of aniseed balls. You get twelve in a box. Soon I know I'd become addicted to them. I had also, by then, become addicted to the use at night of electrcial fans for the creation of 'white noise'. I kept them going all night long..."

Author Andrew Martin lays bare his life as

a 'phonophobic'. How to cope with jarring sounds

in the modern world. And is there another way to live

without the daily cacophony?

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Andrew Martin on his boyhood love of train travel and noises on public transport today.

03The Stewarts, Princes And Poets

03The Stewarts, Princes And Poets20101006

'Behold yon Scot eats his own blood!" Thus English soldiers taunt Robert Bruce, in the violent, highly fictionalised poem 'The Wallace' by Blind Harry. The medieval poem would become the inspiration for the script of 'Braveheart' in modern times, but it, and the earlier epic 'The Brus', show how the Scottish medieval Wars of Independence were hot political topics, ripe for propaganda, hundreds of years before Mel Gibson. These subjects were especially important to the new Stewart dynasty which succeeded the Bruces.

They needed all the help they could get in their early years, but as Scottish literature evolved, the Stewarts were able to return the favour, as patrons of brilliant, cultured and sometimes scandalous poets (who were dropping the 'f-word' and the 'c-word' into their best work long before 'Trainspotting'). The Stewarts were both the target audience and sometimes, the target, for an increasingly self-confident feisty body of writers. Their stable of court writers were not afraid to look across the border and tut-tut at the giants of an earlier age, like that Geoffrey Chaucer, who probably made stuff up and who was definitely not qualified to stray into theology. Literary bon mots where the word 'miaow!' springs to mind and you wonder if the writer would like a saucer of milk are nothing new. Had such a thing existed, heaven only knows what they would have done to his Amazon reviews...

Dr Sally Mapstone explores the literature of the Stewarts.

03The Team Photo, Eva Salzman20110216

Five writers take out a team photograph from their past and consider the moment when one is captured not as an individual, but as part of a group.

Poet Eva Salzman reflects on the photograph of herself in a publicity shot for a dance piece called Life of the Bee, created by Doris Humphrey, a pioneer of modern dance.

Eva Salzman was born in 1960 in New York City, and grew up in Brooklyn where - from the age of 10 until 22 - she was a dancer and later a choreographer. She was educated at Bennington College and Columbia University, moving to Britain in 1985. Her books of poetry include Double Crossing: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe 2004), The English Earthquake (Bloodaxe 1992) and Bargain With The Watchman (Oxford University Press 1997). Her most recent book is the acclaimed Women's Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English (Seren 2008), co-edited with Amy Wack.

Produced by Emma Harding.

Poet and former dancer Eva Salzman considers a team photo from her past.

03The Utopian Dream - And Its Disappointments, Making Perfect Humans20090107

Jane Shaw explores the uses of eugenics and genetics in the quest for perfection.

03The World Turned Upside Down20091111
03The Writer's Dickens, No Hope Of Return20111221

Five contemporary novelists examine the craft of Dickens' prose, and reflect on how the giant of British nineteenth century fiction is both a role model and a shadow looming over their own writing. Taking as their starting point a favourite extract from one of Dickens' novels, each writer discuss Dickens' themes, narrative techniques and writing craft, and tells us what they themselves have learnt from it. They offer thoughtful, unusually engaged and focused critical appreciation of Dickens' skill, as well as valuable insights into their own work and how they themselves wrestle with the subject and technique under discussion.

In the third programme in the series, novelist, essayist and performer A L Kennedy takes an extract from Nicholas Nickleby as her starting point for a provocative exploration of poverty and misery - themes which loom large in Dickens' work, and which are never far from her own fiction.

AL Kennedy explores Dickens' literary response to the themes of poverty, misery and death.

03Thomas Lynch's Feast Of Language, Carol Ann Duffy20110511

Michigan based Thomas Lynch is an accomplished poet, essayist and funeral director whose dry wit and captivating storytelling have won him a devoted following on both sides of the Atlantic. In this series of essays, The Feast of Language, Lynch looks at five of his most beloved poets and examines how their poems have nourished and sustained him throughout his life; how their work, almost literally, can be read as a 'feast'.

Be it the subtle nuances of meaning in an elegant stanza, or the simple, visceral pleasure in the sound of a particular word, Lynch makes it clear that poetry continues to have a profound and revitalizing role in our lives.

Under the umbrella term of "Feast", Lynch explores sex and death, those "bookends of life", alongside religion, love, anecdote, food, personal history and memory, evoking the power and richness of poetic language and its ability to contain such diverse themes.

For Lynch, "Poetry is as good an axe as a pillow": it can comfort as much as it can cause harm. As such, it is the most important art form he knows. In the first programme he turns to the work of Seamus Heaney, for programme two, the American poet, Michael Heffernan, in programme three, Carol Ann Duffy, in programme four Michael Donaghy and finally the modernist, William Carlos Williams.

Michigan-based undertaker and poet Thomas Lynch explores the work of Carol Ann Duffy.

03Tolstoy, Helen Dunmore20101117

Award winning novelist Helen Dunmore presents today's Essay on Leo Tolstoy.

To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, The Essay" this week considers the life and work of one of the giants of Russian literature - Leo Tolstoy. Famous for works like the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina and novellas such as Hadji Murad and The Death of Ivan Ilyich Tolstoy continues to fascinate modern audiences. In these programmes, five different presenters explain their own passion for the works of Tolstoy and the Russia he evokes. Coming from very different backgrounds, all the presenters of these essays have had their lives touched - directly and indirectly - by the Tolstoy's works.

Producer: Mohini Patel.

Novelist Helen Dunmore explains her passion for the works of Leo Tolstoy.

03Tomorrow Is Today, Philip Hammond20090513
03Under The Influence20081203

WN Herbert explores the work of Edwin Morgan, regarded as Scotland's national 'makar'.

03Under The Influence, Under The Influence, Kei Miller20110330

The poems of Kei Miller are rich and languorous. Their language reflects the speech of his native Jamaica and has a heightened, sometimes Biblical aspect. It sounds almost as if it were written for performance rather than to be read.Yet this is rigorous and literary work. In this essay Miller reflects on his upbringing and travels - he was born in 1978, grew up in Kingston, has lived in Canada and now works in Glasgow - and how his experience finds expression in language, image and narrative.

Producer: Julian May.

Jamaican writer Kei Miller reflects on influences shaping his poems and novels.

03Under The Influence, Wn Herbert20090520
03Visions Of Mary, Dr Mona Siddiqui20101222

It might surprise you to know that the Virgin Mary has her own sura in the Qur'an, where she's mentioned more often than she is in the Gospels. When the author was pregnant, her mother advised her read it over every day for comfort and to bless the unborn child. Here we find the story of the annunciation and the birth of Jesus, but they're very different to the lessons being read in churches all over the world at Christmas, because Mary plays a very different role in Islam and gives birth to a very different baby. The Islamic Jesus is fully human and a prophet, yet he is still the child of a sinless mother and immaculately conceived. He just isn't the Son of God. Dr Mona Siddiqui of Glasgow University meditiates on Mary in Islam.

Dr Mona Siddiqui of Glasgow University explains the important role of Mary in Islam.

03Walking The Lobster20180214

Writer John Walsh explores the male desire to stand out in all manner of attire, in all eras.

It is the 1720s and we encounter Richard Nash, known to all as Beau Nash, a 'committed hedonist and contrarian'. Then there's Oscar Wilde. And we learn about the difference between 'dandyism' and 'flamboyance', before the author's own look is examined again.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

03What Is History, Today?20111116

This week, The Essay marks fifty years since the publication in 1961 of What is History? by the historian E.H. Carr. Five academics consider the connection between Carr's work and their work today.

E.H. Carr was born in 1892 and died in 1982. He was a notable historian of Russia and a well-regarded writer on International Relations. But What is History? remains his most famous work.

When What is History? was published it was arguably the most influential text to examine the role of the historian for a whole generation of budding historians, asking them to scrutinize the way they shaped the past. Today, the book remains a key text for many historians who came of age in the 1960s and is still widely read by history undergraduates. But the book is also controversial and many historians find Carr's views outdated and dangerous to the practice of History.

In the third essay of the series, Amanda Foreman, author of the bestselling biography Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and the American Civil War history A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided, explores her personal feelings about the historian's role.

Where E.H. Carr was preoccupied with studying the historian in order to understand the history, Foreman explains how endless theorising about the historian's role does not get at the historical truth - only by delving deep into the lives of those whose story you are telling, can the historian get close to the truth. She sees the biographer as being particularly adept at this. In her essay she scrutinizes her own methods and gives valuable insight into what makes compelling historical writing.

Amanda Foreman says theorising about the historian's role doesn't get at historical truth.

03When Writers Play (series 2), Louise Doughty2009101420100727

Music might feature in the work of many writers, but do many writers play an instrument? Quite a few do, and this essay series charts five writers with musical 'careers'. Here is a bit of autobiography, telling listeners how they started out, their inspirations, their memorable performances and how playing relates to their lives as writers.

And they are keen to demonstrate their musical talents, which you can hear at the end of each essay!

Novelist and journalist Louise Doughty has taken up the piano later in life, in fact only last year. So how will learning to play now be different from learning as a child?

Louise Doughty on how playing the piano later in life presented new challenges.

03Wild Things, The Badger2011020220111019

In the third of her Essays which explore our responses to creatures in our landscape, the poet and writer Ruth Padel turns her attention to the badger. In children's stories the badger is usually a source of wisdom and has connections with morality- think of "The Wind in the Willows" and Narnia. Badgers have also acquired an extra mystery by emerging at night. But in reality they provoke mixed reactions, with some people wanting to hunt them for sport and some farmers demanding the right to cull them to stop TB transmission to cattle. Drawing on history, literature and science, Ruth explores how our attitudes to badgers have been shaped through the centuries.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

Ruth Padel on our feelings for badgers - from literary figure of wisdom to TB carrier.

03William Hazlitt - Philosopher, Hazlitt And The Fate Of Modern Philosophy2009030420100203
03Woolf's Mrs Dalloway2015062420180308 (R3)

How Virginia Woolf and her great novel Mrs Dalloway were shaped by the 1914-18 conflict.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Virginia Woolf spent the First World War on the Home front mainly in London. It was an anxious time; she lost several cousins in the conflict, and her brother-in-law Cecil Woolf died at the Front; in 1915 she suffered a mental breakdown.

For Woolf the war had changed everything, and her three novels written soon after it - Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927) - display a marked shift in style. 'There had to be new forms for our new sensations', she wrote in a 1916 essay, and in 1923 went further:
"We are sharply cut off from our predecessors. A shift in the scale - the war, the sudden slip of masses held in position for ages - has shaken the fabric from top to bottom, alienated us from the past and made us perhaps too vividly conscious of the present."

In 1925, Woolf's brilliant novel Mrs Dalloway would amaze readers with its literary techniques and its counterpointing of society hostess Clarissa Dalloway and war veteran Septimus Warren-Smith. Here was a work of fiction in which the principal characters never meet, where the Victorian staples of plot and family relationships are eclipsed by a new emphasis on what the characters think rather than what they do or say.

For Dame Gillian Beer this thronging novel with its cast of war profiteers, war casualties, and passers-by ultimately has a positive message. In Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf draws the reader and the novel's characters together: "Whether known or unknown to each other, in a shared humanity," she says, "her work draws us all alongside, across time.".

03Work-life Balance2009032520100224
03 LASTThe Future's Not What It Used To Be, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid20090827
03 LASTWhen Writers Play20090820
04A Cretan Spring, Villages20090507
04A Dark History Of British Gardening, Dominance20111103

Kill! Kill! isn't a cry you normally hear in the garden... so begins historian and biographer Jenny Uglow's essay on another dark side of the gardeners' nature - the desire to dominate.

This weakness has led gardeners to turn their potting sheds into places stuffed with toxic mixes and poisons for the killing of weeds and bugs AND for the force feeding of the plants we DO want to keep.

So it has been through history - from the Romans to the present day. Gardeners, says Jenny, are too fond of keeping their heads down in their own plots to recognise the wider implications of their actions.

Jenny Uglow explores how gardeners have always sought to dominate nature.

04A Five-day Journey, Flying2009110520100923

The Downs have often prompted dreams of flight. 'I shall lift great heron-like wings and fly...to other points of view', wrote WH Hudson in 1900. Reaching The Cuckmere Valley and The Seven Sisters, Robert Macfarlane re-imagines the life of the artist Eric Ravilious (1903-42), who was fascinated by the 'pure design' of the South Downs: their paths, ridges and light. Ravilious's passion for aerial landscapes eventually led him northwards, to Norway and Iceland. He disappeared off the coast of Iceland in September 1942 while on a rescue flight. Producer Tim Dee.

Robert Macfarlane on Eric Ravilious, who was fascinated by aerial landscapes.

04A Five-day Journey, Flying20180221

04A Good Death2009040220100415
04A Good Death, Julia Neuberger20100708

Death is the one subject we shy away from, and in our frantic obsession with prolonging our lives, the notion of 'a good death' seems to have lost its relevance. Yet 'the art of dying' has been a defining notion throughout history. Rabbi Julia Neuberger, reflecting on her own work with the dying, looks as how those of different faiths, or no faith at all, approach death, and at why we should all be planning for the kind of death we want.

In these five frank and powerful essays, writers and thinkers ponder the art of dying, and confront taboos around death. They will look at what makes a 'good death' today - is it merely having lived a good life, or is there something intrinsically important in dying well? And, now that our deaths tend to occur in the sterile surroundings of a hospital ward rather than at home, surrounded by those we love, will reflect on how this distancing from death, and loss of control over our demise, has changed our relationship with dying. With references to the portrayal of death in literature, history and religion, as well as personal reflections on hopes and expectations of death, these essays will give five very different perspectives on the art of dying.

Baroness Julia Neuberger on how attitudes to death vary across faith and culture.

04A Laureate's Life, Gillian Clarke20090430
04A Letter To My Body, Ted Harrison

04A Letter To My Body, Ted Harrison2010093020110609

Writer and journalist Ted Harrison asks what body, soul and self really mean in the light of advances in our understanding of molecular biology. Can the Cartesian idea of body-soul dualism mean anything today? Twenty years ago Ted himself received a life-saving kidney transplant. He reflects on how he views the donor organ - and the unknown friend who donated it and he asks whether the development of organ and tissue transplantation changes our notions of the integrity of the body.

Producer: Charlotte Simpson.

Writer Ted Harrison asks what body, soul and self mean in the light of modern science.

04A Passion For Opera, Ashutosh Khandekar2010060320110728

Ashutosh Khandekar - Editor of Opera Now magazine - recounts his entry into the opera world via student opera. Ash realised he was never good enough to be a professional opera singer, but it didn't stop him taking part as student. Born in Bombay, he discovered opera whilst a student at Oxford, fell in love with it and the seed was sown. He's spent the past 15 years watching practically every new production not only in this continent but around the globe including places where you would least expect to find opera, such as Hanoi, Istanbul and Ulan Bator.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Ashutosh Khandekar recounts his entry into the opera world through student opera.

04A Robert Schumann Album, Schumann's Inner Voices20100610
04A Tribute To Mr Purcell, Purcell's Reputation2009031920091119
04An Informal History Of The Male Nude, Matthew Sweet20120223

One of the weighty and apparently immovable pieces of our mental furniture is the notion that Queen Victoria was a prude. Another is that the Italian Renaissance was a sunny dream where man was always the unapologetic measure of all things. In the fourth part of Men Only: An informal History of the Male Nude, the author and broadcaster, Matthew Sweet, confounds both of these notions. He focusses on a cultural exchange between Queen Victoria and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II as well as examining a sixteen inch fig leaf, penectomies and Crystal Palace. Stay tuned!

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Matthew Sweet reflects on the male nude in Renaissance and Victorian art.

04Antony Gormley's Seminal Sculpture, Joseph Beuys' Plight20090618
04Architecture: The Fourth R, Future Architecture2010102120110714

Making shelter is a fundamental human activity, so, asks Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sunand Prasad - why don't we talk about it? The way we build reflects society's values and aspirations - but also its fears. Sunand Prasad takes us on a journey through Architecture,from the India he grew up in, to the Utopian vision of Le Corbusier, from the concrete carbuncles of Post-War Britain, to the design that will combat Climate Change.

In this fourth programme, Sunand takes us back to the place he grew up, Sevagram. Recalling the way of life of this community, founded by Gandhi, Sunand finds out what today's architects can learn from traditional ways of living. He also looks at the challenge architecture faces in creating zero-carbon buildings, and asks - in an age where air-conditioning and central heating are the norm, are we ready to make the changes to our buildings that will combat Climate Change, and so ensure the future of the World?

Architect Sunand Prasad on traditional ways of living, and zero carbon buildings.

04Are You Paying Attention?, Prayer And Snake Oil20180301

In the fourth in her series of Essays on attention, the writer and journalist Madeleine Bunting explores some key moments in the history of how we have paid attention, or failed to do so. The church, she finds, has perfected the use of ritual to focus our attention; and the habit of attention, as French mystic Simone Weil argued, can even be seen as the substance of prayer. But similar ways of attracting and holding attention have also been put to far more sinister use.

04Aspects Of Grainger, Grainger And The Voice20110929

Baritone Stephen Varcoe has long been a champion of the vocal music of Australian-born composer Percy Grainger, having performed and recorded much of it. He talks about how he discovered this music, beginning with Grainger's folksong settings and choral works. Varcoe also makes a case for a reappraisal of Grainger's solo songs, which have been unjustly neglected - largely due to Grainger setting texts by writers who are now deeply unfashionable, particularly Rudyard Kipling - and makes suggestions for interpreting them based on his own performance experiences.

Produced by Jeremy Hayes for Potton Hall Productions.

Stephen Varcoe discusses Percy Grainger's vocal music and in particular his songs.

04Before 'silent Spring', Aldo Leopold

04Before 'silent Spring', Aldo Leopold2010101420110831

Aldo Leopold was an outdoorsman, forester and philosopher and his 'A Sand County Almanac', published posthumously in 1949 has become both a classic in American nature writing and a cornerstone of environmental ethics. Leopold's biographer, Curt Meine explores how a shack and an abandoned farm in Wisconsin became the inspiration for Leopold's environmental manifesto.

Curt Meine on forester Aldo Leopold, author of a classic in American nature writing.

Aldo Leopold was an outdoorsman, forester and philosopher and his 'A Sand County Almanac', published posthumously in 1949 has become both a classic of American nature writing and a cornerstone of environmental ethics. Leopold's biographer, Curt Meine, explores how a shack and an abandoned farm in Wisconsin became the inspiration for Leopold's environmental manifesto.

04Bram Stoker, Roger Luckhurst20120419

As part of this week's series of The Essay, marking the centenary of the death of Dracula creator Bram Stoker, Professor Roger Luckhurst of Birkbeck, University of London, examines the Irish writer's horror novel about an ancient Egyptian mummy, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and argues that Stoker had an uncanny ability to weave the latest scientific discoveries through his work, thus lending his flights of fantasy an authority not found in the work of his contemporaries.

Professor Roger Luckhurst explores Stoker's Egyptian horror The Jewel of Seven Stars.

04British Cinema Of The 40s, Kind Hearts And Coronets

04British Cinema Of The 40s, Kind Hearts And Coronets20100916

British cinema of the 1940s freshly viewed by Simon Heffer who explores old favourites in terms of their social and political message.

In five personal interpretations, Simon Heffer traces the ways in which war-time British cinema moved from galvanising the public to challenging the established class system and arguing for social cohesion, with its consequent loss of individuality and furtherance of collectivism. In the post-war period he looks at how film reflected a reaction among the public against state control and austerity and a new challenge to supposedly common values.

4. Kind Hearts and Coronets

Generally written up as the most sublime of the Ealing comedies and a brilliant vehicle for the astonishing versatility of Alec Guiness - both of which it is - Simon Heffer also considers Kind Hearts and Coronets to be one of the most subversive films ever made in the British cinema, with an innovative, destructive temper that make later anti-Establishment films such as If and A Clockwork Orange seem derivative by comparison.

This 1949 film about a man who murders member after member of his extended family in order to inherit a dukedom is dark not only because its subject is mass murder, but also because of its subtle attack on almost every aspect of British social order - the legal system, the class system, the Church, the City. More unusually, Simon Heffer also considers it as a perfect assault - often disguised by its comedy - on the shallow and narrow lower middle-class values and proprieties that predominated in Britain in the immediate post-war period.

Simon Heffer on the subversiveness of the 1949 Ealing comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets.

04Checkmate, Queening - Mad Queen's Chess20101216

Dr. Marilyn Yalom of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University has written several books on women including a 'History of the Wife', a 'History of the Breast' and the 'Birth of the Chess Queen'. She writes: It always surprises people to discover that chess was played for 500 years without a queen. What's more, when the queen did appear on the board, she was the weakest piece, and not the powerhouse she is today. I stumbled on these two facts when I was researching my book, A History of the Breast, and a museum curator showed me a small 14th century ivory figure of a Madonna and child, which he referred to as a chess queen. How, I asked, could a nursing Madonna be a chess queen? That question led me to many others concerning queenship, religion, courtly love, and the long history of chess itself.

Marilyn Yalom on the rise to power of the chess queen which was once as feeble as a pawn.

04Checkmate, The Sacrifice - How To Lose Against A Tsar20101217

As a boy Ukrainian thriller writer Andrey Kurkov reflects on how Russian chess players before and after the Revolution lived and died at their boards. From the Tsar to the Black Sea sanatoriums to the players of Abhasia.

He writes:

"I was born as the era of Soviet Chess was drawing to a close. In our family album there are photos of me at five years old playing chess with my father and my Mother's brother, uncle Boris, who was a police detective. For most citizens the Soviet Union was not a great nuclear power, but a great chess nation, where the names of the Soviet chess masters were uttered in the same tone of awe and respect as that of Yuri Gagarin. Of course the "deviant" champions, the ones who fled to the west, were erased from the encyclopedias and press reports. I did not know those names, but for some reason I was convinced that chess was to be played before bed, and changing into your pyjamas was an essential part of the preparations. My pyjamas were stripy, like prison clothes, but I only realized that years later, when going through the family albums."

Andrey Kurkov is the author of Death and the Penguin and more recently The Good Angel of Death. He has a surreal, slightly morbid sense of humour that is reflected in his novels and this short essay on Chess in Russia.

Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov explores the murderous history of chess in Russia.

04Chekhov Essays, Ruth Thomas2010012820101104

The short story writer Ruth Thomas confesses how her early ignorance and dislike of Chekhov turned later to love as she came to emulate his loving depictions of domestic life.

After Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov is the most perfomed playwright in the world and amongst the most revered writers of short stories. While the pleasure he has given to theatre audiences and readers is immense, these Essays explore his legacy in terms of the craft and technique that he continues to bequeath to theatre practitioners and writers today. In the fourth of five programmes celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Chekhov's birth, the novelist and short story writer Ruth Thomas tells the true tale of how a missing cat in a misty cherry orchard started a life long interest in the life and work of Chekhov.

Young short story writer Ruth Thomas explains how she came to love Chekhov's work.

04Chopin20100304

Pianist Piers Lane explores the different ways Chopin has been interpreted by performers.

04Dark Arcadias, Alexandra Harris On Country-house Dreams Of Arcadia20110707

Five essays about the history of an idea. In the fourth, literary critic Alexandra Harris explores the country-house dreams of the 20th century.

Literary critic Alexandra Harris explores the country-house dreams of the 20th century.

04Darwin's Children20090212
04Earth Music Bristol, Symphonic Impressions20111124

Geoff Sample

Symphonic Impressions

The fourth of five essays inspired by the musical content of the first Earth Music Bristol festival.

Our understanding of bird song hinges on the idea that males sing to declare their territory and attract a mate. They are effectively in competition with each other and each is a soloist. So how come the sum of the parts so often sounds like a chorus? How can random self interest produce order? This essay explores how evolutionary influences, shaping the structure of birds' songs and singing behaviour, may have resulted in this impression of symphony in our minds.

Geoff Sample is the foremost bird song sound recordist in Britain.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Bird song recordist Geoff Sample explores whether birds sings symphonically.

04Emotional Landscapes, Bitterness20090604
04Enlightenment Voices20091203

Series exploring the work of philosopher David Hume, one of the major figures in the Scottish Enlightenment.

In his lifetime, Hume was not only known for his philosophical works but also as a historian and essayist.

Alongside his writing, one of his last jobs was secretary to the British Embassy in Paris, where he was lionised by the intelligentsia as an architect of the Enlightenment.

Professor Simon Blackburn of Cambridge University assesses Hume's originality of thought and his influence on later thinkers like Darwin.

Simon Blackburn on Hume's originality of thought and influence on thinkers such as Darwin.

04Enlightenment Voices, Diderot, Part 420100121
04Enlightenment Voices, Mary Wollstonecraft, Part 420091126

Series exploring the work of philosopher, writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Scholar Janet Todd traces the complex emotional and intellectual trajectory of Wollstonecraft's reactions to events during the French Revolution in 1789, and its impact on her hopes and wishes for change in her native England.

Reader: Tessa Nicholson.

Janet Todd traces Mary Wollstonecraft's reactions to the events of the French Revolution.

04Enlightenment Voices, Robert Hooke, Hooke's Inventions2009100820101202

Series exploring the work of the scientific pioneer Robert Hooke.

Professor Lisa Jardine examines Hooke's inventions, explores how they were received at the time and how some are integral to the way we live now.

Hooke was at the forefront of invention in the 17th century. As he and his fellow scientists went about their quest to 'know everything', Hooke was continually inventing new ways with machinery, telescopes, microscopes, watches and medicine. Charles II took a great interest in many of his designs and some of his discoveries have lasted through the years and are critical to our lives today. His 'Hooke joint' which he developed for carriages is now used in a rear-wheel drive car to connect the drive shaft to the transmission.

Lisa Jardine discusses how Robert Hooke's inventions were received in the 17th century.

Hooke was at the forefront of invention in the 17th century.

As he and his fellow scientists went about their quest to 'know everything', Hooke was continually inventing new ways with machinery, telescopes, microscopes, watches and medicine.

Charles II took a great interest in many of his designs and some of his discoveries have lasted through the years and are critical to our lives today.

His 'Hooke joint' which he developed for carriages is now used in a rear-wheel drive car to connect the drive shaft to the transmission.

04Enlightenment Voices, Spinoza, Part 420100114
04Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And Religion2009100120101125

The cataclysmic Lisbon earthquake of 1755 in which tens of thousands of people died is Professor Simon Blackburn's starting point for an examination of Voltaire's views on religion and belief. The event occurred on November 1st, All Saints Day, which meant that the churches in one of the godliest cities in Catholic Europe were all packed while the brothels were relatively empty. Where, Voltaire wondered, was divine providence in all this?

Simon Blackburn carefully explores not only Voltaire's coruscating views on the corrupt and powerful established church but also the complex question of his lingering faith. Above all, he examines the practical effect of Voltaire's ideas, celebrating the role of the Enlightenment in replacing the altars and thrones of an older Europe with the largely secular constitutional democracies that followed.

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Reader Philip Fox

Producer Beaty Rubens

(Repeat).

Professor Simon Blackburn examines Voltaire's views on religion and belief.

04Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And Religion2010120120101125

The cataclysmic Lisbon earthquake of 1755 in which tens of thousands of people died is Professor Simon Blackburn's starting point for an examination of Voltaire's views on religion and belief.

The event occurred on November 1st, All Saints Day, which meant that the churches in one of the godliest cities in Catholic Europe were all packed while the brothels were relatively empty.

Where, Voltaire wondered, was divine providence in all this?

Simon Blackburn carefully explores not only Voltaire's coruscating views on the corrupt and powerful established church but also the complex question of his lingering faith.

Above all, he examines the practical effect of Voltaire's ideas, celebrating the role of the Enlightenment in replacing the altars and thrones of an older Europe with the largely secular constitutional democracies that followed.

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Reader Philip Fox

Producer Beaty Rubens

(Repeat).

Professor Simon Blackburn examines Voltaire's views on religion and belief.

04Enlightenment Voices, Voltaire, Voltaire And Religion *20091001

Series exploring the work of the French writer and philosopher Voltaire.

The cataclysmic Lisbon earthquake of 1755, in which tens of thousands of people died, is the starting point of Professor Simon Blackburn, of Cambridge University's philopsophy department, as he examines Voltaire's views on religion and belief.

The event occurred on All Saints' Day - November 1st - which meant that the churches in one of the godliest cities in Catholic Europe were all packed, while the brothels were relatively empty.

Where, Voltaire wondered, was divine providence in all this?

Professor Blackburn explores not only Voltaire's coruscating views on the corrupt and powerful established Church, but also the complex question of his lingering faith.

Above all, he examines the practical effect of Voltaire's ideas, celebrating the role of the Enlightenment in replacing the altars and thrones of an older Europe with the largely secular constitutional democracies that followed.

Reader: Philip Fox.

Professor Simon Blackburn examines Voltaire's views on religion and belief.

04Five Easy Pieces, Body And Soul20110602

Christopher Ricks explores some short poems that are worth remembering.

4. Body and Soul. Andrew Marvell, 'A Dialogue' and Cosmo Monkhouse 'Any Soul'

Producer: Tim Dee.

Christopher Ricks on two poems: Marvell's A Dialogue and Cosmo Monkhouse's Any Soul.

04Five Easy Pieces, Wealth And Poverty20100520
04Free Thinking 2010, New Histories Of The North East, Inheritance Tracks20101111

Five essays with new perspectives on the history of the North East.

TV writer Michael Chaplin, creator of Monarch of the Glen and Grafters, was born in a County Durham house backed onto a railway line that served as his playground, dumping ground and soundtrack. Michael looks back at the glorious part that trains have played in the life of the North East - from George and Robert Stephenson and the great railway engineers to the present day. And he asks: could greater understanding of the lyricism and character of railways allow us to better use this amazing invention today?

Recorded in front of an audience at the Sage Gateshead, as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas 2010.

Producer: Dymphna Flynn.

Michael Chaplin on the glorious part that trains have played in the life of the North.

04Freedom20081127
04From Pens To Ploughshares, Michael Cardew In Africa20090205
04Germany Dreaming, Berlin Is Calling2010021120110303

After a bizarre dream, author and critic Michael Bracewell is prompted to explore all things German, which means travel and much speculation: Now he's Berlin bound.

"With the greatest respect to Dr Freud, I have never put much store by the interpretation of dreams. But one night seven years ago I had a dream which actually changed my life. As I slid towards sleep, it seemed as though a corner of the room was beginning to glow..."

The author and critic Michael Bracewell dreams about a visitation by the legendary musician Brian Eno, who informs him that 'Germany is your America', and that he should get out there and explore the place. So after much speculation about things German, after visits to Cologne, Munich and Berlin, and after immersing himself in the music and art of the country (especially electronic music and post modern art) the author is ready to pronounce on his romantic and prejudical responses to the country. There is also its food to consider. And its youthful fashions.

What does he dig up? Lots! And this time it's Berlin. Which you can hear about in his specially commissioned five part series for The Essay.

Author and critic Michael Bracewell explores all thing German, travelling to Berlin.

04Golding Remembered, Craig Raine20110922

The poet and critic Craig Raine examines the writing style of Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Golding, with a look at his 1964 novel, The Spire. Taking a forensic critical approach, Raine considers Golding's powers of description and absorbing use of symbolism in the book.

The novel is about the erection of a spire on a medieval cathedral - a project that is the vision of the cathedral's Dean, Jocelin. Ignoring warnings that the cathedral has insufficient foundations to support the structure, Jocelin pushes his plan forward - with terrible emotional, financial and spiritual consequences.

In this series, The Essay marks the centenary of William Golding's birth (19th September 1911), with five programmes looking at different aspects of the novelist's work and life.

William Golding is known for novels including Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors and The Spire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and was knighted in 1988. He died in 1993.

Producer: Caroline Hughes

GOLDING REMEMBERED is a WHISTLEDOWN Production for BBC Radio 3.

Poet Craig Raine explores the writing style of William Golding in his novel The Spire.

04Half Shame, Half Glory - Postcards From The Acting Profession, Mat Fraser2010062420110526

Mat Fraser lets us peek inside his Job-Getting Toolbox, that indispensible piece of kit that he carries with him to each audition.

Mat Fraser is a musician, actor and presenter. His acting career has encompassed a certain amount of political activism around disability issues. His hit one-man stage show Sealboy: Freak was based on the true story of 'Sealo' who travelled with American freak shows from the 1930s to the 1970s. Other credits include the Channel 4 series Cast Offs and BBC's Every Time You Look at Me.

Actor Mat Fraser gives a view inside his 'job-getting toolbox'.

04Happily Ever After, Julia Eccleshare20120209

In this series of 5 essays, contemporary children's authors and editors each look at a fictional family from children's literature. They use it as a focal point to explore the changing portrayal of the family in children's books, and consider both what it tells us about the society it reflects, and how relevant it is to determining a young generation's attitudes to the future.

In the fourth programme of the series, writer, broadcaster and lecturer Julia Eccleshare looks at Jacqueline Wilson's The Illustrated Mum.

Although Wilson was appointed Children's Laureate in 2005 in recognition of her work, for the first twenty years of her career her books were treated with caution by many parents who dismissed them as social realism and unsuitable for children. Julia explores the possibility that, instead of breaking the rules of "happily ever after", Jacqueline Wilson is actually telling thoroughly modern fairy stories which reflect the social/economic upheavals of today, in the same way that our original fairy stories reflected the problems of their times.

Julia goes on to examine our continuing need for such fairy tales, which help to teach children not to be frightened by the world.

Julia Eccleshare discusses Jacqueline Wilson's thoroughly modern fairytales.

04Haydn Essays, Haydn And Humour2009070920091022
04Head In The Clouds, Thought-cloud20090226
04Henry, King Of Kings, Henry Viii And Drama2009042320100408
04How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear, Caroline Arscott20120503

Marking the bicentenary of Edward Lear's birth in 1812, this series of five essays considers the exuberant play of Edward Lear as a nonsense poet and artist and the influence of 'nonsense' on modern life.

In the fourth essay in the series, Art Historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Professor Caroline Arscott, considers Lear the artist.

Lear was well known as an artist long before he became famous for his writing, initially as an illustrator of birds and animals. He moved onto landscape painting, producing many thousands of studies as he travelled throughout Europe.

Art historian Professor Caroline Arscott considers Edward Lear's work as an artist.

04I Confess: The Power Of The Confession20111013

'This is not my defence,' said Nikolai Bukharin as The Party tried him for his life, 'this is my self-accusation'. He then produced a confession in some ways worthy of Isobel Gowdie the witch. It began with the standard demonology of communism - being in league with Trotsky, plotting from the very start to usurp power from Lenin. But then it soared into the realms of global conspiracy hatched by Fascists and Zionists in league with French, Japanese and British intelligence. Freemasons, Lawrence of Arabia and the tsarist secret police were even included in the plot. Why? What on earth was to be gained by this farrago? Dr Iain Lauchlan of Edinburgh University explores the Moscow show trials of 1938 and asks 'Whose confession were they really?

Dr Iain Lauchlan explores the Moscow show trials. Were they an atheist inquisition?

04Interrail Postcards, David Almond20110630

As the Inter-rail Pass turns 40, five writers of different ages and backgrounds recall personal journeys and explore how the advent of new technology and the changing face of Europe have changed student travel forever

4.David Almond

It is almost forty years since the introduction of the first Inter-rail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

For this series, four writers of different ages and background recall the rite of passage entailed in setting off for a month's travel with nothing but a rucsac and an Inter-Rail Pass. Meanwhile, David Almond - amongst the most popular and thoughtful writers for children today - recalls his parallel experience:

"We hitchhiked instead, and travelled three summers in a row from Tyneside to Greece, and tried to look down at those who travelled on pre-planned routes in Inter-rail comfort... They were wonderful journeys. But many times, of course - stuck for a couple of freezing nights on a roundabout outside Paris, recovering from a truck crash in Italy, trudging half-starved and penniless across Belgrade with hundreds and hundreds of miles still to go, or simply travelling for hundreds of miles through baking heat with very weird drivers - we lamented the fact that we hadn't stumped up £26 to be part of the Inter-rail adventure".

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

David Almond on the adventures and misfortunes he experienced travelling by InterRail.

04It Talks, Coins20110616

"Money. You don't know where it's been,

But you put it where your mouth is.

And it talks." (Money, by Dana Gioia)

The history of money stretches back some 11,000 years. There have been certain key moments in its development and each essay tells their story and the resonance that these revolutionary blips have had ever since.

4. Coins - In 687BC Herodotus criticised the gross commercialism of the Lydians, who were not only the first people to coin money but also the first to open permanent retail shops. In this Essay, Professor Edith Hall argues that coins not only gave individuals a level of freedom and self-determination unknown before, but also laid the foundations for abstract thought.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

Edith Hall argues that the first coins gave individuals more freedom than ever before.

04John Milton, The Essayist20081211
04Karachi Postcards, Leaving A Hot City For Life On The Beach...2010031820101209

The London based novelist Kamila Shamsie

returns to her city of birth every winter,

and this time decides to explore it properly:

4. Leaving a hot city for life on the beach...

"Each time I visit Karachi there is a particular strangeness that accompanies me... invisible to x-ray machines... undetected by sniffer dogs. It is the strangeness of returning."

London based novelist Kamila Shamsie returns to Karachi every January to see her family and old friends. But it's not where she lives anymore, so it has a fresh and often surprising quality to it. Over five 'postcards' for The Essay, she explores the city of her birth in this uncertain and often intriguing light

In her fourth postcard, Kamila escapes the hot, steamy bustle of the city centre and heads like hundreds do to the nearby beaches, where a poetic and calm state of mind and body takes over..

Novelist Kamila Shamsie explores Karachi and heads for the beach.

04Land And Sea And Sky20100311
04Land And Sea And Sky, Michael Bird20110113

Michael Bird writes books about the visual arts, so St Ives is a good place to be. In his essay he explores how the constant transformations of what he sees, the land in the light, the weather, the breaking waves, even the people, have a rejuvenating, inspirational impact on him. Bird's essay was recorded in the streets leading down to the water, on Porthmeor Beach, on the cliff path leading to Land's End, along the run he takes to focus his thoughts. Unusually, but importantly, for a writer, he lives where the visual rather than the verbal, takes precedence. In St Ives one sees, then writes, rather than the other way around. And Michael Bird puzzles on his personal jouney, on how he came to be living in the far southwest, where land and sea and sky meet so dramatically.

Writer Michael Bird discusses the inspirational effect of living in St Ives in Cornwall.

04Listener, They Won It, Richard Cohen20120308

The next in the series in which writers look at how sports have been portrayed in the arts, from novels to painting, film to photography.

Today, author and former Olympic fencer Richard Cohen looks at swordplay in Dumas' 'The Three Musketeers'. From the first moment he encountered the Musketeers as a young boy, Cohen was hooked, and his ambitions to become the next D'Artagnan not to mention international fencing champion fully fuelled...

Producer: Justine Willett.

Former Olympic fencer Richard Cohen on swordplay in Dumas's The Three Musketeers.

04Listener, They Wore It, Peter Bradshaw2011012720111201

Five writers were invited to explore the meaning of clothes and accessories in a particular work of art, be it a story, novel, film, painting or song lyric. How does the clothing resonate? What is the tale behind its depiction? Would the writer wear the garment themselves? Suits and dresses, coats and jewels, and even rags, all feature in accounts by a variety of commentators...

4. The critic Peter Bradshaw tells us about two red coats,

worn with sadness and with menace in the classic film, Don't

Look Now.

Producer Duncan Minshull.

Critic Peter Bradshaw on the two red coats worn in the film Don't Look Now.

04Looking And Looking Away, Sebald The Poet20111208

Personal reflections on different aspects of the life, work and influence of WG Sebald by those who knew him, ten years after his death.

WG "Max" Sebald's literary career was at its height when he died in a car crash in December 2001, shortly after the publication of his masterpiece Austerlitz.

Poet George Szirtes reflects on the poetry of WG Sebald.

Poet George Szirtes reflects on German writer WG Sebald's poetry.

04Looking For Ghosts, Ludwig Boerne And Heinrich Heine2009052820100513
04Loving The Raven, An Inquiry Will Amuse Us - Poe And The Invention Of Crime Fiction2009011520091210

Mark Lawson on the influence of The Murders In The Rue Morgue on modern crime fiction.

04Meanings Of Mountains, Scotland2011021020120315

In the fourth of this week's essays about the relationship different peoples have with their mountains, following the path of the sun from east to west, we reach Scotland. Kenneth Steven's father was a lifelong climber, who reached the summit of his last 'Monroe' (Scottish mountains more than 3,000 high) when he was 89. But as a boy of eight or nine Kenneth was dragged up hills at every opportunity and resented these exhausting, thirsty excursions. He rather shared the view of the crofters that the hills were just there and to climb them without having to was puzzling. It was only when he left Perthshire for university in Glasgow that he missed their presence and began to share the love that writers such as the great Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean and Norman MacCaig expressed in their work. He returned to the highlands and ventured, now voluntarily, into the hills. But he is not concerned with conquering them; it is in the journey up and what he finds along the way that the mountains reveal their many meanings.

Producer: Julian May.

Poet Kenneth Steven considers the relationship of the Scots to their mountains.

04Mentors, Alexander Theroux20100325
04Naturalists: Animals And Human Nature, Ludwig Koch20090129
04New Generation Thinkers, 2011, Looking Beyond The Dead20120119

A week of essays from five of the BBC Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers continues with an examination of the images of the Rwandan genocide.

Zoe Norridge, lecturer in literature at the University of York, questions why photographs of Africa tend to fix our perceptions of the continent at its worst moments of destruction and despair. New Generation Thinker Zoe Norridge examines how some photographers working in Rwanda confirm international expectations whilst others are beginning to look beyond the genocide.

The New Generation Thinkers are winners of the inaugural talent scheme run the BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into fascinating broadcasts.

In the final programme tomorrow Jon Adams questions how modern day writers are borrowing skills from the theologians of old.

Producer Jennifer Chevalier.

Zoe Norridge ask why photos of Africa fix perceptions of the continent at its worst times.

04New Mystery Plays, Samson And Delilah, By Katie Hims20110414

by Katie Hims. New Mystery Plays revisits stories from the Old Testament. Katie Hims sets the story of Samson in a suburban hairdressing salon.

SAMSON....James Alexandrou

DELILAH....Katie Angelou

TRACEY....Claire Rushbrook

PHIL....Stuart McLoughlin

ANGEL....Sean Baker

MARIE....Joanna Monro

TEACHER....Jane Whittenshaw

GARY....Nyasha Hatendi

Sound by Peter Ringrose

Directed by Jessica Dromgoole.

Setting of the story of Samson in a suburban hairdressing salon.

04New Ways Through The Glens, The Great Glen20180222

With the title from an essential work by A.R.B. Haldane, 'New Ways Through the Glens' is Kenneth Steven's personal reflection on the changes brought to the people and landscape of the Scottish Highlands by the arrival of roads and canals in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this Essay he looks at the ambitious project to build a canal through the heart of the Highlands along the Great Glen, linking east and west.

04Night Walks, Kamila Shamsie20090611
04North East Free Thinkers, Newcastle Literary And Philosophical Society2009102920100901

Free Thinking 2009

A series recorded in front of an audience as part of the Free Thinking ideas festival. It focuses on free-thinking figures and institutions in North-East England whose ideas challenged their times.

Leading poet Sean O'Brien charts the profound contribution to Newcastle's cultural life of the Literary and Philosophical Society, founded in 1793, which grew into one of the most important intellectual institutions of its age. A place of talking, thinking, reading and listening, its history and membership have long been at the heart of Tyneside culture.

Poet Sean O'Brien on Newcastle's Literary and Philosophical Society or Lit and Phil.

04On Directing, Josie Rourke20120216

Josie Rourke, the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, reminds us that working in theatre isn't always plain sailing. In her essay, she looks at what happens when disaster strikes and things go wrong. It's in these situations that a director is truly tested.

The series is produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.

Josie Rourke trained with directors Peter Gill, Michael Grandage, Nicholas Hytner, Phyllida Lloyd and Sam Mendes. Before coming to the Bush she worked for five year