Episodes

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0101Forests Of The Imagination20180618

Fiona Stafford asks why artists are drawn to the imaginative possibilities of the forest.

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

What is it about forests that inspires our imagination? In this series of Essays for our Into the Forest season, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough takes five woodland walks with writers and artists who find themselves moved by the sounds, textures and smells of the forest.

She's joined first by Fiona Stafford, author of 'The Long, Long Life of Trees' and expert on the Romantic poets. Fiona is fascinated by the moment in the late 18th century when Britain's great forests were swept away by the demands of the Royal Navy and the Enclosure Acts. As the dark forests with their brigands and wild beasts disappeared, novelists and visual artists were free to conjure up their own dappled glades, to create spaces of romantic imagination.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

In midsummer week, Radio 3 enters one of the most potent sources of the human imagination. 'Into the Forest' explores the enchantment, escape and magical danger of the forest in summer, with slow radio moments featuring the sounds of the forest, allowing time out from today's often frenetic world.

0102Forest Folk2018061920190819 (R3)

Singer Nancy Kerr explains why forests provide such perfect metaphors in folk music.

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

The folk singer, Nancy Kerr joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods. Forests play a vital role in folk music, as a refuge for romantic outlaws, as a metaphor for freedom and as a space for sexual couplings, usually with the traditionally tragic ending.

Nancy explains how the early folk song collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams found a vibrant folk vocabulary bristling with bushes and briars, stout oaks and wily willows. She understands just how powerfully symbolic trees and forests can be, composing her own songs of the woods and interpreting classic tales of sylvan sensuality.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

In midsummer week, Radio 3 enters one of the most potent sources of the human imagination. 'Into the Forest' explores the enchantment, escape and magical danger of the forest in summer, with slow radio moments featuring the sounds of the forest, allowing time out from today's often frenetic world.

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

0103Outlaws Of The Forest2018062020190820 (R3)

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to hide, says writer Will Ashon.

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

Forests are the perfect place for outlaw artists to enact their vision. Just fourteen stops from Soho on the Central Line, Epping Forest provides a particularly convenient place to lose yourself and hide from worldly distractions.

Sculptor, Jacob Epstein used Epping as artistic inspiration and venue for innumerable affairs. But was he lost in the forest or hiding there? John Clare was incarcerated there in an asylum, a place where he lost his status as the peasant poet but found a new identity. First he believed himself to be Lord Byron, latterly he was William Shakespeare. Skip forward a hundred years and the forest continued to intrigue, sheltering the Punk collective, Crass from Big Bang London and providing a surreal playground for theatrical provocateur and forest pixie, Ken Campbell.

For our Into the Forest season Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined on a walk through the artistic hotspots of Epping Forest by Will Ashon, author of 'Strange Labyrinth', a cultural guidebook to the lungs of North-East London.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

In midsummer week, Radio 3 enters one of the most potent sources of the human imagination. 'Into the Forest' explores the enchantment, escape and magical danger of the forest in summer, with slow radio moments featuring the sounds of the forest, allowing time out from today's often frenetic world.

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

0104Scents Of The Forest2018062120190822 (R3)

Perfumer, Roja Dove, explains the power of the heady scents of the forest.

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

As he enters a woodland, perfumer, Roja Dove can be overwhelmed. This legendary nose of the perfume industry can identify 800 different scents blindfolded. Place him in a forest and he can sense narratives of sex, birth, decay and death.

Roja joins Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk in the woods to discuss how the base notes of the forest scent inspire him. The foundation of damp moss and rotting wood is warm and comforting, but a change in the breeze can bring fresh inspiration to excite the senses, just the kind of effect Roja looks for when he formulates a new perfume.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

In midsummer week, Radio 3 enters one of the most potent sources of the human imagination. 'Into the Forest' explores the enchantment, escape and magical danger of the forest in summer, with slow radio moments featuring the sounds of the forest, allowing time out from today's often frenetic world.

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

0105 LASTForest Fire20180622

What's the most creative force in the forest? Andrew C Scott believes that it's fire.

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

Forests are a potent source of inspiration for artists, writers and composers but the truly creative force in the forest is fire. Andrew C Scott from Royal Holloway, University of London is the author of 'Burning Planet'. He stands in awe of the power of fire to reshape our forests and the ability of nature to bounce back, offering fresh space for new plants and animals to colonise.

Andrew takes Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a walk through Swinley Woods in Berkshire, site of a spectacular fire in 2011 that, for one terrible day, threatened Windsor Castle and thousands of homes.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

In midsummer week, Radio 3 enters one of the most potent sources of the human imagination. 'Into the Forest' explores the enchantment, escape and magical danger of the forest in summer, with slow radio moments featuring the sounds of the forest, allowing time out from today's often frenetic world.

0201The Wood Beyond The World2018101520190826 (R3)

Enjoy the lush, romantic delights of the Pre-Raphaelite forest.

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

Lose yourself in a forest of fair maidens and knights with suspiciously shiny armour. This is a forest where the romantic couplings may be fantastical but the backdrop is meticulously drawn. Each leaf, each clump of moss is taken directly from nature. This is the mediaeval forest as reimagined by late Victorian aesthetes aghast at the grit and grime of industrialisation.

In the first of a series examining the great fictional forests of art and literature Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by Ingrid Hanson from Manchester University for a walk through the Pre-Raphaelite forest. Their spirit guide is William Morris, the writer and designer who helped create the forest in his works of fantasy fiction such as The Wood Beyond the World, beating a path to be followed by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Enjoy the lush, romantic delights of the Pre-Raphaelite forest.

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

Lose yourself in a forest of fair maidens and knights with suspiciously shiny armour. This is a forest where the romantic couplings may be fantastical but the backdrop is meticulously drawn. Each leaf, each clump of moss is taken directly from nature. This is the mediaeval forest as reimagined by late Victorian aesthetes aghast at the grit and grime of industrialisation.

In the first of a series examining the great fictional forests of art and literature Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by Ingrid Hanson from Manchester University for a walk through the Pre-Raphaelite forest. Their spirit guide is William Morris, the writer and designer who helped create the forest in his works of fantasy fiction such as The Wood Beyond the World, beating a path to be followed by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Eleanor Rosamund Baraclough is joined by Ingrid Hanson from Manchester University for a walk through this Pre-Raphaelite forest. Their spirit guide is William Morris, the writer and designer who helped create the forest in his works of fantasy fiction such as The Wood Beyond the World, beating a path to be followed by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

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

0202Brothers Grimm2018101620190905 (R3)

Dare to enter the dark Germanic forest of the Brothers Grimm.

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

Walk through a dark forest and you can't escape the brooding presence of the Brothers Grimm. Unwilling to stray from the path? A glimmer of sharp, white teeth behind that tree? It’s the Brothers Grimm to blame.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by the writer and illustrator Chris Riddell for a walk through the deep, dark Germanic forest of the Grimms' imagination. The company may be agreeable and the conversation fascinating but be sure to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

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

0203Mirkwood2018101720190909 (R3)

The forests of Middle Earth explored by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough.

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

There’s a shadow creeping across the forest in the works of JRR Tolkien. Nature may be incorruptible but the creatures of the forest cannot withstand the relentless march of evil. Slowly but surely the songbirds are replaced by giant spiders, black squirrels and rampaging goblins. Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is joined by Mark Atherton from Oxford University for a walk through Tolkien’s forest, uncovering the influence of Anglo-Saxon legends and Middle English poems in the creation of Middle Earth.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

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

0204The Jungle Book20181018

Join Mowgli and Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough in the forest of Kipling's imagination

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

Join Mowgli, Shere Khan and Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough in the lush and dangerous Indian forest of Rudyard Kipling's imagination.

Although he was born in India, Kipling had never visited the central Seoni region where he set The Jungle Book. As Daniel Karlin from Bristol University tells Eleanor, the vivid and detailed descriptions of the forest and its fauna came from books and travellers' tales. Kipling was fascinated by animal behaviour but he wasn't too precious to invert reality when the stories required a dash of cruelty or an expression of nobility.

Today the region contains a renowned tiger reserve. Shere Khan is protected whilst the friendlier creatures of The Jungle decline in number.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Producer: Alasdair Cross

0205 LAST100 Acre Wood2018101920190911 (R3)

Brian Sibley guides Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough around the home of Winnie the Pooh

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

In our final celebration of the great forests of fiction Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough braves the fearsome heffalumps to step into the world of AA Milne.

There's no secret about the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. Thousands of people flock to the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex every year to track down Christopher Robin's tree and play Pooh Sticks. In his autobiography Christopher Robin Milne wrote of a brief but blissful childhood spent amongst the trees with his battered teddy bear. Pooh's forest and the Ashdown Forest are, he wrote, identical.

The writer, Brian Sibley joins Eleanor for a walk through the forest and an appreciation of one of the saddest endings in literature. Christopher knows he has to leave his friends and return to school. That's enough to drive many adult readers to tears but Brian believes there will always be a boy and his bear sharing adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough braves the fearsome heffalumps as she steps into the world of AA Milne.

There's no secret about the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. Thousands of people flock to the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex every year to track down Christopher Robin's tree and play Pooh Sticks. In his autobiography, Christopher Robin Milne wrote of a brief but blissful childhood spent amongst the trees with his battered teddy bear. Pooh's forest and the Ashdown Forest are, he wrote, identical.

The writer, Brian Sibley, joins Eleanor for a walk through the forest and an appreciation of one of the saddest endings in literature. Christopher knows he has to leave his friends and return to school. That's enough to drive many adult readers to tears but Brian believes there will always be a boy and his bear sharing adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

Brian Sibley guides Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough around the home of Winnie the Pooh.

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