Jeremy Irons Reads Ts Eliot

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01Prufrock And Other Observations20170101

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part One

Martha Kearney talks to award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson about her first experience of reading T.S.Eliot and the transformative impact of his language on her as a teenager. She explains why the turn of the year is a good time to read Eliot’s work.

Jeremy Irons reads:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Portrait of a Lady

Preludes

Rhapsody on a Windy Night

Morning at the Window

The 'Boston Evening Transcript'

Aunt Helen

Cousin Nancy

Mr. Apollinax

Hysteria

Conversation Galante

La Figlia Che Piange

With contribution from Jeanette Winterson

02Poems (1920)20170101

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part Two

Martha Kearney talks to Anthony Julius ( the new Chair of Law and the Arts and University College London) and writer Jeanette Winterson about the enduring power and beauty of the opening lines of Eliot’s poem ‘Gerontion’ – ‘Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.’ and explore references in the poems that have been judged anti-semitic. They consider how we should read these poems now, and what we can learn from Eliot’s ‘ugly’ references’.

Jeremy Irons reads:

Gerontion

Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar

Sweeney Erect

A Cooking Egg

The Hippopotamus

Whispers of Immortality

Mr Eliot's Sunday Morning Service

Sweeney Among the Nightingales

With contributions from writer Jeanette Winterson and lawyer and academic Anthony Julius

03The Waste Land20170101

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part Three

Martha Kearney explores the resonance and the contemporary appeal of ‘The Waste Land’ with award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson. Jeanette explains why this poetry of fragments can still speak to us so powerfully, whilst the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Scots Makar Jackie Kay, both make contributions to explore the emotional and creative impact of the poem.

Jeremy Irons reads:

The Waste Land

04The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday And Ariel Poems20170101

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part Four

Martha Kearney is joined by the acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw, who has performed ‘The Waste Land’, to explore the impact of Eliot’s language on her own life and to consider the imagery and the seductive music of his poems of spiritual struggle.

Jeremy Irons reads:

The Hollow Men

Ash Wednesday

Journey of the Magi

A Song for Simeon

Animula

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

05Four Quartets20170101

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part Five

Martha Kearney and Rory Stewart MP, ( and author of ‘The Places in Between’ – an account of a six thousand mile trek from Herat to Kabul ) discuss Rory’s unusual encounter with what Eliot regarded as the culmination of his achievement: the sequence he called the ‘Four Quartets’. Rory learned the entire poem whilst walking through Nepal. He explains why he also used language from the poem when he was campaigning in his constituency, and the importance to him of Eliot’s sense that ‘soil’ and roots matter, even in an poem about time and timelessness.

Jeremy Irons reads:

Four Quartets

With contribution from writer and MP Rory Stewart