Minds At War - Series 4

Episodes

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ESSAY-401Marcel Duchamp20170619

Heather Jones on the war connections and controversy around Marcel Duchamp's work Fountain

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five diverse creative minds of the Great War, and the experiences that shaped them. In tonight's Essay, the writer and academic Heather Jones looks at French artist Marcel Duchamp's controversial 'readymade' that he entitled 'Fountain', but which was, in effect, simply a piece of common-or-garden, off-the-shelf sanitary-ware, a men's urinal. In what way, contemporary voices asked, was this art? Yet in 2004, critics named 'Fountain' as the most important art work of the twentieth century. But why? And what was the connection to the torment and terror of the First World War which still raged as Duchamp was creating it in 1917? Heather Jones explores the meaning and the wartime associations of Duchamp's now celebrated statement of artistic intent.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

ESSAY-401Marcel Duchamp20170619

Heather Jones on the war connections and controversy around Marcel Duchamp's work Fountain

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five diverse creative minds of the Great War, and the experiences that shaped them. In tonight's Essay, the writer and academic Heather Jones looks at French artist Marcel Duchamp's controversial 'readymade' that he entitled 'Fountain', but which was, in effect, simply a piece of common-or-garden, off-the-shelf sanitary-ware, a men's urinal. In what way, contemporary voices asked, was this art? Yet in 2004, critics named 'Fountain' as the most important art work of the twentieth century. But why? And what was the connection to the torment and terror of the First World War which still raged as Duchamp was creating it in 1917? Heather Jones explores the meaning and the wartime associations of Duchamp's now celebrated statement of artistic intent.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Heather Jones on the war connections and controversy around Marcel Duchamp's work Fountain

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five diverse creative minds of the Great War, and the experiences that shaped them. In tonight's Essay, the writer and academic Heather Jones looks at French artist Marcel Duchamp's controversial 'readymade' that he entitled 'Fountain', but which was, in effect, simply a piece of common-or-garden, off-the-shelf sanitary-ware, a men's urinal. In what way, contemporary voices asked, was this art? Yet in 2004, critics named 'Fountain' as the most important art work of the twentieth century. But why? And what was the connection to the torment and terror of the First World War which still raged as Duchamp was creating it in 1917? Heather Jones explores the meaning and the wartime associations of Duchamp's now celebrated statement of artistic intent.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

ESSAY-402Gertrude Bell20170620

Tarek Osman considers the writing of Gertrude Bell.

Tarek Osman explores the words of Gertrude Bell, in this series looking at the impact of the First World War on great artists and thinkers.

Gertrude Bell, explorer, archeologist, diplomat, linguist, writer and spy was no ordinary woman. The first woman ever to be awarded a first-class degree in modern history from Oxford, she went on to become a groundbreaking mountaineer and have a Swiss peak named after her. But these were mere asides.

By 1914 she had immersed herself in the history and culture of the Levant, mastering Arabic, and forging real relationships across large swathes of the region.

As the First World War raged across Europe and the Middle East, the British Empire realised it needed her knowledge and experience. And in 1917, as Oriental Secretary in the British Commission in Baghdad, she was crucial to them, visiting dignities, poring over intelligence and military plans. The only woman in that world of men, she devised British strategy, selecting its Arab partners and drawing lines in the sand which would become the borders of new states.

As a young academic, Tarek tussled with the idea of Bell. She was symbolic of the way colonial powers had shaped his world and a voice that seemed so condescending. In this essay he explores his own conflicted relationship with her and how, as his understanding of the region grew, he developed a respect for a driven and courageous woman whose ideas and reflections remain so relevant today.

Producer Sarah Bowen.

ESSAY-403Siegfried Sassoon's Letter To The Times20170621

Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the work of five Great War artists. Tonight, Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it." So wrote the soldier-poet Siegfried Sassoon in July 1917, in a letter to the Times newspaper. "I am a soldier," he went on, "convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe this War, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest." The result was uproar - and Sassoon's subsequent confinement to Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, suffering (the authorities concluded) from shell-shock.

In tonight's Essay, Joanna Bourke re-reads Sassoon's letter of protest and examines what led up to his outspoken anti-war declaration, and what happened next.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

ESSAY-403Siegfried Sassoon's Letter To The Times20170621

Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the work of five Great War artists. Tonight, Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it." So wrote the soldier-poet Siegfried Sassoon in July 1917, in a letter to the Times newspaper. "I am a soldier," he went on, "convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe this War, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest." The result was uproar - and Sassoon's subsequent confinement to Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, suffering (the authorities concluded) from shell-shock.

In tonight's Essay, Joanna Bourke re-reads Sassoon's letter of protest and examines what led up to his outspoken anti-war declaration, and what happened next.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the work of five Great War artists. Tonight, Joanna Bourke on Siegfried Sassoon and his celebrated protest against the conflict.

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it." So wrote the soldier-poet Siegfried Sassoon in July 1917, in a letter to the Times newspaper. "I am a soldier," he went on, "convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe this War, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest." The result was uproar - and Sassoon's subsequent confinement to Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, suffering (the authorities concluded) from shell-shock.

In tonight's Essay, Joanna Bourke re-reads Sassoon's letter of protest and examines what led up to his outspoken anti-war declaration, and what happened next.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

ESSAY-404Mata Hari's Final Performance20170622

Elif Shafak on the elaborate and provocative performances and photo shoots of Mata Hari.

Before the First World War, Mata Hari's elaborate and provocative performances made her body a sensation. The artist, dancer and style icon graced La Scala, the Folies Bergère and the exclusive private salons of Europe. She was "the toast of Paris," in a skin coloured body stocking with bejewelled breast cups, enchanting, enthralling and scandalous.

In this series looking at the impact of the First World War on artists, the writer Elif Şafak examines this notorious femme fatale's act.

She explores the allure of the Oriental and attitudes to unfettered and independent women. Drawing parallels with Zulaikha, she unveils the legend of Mata Hari who, convicted for passing secrets to the enemy, faced her final performance before a firing squad on 15th October 1917.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

ESSAY-404Mata Hari's Final Performance20170622

Elif Shafak on the elaborate and provocative performances and photo shoots of Mata Hari.

Before the First World War, Mata Hari's elaborate and provocative performances made her body a sensation. The artist, dancer and style icon graced La Scala, the Folies Bergère and the exclusive private salons of Europe. She was "the toast of Paris," in a skin coloured body stocking with bejewelled breast cups, enchanting, enthralling and scandalous.

In this series looking at the impact of the First World War on artists, the writer Elif Şafak examines this notorious femme fatale's act.

She explores the allure of the Oriental and attitudes to unfettered and independent women. Drawing parallels with Zulaikha, she unveils the legend of Mata Hari who, convicted for passing secrets to the enemy, faced her final performance before a firing squad on 15th October 1917.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

Elif Shafak on the elaborate and provocative performances and photo shoots of Mata Hari.

Before the First World War, Mata Hari's elaborate and provocative performances made her body a sensation. The artist, dancer and style icon graced La Scala, the Folies Bergère and the exclusive private salons of Europe. She was "the toast of Paris," in a skin coloured body stocking with bejewelled breast cups, enchanting, enthralling and scandalous.

In this series looking at the impact of the First World War on artists, the writer Elif Şafak examines this notorious femme fatale's act.

She explores the allure of the Oriental and attitudes to unfettered and independent women. Drawing parallels with Zulaikha, she unveils the legend of Mata Hari who, convicted for passing secrets to the enemy, faced her final performance before a firing squad on 15th October 1917.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

ESSAY-405Isaac Rosenberg's Dead Man's Dump20170623

Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five Great War artists. Tonight, Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Less familiar today than his contemporaries Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Rosenberg described - as they did - the horror of war close-up: "The wheels lurched over sprawled dead / But pained them not, though their bones crunched, / Their shut mouths made no moan..." wrote Rosenberg in his great poem of 100 years ago, Dead Man's Dump. "Earth has waited for them, / All the time of their growth / Fretting for their decay: / Now she has them at last!"

In tonight's Essay, Santanu Das re-reads Rosenberg's 1917 poem, written a few months before his own death having just completed a night patrol - on April 1st 1918.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

ESSAY-405Isaac Rosenberg's Dead Man's Dump20170623

Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five Great War artists. Tonight, Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Less familiar today than his contemporaries Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Rosenberg described - as they did - the horror of war close-up: "The wheels lurched over sprawled dead / But pained them not, though their bones crunched, / Their shut mouths made no moan..." wrote Rosenberg in his great poem of 100 years ago, Dead Man's Dump. "Earth has waited for them, / All the time of their growth / Fretting for their decay: / Now she has them at last!"

In tonight's Essay, Santanu Das re-reads Rosenberg's 1917 poem, written a few months before his own death having just completed a night patrol - on April 1st 1918.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five Great War artists. Tonight, Santanu Das explores the poetic world of Bristol-born Isaac Rosenberg.

Less familiar today than his contemporaries Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Rosenberg described - as they did - the horror of war close-up: "The wheels lurched over sprawled dead / But pained them not, though their bones crunched, / Their shut mouths made no moan..." wrote Rosenberg in his great poem of 100 years ago, Dead Man's Dump. "Earth has waited for them, / All the time of their growth / Fretting for their decay: / Now she has them at last!"

In tonight's Essay, Santanu Das re-reads Rosenberg's 1917 poem, written a few months before his own death having just completed a night patrol - on April 1st 1918.

Producer: Simon Elmes.