New Generation Thinkers - The Crankiness Of Cw Daniel

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20200426Dr Elsa Richardson explores the impact and legacy of radical publisher CW Daniel.

Dr Elsa Richardson studies the history of life reform in Britain, tracking subjects which today are of mainstream importance but were, back in the early years of the 20th century seen to be the territory of eccentrics and cranks. In the process of reading about vegetarianism, herbal medicine, nudism, sunbathing and alternative forms of spirituality as conceived by writers in the early 1900s, she began to notice the significance of the publisher CW Daniel.

In this programme Elsa explores the Daniel publishing story, its roots in Tolstoyan Christianity and the way it became a hub for radical thinkers far removed from the political activism of the women's suffrage and rising Labour movement. CW Daniel's story, his arrests during the First World War for publishing pacifist material and his relationship and meeting with Leo Tolstoy towards the end of the great Russian novelists life, are extraordinary. At the heart of his publishing efforts was a periodical The Crank, which celebrated the spirit of change and progress that he and his wife to be Florence Worland, believed in so passionately.

Elsa also asks how the breadth of the Daniel's interests has fared over time. There was a renewed interest in the 70s but many of the lifestyle ideas, which seemed so radical in the 20th century are now accepted as something close to mainstream in the 21st.

Producer: Tom Alban

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