260 episodes

Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society.

In Our Time: Culture BBC Radio 4

    • History
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society.

    Wilfred Owen

    Wilfred Owen

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the celebrated British poet of World War One. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) had published only a handful of poems when he was killed a week before the end of the war, but in later decades he became seen as the essential British war poet. His works such as Anthem for Doomed Youth, Strange Meeting and Dulce et Decorum Est went on to be inseparable from the memory of the war and its futility. However, while Owen is best known for his poetry of the trenches, his letters offer a more nuanced insight into him such as his pride in being an officer in charge of others and in being a soldier who fought alongside his comrades.

    With

    Jane Potter
    Reader in The School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University

    Fran Brearton
    Professor of Modern Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast

    And

    Guy Cuthbertson
    Professor of British Literature and Culture at Liverpool Hope University

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 56 min
    Berthe Morisot

    Berthe Morisot

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the influential painters at the heart of the French Impressionist movement: Berthe Morisot (1841-1895). The men in her circle could freely paint in busy bars and public spaces, while Morisot captured the domestic world and found new, daring ways to paint quickly in the open air. Her work shows women as they were, to her: informal, unguarded, and not transformed or distorted for the eyes of men. The image above is one of her few self-portraits, though several portraits of her survive by other artists, chiefly her sister Edma and her brother-in-law Edouard Manet.

    With

    Tamar Garb
    Professor of History of Art at University College London


    Lois Oliver
    Curator at the Royal Academy and Adjunct Professor of Art History at the American University of Notre Dame London.

    And

    Claire Moran
    Reader in French at Queen's University Belfast

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 1 hr
    Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss George Orwell's (1903-1950) final novel, published in 1949, set in a dystopian London which is now found in Airstrip One, part of the totalitarian superstate of Oceania which is always at war and where the protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth as a rewriter of history: 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' The influence of Orwell's novel is immeasurable, highlighting threats to personal freedom with concepts he named such as doublespeak, thoughtcrime, Room 101, Big Brother, memory hole and thought police.

    With

    David Dwan
    Professor of English Literature and Intellectual History at the University of Oxford

    Lisa Mullen
    Teaching Associate in Modern Contemporary Literature at the University of Cambridge

    And

    John Bowen
    Professor of English Literature at the University of York

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 52 min
    John Bull

    John Bull

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origin of this personification of the English everyman and his development as both British and Britain in the following centuries. He first appeared along with Lewis Baboon (French) and Nicholas Frog (Dutch) in 1712 in a pamphlet that satirised the funding of the War of the Spanish Succession. The author was John Arbuthnot (1667-1735), a Scottish doctor and satirist who was part of the circle of Swift and Pope, and his John Bull was the English voter, overwhelmed by taxes that went not so much into the war itself but into the pockets of its financiers. For the next two centuries, Arbuthnot’s John Bull was a gift for cartoonists and satirists, especially when they wanted to ridicule British governments for taking advantage of the people’s patriotism.

    The image above is by William Charles, a Scottish engraver who emigrated to the United States, and dates from 1814 during the Anglo-American War of 1812.

    With

    Judith Hawley
    Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London

    Miles Taylor
    Professor of British History and Society at Humboldt, University of Berlin

    And

    Mark Knights
    Professor of History at the University of Warwick

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 53 min
    Dylan Thomas

    Dylan Thomas

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the celebrated Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas (1914 - 1953). He wrote some of his best poems before he was twenty in the first half of his short, remarkable life, and was prolific in the second half too with poems such as those set in London under the Blitz and reworkings of his childhood in Swansea, and his famous radio play Under Milk Wood (performed after his death). He was read widely and widely heard: with his reading tours in America and recordings of his works that sold in their hundreds of thousands after his death, he is credited with reviving the act of poetry as performance in the 20th century.

    With

    Nerys Williams
    Associate Professor of Poetry and Poetics at University College Dublin

    John Goodby
    Professor of Arts and Culture at Sheffield Hallam University

    And

    Leo Mellor
    The Roma Gill Fellow in English at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 50 min
    Tang Era Poetry

    Tang Era Poetry

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss two of China’s greatest poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, who wrote in the 8th century in the Tang Era. Li Bai (701-762AD) is known for personal poems, many of them about drinking wine, and for finding the enjoyment in life. Du Fu (712-770AD), a few years younger, is more of an everyman, writing in the upheaval of the An Lushan Rebellion (755-763AD). Together they have been a central part of Chinese culture for over a millennium, reflecting the balance between the individual and the public life, and one sign of their enduring appeal is that there is rarely agreement on which of them is the greater.

    The image above is intended to depict Du Fu.

    With

    Tim Barrett
    Professor Emeritus of East Asian History at SOAS, University of London

    Tian Yuan Tan
    Shaw Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at University College

    And

    Frances Wood
    Former Curator of the Chinese Collections at the British Library

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 46 min

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victorvic20 ,

The best podcast.

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Prof Mihaela Nestor
Bucharest

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