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Nandini Das, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture at Oxford, brings us stories and personal experiences of rain and the way it informs and combines with different cultures across the globe. Each of the five essays takes a particular sense and location as focus, beginning with Nandini's native India and the sound of rainfall. She recalls…
 
Catherine Pepinster, Kate Kennedy, Tim Stanley and New Generation Thinker Dafydd Mills Daniel join Rana Mitter to look at the poet, theologian and now Saint John Henry. The programme marks 175 years since Newman's conversion from the high church tradition of Anglicanism and the Oxford Movement to the Catholic faith on 23 Feb 1846, with a conversati…
 
New Generation Thinker Dr Islam Issa has a strong cultural attachment to the Balcony. In his native Egypt, the place where architectural historians believe the balcony was first developed, the balcony is a pivotal part of family homes, a place that blurs the line between private and public living. He recalls it being a place that linked communities…
 
Kate Molleson talks to the pianist Anne Queffelec about one of her life’s passions, Satie, the clarity she observes in French music, and how writing is helping her during lockdown.The musicologist Jillian C. Rogers, author of a new book ‘Resonant Recoveries: French Music and Trauma Between the World Wars’, describes how sound played a role in heali…
 
This week, Ian and his guests examine writing about fashion and explore the language woven into fabric, with Kassia St Clair, Linda Grant, Amy Key and Lettie Precious.Kassia St Clair is the author of 'The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History', a book that illustrates just how important textile technology has been to our human story, and shows …
 
Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis present the week via topical stand-up and sketches in front of a remote audience - and all from their own home!In the first show of the new series, they are joined by Jessica Fostekew who relays her time volunteering in a vaccination centre. Ken Cheng talks about his experiences as a Chinese Briton plus music from Beardym…
 
Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most gifted and versatile musicians the world has ever seen. As a child prodigy he was likened to Mozart and he grew to become one of the most famous and beloved composers in Europe, during the middle of the 19th century. His life was cut tragically short, at the age of 38, while he was at the very height of his pow…
 
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand focus on the heart, which has been branded the seat of emotion by generations of poets and songwriters.They find out whether it’s medically possible to…
 
Shahidha Bari is joined by Lisa Downing, Stuart Elden, and Stephen Shapiro to read volume 4 of Foucault's History of Sexuality, translated into English for the first time, which examines beliefs and practices among the early Christians in Medieval Europe. Although he had specified in his will that his works shouldn't be published after he died (in …
 
On Thursday, The UN Environmental Programme published a report called Making Peace With Nature. It attempts to synthesise vast amounts of scientific knowledge and communicate “how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals”. But it also offers clear and digestible…
 
Joanna Bourke is an historian whose previous work has looked at fear, pain, sexual violence and dismemberment. Her new book is a history and examination of bestiality and zoophilia, tracing our changing understandings from Leviticus, to modern psychiatry, the animal rights movement, and beyond.Anna Tsing's book The Mushroom at the End of the World …
 
63 Wycliffe Road is an ordinary house on a quiet South London street, but in 1956, it becomes famous as the site of an alleged poltergeist. The strange events focus around teenager Shirley Hitchings – but is it a haunting or hoax? Ghost hunter Harold Chibbett arrives to investigate.This series blends drama and documentary to explore an intriguing p…
 
Errollyn Wallen unravels the story of how classical music fused with local musical traditions across the British Commonwealth, speaking to acclaimed conductor Zubin Mehta, soprano Patricia Rozario, composer and kora player Tunde Jegede and others.Errollyn explores the remarkable musical hybrids that emerged in Nigeria, India and the Caribbean, as w…
 
Studies began life as an aid in the struggle to master the piano within the human limitations of two hands and ten fingers. But from being the bane of many a pianist's life and a means of selling more pianos, these arid technical exercises flowered into some of the greatest music written for piano from Chopin, though Debussy to György Ligeti. And i…
 
Tom Service is joined by the artist Edmund de Waal and composer Martin Suckling as they discuss the relationships between the crafts of porcelain and contemporary composition. We hear how Edmund’s book, The White Road, and his work as a master potter, inspired Martin to pen his flute concerto. The American composer, John Corigliano, speaks to Tom a…
 
Guilty pleasure. Airport novel. Holiday reading.The language used to describe crime fiction often suggests that there's something throwaway in the ability to craft a gripping story that keeps the reader guessing. There's a suggestion that creating"a page-turner" is something of a lesser skill when it comes to writing. Creeping up on that idea from …
 
A satirical review of the week's news with Andy Zaltzman and guests Andrew Maxwell, Ayesha Hazarika, Scott Bennett and Kiri Pritchard-McLeanIt's the last in the current series and there are pressing issues on the agenda from climate change to the story of an incorrectly measured man.Written by Andy Zaltzman with additional material from Alice Frase…
 
Overcoming long term illness, controlling her money and eloping to revolutionary Italy: Fiona Sampson's new biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning focuses on her as someone interested in inventing herself - not as an ailing romantic heroine. Peggy Reynolds began her academic career studying Browning's long poem Aurora Leigh. She's been reading abo…
 
Donald Macleod finds connections between Mozart’s operas and the composer’s own lifeBorn in 1756, the theatre was a life-long passion for Mozart. Starting at the tender age of just 11, in the space of 22 years he produced an astonishing 24 theatrical works. His destiny was to follow in his father’s footsteps, as a court musician. Instead, by 1781, …
 
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