In Our TimeAuthor: BBC Radio 4
16 Jan 2022

In Our Time

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas, people and events that have shaped our world.

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    Thomas Hardy's Poetry

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Thomas Hardy (1840 -1928) and his commitment to poetry, which he prized far above his novels. In the 1890s, once he had earned enough from his fiction, Hardy stopped writing novels altogether and returned to the poetry he had largely put aside since his twenties. He hoped that he might be ranked one day alongside Shelley and Byron, worthy of inclusion in a collection such as Palgrave's Golden Treasury which had inspired him. Hardy kept writing poems for the rest of his life, in different styles and metres, and he explored genres from nature, to war, to epic. Among his best known are what he called his Poems of 1912 to 13, responding to his grief at the death of his first wife, Emma (1840 -1912), who he credited as the one who had made it possible for him to leave his work as an architect's clerk and to write the novels that made him famous. With Mark Ford Poet, and Professor of English and American Literature, University College London. Jane Thomas Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Hull and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds And Tim Armstrong Professor of Modern English and American Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London Producer: Simon Tillotson

  • Posted on 13 Jan 2022

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    Fritz Lang

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Austrian-born film director Fritz Lang (1890-1976), who was one of the most celebrated film-makers of the 20th century. He worked first in Weimar Germany, creating a range of films including the startling and subversive Mabuse the Gambler and the iconic but ruinously expensive Metropolis before arguably his masterpiece, M, with both the police and the underworld hunting for a child killer in Berlin, his first film with sound. The rise of the Nazis prompted Lang's move to Hollywood where he developed some of his Weimar themes in memorable and disturbing films such as Fury and The Big Heat. With Stella Bruzzi Professor of Film and Dean of Arts and Humanities at University College London Joe McElhaney Professor of Film Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York And Iris Luppa Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the Division of Film and Media at London South Bank University Producer: Simon Tillotson

  • Posted on 30 Dec 2021

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    The Hittites

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the empire that flourished in the Late Bronze Age in what is now Turkey, and which, like others at that time, mysteriously collapsed. For the next three thousand years these people of the Land of Hatti, as they called themselves, were known only by small references to their Iron Age descendants in the Old Testament and by unexplained remains in their former territory. Discoveries in their capital of Hattusa just over a century ago brought them back to prominence, including cuneiform tablets such as one (pictured above) which relates to an agreement with their rivals, the Egyptians. This agreement has since become popularly known as the Treaty of Kadesh and described as the oldest recorded peace treaty that survives to this day, said to have followed a great chariot battle with Egypt in 1274 BC near the Orontes River in northern Syria. With Claudia Glatz Professor of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow Ilgi Gercek Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and History at Bilkent University And Christoph Bachhuber Lecturer in Archaeology at St John’s College, University of Oxford Producer: Simon Tillotson

  • Posted on 23 Dec 2021

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    A Christmas Carol

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Charles Dickens' novella, written in 1843 when he was 31, which has become intertwined with his reputation and with Christmas itself. Ebenezer Scrooge is the miserly everyman figure whose joyless obsession with money severs him from society and his own emotions, and he is only saved after recalling his lonely past, seeing what he is missing now and being warned of his future, all under the guidance of the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet To Come. Redeemed, Scrooge comes to care in particular about one of the many minor characters in the story who make a great impact, namely Tiny Tim, the disabled child of the poor and warm-hearted Cratchit family, with his cry, "God bless us, every one!" With Juliet John Professor of English Literature and Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at City, University of London Jon Mee Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York And Dinah Birch Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement and Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool Producer: Simon Tillotson

  • Posted on 16 Dec 2021

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    The May Fourth Movement

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the violent protests in China on 4th May 1919 over the nation's humiliation in the Versailles Treaty after World War One. China had supported the Allies, sending workers to dig trenches, and expected to regain the German colonies on its territory, but the Allies and China's leaders chose to give that land to Japan instead. To protestors, this was a travesty and reflected much that was wrong with China, with its corrupt leaders, division by warlords, weakness before Imperial Europe and outdated ideas and values. The movement around 4th May has since been seen as a watershed in China’s development in the 20th century, not least as some of those connected with the movement went on to found the Communist Party of China a few years later. The image above is of students from Peking University marching with banners during the May Fourth demonstrations in 1919. With Rana Mitter Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford Elisabeth Forster Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Southampton And Song-Chuan Chen Associate Professor in History at the University of Warwick Producer: Simon Tillotson

  • Posted on 09 Dec 2021

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