The major texts of Western culture are a gateway to wisdom that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways. And now you can examine its most important works - whether drama, poetry, or narrative - in this series of 64 penetrating lectures that reveal astonishing common ground.
"A great intoduction"
Orley Farm, described as a "[B]rilliantly choreographed legal thriller" (Mail on Sunday), centres on the pathos of the main character, Lady Mason. Youthful marriage choices, middle-aged marital crisis, love and loss revolve around the legal action and the complex portrayal of Lady Mason, who is both sympathetic and wily.
William Shakespeare is of course England's greatest play right and revered the World over. The Merchant of Venice is a masterly tale and is on a par with many of his other works. In his creation of Venice Shakespeare revels in his characters and story. Perhaps best well known for the creation of the character Shylock in a world of money lending the play has survived admirably down the years. This play is performed by a quite magnificent cast and in the lead role of Shylock we have Michael Redgrave.
Featuring a fictional version of himself - 'Marcel' - and a host of friends, acquaintances, and lovers, In Search of Lost Time is Proust's search for the key to the mysteries of memory, time, and consciousness. As he recalls his childhood days, the sad affair of Charles Swann and Odette de Crecy, his transition to manhood, the tortures of love and the ravages of war, he realises that the simplest of discoveries can lead to astonishing possibilities.
"BBC does Proust proud"
Twelfth Night, nowadays one of Shakespeare's best-loved and most-admired comedies, was not always so regarded: Samuel Pepys saw the play three times in the 1660s and judged it 'silly'. Modern audiences, critics, and directors seem better attuned to its delicate counter pointing of romance and realism....
Frederick Jaeger stars in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the legend that has haunted the imagination of millions for over a hundred years! Summoned to the forbidden heart of the Carpathian mountains, in the depths of Transylvania, Jonathan Harker journeys to Castle Dracula. There he becomes the unwitting prisoner of the mysterious nobleman whom local legend insists is nosferatu, the vampire...
There is now no doubt that not only is Waiting for Godot the outstanding play of the 20th century, but it is also Samuel Beckett's masterpiece. Yet it is both a popular text to be studied at school and an enigma. The scene is a country road. There is a solitary tree. It is evening. Two tramp-like figures, Vladimir and Estragon, exchange words. Pull off boots. Munch a root vegetable. Two other curious characters enter. And a boy. Time passes. It is all strange yet familiar.
"Stay go leave stay...it's all the same"
A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novel of everyday provincial life in the 1820s, 'Wives and Daughters', first broadcast in the 'Woman's Hour Drama' slots from 29 November 2010 - 10 December 2010.'Wives and Daughters' was written in the 1860s and serialised in the Cornhill Magazine. It is set in the 1820s and deals to a large extent with the position of women in society.
Eight of George Bernard Shaw's most memorable plays in one splendid collection: Mrs. Warren's Profession, Arms and the Man, Candida, The Devil's Disciple, Major Barbara, The Doctor's Dilemma, Misalliance, and Pygmalion.
We find ourselves in the austerity of the 1950s, when England's aristocracy was feeling the pinch. Bertie Wooster has gone to a residential self-help school to learn how to darn his socks. Until he re-emerges, Jeeves has signed up with Bill Rowcester (pronounced Roaster), an earl who is failing to make ends meet in trade, and yearning to sell his stately home, which has charm and damp in equal measure. In his new environment Jeeves is required to exert his mammoth brain to what would be breaking point for any normal intellect.
Shakespeare's most celebrated and shortest tragedy. This cast performance is by the Marlowe Society.
Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.
"I could never marry a man called Earnest!"
Frankenstein is infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement and is also considered to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Includes introduction and commentary by Mary Shelley. Required reading for any fan of science fiction and horror genres. A classic.
Samantha Spiro, David Troughton, and Amanda Root are among the cast of this new BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Jane Austen's famous novel. Mrs Bennet is determined to see her five daughters married off and secure a future for them all. When the wealthy Mr Bingley arrives in the neighbourhood, Mrs Bennet wastes no time in making his acquaintance. His friend Mr Darcy, however, discourages Mr Bingley from marrying Jane Bennet, and also appears to snub her sister Elizabeth.
A new recording of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece, starring Calista Flockhart. Nora Helmer has everything a young housewife could want: beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a bright future. But when a carelessly buried secret rises from the past, Nora's well-calibrated domestic ideal starts to crumble. Ibsen's play is as fresh today as it was when it first stormed the stages of 19th-century Europe.
"Superfical wife, superficial controlling husband"
Chekhov's masterpiece in a full-cast performance starring Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Westfeldt, Sarah Zimmerman and Jon Hamm. Meet Olga, Masha, and Irina, warm and cultured young sisters who were reared in the exciting hubbub of Moscow, but have been living in the dull, gossipy backwaters of Russia for far too long.
Four chilling episodes from the famous 1940s BBC radio series, introduced by Valentine Dyall, AKA The Man in Black. These are the four sole surviving episodes from the BBC archive: 'The Pit and the Pendulum' by Edgar Allan Poe (18/9/1943); 'The Speaking Clock' by John Dickson Carr (13/4/1944); 'The Clock Strikes Eight' by John Dickson Carr(18/5/1944); 'And The Deep Shuddered' by Monckton Hoffe (20/11/1945). Amongst the cast are Marjorie Westbury, Marius Goring and Gladys Spencer.
George Bernard Shaw's warm and witty play continues to challenge conventional wisdom about male/female relationships. Candida concerns a beautiful married woman's choice between the two men who love her.
The passion of a coal barge captain's daughter and a handsome sailor takes a tumultuous turn when secrets from her past are revealed. Nobel Laureate Eugene O'Neill won the second of his four Pulitzer Prizes for this heroic classic.
Never has the Revolutionary War been so entertaining. Shaw stands "do or die" melodrama on its head, with a cast of unforgettable characters, from the deliciously urbane "Gentlemanly Johnny" Burgoyne, to the misguided romanticism of beautiful young Judith Anderson, to the Devil's Disciple himself, a dashing young American hero who disdains heroism, even as he makes the ultimate sacrifice for honor and country.
"Don't listen on public transport!"
Stories: 1. The Sniper, 2. The Flake, 3. The Tree, 4. Optimist, 5. Chico, 6. Home, 7. Waiting, 8. The Sermon, 9. The Window, 10. Road Train, 11. The Giant
Edward Stokes, from one the wealthiest families of Philadelphia, often impoverished himself in the illicit casinos of New York City. Associated with James Fisk in a business and cohabiting with Fisk's former mistress, he contrived with her to bring various suits for monetary awards against the Prince of Erie. When Stokes was indicted for blackmail on a charge by Fisk, he declared, "This is the end!" This drama is part of the Gouldium, a series of plays on the life and times of Jay Gould.
The following chapters are included in this audio: 1. The Intersection; 2. The Janitor; 3. Horses; 4. Space Princess; 5. The Ocean; 6. The Loser; 7. The Wall; 8. The Valley.
In this comedy of manners, Mrs. Erlynne is suspected of having an affair with Lady Windermere's husband. A misplaced fan causes further complications!