BBC R4 In Our Time: The Tempest

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BBC R4 In Our Time: The Tempest

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Nov. 20, 2013, 12:32am

For further information, I'd recommend Jonathan Bate's website (and blog - and his books, of course!).

The Tempest

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Written in around 1610, it is thought to be one of the playwright's final works and contains some of the most poetic and memorable passages in all his output. It was influenced by accounts of distant lands written by contemporary explorers, and by the complex international politics of the early Jacobean age.

The Tempest is set entirely on an unnamed island inhabited by the magician Prospero, his daughter Miranda and the monstrous Caliban, one of the most intriguing characters in Shakespeare's output. Its themes include magic and the nature of theatre itself - and some modern critics have seen it as an early meditation on the ethics of colonialism.


Jonathan Bate
Provost of Worcester College, Oxford

Erin Sullivan
Lecturer and Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

Katherine Duncan-Jones
Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Nov. 20, 2013, 1:52pm

Aha - timely! I've been intending a re-read of The Tempest since watching the Helen-Mirren-as-Prospera version last weekend. I think I'll settle in for a tempestuous evening. Sorry about that - couldn't resist it.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Nov. 21, 2013, 7:30am

BBC R3 (I think) did a very nice dramatisation of The Tempest a few months back. It had plenty of ambience. If you can find it on the Internet, it would be an ideal way to drown out the Benjamin Britten... ;-)

Nov. 21, 2013, 8:00am

#3 - To be honest, I think I listened to that and just couldn't get into it. Now you've reminded me of it, I may hunt it up and give it another go.

There wasn't a lot new to me in the Melvyn Bragg programme, but I did quite enjoy it. Bit distracted by all the heavy breathing though - I think there were a few chest problems or what have you in the studio.

Nov. 21, 2013, 8:12am

# - There wasn't a lot new to me ...

Having said that, I'm not sure that I'm familiar with the idea of The Tempest as partly a meditation on the theatre. So that's something to think on, next time I read it - or watch. or listen.