How can nineteenth-century poets such as Wordsworth, Keats and Byron help us live our lives in the twenty-first century?
The Romantics? Head-in-the-skies figures, musing on daffodils and skylarks, strolling in the Lake District or "wandering around Italy in a big shirt", as Blackadder has it – in short, they had no knowledge of real life.
In this podcast, Professor John Strachan and Professor Duncan Wu look to throw that assumption on the slag-heap of cultural history. Instead, they set up the Romantics as the go-to crowd if you want to know; how to be alone, how to be happy, how to be a good parent, how to be a good lover, how to be successful in life, and how to die.
This is done through analysis of the lives and works of the great writers of the period – not just Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron and Shelley but some lesser known female writers as well. The argument is that the Romantics were as passionately engaged with life as we who inhabit the twenty first century, and that they have a great deal to tell us about our own attitudes and experiences.
Created by Professor John Strachan in collaboration with Professor Duncan Wu, Georgetown University, with poetry read by distinguished actor John Rowe, Professor Jim Lloyd in The Archers.
Talks read by renowned psychologist Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus, John Strachan, and Duncan Wu, and produced by Andrei Branea.
What can the Romantics teach us? How to be alone, how to be happy, how to be a good parent, how to be a good lover, how to be successful in life, and how to die.
Episode one - How to be happy
Episode two - How to be alone
Episode three - How to die
Episode four - On living with the Romantics
Episode five - How to date a man
Episode six - How to diet
Episode seven - How to build your own Jerusalem
Episode eight - How to fail
Episode nine - How to be a good husband
Not all of the (male) Romantic poets were good husbands. Far from it, as we will hear in a future podcast. But uxuriousness was not unknown. ‘How to be a good husband’ looks at the positive side of the story.
Text by Duncan Wu; read by Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus. Poetry by William Wordsworth; read by John Strachan. Engineered by Andrei Branea.