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Living with the Poets: Life Lessons from the Romantics

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, trying to get laid’ 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.

Podcast episodes

Episode one - How to be happy

This podcast looks at happiness and how to achieve it. 

Text by John Strachan and Duncan Wu. Read by John Strachan. William Wordsworth’s "Resolution and Independence" read by John Rowe.

Episode two - How to be alone

This podcast shows us how to make the most of solitude in a noisy modern world.
 
Text by John Strachan and Duncan Wu. Read by Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus. William Wordsworth's "Daffodils" read by John Rowe.

Episode three - How to die

This podcast looks at an issue which affects us all. 

Text by John Strachan and Duncan Wu. Read by Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus. John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale" read by John Rowe. 

Episode four - On living with the Romantics

How and why are the Romantic poets of relevance in the twenty-first century?

Text by John Strachan and Duncan Wu. Read by John Strachan. Poetry read by Kate Rigby.

Episode five - How to date a man

Living with the Poets offers the first of an occasional series on dating, marriage - and divorce.

Text by Duncan Wu and John Strachan. Read by Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus. Felicia Hemans' "Gertrude, Or Fidelity Till Death" read by John Rowe.

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