Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Matthew Arnold

A Poet's Guide to Britain Episode 4 of 6

Poet and author Owen Sheers presents a series in which he explores six great works of poetry set in the British landscape. Each poem explores a sense of place and identity across Britain and opens the doors to captivating stories about the places and the lives of the poets themselves.

In 1851, a young school inspector and his wife spent a night of their honeymoon in a hotel in Dover overlooking the beach. Standing at the bedroom window and staring out at the moonlit sea, this newly-married man wrote a poem that sent a chill through his own and future generations - a poem that ends with the shocking conclusion that there is no hope, no comfort and no purpose in life.

Sheers goes in search of this poet, Matthew Arnold, and discovers what drove him to write his bleak but tremendous poem Dover Beach. He goes to Rugby School to delve into Arnold's relationship with his father, the great Victorian headmaster Dr Arnold, and visits Oxford to explore the extraordinary impact that the religious thinker John Henry Newman made on so many young people of the age. He also travels to the Swiss lake resort of Thun, where Arnold lost his heart to a mysterious woman called Marguerite.

It's the story of a rebellious young man trying to make sense of the world and includes contributions from Archbishop of Canterbury and poet Rowan Williams and rising poetry star, Daljit Nagra.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 Aug 2013 19:00

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterOwen Sheers
Executive ProducerFiona Morris
ProducerRupert Edwards
DirectorRupert Edwards

Poetry season

TS Eliot

Let poetry into your life: Explore poetry and discover our favourite poet