Emilia Fox and Jamie Glover read a selection of poetry and prose exploring some of literature's most chilling supernatural hauntings - but also the idea of being haunted by a lover, the past or a place. Berlioz's 'Dies irae' from his 'Symphonie Fantastique' opens the programme - a piece haunted by the composer's vision of female perfection - followed by arguably the most famous haunted character in literary history, Shakespeare's Hamlet, reflecting on the appearance of his father's spirit. Thomas Hardy's 'The Haunter' and D.H Lawrence's 'Silence' capture the melancholy of being haunted by the memory of a loved one, while Shirley Jackson's 'The Haunting of Hill House' and Edgar Allan's Poe's 'The Haunted Palace' provide unsettling examples of haunted house literature. In Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice', his anti-hero Aschenbach wanders the labyrinthine Venetian streets, haunted by an obsessive sexual impulse; we hear Benjamin Britten's otherworldly musical imagining of the tale. And in Tennyson's poem 'A Spirit Haunts the Year's Last Hours' and Sir Arnold Bax's 'Into the Twilight', we glimpse nature in its haunted state: with the fading autumnal moments of the year, the spectral approach of winter and the growing shadows of the evening.
First broadcast in March 2012.