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Modern Culture

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 21 January 1999

Melvyn Bragg and guests debate the state of Modern Culture in the 20th century. Culture used to be a word we mocked, a concept too foreign for the stout empiricists of Britain, a species of foreign flummery. Now it is all around us. We have a ministry for it and a newspaper section boldly called Culture.

Is contemporary culture evidence of a moral and aesthetic decline in our civilisation this century? Or does it show a society richer and more diverse than it has ever been?

Will Self is one of the best known writers of his generation - celebrated as much for his erudite vocabulary as the shocking subject matter of some of his novels and short stories. Roger Scruton is one of the most celebrated philosophers of our age - known as much for his right -wing politics as for the passion with which he defends the past as a way of looking at the future. His latest book is An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture, and he prefaces it by saying:

“You don’t have to be familiar with the entire canon of western literature and full range of artistic masterpieces but you should have some familiarity with TS Eliot, Baudelaire, Mozart, Wagner, Monet, Poussin, Tennyson, Schoenberg, George Herbert, Goethe, Nietsche, and Marx.”

With Will Self, writer and novelist; Roger Scruton, novelist, philosopher and Former Professor at Birkbeck College, London.

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