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Living in the Mind

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 27 November 2010

Mark Tully examines the skill of 'Living in the mind'.

This programme was inspired by a recent interview in which publisher and author Diana Athill mentioned that now she is in her nineties, she spends much more of her time 'living in the mind'.

Diana is an important figure in the literary world, who took to writing her own novels late in life and still leads a lively existence. However, as she gets older, she is less active than she used to be and enjoys the time she spends allowing her imagination and her intellect to range free. But what exactly is the life of the mind? And what are its rewards?

Mark Tully talks to Diana and examines this very particular skill with readings of poetry by Keats, Tennyson and DH Lawrence and music by Haydn, Bernstein and Tom Waits.

The readers are Derek Jacobi and Isla Blair.

  • Music

    Music 1: ‘22nd Symphony: I: Adagio’ by Haydn. From ‘Haydn: Symphony 22, 86 & 102’. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and performed by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

    Music 2: ‘Explanations Come to an End’ by Steve Reich. From ‘You Are (Variations)’. Conducted by Grant Ghershon and performed by Los Angeles Master Chorale.

    Music 3: ‘Innisfree’ by Annuna. From ‘Essential Anuna’.

    Music 4: ‘Serenade (After Plato: Sympsium)’ by Leonard Bernstein. From ‘Beethoven: Bernstein: Hilary Hahn’. Conducted by David Zinman and performed by Hilary Hahn and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

    Music 5: ‘All the World is Green’ by Tom Waits. From ‘Blood Money’.

  • Readings

    Reading 1: ‘The Poet’s Mind’ from ‘Poems of Tennyson’ by Tennyson. Published by Oxford University Press.

    Reading 2: ‘The Secrets of the Old’ from ‘Collected Poems’ by W.B. Yeats. Published by Picador.

    Reading 3: ‘The Heart of Things’ by A.C Grayling. Published by Weiderfeld & Nicholson

    Reading 4: ‘When I have Fears’ from ‘Complete Political Works’ by John Keats. Published by Oxford University Press

    Reading 5: ‘Thought’ from ‘Last Poems’ by D.H. Lawrence.


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