"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", or so the old cliché goes. But do we merely see beauty, and why does our appreciation of beautiful things and people differ so radically in different times and different places? On Night Waves Isabel Hilton talks to Stephen Bayley, curator of a new show of beautiful objects at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and to Professor Sander Gilman who has been studying our changing appreciation of human beauty and our increasing willingness to interfere in the processes of nature.
Richard Mabey is one of this country's best know nature writers. He had just finished his award winning Flora Britannica when he fell into deep depression and found himself exiled from his profound appreciation of the countryside. He moved from the Chilterns to the flat wet lands of East Anglia where he slowly made a recovery and wrote his new book Nature Cure. In Night Waves, Isabel Hilton meets Richard Mabey in his East Anglia home and visits one of his local fens to talk about his relationship to nature and about nature's role in his recovery.
2005 marks the centennial anniversary of the publication of The Tower of London, the book which helped launch the extraordinary literary career of the Japanese writer Natsume Soseki. Damian Flanagan offers an appreciation of Soseki and explains the influence of London on Japan's most famous writer.
Also on the programme, the award winning young poet John Stammers reads from his latest collection, Stolen Love Behaviour.
Night Waves, live at 9.30pm here on BBC Radio 3.
Presenter: Isabel Hilton Producer: Anthony Denselow