Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Beryl Bainbridge

Episode 2 of 5

In the next in our series on the art of dying, the novelist Beryl Bainbridge who has just died reflects on how the notion of death influenced both her life and work.

The next in our series of essays on the art of dying is by the distinguished novelist Beryl Bainbridge, who has just passed away. Scheduled before news of her death was known, this thought-provoking piece, looks back at how the notion of dying overshadowed Bainbridge's own life, from her wartime childhood to her adult brush with death, and reveals the hopes and expectations she had for her own demise.

Death is the one subject we shy away from, and in our frantic obsession with prolonging our lives, the notion of 'a good death' seems to have lost its relevance. Yet, the art of dying has been a defining notion throughout history. In these five frank and powerful essays, writers and thinkers ponder the art of dying, and confront taboos around death. They will look at what makes a 'good death' today - is it merely having lived a good life, or is there something intrinsically important in dying well? And, now that our own deaths tend to occur in the sterile surroundings of a hospital ward, rather than at home surrounded by those we love, will reflect on how this distancing from death, and loss of control over our demise, has changed our relationship with dying. With references to the portrayal of death in literature, history and religion, as well as personal reflections on hopes and expectations of death, these essays will give five very different perspectives on the art of dying.

15 minutes


The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

Download The Essay

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.