Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Word Girl

From Mary to Maeve, Lydia to Laura, and from Oriana all the way to a boy named Sue, the weekly sequence of music and verse makes play with the words we use to name the female sex.

From Mary to Matilda, Lydia to Laura, and Oriana all the way to a boy named Sue, the weekly sequence of music and verse makes play with the words we use to name the female sex. Readings include verse by Petrarch, Lorca, DH Lawrence, John Clare and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning - plus the odd limerick.

First broadcast in October 2011.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sun 7 Jul 2013 18:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Henry Austin Dobson

    A Ballad of Names, reader John Shrapnel

  • 00:01

    Gerald Finzi

    Who is Sylvia?

    Performer: Roderick Williams (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano)

    • Naxos.
    • 8.557644.
    • 8.
  • Dinah Craik

    My Christian Name, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:05

    Gabriel Fauré

    Lydia, from 2 Songs Op.4

    Performer: Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto), Catherine Collard (piano)

    • RCA.
    • 09026 -61439-2.
    • 4.
  • D. H. Lawrence

    Henriette, reader John Shrapnel

  • 00:08

    Cole Porter

    Where is the Life that Late I Led

    Performer: Howard Keel (baritone)

    • CBS.
    • AK-46196.
    • 13.
  • Federico García Lorca, trans. Robert Nasatir

    Balcony (La Lola), reader John Shrapnel

  • 00:13

    The Kinks


    • Sanctuary.
    • SANDD109.
  • Hilaire Belloc

    Matilda, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:19

    Kurt Weill

    The Saga of Jenny

    Performer: Lotte Lenya (voice), Maurice Levine (conductor)

    • Sony Classical.
    • MHK-60647.
  • Nora Perry

    Jenny, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:25

    Robert Schumann

    Abegg Variations Op.1

    Performer: Imogen Cooper (piano)

    • Ottavo.
    • OTR C-39027.
  • John Clare

    Her maiden name was Eleanor, reader John Shrapnel

  • 00:35

    Giulio Caccini

    Amarilli mia bella

    Performer: Johanette Zomer (soprano), Fred Jacobs (lute)

    • Channel Classics.
    • CCS-SEL-5810.
    • 1.
  • Francesco Petrarch, trans. Mark Musa

    Sonnet No. 5, reader John Shrapnel

  • 00:39

    Thomas Weelkes

    As Vesta was from Latmos hill

    Performer: King’s Singers

    • EM Records.
    • 0299-001.
    • 18.
  • William Thompson

    On writing Laura’s name in the snow, readers Romola Garai and John Shrapnel

  • 00:43

    Edward Elgar

    'Dorabella', from 'Enigma' Variations

    Performer: Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit (conductor)

    • Decca.
    • 430-241-2.
    • 11.
  • Mary Lamb

    Choosing a Name, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:47

    Johnny Cash

    A Boy Named Sue

    Composer: Shel Silverstein

    • Columbia.
    • 4681162.
    • 11.
  • William Pattison

    Written with a penknife on a tree , reader John Shrapnel

  • William Pattison

    On a drunkard’s writing his mistress’s name on a drinking-glass, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:51

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Adelaide Op.46 For Voice And Piano

    Performer: Dietrich Henschel (baritone), Michael Schafer (piano)

    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • HMC-901801.
  • Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

    The Pet-name, reader Romola Garai

  • 00:59


    O Maria Magdelena

    Performer: Jennie Cassidy (contralto)

    • Avie.
    • AV-0026.
    • 13.
  • Maurice Francis Egan

    Ave, Maria, reader John Shrapnel

  • 01:02

    Claudio Monteverdi

    Vespro della Beata Vergine [1610]

    Performer: Tessa Bonner (soprano), Taverner Players, Andrew Parrott (conductor)

    • Virgin Classics.
    • 561 347 2.
  • Anonymous

    A limerick, reader Romola Garai

  • 01:09

    Scritti Politti

    The Word Girl

    Composer: Green Gartside & David Gamson

    • Virgin.
    • CDV-2350.


The hidden history of plant-based diets

The hidden history of plant-based diets

Forget social media influencers - the meat-free movement started with the Victorians.

Books website

Books website

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.