The Idea of West
A sequence of poetry, prose and music on the idea of west and the West, with readings by Olivia Williams and Sean Arnold.
Olivia Williams and Sean Arnold with poetry, prose and music on the idea of west, and the West - powerful concepts in many cultures.
In English and Irish thought the west is associated with happiness, the 'land of lost content', the Celtic land of eternal youth. The sun sets in the west, and our western edge is a seemingly endless ocean.
But what if we follow the sun? In America the west was certainly still the promised land for several centuries, though today the mythology is (to say the least) questioned.
From Russia and the Middle East, the West - and Western attitudes - look rather different.
And there's another recurring association of the west in Western thought... death. But a fascinatingly positive view of death.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Stepping Westward, readers Olivia Williams and Sean Arnold
The West Wind, reader Sean Arnold
Anon (14th c), translated by Bella Millett
The Land of Cockaygne (excerpt), reader Olivia Williams
W B Yeats
The Shadowy Waters (excerpt), readers Olivia Williams and Sean Arnold
W B Yeats
The Wanderings of Oisin (excerpt), reader Olivia Williams
Christopher Columbus (excerpt), reader Sean Arnold
Bishop George Berkeley
Verses on the Prospect of Planting Art and Learning in America, reader Olivia Williams
American slogans and epithets, readers Sean Arnold, Olivia Williams and others
Out Where The West Begins, reader Sean Arnold
The Prairie, reader Olivia Williams. (Excerpt from 'Westward', available in 'The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt', permission granted by The Estate of Amy Clampitt)
excerpt from an interview in Washington (DC), 1879, reader Sean Arnold
Jalal Al-e Ahmad, translated from Farsi by John Green and Ahmad Alizadeh
Gharbzadegi (Westoxification, excerpt), reader Olivia Williams
Mozaffar al-Nawwab, translated from Arabic by Carol Bardenstein and Saadi A. Simawe
Bridge of Old Wonders (excerpt), reader Sean Arnold
excerpt from a speech given at Harvard, 8 June 1978, reader Sean Arnold
A E Housman
New Year’s Eve, reader Olivia Williams
J R R Tolkien
The Return of the King (excerpt), reader Olivia Williams
W E Henley
Margaritae Sorori (To [in memory of] his Sister Margaret), reader Sean Arnold
‘On this wondrous sea...’, reader Olivia Williams