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Keats, Michael Chabon, The Ash Tree

Matthew Sweet examines a new biography of John Keats that offers a reassessment of the celebrated romantic poet as a tragic figure.

John Keats: A New Life
Nicholas Roe's new biography of celebrated romantic poet John Keats offers a fresh reassessment of him as a tragic figure, with new keys to his artistic quest. Roe is the first biographer to provide a full and fresh account of Keats's childhood in the City of London and how it came to shape him.

John Keats: A New Life is published by Yale University Press

Michael Chabon
The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist discusses his new novel Telegraph Avenue and reflects on the joys and perils of nostalgia; his fascination with Dr Who, and what Barack Obama has in common with Sherlock Holmes.

Telegraph Avenue is published by Fourth Estate.

The Ash Tree
A devastating new fungus could mean the end of the ash tree in the UK, with fears that it's about to have a Dutch Elm-style crisis. The disease, 'chalara', has already devastated parts of Europe - 90% of all of Denmark's ash trees have been wiped out in the last seven years. Campaigners are calling for an immediate ban on all imported ash saplings from infected areas, but the disease has already been found in newly planted trees in several parts of the UK. A government consultation on the threat to the ash is underway and will report back next week. With 30% of all of the UK's trees being ash, their death would leave a huge hole in our landscape. But with the ash tree being such an important part of European myths - what hole would the death of this fabled tree leave in our cultural landscape? Matthew Sweet talks to the novelist AS Byatt and Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool, Alexandra Harris, about the tree known as the world ash.

Available now

45 minutes


  • Mon 15 Oct 2012 22:00

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