New Generation Thinkers
With Peter Mackay exploring the titillating and bawdy euphemisms in Scottish Gaelic songs and Danielle Thom discussing the life, work and reputation of sculptor Joseph Nollekens.
Part of Radio 3's focus on fresh ideas this week and our partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council helping academics turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.
1. Euphemism and Eroticism in Scottish Gaelic Songs
Dr Peter Mackay takes us on a romp through the titillating, bawdy and sometimes downright filthy Scottish Gaelic songs. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a tendency to clean up Gaelic poetry and censor the undesirable elements, often with religious motivation. But even the most celebrated Gaelic poets wrote verse that was exuberantly and excessively rude and there is an oral tradition of obscene and euphemistic songs. Peter teases out the suggestive references taking us from the Isle of Skye through the rabble-rousing ceilidh house to the work of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns.
Dr Peter Mackay is Lecturer in English at the University of St Andrews
Producer: Clare Walker
2. Reappraising Nollekens
Joseph Nollekens was one of the most revered and prolific sculptors of the eighteenth century. His monuments, portraits busts and sculptures capture the leading politicians and celebrities of his age, inlcuding Dr Johnson, William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox and he died enormously rich. But when a disgruntled assistant wrote a malicious biography claiming he was a miser, an eccentric and a fool, Nollekens' reputation was badly tarnished. Dr Danielle Thom sets out to rescue Nollekens from relative obscurity and restore him to his rightful place in the history of English sculpture.
Dr Danielle Thom is curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, specialising in 18th century art.
Producer: Julia Johnson.