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Prufrock and Other Observations

Join us for an extraordinary journey at the turn of the year, as Jeremy Irons reads the complete collection of T.S.Eliot’s English poems, almost in their entirety, across New Year’s Day. This celebration of Eliot’s work comes in five parts, each of which are introduced by Martha Kearney and special guests, including the actress Fiona Shaw, the writer Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart MP, and the lawyer Anthony Julius. At the end of a year in which so much that had been taken for granted seemed to fragment, our guests explain why Eliot, himself a poet of fragments, can steady us for a journey into the unknown, and for transformation. Our journey includes the ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ with its exquisite depiction of the loneliness of young man, the post-war turmoil of ‘The Waste Land’, the spiritual struggle of poems like ‘Ash-Wednesday’ - and concludes with the lucent imagery of time and possibility in the ‘Four Quartets’; there may be no better preparation for the coming year.

Part One
Martha Kearney talks to award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson about her first experience of reading T.S.Eliot and the transformative impact of his language on her as a teenager. She explains why the turn of the year is a good time to read Eliot’s work.

Jeremy Irons reads:
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Portrait of a Lady
Rhapsody on a Windy Night
Morning at the Window
The 'Boston Evening Transcript'
Aunt Helen
Cousin Nancy
Mr. Apollinax
Conversation Galante
La Figlia Che Piange

With contribution from Jeanette Winterson

Release date:

45 minutes

Last on

New Year's Day 2017 09:00

Writer Jeanette Winterson

Writer Jeanette Winterson
Image copyright Sam Churchill

Martha Kearney

Martha Kearney

How T S Eliot can help you

T S Eliot at a BBC microphone 1941

T S Eliot captured the humdrum mundanity of modern everyday life in much of his poetry.