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Journalist Remona Aly unearths tales of metamorphosis which reveal much about the human condition - the fear, hope and aspiration in our ever-changing lives.

Stories of metamorphosis have always captivated journalist Remona Aly. They are woven with enduring truths, moral lessons and provocative challenges.

Tales of metamorphosis can be both glorious and sinister, influential and cautionary. In this episode of Something Understood, Remona argues that these tales profoundly impact our collective psyche, revealing the story of the human experience.

The poetry of John Keats and the words of the Quran remind Remona how metamorphosis can reveal our darker nature. Metamorphosis is a recurring theme in Hinduism too with Lord Krishna confiding in his warrior friend Arjuna, "For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain."

The episode features musical selections from Tchaikovsky and Van Morrison which underpin how metamorphosis can be part of life's purpose, moving away from stasis and encouraging reform, renewal and reflection.

The readers are Rachel Atkins, Laurence Kennedy and Max O'Brien.

Special thanks to Mandeep Moore for her Punjabi translation of Jind Kaur.

Presenter: Remona Aly
Producer: Jonathan O'Sullivan
A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 26 Nov 2017 06:05

Music Played

  • Lata Mangeshkar

    Pyar Kiya To Daarna Kya

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Swan Lake (Suite), Op.20a, TH219: 1.Scene - Swan Theme

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Ailbhe Reddy

    Flesh and Blood

  • Raihan

    99 Names

  • Van Morrison



Title: The Complete Poems

Author: John Keats

Publisher: Penguin Classics


Title: The Quran

Publisher: OUP Oxford


Title: The Bhagavad Gita

Publisher: Nilgiri Press


Title: Matharat al-Qulub / Purification of the Heart

Author: Imam al-Mawlud / Hamza Yusef

Publisher: Starlatch Press


Title: Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Publisher: Alma Classics


Title: Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation

Author: Ovid

Publisher: Penguin Classics


Title: The Woman Who Was Marble

Author: Dorothy E Reid

Publisher: AMS Press


Title: The Bible

Publisher: OUP Oxford

Title: Winnie the Pooh

Author: AA Milne

Publisher: Curtis Brown