Main content

The Dating Game

Historical novelist Sarah Dunant presents a monthly dive into stories from the past that might help us make sense of today. In this episode - the complicated task of dating.

Historical novelist Sarah Dunant presents a monthly dive into stories from the past that might help us make sense of today. In this month's episode, the complex task of dating.

Sarah's going behind closed doors to eavesdrop on the most intimate of exchanges. She scrutinises moments in history when the rules of the dating game have been rewritten. From the male-centric ideals of courtly-love at the heart of medieval poetry to the uneasy collision of dating and the gender politics of the 1970s, Sarah examines the ways men and women have related to each other in this most difficult of areas, and considers how we might improve them.

As we redraw the lines today following more revelations of harassment emerge, more public confessions of guilt and more open airing of intimate encounters, Sarah asks if we can learn lessons from moments in the past when men and women renegotiated the boundaries of dating.

Presenter: Sarah Dunant
Producers: Katherine Godfrey and Nathan Gower
Executive Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

28 minutes

Contributors and Further Reading

Laura Ashe, Professor of English Literature at Oxford University

Fiction and History in England, 1066-1200

 

Guido Ruggiero, Professor of History at the University of Miami

Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage, and Power at the End of the Renaissance

 

Dr Zoe Strimpel

What The Hell Is He Thinking?

 

Dig Deep with Further Sources

 

Early Fiction in England: From Geoffrey of Monmouth to Chaucer, Laura Ashe, ed.

To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell

And Then He Kissed Me, The Crystals

Let’s Spend The Night Together, The Rolling Stones

Broadcast

Podcast