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In Tooth and Claw

What's the relationship between nature writing and violence? Charles Foster heads to wild places to consider the tension at the heart of his favourite writing on the natural world.

What is the relationship between nature writing and violence? Writer, barrister, vet and philosopher Charles Foster takes himself off into wild places to consider a difficult and often controversial subject, meditating on the tension at the heart of his favourite writing about the natural world.

In encounters with writers and poets who focus on human relationships with the natural world, Charles teases out the threads of violence - human, animal and ecological - which run through so much nature writing and asks why we find solace and peace in places haunted by competition, destruction and death.

In Scotland, with conservationist and author Sir John Lister Kaye, he considers the apparent paradox in the life of the iconic nature writer Gavin Maxwell who, like many of his generation, both loved the natural world and was capable of slaughtering animals great and small without a second thought.

In Yorkshire, poet and secular funeral celebrant Zetta Bear explores the way the poetic and the sublime can emerge from what she sees as the essentially human desire to hunt.

Walking Hatfield Moor with his dogs, poet and writer Steve Ely explores violence, power and poaching, and the conflict in his own life and work between the desire to hunt and the desire to protect nature.

In a wood in the south west of Scotland, poet, writer and editor Em Strang considers the mirror the natural world and nature writing offer to all of us, the beauty and freedom we might find there and the dark reflection, the fear and destructiveness which we all too often encounter instead.

Additional music by Robin the Fog

Produced by Michael Umney
A Resonance production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Tue 17 Sep 2019 21:30


  • Thu 10 Jan 2019 11:30
  • Tue 17 Sep 2019 21:30