Entering the world of books
Stephen Mangan & Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, with music including the Beatles,Haydn and Thomas Adès.
Stephen Mangan & Helen Monks explore attitudes to reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda to Flaubert's Madame Bovary to “The Reading of Young Ladies” (from the American Magazine of Useful Knowledge, December 1836) “Every-one must rejoice that the education of females is considered more important than formerly … But….too much time is spent on novels, few of which are calculated to instruct or to improve”. As part of the BBC's year-long focus on literature, Words and Music takes you into the world of books.
The birth of the novel in the early 18th century and their growing popularity with female readers lead to many a male moralist worrying about what these romantic literary adventures were doing to women's expectations. Some of Emma's struggles with marriage in Flaubert's Madame Bovary are traced back to the books she reads and Jane Austen satirised the prim James Fordyce, whose Sermons for Young Women we'll hear from. Fordyce warns about books which commit: 'rank treason against the royalty of Virtue'. There's also a passage from Jilly Cooper's Riders.
Musically we'll journey from Haydn at the fortepiano, a combination Jane Austen would likely have been familiar with, to Thomas Adès' haunting take on Shakespeare's The Tempest and Dire Straits' tribute to a Lady Writer. There's also hymns to reading and writers by the 16th century composer Robert Jones and The Beatles.
'I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on in the world between the covers of books' said Dylan Thomas in his Notes on the Art of Poetry.
Producer Georgia Mann
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
There is no Frigate like a Book, read by Helen Monks
Extract from Matilda read by Stephen Mangan
Extract from Childhood Books, read by Helen Monks
Extract from Prose, read by Stephen Mangan
Robert Louis Stevenson
The Land of Story-books, read by Helen Monks
Sermons to Young Women, extract From Sermon IV: On Female Virtue, read by Stephen Mangan
Extract from Madame Bovary, read by Helen Monks
Extract from Pride and Prejudice, read by Stephen Mangan
Extract from Silly Novels by Silly Lady Novelists, read by Helen Monks
Extract from Riders, read by Stephen Mangan
Extract from The Tempest, read by Stephen Mangan
Extract from Devouring Books, from the American Annals of Education, January 1835, read by Helen Monks