Melvyn Bragg discusses the development of Western philosophy on the subject of death and examines how it has helped to shape our culture, literature, attitudes and rituals.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Death, what the 16th century philosopher Frances Bacon called, ‘the least of all evils’. A subject which has provoked thousands of reflections which live on: How has the perception, dread or even desire for our own endings shaped the development of the culture of Europe and the West, from funeral rituals to Gothic novels, to the Aids fiction and fact of today. From the celebration of the passage of a soul to the grief of the loss of a body. And how have different eras addressed the essential existential problems that death presents us with?With Jonathan Dollimore, Professor of English, York University; Thomas Lynch, poet, essayist, funeral director and author of The Undertaking - Life Studies from the Dismal Trade; Marilyn Butler, Professor of English Literature and Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.