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Beautiful Beasts: The Call of the Wild

In her fourth lecture using themes from mythology to present a critique of modern Britain, Marina Warner examines the changing value of the animal, from King Kong to the teddy bear

This year's Reith lecturer is the Booker prize-nominated author Marina Warner. A writer of fiction, criticism and history, her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols, and fairytales. Her series of Reith Lectures entitled 'Managing Monsters' explore how myths express and shape our attitudes.

The desire for closeness to animal power may still stimulate the breeding of fighting dogs, but it also drives the rise in the variety of soft toys. Even dinosaurs are transformed by plush fabric and stuffing into reassuring, cuddly, domestic creatures and nursery talismans. Marina Warner examines the ancient, mythological roots of the symbolic value of the wild and looks at how these are intertwined with the definition of humanity's virtue.

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30 minutes

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