Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Jane Austen’s last complete novel, which was published just before Christmas in 1817, five months after her death. It is the story of Anne Elliot, now 27 and (so we are told), losing her bloom, and of her feelings for Captain Wentworth who she was engaged to, 8 years before – an engagement she broke off under pressure from her father and godmother. When Wentworth, by chance, comes back into Anne Elliot's life, he is still angry with her and neither she nor Austen's readers can know whether it is now too late for their thwarted love to have a second chance.
The image above is from a 1995 BBC adaptation of the novel, with Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds
Vice-Chancellor of Durham University
Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford
Associate Professor of English Literature and Book History at the University of Reading
Producer: Simon Tillotson
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Virginia Woolf's highly influential essay on women and literature, which considers both literary history and future opportunity.
In 1928 Woolf gave two lectures at Cambridge University about women and fiction. In front of an audience at Newnham College, she...
In 1957 Stevie Smith published a poetry collection called Not Waving But Drowning – and its title poem gave us a phrase which has entered the language.
Its success has overshadowed her wider work as the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry and three novels, mostly written...
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Donne (1573-1631), known now as one of England’s finest poets of love and notable in his own time as an astonishing preacher. He was born a Catholic in a Protestant country and, when he married Anne More without her father's knowledge, Donne lost his job in the...