Monday, June 22, 2009

Tulkinghorn's Revenge

For years I've been trying to get someone -- anyone -- to share my enthusiasm for the BBC Radio 4 series (available by podcast as well as archived) "In Our Time"

Format: Three academic specialists in a narrow subject in a 45 minute discussion moderated by a well-briefed Melvyn Bragg, who pokes and prods them along as the audience's surrogate. Subjects over the last couple of months include: the trial of Charles I, Augustan Rome, the building of St. Petersburg, the vacuum of space, Baconian science.

The most recent program, "Elizabethan and Jacobean Revenge Tragedy," deals with the issues that obsess this blog: especially the connections between high and low art, violence, sex, parody, and, of course, English literature.

Not worth mentioning, perhaps, but when Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick stated -- and it can't be contradicted -- that Thomas Middleton's "The Revenger's Tragedy" bore the same relationship to "The Spanish Tragedy" by Thomas Kyd that Tarentino's movies do to Clint Eastwood films like "High Plains Drifter," I laughed aloud with pleasure.

Makes it all worth it.

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