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Melvyn Bragg - Author

About the Author

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Photograph © ITV

Featured books by Melvyn Bragg

Grace and Mary

Grace and Mary

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/03/2014

Reaching from late 19th-century Cumbria to the present, this elegiac novel celebrates two spirited women: Grace, a farm labourer's daughter who fatefully followed her heart, and Mary, the child she was forced to give up. Unsung heroines according to Mary's son who, as his elderly mother's mind begins to fail, lovingly recreates their lives and the vanished country of their pasts, linking three generations in a chain of enduring love, loss and courage.

Other books by Melvyn Bragg

In Our Time Celebrating Twenty Years of Essential Conversation

In Our Time Celebrating Twenty Years of Essential Conversation

Author: Melvyn Bragg, Simon Tillotson Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

'Bragg gives short shrift to pretension of any kind, while remaining stalwart in his search for knowledge. His methodology in In Our Time is... not unlike that of a man throwing a stick at a dog: he chucks his questions ahead, and if the chosen academic fails to bring it right back, he chides them. He retains enough of his bluff Cumbrian origins not to be taken in by gambolling and tweedy high spirits.' - Will Self, from a February 2010 issue of London Review of Books In Our Time has been the cornerstone of broadcasting every Thursday morning on BBC Radio 4 for the past twenty years, with over 800 episodes since its launch in October 1998. Presented by one of Britain's greatest champions of the arts, Melvyn Bragg, the show explores ideas across history, religion, philosophy, science and culture. With a vast array of contributors from the world of academia, such as Mary Beard, Angie Hobbs and Diarmaid MacCulloch, it is one of Radio 4's most successful programmes, attracting a weekly live audience exceeding 2 million listeners, and, per episode, it is one of the world's most downloaded podcasts. To honour this majoranniversary of BBC broadcasting, this beautifully illustrated book provides a lively and colourful guide to fifty of the most captivating discussions from the past two decades of In Our Time, as chosen by Melvyn and the producer Simon Tillotson and influenced by listeners who have recommended their favourite programmes from those years. Highlights include `Romulus and Remus', `The Death of Elizabeth I', `Ada Lovelace', `The Gin Craze', the `Epic of Gilgamesh' and `The Salem Witch Trials', and there are additional behind-the-scenes insights, peppered with Melvyn Bragg's remarks both on and off air. This is a captivating gift for all fans and a celebration of this iconic series.

William Tyndale A Very Brief History

William Tyndale A Very Brief History

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/10/2017

Part One: The History (What do we know?) This brief historical introduction to William Tyndale explores the social, political and religious factors that formed the original context of his life and writings, and considers how those factors affected the way he was initially received. What was his impact on the world at the time and what were the key ideas and values connected with him? Part Two: The Legacy (Why does it matter?) This second part explores the intellectual and cultural `afterlife' of William Tyndale, and considers the ways in which his impact has lasted and been developed in different contexts by later generations. Why is he still considered important today? In what ways is his legacy contested or resisted? And what aspects of his legacy are likely to continue to influence the world in the future? The book has a brief chronology at the front plus a glossary of key terms and a list of further reading at the back.

The Adventure Of English

The Adventure Of English

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/05/2016

REISSUED AS A SCEPTRE 30TH CLASSIC, with a new afterword by the author. English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years. In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

Grace and Mary

Grace and Mary

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/03/2014

Reaching from late 19th-century Cumbria to the present, this elegiac novel celebrates two spirited women: Grace, a farm labourer's daughter who fatefully followed her heart, and Mary, the child she was forced to give up. Unsung heroines according to Mary's son who, as his elderly mother's mind begins to fail, lovingly recreates their lives and the vanished country of their pasts, linking three generations in a chain of enduring love, loss and courage.

Grace and Mary

Grace and Mary

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/05/2013

John visits his ageing mother Mary in her nursing home by the sea, and mourns the slow fading of her mind. Hoping to shore up her memory, he prompts her with songs, photographs and questions about the 1940s, when she was a young woman and he a child in a small Cumbrian town. But he finds that most of all it is her own mother she longs for - Grace, the mother she barely knew. John sets out to recreate their buried family history, delving into the secrets and silences of Mary's fractured childhood as he imagines the life of her spirited mother. Reaching from the late 19th century to the present, this becomes a deeply moving, reflective elegy on three generations linked by a chain of love, loss, and courage.

Nerve

Nerve

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 21/06/2012

One August bank holiday, Ted Johnson wakes to a day of reckoning - with his past in Cumberland, his present in London and his fantasies. An inflamed nerve troubles his eye as he veers between elation and despair, overwhelmed by the noise and bustle of the streets, unable to connect even with a visiting girlfriend. Written in 1971, Melvyn Bragg's sixth novel draws a remarkable portrait of a man's courageous fight to keep his mental balance and regain a sense of identity amid the stress and intoxication of modern city life.

Son of War: A Novela and Stories

Son of War: A Novela and Stories

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 05/01/2012

The second volume of a trilogy that began with The Soldier's Return.After the upheavals of the Second World War, the Richardson family -- Sam, Ellen and their young son Joe -- settle back to working-class life in the Cumbrian town of Wigton. Yet for them, as for so many, life will never be the same again. As the old order begins to be challenged and new vistas open, Sam and Ellen forge their future together with differing needs and desires - and conflicting expectations of Joe, who grows up with his own demons to confront.Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fictionnovels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

The Adventure Of English

The Adventure Of English

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/06/2011

English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years. In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

The South Bank Show: Final Cut

The South Bank Show: Final Cut

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/11/2010

What drives a musician to write extraordinary songs? How do writers create their worlds? How does an actor achieve greatness? For over thirty years of The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg has interviewed many of the greatest cultural icons of our age. These interviews offer revelatory insights into the lives and work of writers, actors, artists and musicians. In The South Bank Show: Final Cut he has revisited some of these artists and used the interviews as the basis for fuller portraits. The range of artists is remarkable and this book is true to The South Bank Show's ethos of seeking out the highest quality whatever the art form. Melvyn Bragg's unique perspective makes this book indispensable for anyone interested in the work and lives of some of the best artists of our time.

In Our Time The companion to the Radio 4 series

In Our Time The companion to the Radio 4 series

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/09/2010

Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time series regularly enlightens and entertains substantial audiences on BBC Radio 4. For this book he has selected episodes which reflect the diversity of the radio programmes, and takes us on an amazing tour through the history of ideas, from philosophy, physics and history to religion, literature and biology. We can discover the reasons for the fall of the Byzantine empire, and why women were persecuted as witches in the seventeenth century. What shape is the origin of life? Where does our calendar come from? We can unearth the influence of prime numbers, Socrates and Tectonic plates. Melvyn Bragg orchestrates the ideas of leading academics in each field so that the dynamic and lively discussion from the programmes comes through vividly on the page. IN OUR TIME brings to life the signposts of history, the moments that significantly changed the world as we know it, and the individuals and ideas that made us what we are today.

Rich: The Life of Richard Burton

Rich: The Life of Richard Burton

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2010

Richard Burton: star. The roaring boy from the Welsh coal valleys who came to sport on the banks of the old Nile, playing great Antony to Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. From the West End to Hollywood, from Camelot to Shakespeare, he drank, dazzled and despaired, playing out his life on the public stage. But there was another, quieter, off-stage Richard Burton, a face hidden from the multitude. Melvyn Bragg, allowed free access to the never-before-revealed Burton private notebooks, and with the cooperation of friends who have never spoken about him before, has brought together the private and public sides for the first time. Rich is the complete Richard Burton: a revelation.

In Our Time The companion to the Radio 4 series

In Our Time The companion to the Radio 4 series

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/10/2009

Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time series regularly entertains and fascinates substantial audiences on BBC Radio 4. Melvyn Bragg orchestrates the ideas of leading academics in each field and leads a dynamic and lively discussion. In Our Time brings to life the signposts of history, the moments that significantly changed the world as we know it, and the individuals and ideas that made us what we are today. Now collected on CD for he first time here are all four programmes about Charles Darwin, recorded on location.

12 Books That Changed The World How words and wisdom have shaped our lives

12 Books That Changed The World How words and wisdom have shaped our lives

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2007

When we think of great events in the history of the world, we tend to think of war, revolution, political upheaval or natural catastrophe. But throughout history there have been moments of vital importance that have taken place not on the battlefield, or in the palaces of power, or even in the violence of nature, but between the pages of a book. In our digitised age of instant information it is easy to underestimate the power of the printed word. In his fascinating new book accompanying the ITV series, Melvyn Bragg presents a vivid reminder of the book as agent of social, political and personal revolution. Twelve Books that Changed the World presents a rich variety of human endeavour and a great diversity of characters. There are also surprises. Here are famous books by Darwin, Newton and Shakespeare - but we also discover the stories behind some less well-known works, such as Marie Stopes' Married Love, the original radical feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - and even the rules to an obscure ball game that became the most popular sport in the world . . .

The Adventure Of English

The Adventure Of English

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2004

English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years. In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

Crossing The Lines

Crossing The Lines

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2004

Set in Britain during the 1950s, this moving and evocative novel follows the intertwined fates of people crossing boundaries in their lives. As a teenager in the small northern town of Wigton, Joe Richardson falls in love with Rachel, just when her life is about to be uprooted. While his parents, Sam and Ellen, face the frontiers of middle age, Joe finds himself drawn by the intoxicating world outside home, and swept into situations that seem beyond his control. Vividly conveying the spirit of the mid-century and the profound social changes taking place at the time, this is a masterly successor to the award-winning THE SOLDIER'S RETURN and A SON OF WAR.

The Adventure Of English

The Adventure Of English

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 13/10/2003

English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years. In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. Embracing elements of Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi and Gullah, this 1500-year story covers a huge range of countries and peoples. THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

A Son of War

A Son of War

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/03/2002

Longlisted for the Booker Prize After the upheavals of the Second World War, the Richardson family - Sam, Ellen and their young son Joe - settle back to working-class life in the Cumbrian town of Wigton. Yet for them, as for so many, life will never be the same again. As the old order begins to be challenged and new vistas open, Sam and Ellen forge their future together with differing needs and desires - and conflicting expectations of Joe, who grows up with his own demons to confront.

The Hired Man

The Hired Man

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/12/2001

Set in Cumbria and covering the period from 1898 to the early twenties, this is the powerful saga of John Tallentire, first farm labourer, then coal miner, and his wife Emily. John's struggle to break free from the humiliating status of a 'hired man' is the theme of a novel which has been hailed as a classic of its kind - as meticulously detailed as a social document, as evocative as the writings of Hardy and Lawrence.

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/12/2001

Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive Seventies. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.

A Place in England

A Place in England

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/12/2001

Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.

On Giants' Shoulders Great Scientists and Their Discoveries from Archimedes to DNA

On Giants' Shoulders Great Scientists and Their Discoveries from Archimedes to DNA

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/02/1999

The fascinating story of science unfolds in this account of the lives and extraordinary discoveries of twelve of its greatest figures - Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Faraday, Darwin, Poincare, Freud, Einstein, Marie Curie and Crick and Watson. Exploring their impact and legacy with leading scientists of today including Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks, Lewis Wolpert, Susan Greenfield, Roger Penrose and Richard Dawkins, Melvyn Bragg illuminates the core issues of science past and present, and conveys the excitement and importance of the scientific quest.

Credo

Credo

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/03/1997

Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged. This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet critical period in British history.

Crystal Rooms

Crystal Rooms

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/06/1993

Young Harry, an orphan from an impoverished council estate, becomes the link between starkly contrasting worlds: north and south, the deprived and the over-privileged, the powerful and the defenceless. With this compelling story of blackmail, media politics, corrupted innocence and redemptive love, Melvyn Bragg delivers an unforgettable portrait of modern life.

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/1993

A medieval allegory of faith and doubt, The Seventh Seal contains the horrors of witch-burnings and plague, yet also features flashes of peace and joy. Each volume in the BFI Film Classics series contains a personal commentary on the film, a brief production history and a detailed filmography.

Autumn Manoeuvres

Autumn Manoeuvres

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/1993

Jimmie Johnston first became a Labour MP in Cumbria when there was a brave new post-war world to build. Now, in the late 70s, another general election looms but he is no longer so optimistic. And as he fights to keep his seat, his family begins to fracture around him and scandal threatens. In this absorbing and fast-paced novel, Melvyn Bragg's portrait of the mood and politics of the era remains as pertinent today as on its original publication.

The Nerve

The Nerve

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/1992

One August bank holiday, Ted Johnson wakes to a day of reckoning - with his past in Cumberland, his present in London and his fantasies. An inflamed nerve troubles his eye as he veers between elation and despair, overwhelmed by the noise and bustle of the streets, unable to connect even with a visiting girlfriend. Written in 1971, Melvyn Bragg's sixth novel draws a remarkable portrait of a man's courageous fight to keep his mental balance and regain a sense of identity amid the stress and intoxication of modern city life.

Time To Dance

Time To Dance

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/1991

A lifetime of restraint and placid affection erupts when a retired bank manager falls for a young girl, as far removed from him in background and experience as in age. Set in Cumbria, this is an intensely moving evocation of an overwhelming passion and its destructive kernel of jealousy.

The Cumbrian Trilogy

The Cumbrian Trilogy

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/1990

Melvyn Bragg's celebrated trilogy - THE HIRED MAN, A PLACE IN ENGLAND and KINGDOM COME - traces four generations of Tallentire history: from John in the rural Cumbria of 1898 to Douglas in the competitive and backbiting metropolis of the Seventies. From 'hired man' to media man worlds have been bridged, but the old ideals of success, freedom and happiness seem ever elusive as each Tallentire must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain. 'An uncommonly high talent. The people are real enough to leave footprints right across the page' Guardian

The Maid of Buttermere

The Maid of Buttermere

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/1988

Melvyn Bragg's highly-acclaimed bestselling historical novel, the story behind one of the 19th century's greatest scandals. Set in the Lake District in the early 19th century, the riveting story of an imposter, bigamist and fortune hunter who came to grief by falling helplessly in love with the famed 'Maid of Buttermere'.

Routes of English: Home (Series 1, Programme 1)

Routes of English: Home (Series 1, Programme 1)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg goes back to his home town of Wigton in Cumbria to see how English is developing - and how dialects are still spoken. He meets townspeople from all generations and walks of life, from octogenarian horse-dealer Tommy Miller to local poet Mary Haslam, and finds that the old ways of speaking are being lost.

Routes of English: The Dawn of English (Series 1, Programme 2)

Routes of English: The Dawn of English (Series 1, Programme 2)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

English takes on Latin, eventually becoming the world language of instruction. Melvyn Bragg goes to Winchester, home of King Alfred the Great in the ninth century and the place where English, in the form of Old English, really took off. Bragg meets three generations of townspeople and hears how the distinctive local form of English has come under increasing pressure - from the influence of London and the media.

Routes of English: France and England (Series 1, Programme 3)

Routes of English: France and England (Series 1, Programme 3)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Where better than Hastings to look at the impact of the French on the English language? Melvyn Bragg goes to Hastings, where in 1066 William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold and invaded England. The actual fighting took place in the nearby village of Battle. It was to be the starting point of a long and intense relationship between England and France that continues to this day. The Norman Conquest was not only military but also linguistic, bringing thousands of French words into the language.

Routes of English: Tabard Inn to Canterbury (Series 1, Programme 4)

Routes of English: Tabard Inn to Canterbury (Series 1, Programme 4)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

The language of sex and death, as Chaucer and others capture English speech of the time. Melvyn Bragg. travels to the great mediaeval cathedral of Canterbury, with its shrine to the martyr, St Thomas a Becket. It inspired the pilgrims described by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1395 in 'The Canterbury Tales', as they set out from the Tabard Inn in Southwark. Chaucer decided to write in English, which was beginning to take over from the Norman French of court and government and the Latin of church and learning.

Routes of English: The Power of English (Series 1, Programme 5)

Routes of English: The Power of English (Series 1, Programme 5)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

The power of English - and the 'English of Power', as the language extends its influence from Court to Edinburgh. Melvyn Bragg goes to Edinburgh and the house of John Knox, the great Scottish apostle of the Reformation, who preached in English. Latin was replaced by English as the language of the Church when Henry VIII broke with Rome. And the 1611 King James version of the Bible in English was read in churches and schools throughout the land.

Routes of English: Import/Export (Series 1, Programme 6)

Routes of English: Import/Export (Series 1, Programme 6)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Conquest, trade and immigration have woven dozens of languages into English. Melvyn Bragg visits Liverpool, home of Scouse, an Irish-based variant of northern English made famous by the Beatles and countless comedians. By the mid-nineteenth century the port of Liverpool ranked second to London and became home to immigrants from all over the world who imported many new words into English.

Routes of English: Coining it (Series 2, Programme 1)

Routes of English: Coining it (Series 2, Programme 1)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

When a new concept or product comes along, how does it get its name? Making up new words for new things or ideas isn't new. New words - linguists call them 'coinages' - are as old as the English language itself. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of linguistic innovation from the Middle Ages, through the inventiveness of the Industrial Revolution, to the latest creations of new technology.

Routes of English: Language at Play (Series 2, Programme 2)

Routes of English: Language at Play (Series 2, Programme 2)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn has fun and games with puns, wordplay and tongue twisters. Twisting, manipulation and stretching of the English language is an integral part of everyday communication. This language play exists in many forms, as puns, double entendres, word games and verse exercises, and we have been playing with English for centuries.

Routes of English: A Better Class of Language (Series 2, Programme 3)

Routes of English: A Better Class of Language (Series 2, Programme 3)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

By your vowels, your station shall be known'. How accents and social class are entwined. For at least 400 years, the way we speak has been one of the fundamental measures by which we've judged our fellow men on the scale of social acceptability. To so many, 'talking proper' matters, and 'rough talk is not quality talk'. But such attitudes are beginning to change.

Routes of English: Unspeakable English (Series 2, Programme 4)

Routes of English: Unspeakable English (Series 2, Programme 4)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Bad language is not new. We've been swearing for centuries, and those in power have been trying to censor us for just as long. Nowadays, many people are quite relaxed about swearing and will be careful about the context - although we still try to avoid bad language in front of the children, or in polite society.

Routes of English: Freezing the River (Series 2, Programme 5)

Routes of English: Freezing the River (Series 2, Programme 5)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

English is constantly evolving, but some linguists have tried to 'freeze' it for good. We've been looking for a standard form of the language to adhere to for centuries. If there's one thing that's dominated our journey along the 'Routes of English', it is change. Melvyn investigates those who've tried to purify English and those who think it should be allowed to change.

Routes of English: A World of Many Englishes (Series 2, Programme 6)

Routes of English: A World of Many Englishes (Series 2, Programme 6)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Two countries separated by a common language', but there are more than two Englishes. We've been speaking English for more than 1,000 years and over that time it has changed radically. As more and more people throughout the world use English and develop their own form of the language, Melvyn Bragg investigates how the British version will change and which, if any, of the many Englishes will dominate.

Routes of English: Pitmatic (Series 3, Programme 1)

Routes of English: Pitmatic (Series 3, Programme 1)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Talk of the town, talk of the pit in Ashington, Northumberland. It's been called the most beautiful dialect in England. It's the talk of coastal Northumberland that until recently encompassed some of the most heavily mined areas of the country. But now all but one of the collieries has closed. Melvyn Bragg travels to Ashington to listen to old Pitmatic, trace its roots through a thousand years of Northumbrian speech and find out just how the latest generation of young Northumbrians are talking local.

Routes of English: Stroke City (Series 3, Programme 2)

Routes of English: Stroke City (Series 3, Programme 2)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Local talk in the city known variously as Londonderry, Derry and, more recently, as Stroke City. Its very name speaks of deep-seated political, social, even linguistic divisions. Known to one section of its inhabitants as Derry, to another as Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second city has a complex linguistic history shaped by waves of settlement and political allegiance. Recently the city's inhabitants have embraced the unofficial name Stroke City, circumventing the linguistic minefield of Derry vs. Londonderry. Melvyn Bragg travelled to the city with two communities, three names and even more varieties of spoken English to investigate how politics and prayer have influenced local speech.

Routes of English: Cornwall (Series 3, Programme 3)

Routes of English: Cornwall (Series 3, Programme 3)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn travels west in search of the increasingly elusive Cornish dialect. Cornwall is an evocative place. A Celtic land with a rich mythology, a land of caves and coves, of cream teas and country lanes. At least that's the image that has long attracted travellers and settlers. Yet it's also a land that has, over the last century, faced dramatic social and economic changes: the decline of the traditional fishing, tin and clay industries, and the growth of tourism.

Routes of English: No Pigeon (Series 3, Programme 4)

Routes of English: No Pigeon (Series 3, Programme 4)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn visits Brixton to discover the most imitated, influential form of spoken English today. It's a dialect determined not by geography or profession, but by age, fashion and aspiration. Pulsing through music culture, spread by television and radio, it can be found throughout the UK. Sometimes subversive, often secretive, it is arguably the most vibrant and dynamic form of spoken English in Britain today - the talk, essentially, of the young black population. Melvyn Bragg visits Railton Road in Brixton to find the heart of the black linguistic culture that is today so fashionable, yet whose past is so tangled with the painful history of black and white relations, from slavery and colonisation, to the racism which greeted the immigrants who first came to Britain aboard the 'Empire Windrush' in 1948.

Routes of English: Oswestry (Series 3, Programme 5)

Routes of English: Oswestry (Series 3, Programme 5)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Here, Melvyn visits Oswestry. Just five miles from the Welsh border, this is a frontier town whose name means 'boundary'. It's where Offa's Dyke and countless crumbling castles bear witness to centuries of shifting political allegiances. Language too, has been a battleground. Welsh and English have waxed and waned, woven and unravelled. Visit the town's bustling livestock market today and there is little Welsh to be heard. Centuries of relentless anglicisation, beginning in the Norman period, have rendered English the 'lingua franca'. Yet listen a little harder and more complex patterns emerge. There are Welsh idioms and words and Midlands' forms all jostling for position in the dialects of Shropshire.

Routes of English: Conclusion (Series 3, Programme 6)

Routes of English: Conclusion (Series 3, Programme 6)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

The final programme in the series considers the future of English dialects. In the last programme in the series Melvyn looks at Standard English. He is joined by Lynda Mugglestone, Fellow of English Language at Pembroke College, Oxford and John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London. Together they attempt to answer some of the questions raised by the series.

Routes of English: Complete Series 4: People and Places

Routes of English: Complete Series 4: People and Places

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg examines some of the many different varieties of English spoken around the world today, taking in Spanglish from the USA, Indian English, Caribbean English, Australian English, South African English, and finally a kind of 'international English' used between non-native English speakers.

Routes of English: Complete Series 1: Evolving English

Routes of English: Complete Series 1: Evolving English

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg looks at how English has evolved over 1,000 years, looking at the disappearance of old dialects like that of Cumbria, and how it has been enriched by foreign languages, from Latin, Old French, and then dozens more as conquest, trade and immigration played their part in recent centuries.

Routes of English: Complete Series 2: Humour and Cussing

Routes of English: Complete Series 2: Humour and Cussing

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg examines new coinages, puns and wordplay; how accents and social class are entwined; swear words; attempts to stop the evolution of language in its tracks; and, finally, the many varieties of English that are spoken around the world today.

Routes of English: Complete Series 3: Accents and Dialects

Routes of English: Complete Series 3: Accents and Dialects

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg looks at dialects from around Britain: the Pitmatic of Northumberland, the dialect of (London/Derry), the increasingly elusive Cornish dialect, Pidgin, and Shropshire dialect, then finishing up with a speculation on the future of English dialects.

Routes of English: What is Spanglish? (Series 4, Programme 1)

Routes of English: What is Spanglish? (Series 4, Programme 1)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

We explore the rise of powerful non-English linguistic forces in the United States. Starting at Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrim Fathers landed in 1620, Melvyn Bragg follows the development of English in the American colony - from the War of Independence and the founding of the first capital, Philadelphia, right through to the controversial contemporary issues of Ebonics and the rise of Hispanic English or 'Spanglish'.

Routes of English: Raj to Riches English (Series 4, Programme 2)

Routes of English: Raj to Riches English (Series 4, Programme 2)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

The English language in India. Despite being the imposed language of the imperial power, English also had the power to unite the nation. The story of the English language in India is also the story of the British merchants, adventurers and colonial administrators for whom the country was the Empire's jewel in the crown. Calcutta, the great Victorian capital of the Raj, holds the key to the way the language became woven into Indian consciousness, through education, government and the law. But why today, wonders Melvyn Bragg, is ex-cricketer Geoffrey Boycott such a linguistic influence?

Routes of English: The Hurricane Speaks (Series 4, Programme 3)

Routes of English: The Hurricane Speaks (Series 4, Programme 3)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Here we take up the story of Caribbean English where the Brixton Routes left off. For the poet Edward Kamau Braithwaite the legacy of the English language is something from which he, in his tropical landscape, must break free because, as he wrote, 'the hurricane does not roar in pentameters'. Melvyn Bragg heads off to the Caribbean where he meets a number of linguists who are mapping out an ambitious plan to make Creole the official language across the whole of the English-speaking Caribbean. But how would this work in practice? He travels across the region ending up in St Lucia where he discusses the use of Creole and standard English with Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott, one of the most skilled exponents of the English language today.

Routes of English: Beyond the Cringe (Series 4, Programme 4)

Routes of English: Beyond the Cringe (Series 4, Programme 4)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

In the 1950s of premier Robert Menzies, the approved sound of Australian English was more Westminster than Woolloomooloo. These were the last days of the so-called 'colonial cringe', before the assertion of Australia's place as an independent nation with an independent voice. But since the 1970s, 'Australian' has become a recognised and valued variety of the English language. Melvyn Bragg traces the linguistic trail from convicts to Crocodile Dundee and national self-confidence.

Routes of English: The Long Trek to Freedom (Series 4, Programme 5)

Routes of English: The Long Trek to Freedom (Series 4, Programme 5)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

English becomes the language of liberation as Afrikaans takes on the label of oppression. In 1994 the first free democratic elections in South Africa were held, bringing Nelson Mandela to power as the country's first black president. One of the other consequences was the elevation of nine African languages to equal status with English and Afrikaans. Here, Melvyn Bragg examines the new-found strength and influence of the English language in the post-apartheid era. With Judge Albie Sachs and actor John Kani he assesses how the African languages will fare in the new South Africa against those two pillars of political and social advantage - Afrikaans and English.

Routes of English: Whose English is it Anyway? (Series 4, Programme 6)

Routes of English: Whose English is it Anyway? (Series 4, Programme 6)

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

With English now hailed on all sides as the world's first 'global' language and the preferred medium of expression from United Biscuits to the United Nations, Melvyn Bragg meets people - like former Dome supremo P.Y. Gerbeau - for whom talking English is the most natural way to speak, yet who didn't absorb it with their mother's milk. Also taking part are experts from across the world who reveal that the future shape and grammar of spoken English will no longer be determined in the traditional English-speaking countries like Britain and America, but in Europe, Africa and the Far East.

Voices of the Powerless: The Complete Series

Voices of the Powerless: The Complete Series

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The Norman Conquest is his starting point, a time when William the Conqueror's 'harrying of the North' affected the poor apprentice, the lowly ploughman and the humble shepherd. He goes on to look at the Peasants' Revolt in 1381 (inspired by a hated Poll Tax) and the religious changes brought about by Henry VIII's Reformation. The so-called 'Plantation' of Ulster, the Siege of Chester, and the plague which ravaged Salisbury in 1627 are later stopping-off points in Bragg's journey, which also finds him traversing the country and speaking to historians and experts about the life of the ordinary citizen in each period. First broadcast in 2002, this Complete First Series contains all six episodes of Series One: 'Castles and Cruelty', 'The Peasants' Revolt', 'The Reformation', 'The Plantation of Ireland in the Counties of Armagh and Tyrone', 'The English Civil War and the Siege of Chester' and 'Boils and Buboes'. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Castles and Cruelty

Voices of the Powerless: Castles and Cruelty

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. In the decade following the conquest, the north of England was one of the main focuses of rebellion. As a result, northerners suffered the retribution which William's men inflicted - the so-called 'harrying of the North', which began in 1069. While all agree that something dramatic did occur, homes were destroyed, people were killed and families were impoverished, the extent and degree of destruction are not clear. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Who was then the Gentleman?

Voices of the Powerless: Who was then the Gentleman?

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The Peasants' Revolt began in the Essex village of Fobbing in May 1381. It started with the arrival of a royal tax commissioner, John Bampton, enquiring into evasion of the new poll-tax. As a JP and former sheriff of Essex, Bampton was typical of the local notables against whom the risings were directed. Supported by men from nearby villages, the rebellion had begun and quickly spread through the county. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

Voices of the Powerless: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The upheavals and turmoil of the sixteenth century transformed many aspects of religious life. As the great monasteries and religious houses disappeared, the Reformation transformed the landscape of both the countryside and the towns. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Plantation and the Seeds of Discord

Voices of the Powerless: Plantation and the Seeds of Discord

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. Ulster, one of the four ancient provinces of Ireland, remained largely independent of English rule until the end of the 16th century. The plantation period the programme looks at is the half century between the Tudor conquest of Ulster in the 1590s and the rebellion of the Ulster Irish in 1641. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Civil War: The Siege of Chester

Voices of the Powerless: Civil War: The Siege of Chester

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. At the beginning of his reign, King Charles I faced a perennial problem for English monarchs, how to raise the money and resources needed to wage war. When Parliament failed to vote for the taxes needed, Charles tried to impose taxation through customs dues and forced loans, imprisoning those who refused to pay. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Boils and Buboes

Voices of the Powerless: Boils and Buboes

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with 'Voices of the Powerless', the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. We are extremely lucky to have an exceptional eyewitness account of a plague outbreak in the city of Salisbury in 1627 - related by John Ivie, a Salisbury alderman. Ivie describes the differing reactions of Salisbury's 6,000 inhabitants in the face of impending disaster. Ivie was responsible for the welfare of the city's poor in times of crisis and so his account of the plague is very closely focused on the powerless. In terms of describing in minute detail how a community responded to a plague outbreak, it's one of the most informative documents of its kind. This episode was first broadcast in 2002. Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

Voices of the Powerless: Man and Manufacture

Voices of the Powerless: Man and Manufacture

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg is in urban Lancashire to explore the warp and weft of the Industrial Revolution - how the upheavals of the new mechanisation affected workers who found their traditional trades, like hand-loom weaving, superseded and marginalised by the growth of industrialisation and mechanisation. He looks in particular at the way children were used in both the new trades and in the traditional world of agriculture. Using the hundreds of first-hand accounts by ordinary and often impoverished workers, who found themselves frequently thrown out of work at the whim of the mill-owner or a shortage of raw materials, and who trudged literally hundreds of miles in search of work, Melvyn Bragg hears, in the true voice of the powerless, the way the Industrial Revolution fashioned men's and women's lives.

Voices of the Powerless: Below Decks and Boney

Voices of the Powerless: Below Decks and Boney

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg travels to the historic dockyard of Chatham to explore the life of a seaman in Nelson's navy. Our popular image of the 18th century sailor below decks is one of a downtrodden, press-ganged man who was a victim of regular beatings. While Bragg finds some evidence to support this view, he also discovers that for many working-class men a career on board ship was an opportunity for a better life.

Voices of the Powerless: A Journey Beyond the Seas

Voices of the Powerless: A Journey Beyond the Seas

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg voyages to Tasmania to find out what a sentence of transportation to Van Diemen's Land really meant to those who survived the journey 'beyond the seas'. We hear the forgotten voices of people such as Joseph Lingard, a respectable Derbyshire man who was wrongfully convicted of the theft of a door-latch, and explore the destinies of the many thousands of British convicts whose forced labour shaped the first 80 years of the Australian colony.

Voices of the Powerless: The Crofters' Farewell

Voices of the Powerless: The Crofters' Farewell

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Visiting the Hebridean island of Mull today, it's not long before someone mentions the steep decline in population that the Scottish highlands and islands suffered 150 to 200 years ago. And it was a depopulation that the crofters were powerless to do anything about - in a phrase that sounds a knell almost as chilling as today's 'ethnic cleansing', the Highland Clearances are still talked of as one of the most harsh pieces of social manipulation in Britain's history. A long-drawn-out lament mourned in song and poetry ever since.

Voices of the Powerless: The Wagoners at War

Voices of the Powerless: The Wagoners at War

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

The story of British Tommies sent 'over the top' to fight the Germans in the trenches of the First World War is a vivid emblem of powerlessness in the face of military discipline - and social pressures - that required young men to join up and do their duty. As the voices of the powerless become truly audible with the dawn of the recording era, we travel to East Yorkshire to tell the little-known story of the Wolds Wagoners, a regiment drawn up by the local landlord, almost feudally, from the men on his estate, and to the fallen whom he raised a strange and beguiling monument adorned with grotesque cartoon images of warfare, unique in Britain.

Voices of the Powerless: Coal and Dole

Voices of the Powerless: Coal and Dole

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg visits Merthyr Tydfil to look at the plight of the miners in the Depression. The industrial communities of South Wales, built first on iron smelting in the 18th century, and coal in the 19th, had known great prosperity. Merthyr Tydfil was once the largest town in Wales, and in 1914, 250,000 men worked on the South Wales coalfield. But the disastrous effects of the Wall Street Crash, combined with industrial unrest, left towns like Merthyr Tydfil a mere shadow of its former self.

In Our Time: The Written World

In Our Time: The Written World

Author: Melvyn Bragg Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Broadcaster and arts presenter Melvyn Bragg fronts 'The Written World', a five-part BBC Radio 4 series following the origins of writing from its first appearance 6,000 years ago and exploring how it has shaped the world's intellectual history. In the first programme he looks at the technology of writing, and how making signs on clay, wood or parchment enabled the development of human culture. The second programme sees Bragg considering the impact of the invention of the book and examining one of the earliest surviving examples. The third programme examines the role of writing in the spread of religions and the fourth programme looks at how the invention of writing made it possible to record history, and how oral poetry traditions were transformed into the new medium of literature. Bragg concludes his survey of the written word by considering how the invention of writing made the scientific revolution of the Englightenment possible.

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