Gareth Russell on Hampton Court

For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?

Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.

We humans imprint ourselves on our surroundings – and they, in turn, have the power to affect us. In this episode, Jacke talks to Gareth Russell (The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court) about the building that Thomas Hardy famously called a “Spellbound Palace” in one of his finest poems. We’ll hear about the building’s history and why it holds a special place in literary history, including the planning of the King James Bible and as a site for early Shakespeare performances. PLUS Jess Cotton (John Ashbery: A Critical Life) selects her choice for the last book she will ever read.


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