Episode 26: A Winter’s Tale

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In this seasonal episode, the Slightly Foxed team are guided through a snowstorm of winter writing over twelve centuries by the literary critic and author of Weatherland, Alexandra Harris. The tour takes us from Anglo-Saxon mead halls and monsters to Renaissance bodily humours, then on through cool, translucent Enlightenment weather into the dark cloud of the nineteenth century and beyond. We visit frost-fair carnivals on the frozen Thames with Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, brave the Brontës’ wild moorland, stay steamed up indoors with Jane Austen, sink into Dickens’s pea-soupers and see in the ‘year’s midnight’ with John Donne as we listen to a winter’s tale through literature.


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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 43 minutes; 19 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Jess in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

Weatherland and Romantic Moderns, Alexandra Harris (4:22)

‘A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day’, John Donne (5:02)

Orlando, Virginia Woolf (6:15)

– ‘The Wanderer’, an Elegy in the Exeter Book (8:50)

Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney (12:07)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Simon Armitage’s revised edition (13:54)

The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare (17:08)

The Great Frost: Cold Doings in London, Thomas Dekker is out of print (19:36)

The Diary of John Evelyn (20:41)

The Seasons, James Thomson (22:00)

The Task, William Cowper is out of print. Read an extract from Book I: The Sofa (22:52)

‘Ode to the West Wind’, Percy Bysshe Shelley (26:16)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (27:48)

Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (29:27)

Bleak House, Charles Dickens (33:14)

– ‘In Memorium’ in Selected Poems, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (34:31)

Letters from Iceland, W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice (36:53)

Winter, Ali Smith (38:20) 9780241973332

Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee, Slightly Foxed Edition No. 53 (41:19)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Cain’s Clan, John Harrison on Beowulf, Issue 13 (12:07)

Keeping Ahead of the Game, Christopher Rush on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Issue 60 (13:54)

The Abyss Beyond the Orchard, Alexandra Harris on William Cowper, The Centenary Letters, Issue 53 (22:50)

No Coward Soul, Christopher Rush on Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Issue 56 (27:48)

A Dickens of a Project, Laura Freeman on the works of Charles Dickens, Issue 41 (39:13)

Other Links

The London Library (2:18)

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable


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Comments & Reviews

  1. Sandra Sparrius says:

    Margaret – I have to disagree with you. I loved this podcast! I was in no mood for anything Christmassy; and I found myself energised and intrigued by Alexandra Harris’s foray into winter writing. The Slightly Foxed podcasts have become a highlight of each month. Sandra

  2. Margaret Taylor says:

    Hello to the Slightly Foxed folks,
    Wow I am exhausted, at long last Alexandra Harris has drawn breath, not your usual restful, uplifting recording!!! Thank goodness Anna made a comment so I didn’t have to wonder if that woman would ever quieten and let me think.
    Nevertheless some interesting books were mentioned if not discussed, I’ll be off to do my own research now. I discovered that my own copy of An Anthology of Old English Poetry is taken from the Exeter book. The frost on the Thames is fascinating, a translation or recent copy of The Great Frost would be fascinating. I am disappointed that the episode was not more “Christmassy”. Not my favourite episode, even so there are some great books to find and ponder.
    A merry Christmas to you all, and thank you for all the stimulating thoughts and resources, and fabulous books.
    Margaret

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