Thank you to our friend at Simply Claes for the heads up that Holliday is voicing Emily Tennyson for BBC’s new radio show Elegies. The first episode will be up tomorrow, October 4th, at 15:00 on BBC Radio 4. The episode will last close to an hour (57 minutes) and is divided in two parts:

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A two-part drama telling the stories behind two of the greatest and most influential poetic elegies ever published in English – Milton’s Lycidas and Tennyson’s In Memoriam.

Part 1. Milton’s Lycidas

Although written two centuries apart, in 1637 and 1833, the making and circumstances of these great elegies are full of interconnections and are centred on the poetic response to grief and loss. Milton’s Lycidas is the first great elegy in English poetry. Both Lycidas and In Memoriam were written in response to the sudden unexpected death of a young male friend, striking the poets in their mid-twenties. when the poets were students at Cambridge. The dead men were prodigiously gifted and also poets, early rivals and first readers to the poets who elegised them.

Milton and Tennyson were thereby thrown into personal grief and poetic challenge, but how to make a poetic elegy that honours and reflects that genuine grief whilst rising to the challenge of the first great poetic subject in these young poets’ lives? Milton and Tennyson responded to these complex and terrible circumstances with radically different elegies that stand among the finest poems in English literature.

Elegies was written and adapted from Lycidas by John Milton by Michael Symmons Roberts

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