Disc 1: British Novelists
Episode One:Among the Ruins, 19191939
In the first decade after World War I, British novelists examined the lasting effects of the devastating conflict, with the Bloomsbury Group providing a keen critique of the interwar years. At the same time, fiction mirrored the new modern age, from bold science fiction to explicit sensuality and Arthurian legends retold for new generations.
Episode Two:The Age of Anxiety, 19451969
The decades following World War II included four of the most significant novels in British history published in a single year, each a unique take on what the global conflict taught about human nature and humanity’s future. William Golding (The Lord of the Flies), Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim), Iris Murdoch (Under the Net), and many others are interviewed.
Episode Three:Nothing Sacred, 19701990
As the women’s movement picked up steam, so did immigration, sexual freedom, and labor discontent. British writers raced to document their moment in time and challenged established assumptions along the way. Includes commentary from an array of groundbreaking novelists such as Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, and Ian McEwan.
Disc 2: Great Thinkers
Episode Four:Human, All Too Human
What truly defines humanity? As the 20th century unfolded, a wide range of theories evolved, from Sigmund Freud’s insights into the unconscious to Margaret Mead’s revelations about how society influences the adolescent experience. Commentaries from scientists clarify modern-day research.
Episode Five:The Grand Experiment
It was a moment of triumph for advocates of John Maynard Keynes’s economic theory: the post-World War II “Grand Experiment” of investing as much on combating poverty as society had on fighting the war. Includes interviews with Marxist Tarik Ali and historian/philosopher Isaiah Berlin.
Episode Six:The Culture Wars
The concept of cultureballet, theatre, fine art, classic literaturewas radically redefined in the 20th century, all due to the advent of radio and television. At the same time that ordinary people had their first taste of the finest that culture had to offer, academics and others presented a vast array of experiences as art.
“Enthralling, magnificent…literary and TV gold” The Observer(UK)
“Amazing archive footage” The Guardian(UK)
“Riveting” The Times(UK)
“Unmissable” The Mail on Sunday(UK)