August 11, 2011


Singing the Reformation

In the second half of the 16th century, Thomas Wode, a Catholic monk and later Presbyterian minister, left an important legacy in the form of the St Andrews Psalter. This brought together music from the Royal Court and Scotland's churches that would otherwise have been lost during one of the most turbulent periods in the nation's history. Now the main library at the University of Edinburgh has assembled eight different manuscripts, usually housed in four separate cities in Europe and the US, and put them on display together for the first time as part of the Singing the Reformation exhibition (until 28 October). The Dunedin Consort and Players will perform music drawn from the Wode Partbooks at a concert in St Giles' Cathedral on 20 August.


Late Summer Lectures in English Literature

For the second year running, PhD students from Durham University's department of English studies are delivering a Late Summer Lectures series. The talks will take place at 5.30pm on eight successive Wednesdays at Alington House in Durham, and will be repeated at 5.30pm the following day at Bede's World in Jarrow. The first, on 17-18 August, explores the persistence of zombie myths in contemporary culture. Others will address themes such as consumerism and advertising in James Joyce's Ulysses; cross-dressing in Norse mythology; sex and violence in fairy tales; the power of disguise in the medieval world; and the figure of the outlaw in westerns.



Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism

The Victoria and Albert Museum's major autumn exhibition, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 (from 24 September), will bring together more than 250 objects in an exploration of the origins and meaning of Post-Modernism across the spectrum of art, architecture and design. A much smaller exhibition, currently running in Gallery 38A (until November), examines the impact of Post-Modernism on photography via a selection of images that make reference to themselves, other media and texts. Spanning the mid-1970s to the present day, the exhibition includes work by pioneers such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, and more recent pictures by Anne Hardy, David Shrigley, Clare Strand and others.

Radio 4

Head to Head

Frequent media appearances gave Sir Isaiah Berlin a level of fame few philosophers can hope to reach today. In 1976, he took part in a debate with the economist John Vaizey on the topic of "What happened to equality?". Vaizey was already on a journey from Left to Right, and their discussion took place at a pivotal moment when the post-war political consensus was just beginning to break down. This first episode in a new series of Head to Head (15 August, 9.30am) returns to that debate, and allows two leading political thinkers - Quentin Skinner, Barber Beaumont professor of the humanities at Queen Mary, University of London; and Paul Kelly, professor of political theory at the London School of Economics - to examine its significance then and now. Academics may also enjoy Too Many Books (Radio 4, 14 August, 1.30pm), in which Sarah Cuddon considers what to do with an overflowing library when moving house or after the death of a partner.


Top Girls

Caryl Churchill's celebrated play, first performed in 1982, offered a devastating account of the compromises required of high-achieving women in Margaret Thatcher's Britain. Although most of the action is set in what was then the present day, in the play's opening sequence the heroine Marlene hosts a dinner party for historical and legendary figures including Pope Joan, Patient Griselda, a Japanese emperor's concubine and Victorian traveller Isabelle Bird, who recall long-dead lovers and their experiences of suffering. It has been revived at Trafalgar Studios, overseen by Max Stafford-Clark, the director of the original production, and runs until 15 October.

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