Review: Birth of the British Novel, BBC4

Birth of the British Novel, BBC4Birth of the British Novel is back on BBC4’s freeview TV channel.

Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain’s radical and pioneering 18th century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation…

Review: Crossing Steinbeck’s America

Crossing Steinbeck's AmericaThe BBC’s Our World thread continues with Crossing Steinbeck’s America.

As America grapples with a deepening recession, white-collar workers lose their homes in increasing numbers. Paul Mason travels the country down the same road as John Steinbeck’s migrants in The Grapes of Wrath. Visiting homeless shelters along the way, he unexpectedly finds a growing number of middle-class people who have ended up on the street. …