Six Centuries of Verse

Season 1
 (4)IMDb 7.91984NR
Rediscover the music of the spoken word as John Gielgud (Arthur) conducts a grand tour of English-language poetry through the centuries. Compiled by poet and literary critic Anthony Thwaite, these works show the power of verse to stir the emotions and fire the imagination. They include not only classics by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Whitman, and Yeats, but also surprising, often-overlooked gems. Gielgud provides the literary and historical context for each, while readings by outstanding British and American actors reveal the rich textures and seductive rhythms in every line. The performers include Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage to India), Lee Remick (Days of Wine and Roses), Stacy Keach (Mike Hammer, Private Eye), Ralph Richardson (Doctor Zhivago), Ian Richardson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Julian Glover (By the Sword Divided), and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), among others.
Starring
John GielgudPeggy AshcroftLee Remick
Genres
DocumentaryArts, Entertainment, and CultureSpecial Interest
Subtitles
None available
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. Chaucer-Ted Hughes, 1384-1984
    This video is currently unavailable
    May 2, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    A sweeping introduction to English-language poetry. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Cyril Cusack, Nicholas Gecks, Julian Glover, Lee Remick, Ian Richardson, Gary Watson.
  2. 2. Old English
    This video is currently unavailable
    May 9, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Humor, adventure, faith, and violence in Anglo-Saxon poetry, including Beowulf. Featured performers: Nicholas Gecks and Julian Glover.
  3. 3. Chaucer, 1300-1400
    This video is currently unavailable
    May 16, 1984
    24min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The Canterbury Tales showcases Chaucer's wit and brilliant characterizations. Featured performers: Gary Watson, Brian Coburn, Nicholas Gecks, Gerrard McArthur, and Ian Richardson.
  4. 4. Medieval-Elizabethan, 1400-1600
    This video is currently unavailable
    May 23, 1984
    24min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Poems by John Skelton, Thomas Wyatt, Chidiock Tichborne, Thomas Nashe, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, and William Shakespeare, ranging from simple, heartfelt sentiments to sophisticated social commentary. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Nicholas Gecks, Julian Glover, and Ian Richardson.
  5. 5. Shakespeare, 1564-1616
    This video is currently unavailable
    May 30, 1984
    27min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The "rough magic" of William Shakespeare's onstage verse. Featured performers: John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft, and Ralph Richardson.
  6. 6. Metaphysical & Devotional, 1590-1670
    This video is currently unavailable
    June 6, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Poems of carnal and spiritual love by John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvell. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft and Julian Glover.
  7. 7. Milton, 1608-1674
    This video is currently unavailable
    June 13, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The power of Milton's lyrical poetry and great epic, Paradise Lost. Featured performer: Ian Richardson.
  8. 8. Restoration & Augustan, 1660-1745
    This video is currently unavailable
    June 20, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Political, social, and literary satire from John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester; John Dryden; Jonathan Swift; and Alexander Pope. Featured performers: Nicholas Gecks, Julian Glover, and Ian Richardson.
  9. 9. Romantic Pioneers, 1750-1805
    This video is currently unavailable
    October 21, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Imagination loosed in William Blake, Christopher Smart, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Wordsworth. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Julian Glover, and Ian Richardson.
  10. 10. Wordsworth, 1770-1850
    This video is currently unavailable
    October 28, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Nature and human nature in William Wordsworth. Featured performer: Julian Glover.
  11. 11. Younger Romantics, 1800-1824
    This video is currently unavailable
    November 4, 1984
    25min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The brief but dazzling genius of Percy Shelley, John Keats, and Lord Byron. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Nicholas Gecks, and Ian Richardson.
  12. 12. Victorians, 1837-1901
    This video is currently unavailable
    November 11, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Love and death in Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Emily Bronte; Christina Rossetti; Robert Browning; Matthew Arnold; and A.C. Swinburne. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Julian Glover, and Ian Richardson.
  13. 13. American Pioneers, 1855-1910
    This video is currently unavailable
    November 18, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The distinctly American voices of Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, Julia Ward Howe, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson. Featured performers: Stacy Keach and Lee Remick.
  14. 14. Romantics & Realists, 1870-1920
    This video is currently unavailable
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Subtle emotional shadings in Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A.E. Housman, and Rudyard Kipling. Featured performers: Peggy Ashcroft, Nicholas Gecks, Julian Glover, and Ian Richardson.
  15. 15. Early Twentieth Century, 1914-1939
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 2, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    The refined world-weariness of W.B. Yeats, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, and W.H. Auden. Featured performers: Isla Blair, Cyril Cusack, Nicholas Gecks, Stacy Keach, and Ian Richardson.
  16. 16. Towards the Present, 1934-1984
    This video is currently unavailable
    December 9, 1984
    26min
    7+
    Audio languages
    English
    Energy and alienation in Dylan Thomas, Robert Lowell, Philip Larkin, and Ted Hughes. Featured performers: Julian Glover, Anthony Hopkins, and Stacy Keach.

More details

Directors
Richard Mervyn
Supporting actors
Stacy KeachRalph RichardsonIan RichardsonJulian GloverAnthony Hopkins
Producers
Richard MerwynDiana Potter
Season year
1984
Network
Acorn Media
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

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