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The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews and debates with artists, scientists and public figures.


Free Thinking: Medieval Manuscripts. Emma Donoghue.

September 22nd, 2016

Episode 1189 of 1201 episodes

Medieval illuminated manuscripts are our key to European art for hundreds of years but also to political and social movements. Christopher de Hamel, keeper of possibly the oldest gospel in the Latin world, talks to Matthew about the stories these books can tell beyond their glowing illustrations. We also visit Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, currently glowing at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum; Kylie Murray, expert on Scottish medieval literature and a New Generation Thinker, reviews the exhibition. Emma Donoghue author of 'Room' is back with a new novel and another child in claustrophobic setting. This room is an earth-floored room in mid-19th century Ireland, where a Florence Nightingale-trained nurse and 'The Wonder', a devout Irish girl, are locked in a potentially fatal battle over whether the girl is, as she claims, being fed by manna from heaven. Inspired by a historical phenomenon, 'the fasting girls', Donoghue's novel takes place on the battlefield between the forces of Victorian scientific rationalism and traditional religious belief Plus Dennis Duncan on the story of Boris Vian and a post-war best-seller in France - I Spit On Your Graves . Emma Donoghue's novel is called The Wonder. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is by Christopher de Hamel - who has worked for Sothebys and is Fellow and librarian at Corpus Christi College Cambridge. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is marking its first 200 year 1816 to 2016 with an exhibition called COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts. It runs until 30th December 2016 and includes on display the Macclesfield Psalter, an alchemical scroll, a duchess’ wedding gift, and the ABC of a five-year old princess.