Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Adventure of English

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The Adventure of English

The Biography of a Language

by Melvyn Bragg

The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 336 pages

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Melvyn Bragg was born in 1939 in Wigton, Cumbria - where many of his 19 fictional books are set. He won a scholarship to Oxford to read history, and in 1961 he gained a coveted traineeship with the BBC.

He presented Start the Week between 1988 and 1998. In his 1998 series On Giant's Shoulders he interviewed scientists about their eminent predecessors, and from 1999 to 2001 he presented The Routes of English, a series celebrating 1,000 years of the spoken language (on which The Adventure of English is based).

He currently presents In Our Time, a BBC Radio 4 series where he and his expert guests discuss the history of ideas, and explore subjects in culture and science.   The show is off-air until late September but after that you should be able to listen to it by visiting the BBC website*.

As well as presenting for Radio 4, he is Controller of Arts for London Weekend Television and is the presenter of The South Bank Show. In 1998 he was made a life peer. He has written various works of nonfiction and many novels including A Son of War, The Soldier's Return and Crossing The Lines. He lives in London and Cumbria.

*It's been sometime (at least a month!) since I've had a chance to wax lyrical about the wonderful world of BBC Radio 4 - each week "the Beeb" broadcast a wealth of programs, including book readings, radio plays and much more - and they archive most of their material for a week at their website, so lucky people like you and I can go and listen whenever we want.  Clicking this link will take you to their Arts and Drama page.  It's all good, but the Saturday Plays tend to be particularly fine.

This article is from the September 20, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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