Some of our best poets have the greatest range: think of Shakespeare, in all his wild permutations, or Edna St. Vincent Millay boomeranging from heartbreak to revelry. Or T. S. Eliot, who captured our bruised souls in “The Waste Land,” itemized the neuroses of unrequited love in “Prufrock,” and then turned around and set to verse the antics of cats like Growltiger and Rumpleteazer. You could say that the same range exists in the best of actors—like Jeremy Irons, who’s played everyone from starry-eyed Charles Ryder to Humbert Humbert himself. Irons’s iconic voice has lent itself to animated lions and audiobooks before, but now, he joins us to talk about perhaps his most ambitious project yet: narrating the poems of T. S. Eliot. This episode originally aired in 2018.
Go beyond the episode:
- Jeremy Irons reads The Poems of T. S. Eliot from Faber & Faber and BBC Radio 4
- Read more about T. S. Eliot’s life at the Poetry Foundation
- May we suggest Juliet Stevenson’s portfolio of Jane Austen’s novels for your next road trip?
- Listen for yourself: T. S. Eliot reads “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”and “The Waste Land”
- On the other hand, we love W. H. Auden’s reading of “As I Walked Out One Evening” (and his collaboration on the Night Mail documentary)
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman. Excerpt of “The Rum Tum Tugger” used courtesy the BBC, which owns the production copyright.
Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.