Pevsner: The BBC Years; Listening to the Visual Arts by Stephen Games
English | 2015 | ISBN: 1409461955 | 273 pages | PDF | 2 MB
Pevsner: The BBC Years gives the first full account of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner's engagement with the BBC at a time when both were the dominant institutions in their own fields, Pevsner as the most persuasive figure in the area of architecture and art history, the BBC as the country's sole broadcaster. As a German emigre, Pevsner was not at first trusted to speak on the air, and was only invited to appear at the very end of the war, in spite of his growing eminence in academia and architectural publishing. With the arrival of the Third Programme the following year, however, he quickly became a broadcasting celebrity, regarded by senior BBC figures as essential and novel listening. This book looks at the rise in Pevsner's standing at the BBC, at what he was admired for, and at the circumstances surrounding his invitation, in 1955, to give the first series of Reith Lectures on an arts subject - the relationship between visual expression and national identity. It explains the role played by Geoffrey Grigson, Basil Taylor, Anna Kallin and Leonie Cohn in advancing Pevsner's BBC career, analyses the literary character of his broadcasting, and considers the function of his talks as an extension of European belletrism. It also demonstrates the significance of his editorship of the King Penguin series of books. In addition, Pevsner: The BBC Years documents the unravelling of Pevsner's reputation. It shows how he was caught between changing fashions in media culture and doubts about the safety of his ideas within the BBC and, externally, by the animosity of British conservatives who found him too radical and American radicals who found him too conservative. In this book, correspondence from the BBC's archives provides a case study of scholarly thought being exposed to scrutiny by independent editors -- a process that all should learn from today.
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