The Weekend Listener #11

The Weekend Listener is an eclectic weekly list of noteworthy podcasts and radio recordings, old and new, curated for your listening pleasure. Posts in this series are published on Fridays – please search the website for the previous instalments.


LANGUAGE

Stuff You Missed in History Class | L. L. Zamenhof and the Hope of Esperanto

Portrait of Ludwig L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, as a middle-aged bearded man wearing glasses.

Over the centuries, there have been many attempts at creating a universal, constructed language, but none has been more successful than Esperanto. Still spoken and regularly used by thousands of enthusiasts, Esperanto is not only a language, but also an attempt at creating a better, more tolerant society. With Zamenhof Day coming up on 15th December, learn a bit about this language and the man who brought it to life. [Duration: 44’37’’]


LITERATURE

In Our Time | Christina Rossetti

Portrait of the British author Christina Rossetti as a young woman gazing wistfully into the distance.

Born on 5th November 1830, Christina Rossetti was one of the most important and influential of the Victorian poets. A devout Anglican, her life was marked with a deep Christian faith and commitment to charitable work, but also with poor health and depression. She left a remarkable literary legacy that has left a lasting impression on the subsequent generations of writers. In the episode of In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg discusses her life and works with a panel of literary experts. [Duration: 41’52’’]


LEARNING ENGLISH

English Club | The Night Before Christmas

A vintage postcard showing a winter scene of a village church and a group of people walking towards it for the Christmas Eve midnight service.

The Night Before Christmas is an 1832 children’s poem, traditionally read to kids at Christmastime (ideally on Christmas Eve). In this episode of the English Club podcast you can listen to it, and then answer a number of comprehension check questions. Also on the webpage is a list of more complicated words and phrases with the explanations. [Duration: 4’08’’]


HISTORY

Hark! | Good King Wenceslas

The upper part of a statue of the Bohemian King Wenceslas, portrayed as a bearded man holding a sword.

Good King Wenceslas is one of the best known Christmas carols, with quite an interesting background. What does Wenceslas, a 10th century Bohemian ruler, have to do with Christmas? And how and when did a 16th century festival tune turn into a jolly carol celebrating kindness and generosity? Learn in this episode of Hark!, a wonderful podcast series exploring the history of Christmas carols. [Duration: 43’09’’]


CULTURE & SOCIETY

Being Well Podcast | Mindfulness

A young man sitting in lotus position, meditating.

Many people swear by some of the meditation and concentration practices they have adopted, praising their beneficial effects on their emotional, mental and physical health. A word often used in that context is mindfulness, but what exactly is it, and how can you too become a more mindful person? [Duration: 19’55’’]


RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

On Being | How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes

A woman wearing a coat and a red woolen cap standing in the middle of a snowy forest, her arms raised up as in celebration.

Cold, dark days of winter can be challenging for many, but there’s much to be said in favour of the seasonal withdrawal, resting and replenishing that comes with ‘wintering’. Listen to Krista Tippett, the host of On Being, in conversation with the English writer Katherine May, the author of Wintering: the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. The webpage contains the full transcript of the conversation. [Duration: 60’]


Is there a podcast episode you’d like to recommend on these or related topics? You’re very welcome to share it in the comments section below.

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