The Power and the Glory

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export


  • Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.


  • Storytelling has been with us as long as language itself. The desire to both entertain and explain has resulted in the flowering of language to describe every aspect of the human condition. In this program, Stephen Fry discovers what makes a good story, and why some writers are better at conveying joy or horror than others. Topics include the Odyssey and the Iliad; James Joyce's Ulysses; the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and Stephen King (with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson); character in Shakespeare; plot (with William Goldman); P. G. Wodehouse; Nineteen Eighty-Four, Newspeak, and business speak; W. H. Auden and Coldplay; and the lyrics of Bob Dylan (with Sir Christopher Ricks).


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on January 18, 2013.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Literature: Beginnings (2:34) -- William Goldman on Plot (4:22) -- The Odyssey and the Iliad (4:08) -- James Joyce's "Ulysses" (7:18) -- J. R. R. Tolkien's Language (3:06) -- Peter Jackson on Stephen King (1:09) -- William Shakespeare's Genius (5:07) -- "To Be or not to Be" (4:06) -- Shakespeare's Language (4:47) -- Shakespeare in Translation (1:46) -- Language of P. G. Wodehouse (4:44) -- George Orwell's Language (4:53) -- W. H. Auden (2:32) -- Language of Lyrics (3:23) -- Stephen Fry's Concluding Remarks (1:09) -- Credits: The Power and the Glory: Fry's Planet Word (0:08)
Checking the Web...