Titanic voyagers: Frances Wilson and Richard Davenport-Hines on RMS Titanic

Filed under: Non-fiction

This Roy Jenkins Memorial Meeting sees Frances Wilson in conversation with Richard Davenport-Hines about RMS Titanic, chaired by Susan Hitch.

One hundred years ago this spring, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. The tragedy caused the greatest media stir since Jack the Ripper. In Titanic Lives: migrants, millionaires, conmen and crew, Richard Davenport-Hines tells the stories of those who sailed on the Titanic, and through them examines Edwardian society. Frances Wilson, in How to Survive the Titanic, or the Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay, considers the life of the chairman of the White Star Line, who never lived down the shame of slipping into a lifeboat as his ship went down. In a conversation chaired by Susan Hitch, broadcaster and former fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, they talk about why the calamity made such an impact, and why it has such enduring interest; what it tells us about both the beauty of the human spirit and the squalor of human motive; and which stories have continued to resonate for them since completing their books. And they ask whether it is a good thing that publishers are so obsessed with anniversaries.

Recorded Monday 19 March 2012.

Related RSL Fellows

Richard Davenport-Hines 2003
Frances Wilson 2008