Thursday, December 19, 2013: The Byzantine Empire spanned some 1000 years and consumed most of the countries surrounding Mediterranean. This largely Greek speaking empire was also predominately Christian, a fact that we often forget today in light of the Near East’s association with Islam and Judaism. Historian Roger Crowley is the author of 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West and talks with Bob about this often-overlooked civilization. Next, curator Susan Arensberg talks with Bob about the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections. The show runs through March 2, 2014 and is the first major Byzantine exhibition at the National Gallery. Finally, when English writer E.M. Forster discovered the work of the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933), he commented that if Cavafy’s work was not translated into English, “the English speaking world will be definitely poorer.” In this anniversary year of both Cavafy’s birth and death, Bob talks with noted literary critic Daniel Mendelsohn about Cavafy’s work and legacy. Mendelsohn is the translator of C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems.
Friday, December 20, 2013: Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, actor Oscar Isaac stars as the title character in the new Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis. Set in 1960s Greenwich Village during the folk music scene, the film charts a week-in-the-life of Isaac’s struggling musician. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.