Arts & Culture

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The British Library is now showing original manuscripts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the first time they've come to the United Kingdom.

But those documents are not the main event at this exhibition. It's the Magna Carta, issued by King John in 1215 — more than 500 years before the American documents, as library curator Julian Harrison notes.

Sandwich Monday: Breakfast In A Tin

Apr 13, 2015

[Sandwich Monday note: Gillian is our resident British Person.]

Americans often look upon British food as bland and stodgy, so for this week's Sandwich Monday, I decided to prove everyone wrong with my offer of Hunger Breaks All Day Breakfast: a can of baked beans, sausage, bacon and "egg nuggets." After a trip across the Atlantic, we blitzed our meal in the microwave, then poured it back into the can for the complete experience. A cup of strong tea and drizzle are optional.

A handwritten notebook by Alan Turing, the British mathematician credited with breaking German codes during World War II, sold for more than $1 million at auction Monday in New York. It is the first time a manuscript by Turing, a pioneer in computer science, has come to public market, according to Bonhams.

Bonhams says it is currently unable to reveal the identity of the buyer.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Sixty-three percent of people who took part in a global survey of religious attitudes say they are religious, according to WIN/Gallup International, the organization that carried out the polling.

The poll also found that 22 percent said they were not religious while about 11 percent said they were "convinced atheists," according to the poll published today. It surveyed nearly 64,000 people in 65 countries.

One of the central conceits of the first season of HBO's Veep was the carnival of humiliations suffered by Selina Meyer, played so brilliantly by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in her capacity as vice president. She battled for relevance while waiting for the phone to ring, surrounded by a staff even more determinedly clinging to shreds of power and significance than she was. Later, Selina wound up battling primary opponents in her own bid to become president — a path that proved to have its own endless frustrations.

Günter Grass wrote more than 30 plays, novels, books of poems, essays and memoirs. He was also a visual artist and sculptor. He won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He died of undisclosed causes in the German town of Lübeck, his publisher, Steidl Verlag, confirmed. He was 87 years old.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tina Packer has spent a lifetime researching Shakespeare and his plays, both as an actress and as a director. And as she focused on the role that women play in his works, she noticed a progression.

Consider Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, one of his earliest plays, which centers on a man breaking a defiant woman's spirit. Strong-willed Kate is a harridan; her compliant sister, meanwhile, says things like, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe."

Sixty years ago in San Francisco, Allen Ginsberg penned a poem that opened with the now-famous lines:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix ...

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