REPLAY - Smithsonian Associates on C-SPAN Literature Courses Civil War
Biography & Autobiography Programs
Patrick Henry: The Forgotten Founding Father

Though he was enormously influential in his time, Patrick Henry’s accomplishments—other than his one great line “Give me liberty or give me death”—were subsequently all but forgotten. Historian Jon Kukla, author of a new biography of Henry, discusses why he finds that obscurity is less then deserved, and why his contributions to the nation’s early years merit more attention.

Date
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Luciano Pavarotti: King of the High C’s

Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti (1935–2007) was a global superstar who expanded the musical genre’s audience to include millions of people who had never set foot in an opera house. On the tenth anniversary of Pavarotti’s death, opera expert Fred Plotkin provides an intimate portrait of the great Italian tenor.

Date
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
One Life: Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was one of the most dynamic and admired writers of the 20th century. Curators of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, One Life: Sylvia Plath, present an overview and discuss Plath’s struggle to understand her own self and to navigate the societal pressures placed on young women during the 1950s.

Date
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Mary, Queen of Scots: Villain or Victim?

On Feb. 8, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed for treason on the orders of her English cousin, Elizabeth I. It was a tragic end to a turbulent life. Historian Jennifer Paxton explores Mary’s life for an answer to one of history’s enduring questions: Was the queen a martyr or a failed conspirator? 

Date
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Fred Astaire: Dancing with Genius

Film scholar and writer Christine Bamberger uses film clip montages, rare photographs, and original recordings to create a fuller portrait of the immortal Fred Astaire, challenging clichés that have grown up around him and exploring his work as an actor and vocalist, as well as a man who revolutionized dance on film.

Date
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
T.S. Eliot: Daring To Disturb the Universe

September is a time to celebrate the birth of perhaps the greatest 20th-century poet, Thomas Stearns Eliot. To pay tribute to the author of The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, author Daniel Stashower explores Eliot’s life and legacy, and actor Scott Sedar offers dramatic readings of his works. Afterward, we will raise a toast and perhaps even “dare to eat a peach.”

Date
Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Sally Quinn: On Life, Love and Spirituality

Celebrated journalist Sally Quinn's life is also the story of modern Washington during some of its most turbulent years. This evening, Quinn sits down for a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and journalist and author Elsa Walsh.

Date
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Wit, Works, and Woes of Oscar Wilde

On the anniversary of playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde’s birthday, explore the complex man who declared that he put his talent into his writings and his genius into his life. Afterward, enjoy a slice of birthday cake and a glass of sherry and raise a toast to the man who wrote, “I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”

Date
Monday, October 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Puccini: A Deeper Look
6-Session Daytime Course

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) is the most popular of all the operatic masters. Through films and recordings, Saul Lilienstein delves beyond the familiar to examine fascinating aspects of the life, career, and creative genius of this most famed of opera composers.  

Date
Tuesday, October 17 to November 21, 2017 – 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Untangling the Legend of Lionheart

Was Lionheart a brave warrior and a hero of the tales of Robin Hood or a vicious killer and failed monarch? The truth about King Richard I is plucked from the tangle of legends in this entertaining program.   

Date
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Evolution of Alice Waters: How American Cuisine Found Its Way

When Alice Waters opened restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, in 1971, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape. Tonight, Waters talks about her evolution from follower to activist who effects change on a global level through the common bond of food.

Date
Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Incomparable Ella: A 100th Birthday Tribute

John Edward Hasse, curator of the current Smithsonian exhibition Ella Fitzgerald at 100: First Lady of Song, draws on film and video clips, rare photographs, and original recordings  to provide insight into the extraordinary life and career of Ella Fitzgerald.

Date
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.