One of the translators of this encyclopedic philosophical lexicon – The Dictionary of Untranslatables – examines some of the philosophical, literary and political terms and concepts that defy easy – or any – translation from one language and culture to another. He talks to Daniel Hahn, the national programme director of the British Centre for Literary Translation.
Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sun-baked heartland of the savannah, he crosses the ‘Red Line’ into a different Africa.
The visionary Colombian architect is the most eminent proponent of bamboo as an essential building component. He talks about his work and commitment to convert bamboo from a symbol of poverty into a symbol of sustainability. Introduced by Marianne Ponsford.
Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.
Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. Its scholars laid the foundations of today’s physics, chemistry and biology. They were true revolutionaries, agents of an upheaval both of understanding and of politics. The Eiffel Tower, built to celebrate the Revolution’s centennial, saw the world’s first wind tunnel, first radio message and first observation of cosmic rays. Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and hugely improved the manufacture of gunpowder. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him claimed that “the Revolution has no need for geniuses”. Chaired by Dan Davis.
This year’s lecture is given by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, author of The Idea of Justice and Identity and Violence – The Illusion of Destiny. Chaired by Nik Gowing.
Sister to Anne Boleyn and seduced by two kings, Mary Boleyn has long been the subject of scandal and myth. Her affair with Henry VIII fuelled the shocking annulment of his marriage to Anne, and Mary is rumoured to have borne his child in secret. Chaired by SJ Parris.
In the spring of 1553 three ships sailed north-east from London into uncharted waters. The scale of their ambition was breathtaking. Drawing on the latest navigational science and the new spirit of enterprise and discovery sweeping the Tudor capital, they sought a northern passage to Asia and its riches. When their ships became separated in a storm, each ship had to fend for itself. Their fates were sharply divided. One returned to England, to recount extraordinary tales of the imperial court of Tsar Ivan The Terrible. The tragic, mysterious story of the other two ships has to be pieced together through the surviving captain’s log book, after he and his crew became lost and trapped by the advancing Arctic winter.
With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship. The Man Booker winner’s version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.