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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Marc Levinson tells us the history of the A&P, the small tea seller that became the first company to sell $1 billion dollars in goods and transformed American business and food distribution in the process. Umberto Eco on his controversial new novel The Prague Cemetery. We’ll a look at how a Velázquez masterpiece, The Surrender at Breda was created. Jonathan Lethem talks about his new collection of essays!

The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America

Marc Levinson tells the history of A&P, from its beginning as a tea shop in New York to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, the largest retailer in the world. Mom-and-pop grocery stores enlisted state and federal governments to stop price discounting, tax chain stores, and require manufacturers to sell to small businesses at the same prices granted to giant retailers. The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America is the story of  the company and how it changed how Americans shop and the foods we eat.

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Umberto Eco's Novel, The Prague Cemetery

Umberto Eco discusses his highly anticipated, controversial novel, The Prague Cemetery. It looks at 19th-century Europe, rife with conspiracies and scapegoats. But what if, behind all of the conspiracies that ran rampant in Europe, both real and imagined, lay one man, who created its most infamous document? Eco takes readers on a journey through the underbelly of Europe’s world-shattering events.

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Velázquez and the Surrender of Breda

Anthony Bailey tells the story behind the famous painting in Velázquez and the Surrender of Breda. What began as propaganda art to celebrate a rare Spanish victory in the Eighty Years' War with Holland, the painting is today recognized as Velázquez's narrative masterpiece.

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Jonathan Lethem on The Ecstasy of Influence

Jonathan Lethem talks about the relationship between the novel and contemporary culture. In The Ecstasy of Influence, a collection of new and previously published essays, he looks at the role of the writer as public intellectual, tackling topics from sex in cinema to drugs, graffiti, Bob Dylan, cyberculture, 9/11, book touring, and Marlon Brando, as well as his literary models.

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