Confronting the Classics by Mary Beard

In the UK, we have a law called the Trades Descriptions Act, which makes it an offence to misrepresent something you are selling as something else. I think the publishers of this book (Profile Books) could be charged under it. Well, not really, but pretty damned close.

The subtitle is ‘a provocative tour of what is happening now in Classics – learned, trenchant and witty’. The author is a well-known figure on BBC radio and TV and is a very interesting speaker. But this book is simply an assembly of her book reviews.

As someone who retains a keen interest in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, I was looking forward to reading what is described in the book’s blurb as Beard’s ‘manifesto’ for the Classics. But I was disappointed to find each chapter was an unedited review taken from a journal.

So, don’t read this unless you want to catch up on book reviews you may have missed.


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