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Classics: A Very Short Introduction (1995)

by Mary Beard, John Henderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
574629,794 (3.6)3
this short and brilliant book... is now re-issued in an attractive pocket-sized format... amazing range of reference... very clear organisation. JT, Anglo-Hellenic Review, No.22, 2000.'nobody could fail to be informed and entertained - and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.' -TLS'Lively, and up-to-date...it shows classics as a living enterprise, not a warehouse of relics.' -New Statesman and Society'Beard and Henderson have suceeded brilliantly in communicating the sheer breadth of Classics in this Very Short Introduction.... In language accessible to non-specialist and student alike, Beard and Henderson illustrate how Classic encompasses not just a study of the ancient world, but also of its traditions of scholarship and its influence on the culture of the western world...... This book does not fail to challenge and provoke. Nor does it ignore the problems and current issues that beset the subject and its teaching, but presents them even handedly and with humour, eschewing propaganda.... A stimulating addition to the school library.' -JACT review'The authors show us that Classics is a 'modern' and sexy subject. They succeed brilliantly in this regard nobody could fail to be informed and entertained-and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.' -John Goodwin, Times Literary Supplement'Statues and slavery, temples and tragedies, museum, marbles, and mythology-this provocative guide to the Classics demystifies its varied subject-matter while seducing the reader with the obvious enthusiasm and pleasure which mark its writing.' -Edith Hall, author of Inventing the Barbarian'You could not find two better introducers to the Classics than Mary Beard and John Henderson. They are questioning, funny, bold, and widely read in many fields. They could not be dull if they tried.' -Philip Howard, columnist for The Times'This little book should be in the hands of every studentm and every tourist to the lands of the ancient world - a splendid piece of work.' -Peter Wiseman, author of Talking to Virgil'For those who think Classics is just the dry as dust learning of dead languages this arresting book will come as a rude shock. This is no potted history of Greece and Rome, but a brillian demonstration that the continual re-excavation of our classical past is vital if the modern world is to rise to the challenge inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi to 'Know yourself'.' -Robin Osborne, author of Demos: The Discovery of Classical Attica… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Interesting overview of the field of Classics through the lens of the temple at Bassae.
  ritaer | Oct 22, 2016 |
Quite an unusual approach to the topic, with deep reflection on what it means for us to read the classics from such a distant point in time and culture. I found it very hard to follow what they were trying to accomplish in the final chapter ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ - I think it's something about understanding the classics as a kind of mythological grand tour landscape, but it's not clear.

If you want to see another angle on the grand tour landscape, I recommend the television Time Team Special episode 28 "Secrets of the Stately Garden".

Unabridged audiobook:

Julia Whelan reads Elg-in (as in Elgin Marbles) as El-gin
  rakerman | Aug 28, 2016 |
Using the temple at Bassae in Arcadia and its sculptured frieze as a starting point, the authors discuss the relationship of the Roman civilization with that of Classical Greece and of both of them with modern Europe since the Renaissance. For such a small book its scope is wide; the writing is thought-provoking. ( )
3 vote gibbon | Apr 16, 2008 |
Interesting. Not so much about the Greeks and the Romans as about how the Greeks and Romans are the same as and different from us and the similarities and differences between the ways people have regarded them in different generations. A lot to get through in just 120 pages. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jan 20, 2008 |
This bppk is very short, but it deals more with our relationship with classics than with the classics themselves. Nobody could fail to be informed and entertained. In language accessible to non-specialist and student alike, Beard and Henderson illustrate how Classic encompasses not just a study of the ancient world, but also of its traditions of scholarship and its influence on the culture of the western world. This book does not fail to challenge and provoke. Nor does it ignore the problems and current issues that beset the subject and its teaching, but presents them even handedly and with humour, eschewing propaganda.
2 vote antimuzak | May 29, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Beard, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henderson, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed

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This introduction to Classics begins with a brief visit to a museum.
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this short and brilliant book... is now re-issued in an attractive pocket-sized format... amazing range of reference... very clear organisation. JT, Anglo-Hellenic Review, No.22, 2000.'nobody could fail to be informed and entertained - and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.' -TLS'Lively, and up-to-date...it shows classics as a living enterprise, not a warehouse of relics.' -New Statesman and Society'Beard and Henderson have suceeded brilliantly in communicating the sheer breadth of Classics in this Very Short Introduction.... In language accessible to non-specialist and student alike, Beard and Henderson illustrate how Classic encompasses not just a study of the ancient world, but also of its traditions of scholarship and its influence on the culture of the western world...... This book does not fail to challenge and provoke. Nor does it ignore the problems and current issues that beset the subject and its teaching, but presents them even handedly and with humour, eschewing propaganda.... A stimulating addition to the school library.' -JACT review'The authors show us that Classics is a 'modern' and sexy subject. They succeed brilliantly in this regard nobody could fail to be informed and entertained-and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.' -John Goodwin, Times Literary Supplement'Statues and slavery, temples and tragedies, museum, marbles, and mythology-this provocative guide to the Classics demystifies its varied subject-matter while seducing the reader with the obvious enthusiasm and pleasure which mark its writing.' -Edith Hall, author of Inventing the Barbarian'You could not find two better introducers to the Classics than Mary Beard and John Henderson. They are questioning, funny, bold, and widely read in many fields. They could not be dull if they tried.' -Philip Howard, columnist for The Times'This little book should be in the hands of every studentm and every tourist to the lands of the ancient world - a splendid piece of work.' -Peter Wiseman, author of Talking to Virgil'For those who think Classics is just the dry as dust learning of dead languages this arresting book will come as a rude shock. This is no potted history of Greece and Rome, but a brillian demonstration that the continual re-excavation of our classical past is vital if the modern world is to rise to the challenge inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi to 'Know yourself'.' -Robin Osborne, author of Demos: The Discovery of Classical Attica

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