- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (24 Feb. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192853856
- ISBN-13: 978-0192853851
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.3 x 11.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Classics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Feb 2000
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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)
About the Author
John Henderson is a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Mary Beard is a Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge.
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Top Customer Reviews
Beard and Henderson suggest that Classics is not the study of a dead culture but a live, interactive process informed by the 'vast community of readers across the millennia'. Their book dwells on the friezes from the Temple of Apollo at Bassae - initially, at what seems too great a length, but actually for very good reason. The temple friezes, now on exhibit at the British Museum, are independent blocks of marble that can be reassembled in many different ways. Bassae is therefore a metaphor for discovery and re-evaluation. Furthermore, the temple is set in Arcadia - a region of huge importance for literature, religion and philosophy, giving it yet more symbolic significance. As the authors suggest, the notion of Arcadia - sometimes paradise, sometimes brutish wilderness - is itself capable of multiple interpretation, like so many aspects of the ancient world. Each new generation's interpretations and insights shed extra light on, and themselves become part of, the classical heritage.
The book's unexpected emphasis on the historic reception of classics constitutes, perhaps, its major strength.Read more ›
Not quite what I expected. Had hoped for something a bit more in depth.
The premise of the OUP Very Short Introduction To books is to take an expert who has something really interesting to say on a particular subject, whether it be bananas or the classical world and then get them to talk about their interest in the subject in an easy to digest 150 short pages. This is not clearly explained, and these books are often picked up by total novices expecting something like 'a dummies guide to'. Well, there are already 'dummies guides to' which do their job very well. These, in my opinion can be much more rewarding and thought provoking.
In this book, Beard and Henderson use the example of a classical temple site in Greek Arcadia and what we know about it to explore how we approach the study of classics. It roams through archaeology, sociology, religion, politics, study of language, poetry and literature and makes a compelling case for why classics are still relevant today and what they mean to us in modern times.
Relax, go with it and it is a wondrfully thought-provoking journey-assembling fragments and impressions to re-create the magic of antiquity.
Although a short book, it is a rich read.
The book lost its way to detail around the 61% mark (accuracy attributed to my kindle) and I felt I would need to start taking notes but eventually the book regained its macro approach in a way that is appropriate for an introductory text.
I'm always explaining to people that economics (my degree at university) is the study of choice and not just about money and markets. In the same way, Classics has been explained to me to be not just about temples and friezes. If you scratch the surface of the scientific method both disciplines are sociological and anthropological.
Whilst classics incorporates Greek and Roman products (art, language, philosophy, archaeology, etc.) it is explained that Greece is to be seen through Roman eyes; and so begins the transition of culture down the ages. This is a study just not of the static state of such products just mentioned but of their constant state of flux. The subjectivity of the interpretation develops our understanding of the past whilst also revealing nuances about the present context from which our opinions have come from.
Historical inquiry is in a jostle between technological advancement that may reveal and 'Chinese Whispers' that may reconstruct. Eventually the subject boils down to philosophy, that, without providing an answer that is concrete (or maybe I should say marble), provides a journey that is informative and enjoyable in itself. To know where you are going, it helps to know where you are coming from.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent introduction and imaginatively structured to lead the reader into the subject. Highly recommended!Published 8 months ago by M. Bell
A fellow Amazon reviewer recommended this book, which he has recently read, with the catalyst being his son’s graduation from college, with a now rather unusual degree, in The... Read morePublished 11 months ago by John P. Jones III
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