Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations



➽ [Download] ✤ Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations By Mary Beard ➲ – E17streets4all.co.uk Mary Beard, drawing on thirty years of teaching and writing about Greek and Roman history, provides a panoramic portrait of the classical world, a book in which we encounter not only Cleopatra and Ale Mary Beard, drawing on thirty years Classics: Traditions, ePUB ☆ of teaching and writing about Greek and Roman history, provides a panoramic portrait of the classical world, a book in which we encounter not only Cleopatra and Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Hannibal, but also the common people the millions of Confronting the eBook ´ inhabitants of the Roman Empire, the slaves, soldiers, and women How did they live Where did they go if their marriage was in trouble or if they were broke Or, perhaps just as important, how did they clean their teeth Effortlessly combining the epic with the quotidian, Beard forces the Classics: Traditions, Kindle Ñ us along the way to reexamine so many of the assumptions we held as gospel not the least of them the perception that the Emperor Caligula was bonkers or Nero a monster With capacious wit and verve, Beard demonstrates that, far from being carved in marble, the classical world is still very much alive.Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations

Winifred Mary Beard born January Classics: Traditions, ePUB ☆ is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and is a fellow of Newnham College She is the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog A Don s Life , which appears on The Times Confronting the eBook ´ as a regular column Her frequent media appearances and sometimes controversial public statements have led to her being described as Britain s best known classicistMary Beard, an only child, was born on January in Much Wenlock, Shropshire Her father, Roy Whitbread Beard, worked as an architect in the Classics: Traditions, Kindle Ñ Shrewsbury She recalled him as a raffish public schoolboy type and a complete wastrel, but very engaging Her mother Joyce Emily Beard was a headmistress and an enthusiastic readerMary Beard attended an all female direct grant school During the summer she participated in archaeological excavations this was initially to earn money for recreational spending, but she began to find the study of antiquity unexpectedly interesting But it was not all that interested the young Beard She had friends in many age groups, and a number of trangressions Playing around with other people s husbands when you were was bad news Yes, I was a very naughty girl At the age of she was interviewed for a place at Newnham College, Cambridge and sat the then compulsory entrance exam She had thought of going to King s, but rejected it when she discovered the college did not offer scholarships to women Although studying at a single sex college, she found in her first year that some men in the University held dismissive attitudes towards women s academic potential, and this strengthened her determination to succeed She also developed feminist views that remained hugely important in her later life, although she later described modern orthodox feminism as partly cant Beard received an MA at Newnham and remained in Cambridge for her PhDFrom to she lectured in Classics at King s College London She returned to Cambridge in as a fellow of Newnham College and the only female lecturer in the Classics faculty Rome in the Late Republic, which she co wrote with the Cambridge ancient historian Michael Crawford, was published the same year In Beard married Robin Sinclair Cormack She had a daughter in and a son in Beard became Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement in Shortly after the September attacks on the World Trade Center, Beard was one of several authors invited to contribute articles on the topic to the London Review of Books She opined that many people, once the shock had faded , thought the United States had it coming , and that w orld bullies, even if their heart is in the right place, will in the end pay the price In a November interview, she stated that the hostility these comments provoked had still not subsided, although she believed it had become a standard viewpoint that terrorism was associated with American foreign policy In , Beard became the Professor of Classics at Cambridge She is also the Visiting Sather Professor of Classical Literature for at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has delivered a series of lectures on Roman Laughter .

Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and
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  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations
  • Mary Beard
  • 21 September 2017
  • 0871408597

10 thoughts on “Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations

  1. says:

    This is the perfect Goodreads book a collection of old book reviews Taken from the Times literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books, slightly reworked,starting from the 1990s but mostly from this century They are lively and witty pieces, all of the books reviewed are from the field of Classics, Mary Beard being Mary Beard only three if my count be true get an unambiguous thumbs up, this is possibly a spoiler, so if you don t want to know look away now This is the perfect Goodreads book a collection of old book reviews Taken from the Times literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books, slightly reworked,starting from the 1990s but mostly from this century They are lively and witty pieces, all of the books reviewed are from the field of Classics, Mary Beard being Mary Beard only three if my count be true get an unambiguous thumbs up, this is possibly a spoiler, so if you don t want to know look away now Asterix and the Actress, Bilingualism and the Latin Language, and another one which I have forgotten, as you can tell I wasn t taking notes.The others are weighed in the balance, and if not exactly always found wanting, at least probed and questioned Some of the books that she enjoys too, are far from perfect, she finds T.P Wiseman s Remus A roman Myth quite inspired even if she is plainly not entirely convinced by his belief that various Roman myths were created and fixed in the Roman imagination by a series of plays none of which unfortunately have survived, and for none of which is there any evidence that they ever had existed in the first place she chews up a few biographies of Emperors Augustus and Hadrian like a lion gnawing on an antelope so that I was eventually impressed by the boldness of writers in dumping four hundred pages plus of mostly speculation on the reading public that entirely avoids the substantive political issues of their reigns The problem it emerges is not a shortage of source material, it is not even biographies themselves as a concept, the problem is the desire to write cradle to grave biographies of the sort you can buy about our contemporaries.In one passage she is discusses the baleful influence of Robert Graves I Claudius on academic assumptions about Augustus and his wife Livia, mentioning how low budget it was and how it was tarted up and made to look classier for USA audiences for example by cutting the scene in which Caligua tells Claudius that he has carried out a caesarian on his sister and eaten their baby he was the father , and then digresses to Robert Graves attending an opening night party for the actors for an earlier stage version At the party Graves insisted that Jesus lived until he was eighty and after the end of his public career devoted his time to inventing spaghetti not the best use of his time as the fork was not in common use in the region for centuries to come , Graves gave a magic stone to the cast to ensure the success of the show it was a flop.This is a book that probably requires you to know a bit of ancient history, but I found her discussions of Thucydides his Greek is so obscure that scholars are still in the process of working out what he might have been saying none of which has stopped Donald Kagan from using him to advance his theories on how he believes the Cold war should have been fought , Cicero, the removal and restoration of plundered Art which curiously enough never goes back to where it was taken from.Anyway as it was one of those days when I had to go on a journey and in this case spend the best part of four hours on buses having a new topic to read about every eight or so pages was just about perfect, I didn t even notice going past the Pig and Butcher pub.Ideal as well as a Goodreads book, she closes with a mini manifesto for reviewing reviews are a crucial part of the ongoing debate that makes a book worth writing and publishing and they are a way of opening up the conversation that it provokes to a much wider audience p.284

  2. says:

    I do not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member, said Groucho Marx in his most frequently quoted line one that I thought of several times while reading Confronting the Classics Good grief, Mary Beard is doing just what I ve done She s taken a bunch of reviews, tidied them up a bit, stuck on some linking text, and called it a book I mean, come on I ve tried her formula, and I know all the drawbacks No doubt the individual reviews are quite good, but the construction is I do not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member, said Groucho Marx in his most frequently quoted line one that I thought of several times while reading Confronting the Classics Good grief, Mary Beard is doing just what I ve done She s taken a bunch of reviews, tidied them up a bit, stuck on some linking text, and called it a book I mean, come on I ve tried her formula, and I know all the drawbacks No doubt the individual reviews are quite good, but the construction is choppy and fragmented It has no coherence And she s never really addressing the reader A lot of the time, it s painfully obvious that she s invited me into her text and then, in an elementary faux pas that no society hostess would dream of committing, she s blatantly ignoring me while she talks to the author instead What kind of behavior is that Embarrassingly, though, Professor Beard is able to muster one point in her defense her method appears to work Despite doing three years of Latin at school, I have never felt very interested in classical studies I passed my Latin O level with difficulty and have never learned any Greek I am extremely vague on classical history But having read a few dozen of her reviews, I discover that I am rather better informed about the subject than I was before Book reviewing, as everyone on this site knows, is an enjoyable spectator sport I found myself paying close attention as she rapped one author over the knuckles for analyzing Latin dramas that possibly never existed, or spent half a page discussing why another didn t bother to mention in his biography of a certain famous classicist that the gentleman in question had a habit of sexually harassing his female students She made the subject exciting It becomes apparent than many of the so called experts in this field are perilously close to the boundary which separates speculative research from out and out fraud The facts are hard to obtain, and the temptation to extrapolate and addor less fictitious details is enormous She can spot them cheating when I d gullibly swallow their stories, and it s fun to watch And while you do that, in a manner that s familiar to anyone who hangs out on this site, you find yourself learning After all, if you don t familiarize yourself with the background you can t follow the match.Well I don t know It s hard to argue with results maybe this isn t such a bad format after all In fact, I almost wonder if I shouldn t try it again myself

  3. says:

    I always feel like there s something wrong with me when I have an allergic reaction to a book that is so popular and successful, written by an author as universally loved and respected as Beard.But this book gave me a rash, for two reasons 1 It s a collection of wonderful essays that are fascinating and illuminating explorations of a range of aspects of the classical world, including underserved areas like laughter, and the lives of freed slaves BUTEvery single chapter is 50% what I ve just d I always feel like there s something wrong with me when I have an allergic reaction to a book that is so popular and successful, written by an author as universally loved and respected as Beard.But this book gave me a rash, for two reasons 1 It s a collection of wonderful essays that are fascinating and illuminating explorations of a range of aspects of the classical world, including underserved areas like laughter, and the lives of freed slaves BUTEvery single chapter is 50% what I ve just described, and 50% Beard attacking previous scholarship on the topic, often with a kind of condescending insouciance that I mused to with sealioning Twitter trolls Confronting the Classics isn t a book of history, it s a book of Beard s reviews, and who the heck wants to read that Not me.The final chapters aren t even discussion of classics at all, but of the academics like Beard who interpret them for us It s self licking ice cream cone territory, an exercise in ego rather than scholarship.2 I really got off the bus when Beard nostalgically gives a pass to the groping of history students in her chapter on Eduard Fraenkel She acknowledges that it s sexual harassment, but she also waxes eloquently on the link between pedagogy and eroticism, which, frankly, turned my stomach If this is a thing to be nostalgic about, then clearly I m missing the point I m surprised that Beard hasn t beenseriously taken to task for her casual treatment of what I regard as a very serious crime

  4. says:

    Mary Beard s Confronting the Classics is an uneven jumble of essays and book reviews previously published in the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books It has generated many favorable reviews in various media and been roundly praised by dozens of GR members It struck me as lackluster and uninteresting The back flap mentions a New York Times description of Beard as the closest thing, if it exists, to a celebrity classics professor That, in fac Mary Beard s Confronting the Classics is an uneven jumble of essays and book reviews previously published in the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books It has generated many favorable reviews in various media and been roundly praised by dozens of GR members It struck me as lackluster and uninteresting The back flap mentions a New York Times description of Beard as the closest thing, if it exists, to a celebrity classics professor That, in fact, may be the problem It barely passed my threshold into Three Star territory

  5. says:

    The thing about a good bookshop is that it encourages speculation This was another book I picked up in Daunt Books on Marylebone High St Mary Beard will be familiar in particular to the British, but I m guessing to a lot of other English speakers, as a high profile academic, with a public presence I imagine is unusual for somebody in this discipline She is the Classics editor of the TLS and it is a hodge podge collection of book reviews she has written over quite a long period of time, linked The thing about a good bookshop is that it encourages speculation This was another book I picked up in Daunt Books on Marylebone High St Mary Beard will be familiar in particular to the British, but I m guessing to a lot of other English speakers, as a high profile academic, with a public presence I imagine is unusual for somebody in this discipline She is the Classics editor of the TLS and it is a hodge podge collection of book reviews she has written over quite a long period of time, linked together by various themes, that form the basis for this book The units are small, I found myself looking forward to a tale and a cuppa for a week or two I hadn t done any Classics since school and this was a bit of an eye opener for me I hadn t realised just how much surmising has come from so little evidence How many careers, books an entire academic industry, not to mention a popular one too has been extracted in a manner that one could rather precisely say literally brings to mind blood from a stone The big theme of this book is explaining how our view of this ancient period is dictated by interpretation in a way that makes me, as a historian ofmodern times, aghast It s all made up Almost The characters, the stories, the very palaces we visit to pay homage to our ideas of how things were.I exaggerate a little, of course it isn t ALL made up.Rest here

  6. says:

    I enjoyed Mary Beard s book on Pompeii, and I think I ve read a couple of others, or at least seen her work cited She s always struck me as pretty level headed, unlikely to get carried away with conjectures, so I wasn t really surprised by the fairly sceptical tone of most of these reviews though I did begin to wonder if anyone, anywhere, could produce work she d give the green light It s a little odd reading a book of essays that are adapted I m not sure how much they ve been changed from I enjoyed Mary Beard s book on Pompeii, and I think I ve read a couple of others, or at least seen her work cited She s always struck me as pretty level headed, unlikely to get carried away with conjectures, so I wasn t really surprised by the fairly sceptical tone of most of these reviews though I did begin to wonder if anyone, anywhere, could produce work she d give the green light It s a little odd reading a book of essays that are adapted I m not sure how much they ve been changed from reviews of particular books some of them seemed very disconnected from the books they purportedly reviewed, which worked fine in this context, but seemed a bit odd when she did start discussing the books.It s not just criticism of other people s theories, although there s a lot of it there there s a general survey of the literature, some discussion of issues that the study of the classics faces in general, some windows into little bits of history.Mostly, though it is a book about other books a rather disparate collection, however much I might wantThe essays are fine, and I did enjoy reading it, but I didn t feel like I really learned anything new Just what not to believe

  7. says:

    Mary Beard s writing is accessible, but not condescending to the general reader She keeps academic score settling to a minimum You may be already well versed in the classics or a person trying to figure the people, customs and events both great and small from 20 centuries ago out for the first time or,likely, between those poles Maybe you have been to Italy, marveled at the Coliseum, the aqueducts and the Pantheon, made a trip to the foot of Mount Vesuvius and wondered about the people Mary Beard s writing is accessible, but not condescending to the general reader She keeps academic score settling to a minimum You may be already well versed in the classics or a person trying to figure the people, customs and events both great and small from 20 centuries ago out for the first time or,likely, between those poles Maybe you have been to Italy, marveled at the Coliseum, the aqueducts and the Pantheon, made a trip to the foot of Mount Vesuvius and wondered about the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum going about their business one minute, being engulfed in boiling lava and ash the next Or you studied Plato, Aristotle and the rest of the great minds of fifth century BCE and remained interested in them or saw the amphitheaters where Antigone and Electra were first performed No matter, just about anyone not in grad school in Classics will learn something new or find a new way to look at familiar topics Beard discusses the boredom and gloom of Roman soldiers stationed in cold, rainy Britain, unlike the sun kissed plains of Umbria as can be Regarding slavery in Rome, she makes the point that for many slavery was a temporary condition and not a life sentence and that many perhaps even a majority of the free population were ex slaves or closely related to them must have made a difference in how former slaves were treated by the ordinary man or woman Her vey cogent chapter on the Roman military makes the point that while Rome, both the Republic and then the Empire, was a militarized state constantly at war at the margins of its settled territory, armed soldiers weren t allowed into the capital itself There was an emphatic split between the demilitarized center and the zone of military activity, a split reflected by the standard Latin for at home and abroad , domi militiaeque.Beard shows how we construct versions of the classical world to suit ourselves Alexander the Great s reputation is an obvious example For many he has remained a positive example of a great general heroically leading his army to victory in battles increasingly distant from Greece Dante had him in the seventh circle of hell, screaming in pain in a river of boiling blood, surrounded by such monsters as Attila the Hun and Dionysus the tyrant of Sicily A contemporary historian summarized his career He spent much of his time killing and directing killing and, arguably killing is what he did best In addition to Alexander, fifth century B.C Athens is viewed through a contemporary and anachronistic lens We have chosen to invest the fifth century Athenians with the status of inventors of democracy and have projected our desire for an origin onto them While our word democracy derives from the Greek Beard says that As far as we know, no ancient Greek ever said so and anyway democracy isn t something that is invented like a piston engine.This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the classical world and those who study it

  8. says:

    This is not a book for the layman, nor does it pretend to be Therefore the views of this layman who acquired it partly by chance and partly from having enjoyed the lighter side of Professor Beard s writing should be taken for what they are worth.Confronting the Classics is a collection of book reviews contributed to various publications over a number of years, together with an Introduction and an Afterword The Introduction is the equivalent of an angler tossing bait into the water to entice This is not a book for the layman, nor does it pretend to be Therefore the views of this layman who acquired it partly by chance and partly from having enjoyed the lighter side of Professor Beard s writing should be taken for what they are worth.Confronting the Classics is a collection of book reviews contributed to various publications over a number of years, together with an Introduction and an Afterword The Introduction is the equivalent of an angler tossing bait into the water to entice the quarry Here are hints of many juicy bits to follow, and sure enough they do, surrounded by a great deal of erudite observation on the way of life and thought in ancient Greece and Rome.Not all of this could be expected to wow the lay reader, but plenty does for example, the suggestion that the Palace at Knossos which this lay reader has visited are a case of rebuilding ruins or the details of daily life for a squaddie stationed at Hadrian s Wall and muchMade readable by an author who can invoke the Carry On Films and make them relevant, or who can offer a comprehensive guide to the Asterix books both in the original French and thier English translations.The fact that these are reviews of books by other academics of course offers ample scope for points scoring in a notoriously competitive field They are not resisted but are invariably fair and balanced In any case, the clever professor makes that very point in her Afterword Or that s how it seemed to this lay reader

  9. says:

    Not my favourite MB.Part explanation discussion and part dissection of other books media regrading ancient Rome Greece.

  10. says:

    Historiography Historiography Historiography If I had a central criticism of Confronting the Classics, it would be that I ve written Historiography already about as many times as it appears in the book So what is Beard is deliberately and unambiguously writing about Historiography.History is a set of stories told to us Historiography is a study of how those stories came about.Enjoying that tidbit of Thucydidean thought in some sonorously written contemporary political opinion Well, interjec Historiography Historiography Historiography If I had a central criticism of Confronting the Classics, it would be that I ve written Historiography already about as many times as it appears in the book So what is Beard is deliberately and unambiguously writing about Historiography.History is a set of stories told to us Historiography is a study of how those stories came about.Enjoying that tidbit of Thucydidean thought in some sonorously written contemporary political opinion Well, interjects historiography, did that author unscramble Thucydides notoriously impenetrable Greek, or did they rely on a translator with their own slant wonderfully fertile imaginationIt is a lot easier for the ancient writers to be universally applicable when you keep changing what they said What a revealing collection of stories about Emperor Hadrian this biographer found, you muse to yourselfThey really gives insight into his greatness Historiography leans in and whispers in your ear Just how contemporary are these stories Is the source someone from a less prosperous age, slipping in boilerplate anecdotes to fit a narrative as to what makes someone greatWasn t it interesting how Cleopatra gave birth to Caesarion you somewhat weirdly ponder Hold up, historiography butts in Would you want your doctor to rely on a cobbled together set of unrelated medical texts hundreds of years apart Because that s what you just read. This book is exceptional at providing examples of how to critically read not just Classics, but History as a whole It also draws our attention to a perceptions of events and things changed over time, even down to how to pose a statute and b that there is value in those perceptions themselves Bernini might have invented the mattress for Sleeping Hermaphroditus, but it is still hell of a thing to look at Historiography says it s ok take a peek.While convenient for Beard to just collate existing articles, I actually agree with this approach for this particular case A book advancing a unified theory is probably impossible and would almost certainly be unreadable Short, wide ranging, examples are prompters What it teaches you is not to believe the last book you read, even if its views line up with you own However there are a couple of issues to note One is she doesn t tie the stories well enough to advance the thesis of historiography Her linking passages tease at her point but end up being a bit flaccid The other is that she occasionally advances a theory that is unsupported by the evidence available within the review Her view that the characteristics of Alexander the Great are a Roman invention Interesting, tell meoh, now for a chapter on Greek laughter The book is not set up for own theories, so when they slip in as asides, it ends up being frustrating.One issue I don t consider valid is tone Because Confronting the Classics is a collection of reviews of history writing pop historiography , Beard makes a lot of criticisms of that writing Which is right, because that s the point of historiography, even when I might disagree on particular reviews The barbs are hardly pointed and rarely directed at the actual authors, except over serial groping habits Beard s almost wistful recollection on the latter has been criticised, rightfully so, but in comparison of decades of silence from male colleagues, we should perhaps view her statements in context without excusing them , i.e use some historiographical thinking.The book is good, and it sneaks to four stars because we needexplanations of historiography It would be even better if she shouted that a bit louder

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