It's a Don's Life

It's a Don's Life

Mary Beard

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1846682517

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Mary Beard's by now famous blog A Don's Life has been running on the TLS website for nearly three years. In it she has made her name as a wickedly subversive commentator on the world in which we live. Her central themes are the classics, universities and teaching - and much else besides. What are academics for? Who was the first African Roman emperor? Looting - ancient and modern. Are modern exams easier? Keep lesbos for the lesbians. Did St Valentine exist? What made the Romans laugh? That is just a small taste of this selection (and some of the choicer responses) which will inform, occasionally provoke and cannot fail to entertain.

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don’t mean ‘favourable’) is marrying up the right reviewer with the right book, even if at first sight they make an unlikely couple. I have three basic rules of thumb. 1 Never send a book to someone if you already know what they are going to say. Despite what people often think about the ethics of the reviewing trade, there really isn’t much interest, for me at least, in fixing up a review that merely hands someone a free platform for back-scratching or denunciation. Of course, sometimes you

the taste of the foul home-brewed spirits under Prohibition had something to do with their popularity. It struck me, in the middle of my second Margarita the other evening, how much the ancient Romans (the rich ones, at any rate) would have enjoyed the art of the cocktail if only they had thought of it. Romans were refreshingly uncultured when it came to alcohol. They mostly mixed their wine with water and/or honey, and they didn’t much care about vintages (except when they fell on an important

Just like those Pompeian electoral ‘dipinti’. When we got to the ex-village, now suburb, where we were staying, it was much the same. Grand houses, with peristyle gardens, lurking behind curtain walls, cheek by jowl with the local internet café or hardware store. The husband aptly compared our hotel to the House of the Faun. The point, I reflected, was not that this place looked like Pompeii might have done. It was more that it seemed to share with the ancient world an idea of what (to put it

images that survive make him look like any other Roman emperor before him – his whiteness over-emphasised by the shiny white marble in which he was so often portrayed. This was not a black man claiming the imperial throne for himself. This was the Roman imperial machine turning a man of colour into an emperor more or less indistinguishable from all his predecessors. The machine was making sure that race did not show. No one is suggesting, of course, that Obama’s publicity team will attempt,

deploring the wickedness of élitist academics is a cheap way of reassuring the back bench rebels that they still have some kind of concern for social justice. Of course, it’s not like that at all. One problem with the causes célèbres is that rules of confidentiality stop us from telling our side of the story. The unsuccessful candidate’s head teacher or parents can leak all they like about the unfortunate line of questioning (‘You mean you’ve never been to the United States?’) or the general bad

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