New review: Mary Beard’s Confronting the Classics

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Jess McCabe looks into Mary Beard’s critique of biases in the classics

Even with a handful of TV programmes, a contentious appearance on Question Time and, obviously, an academic career in the study of ancient Rome and Greece under her belt, sadly I am more familiar with the abuse directed at Mary Beard than her work.

First there were the snide remarks from columnist AA Gill. And then Samantha Brick weighed in. Then there was the even more atrocious abuse online, which Beard documented on her readable Times blog, A Don’s Life. She has always managed to fend off these remarks with much wittier comebacks.

I picked up Beard’s latest book, a collection of her reviews with the engaging title Confronting the Classics, with the aim of redressing that balance by learning a little more about her actual work as a classicist.

The subtitle of this collection promises “a provocative tour of what is happening now in classics – learned, trenchant and witty”, and that is exactly what Beard delivers.

Click here for the rest of the review.