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Escaping with classics: the literature to help you forget about the lockdown

Time for some Lucretius, Apuleius and Virgil

Illustration: Kate Hazell

What classical literature provides the best consolation, the best escape, the best comfort in difficult times? My first thought is the 1st-century BC poem On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius. It’s a wonderful, knotty thing—an epic poem infused with pleasurable metaphors that enrich and complicate his ideas about scientific and philosophical materialism.

Lucretius was an Epicurean, but that doesn’t mean he advocated a life of bodily pleasures and delicious dinners, as the word is colloquially used now. Rather, his aim was to advance…

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