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Cultural Notebook

It’s uncool to gush, but isn’t A History of the World in 100 Objects a really great thing? And its presenter isn’t half bad either

By Sam Leith   November 2010

I met Neil MacGregor once, years ago, at a Private Eye lunch. My memory being what it is, and Private Eye lunches being what they are, it’s unusual that the encounter stuck in my head. But we hit it off—I can’t remember how we got onto the subject—on the basis of a shared fondness for a particular translation of a Catullus poem by GS Davies, an obscure Scottish schoolmaster. It’s the one about Lesbia’s sparrow turning up its clawed toes, and its opening lines are rendered thus:

Weep, weep, ye Loves and Cupids all, And ilka man o’…

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