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The curious history of the maze

From The Shining to Saffron Walden

As a child, Charlotte Higgins visited the city of Heraklion in Crete and was entranced by the Bronze Age archaeological site at Knossos. Knossos is synonymous with the Greek legend of the labyrinth: Theseus is said to have eluded the Minotaur by escaping from his labyrinth with the aid of a red thread supplied by Ariadne.

“The labyrinth,” writes Higgins, is “both a symbol of the body and its fragile mysteries, and a gesture of optimism that a corner…

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