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Why I chose to study classics

The death of classics has been predicted for centuries—but the field is constantly reshaped, opened out, and rethought

Classics in the culture at large continues to find a ready audience: one thinks of the popularity of Madeline Miller’s novels, Mary Beard’s history books and television programmes, and Emily Wilson’s brilliant Odyssey translation. Image: Aeneas beim Festmahl der Dido, Gerard de Lairesse

In my final Classical Musing column, I wanted to try to set down what it is about classics that I find worthwhile. In my day job, I am a writer on the Guardian. Journalism is, by definition, about the events of the day, which rush past at a bewildering speed. The literature of the deep past offers a respite and, to an extent, an escape. This was certainly true on a personal level in the early months of the pandemic, when I was on leave, immersed in writing a book of retellings of stories from the Greek myths.  

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