Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Don's Life by Mary Beard

Mary Beard, the prominent Classicist and always-provocative and insightful writer, has turned her blog, A Don's Life, which is associated with the London Times, into a book.

The book reprints some selected posts, as well as including quite a few comments (and I think that debate actually makes the book). It also has an essay, by yours truly, on the nature of blogging -- and why I am a convert to the genre, despite many initial misgivings about dumbing down etc etc.

I hope you'll like it.

This of course raises a publication question: why would anyone buy the book if they could just look at her blog for free?

Nonetheless, it sounds very intriguing:

I'd like to think that anyone planning to apply to a so-called "elite" university would find some reassurance here: Oxbridge interviews really aren't as mad as they are made out to be, and you'll find some useful reflections from someone on the "wrong" side of the interview in the book. You'll also find a glimpse of the day to day life of a don -- much less port, and much more hard work than is usually painted (though even the blog cant quite capture what my everyday life is like ... no student would fancy seeing our discussion dissecting her essay reprinted on the web).

You'll also find some debunking of classical myths (Did the Romans wear togas? Well, not often -- about as we wear dinner jackets). And you'll come across some sharp commentary on 'new' classical stories in the headlines, not to mention some expostulation about the world as we know it (why do mixed institutions make it so hard for women to find the women's loo?)

Not to mention the occasional pointed rant on "the erotics of pedagogy', or on the Elgin Marbles.

I frankly did not realize she had a blog. But I have added it to my feed.

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