Charlotte Higgins writes an interesting piece in Varsity … here’s the concluding bit:
The value of the classics, like the value of the arts, is difficult to articulate, verging on the intangible. Their value is about their very remoteness from ordinary life – the fact that they can provide a place where the intellect can range freely over subjects taken more or less in the abstract, rather than snagging on the barbs and hooks of the everyday. Their value is that they offer a playground for the imagination, in which our very disconnectedness from ancient Greece and Rome invites the willing mind to elaborate the gaps and lacunae. Their value is that they are removed from our busy, relevant, modern society and from the forces that conspire to factory-make mini-consumers in the guise of educating our children.