Classics for All Reviews

By Harry Mount

Bloomsbury (2015) h/b 264pp £18.99 (ISBN 9781472904678)

Despite the pretentious title, this book is both modest and entertaining, if a little self—indulgent. Mount is a journalist, writer (Amo, Amas, Amat and All That) and classical scholar in the British tradition—Westminster and Oxford—and the book records the author’s journey round sites of ancient Greece loosely following the trail of Odysseus. Its inspiration, Mount asserts, is his rejection in love and the need for cathartic refuge in travel—almost mythically he parted from his girl friend in Naxos. It is light-hearted but not lightweight, including erudite references and creating a coherent structure on to which he can tag his own comments and experiences. He has the happy knack of relating ancient sites and practices to modern life. But throughout it all his respect and love of Homer shines through.

The book is not completely faithful to Odysseus’s post…

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