As you will all probably know, the editor of the TLS, Sir Peter Stothard, has a blog. He is now joined in the blogosphere by the TLS Classics Editor Mary Beard.
Please accept this roundabout attempt to email Mary Beard on the subject of OUP's Very Short Introductions. I now append the text of an email I have just sent to VSI: "May I make a request/suggestion? VSI's current "The Roman Empire" stops conventionally short at Marcus Aurelius although the line of imperial succession and evolution remains unbroken until the fall of Constantinople some1200 years later. Since, now, the European Union once again stretches from Gibraltar to the Bosphorus, is it too much to expect a complete history, from Augustus to Constantine XI - however little that may be to the taste of Popes, Enlightenment philosophes and those smug western European states that created themselves by consuming the empire from within?James Leigh
I have just finished reading Mary Beard's "It's a Don's Life" and found it very entertaining. However, I do take exception to the comments she makes in the section "Feminism now: should boys play harps?" in which she comments that "girls chose to be nurses and got lower pay, less prestige and a lifetime of emptying bed-pans." I can assure her that (a) girls from working class backgrounds rarely had the opportunity to choose to train to become doctors rather than nurses and (b) the job of nursing does have certain prestige and none spend "a lifetime emptying bed-pans."Not everyone was born into a social strata where girls did actually have a career choice. I detect a certain smugness here in an otherwise enjoyable book.
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