Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR 2014.08.54 on the BMCR blog

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.08.54

Response: Allan on Hunink on Allan.   Response to 2014.08.25


Response by William Allan, University College, Oxford (william.allan@univ.ox.ac.uk)

I am grateful to Vincent Hunink for his kind words on my Classical Literature: A Very Short Introduction. However, it is clear from the first couple of paragraphs of his discussion that he is reviewing the book as though it were a textbook intended for classroom use. I would like to clarify that this is not the purpose of the Very Short Introduction series, which is aimed at the general reader. The review is therefore based on a misunderstanding.

One might recommend the book in preparation for a Classics degree, but its target audience is people who may have only vaguely heard of Homer or Virgil and want to dip their toe further. The book makes no claim to be, or to replace, a serious textbook (such as Rutherford’s, which he compares it to).

One final point: the reviewer names several authors that are not covered. One could name 500 more: again, it is a VSI with a strict limit of 125 pages of text. As regards my selection, there are several separate VSIs on ancient philosophy and Christianity, so my remit was explicitly not to duplicate those.

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