Catullus 16, Money for Nothing, and the value of art

By Helen Lovatt.   My son is discovering the music of the past via Spotify. Last week he said: ‘Let’s listen to the one with “chips for free”. I really like that one.’ After some discussion and quotation of lines (‘We gotta move these refrigerators’) it became apparent that he meant Money for Nothing by Dire …

May Fest 2015

Undergraduates Karina Field and Juliet O’Brien describe their experiences helping out at May Fest, the University’s annual community open day.   Karina: To prepare for our ‘Roman-style hairdressing service’, we learned several hairstyles from Janet Stephens’ YouTube tutorials. We then recreated parts of them for the children (and parents) that were willing. We offered two styles: two …

The Night Raid

Helen Lovatt considers Caroline Lawrence’s The Night Raid and writing about the classical world for children.     Several people in my Independent Second Year Project group have decided to write for an audience of children. We have been discussing how this can make a difference to your writing in both style and content. For …

Censorship, gender and power: Fordyce and Catullus 58

Helen Lovatt considers the relationship between bowdlerising a classical text and broader questions of censorship. Issues of free speech are still very much debated: recently the classicist Mary Beard was caught up in a twitter storm about no-platforming speakers at universities, in particular certain radical feminists whose views offend some in the transgender community. It …

Laughing at Poor People

Dr Helen Lovatt reflects on teaching Martial 12.32, a poem about the eviction of Vacerra. There is a lot of vitriol aimed at the poor these days: skivers, scum, slackers. It’s all their fault, apparently, that they don’t have enough to eat, or that they have to live on the streets and beg. They have …

Martial and first world problems

The first world problem meme might seem a relatively recent invention but the late first-century AD poet Martial was already playing with the idea. Some examples of #firstworldproblems: ‘Just got a splinter in my finger from an avocado stone. Guacamole injury.’ ‘No shiraz so had to use merlot in the beef bourguinon.’ featured here. More …