“Wry and imaginative, this gem of a book deconstructs the most famous building in Western history.”
—Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic
“In her brief but compendious volume [Beard] says that the more we find out about this mysterious structure, the less we know. Her book is especially valuable because it is up to date on the restoration the Parthenon has been undergoing since 1986.”
—Gary Wills, New York Review of Books
At once an entrancing cultural history and a congenial guide for tourists, armchair travelers, and amateur archaeologists alike, this book conducts readers through the storied past and towering presence of the most famous building in the world. In the revised version of her classic study, Mary Beard now includes the story of the long-awaited new museum opened in 2009 to display the sculptures from the building that still remain in Greece, as well as the controversies that have surrounded it, and asks whether it makes a difference to the “Elgin Marble debate.”
Wry and imaginative, this gem of a book deconstructs the most famous building in Western history. Beard, probably Britain’s best-known classicist, elucidates…the history of the ancient building, the functions—church, mosque, barracks, ammunition dump—it has served since antiquity, and the place it has held in the European imagination in the modern era. With éclat she dashes most of what we think we know about the ancient Greeks’ building… Beard reveals just how alien…the classical Greeks are to us, and just how little we know about them.
With painstaking attention to detail and a fair-minded view of centuries-old controversies, Mary Beard delivers a brief, but thorough, and surprisingly readable history of what is arguably the world’s most famous building… [A] fine job of storytelling…describing changes on the site from a modern tourist’s perspective.
In her brief but compendious volume [Beard] says that the more we find out about this mysterious structure, the less we know. Her book is especially valuable because it is up to date on the restoration the Parthenon has been undergoing since 1986.
The Parthenon is an excellent and concise guide to one of the most famous structures in the world. Mary Beard takes readers on a journey, at once historical, anthropological, and archaeological, that is both thorough and good-naturedly humorous.
- 240 pages
- 4-1/2 x 7-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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