Recently – as you might have noticed – I read the introduction to Ulysses Found by Ernle Bradford. (This sort of thing happens when you update your Amazon wish list for Christmas.) Now I’m not into the Odyssey – I’m one of these people who prefer the Iliad. But I’m going to read Ulysses Found (just a subtle hint for family members in case they come passing this way), and maybe, who knows, it might lead onto greater things, like reading the Odyssey in full after all these years. Who knows, I might even end up liking it!
In 1941 Bradford owned the Odyssey in the form of a “pale green Loeb volume” – a bilingual Greek-English edition. I tell you this: last week I went to Foyle’s and acquired my first “pale green Loeb volume” – admittedly, it was not the Odyssey but the third volume of Plutarch’s Morals. And I stood in front of those shelves labelled Classics on the fourth floor of Foyle’s and thought about not just the timelessness of the classics but also of Loeb. Where I come from, you would not be able to buy the same book looking the same way as it did in 1941. But then where I come from nothing endures apart from the sky, the river and the hills while in London, for example, I happen to know a wine shop that has been in the same place for more than three hundred years and is still run by the same family to boot.
If you’re wondering what point I’m trying to make here – none. I’m just thinking out loud. Happens. 🙂