Preparing for my Classics PGCE course in the Autumn, I want to ensure that I can keep up while I’m adjusting to the long commute and the hours of work. So I’m researching the Latin set books.
What I notice is that these texts are much racier than the ones I studied at school.
I can remember standing in front of my father’s book shelves about to take down a translation of The Golden Ass by Apuleius, when my mother’s voice from behind me said,
“Actually, that book’s a bit rude.”
(I still have no idea how she knew this as she is not a great reader - perhaps this was the very filth that frightened her off reading!) Guiltily I replaced it.
Now it is set at GCSE.
Ovid’s love poems (Amores) were far too saucy for us, but are now required reading at AS level and I am studying them with Carenza and other sixth formers. However, it’s not too exciting as the succinct syntax and compound words make Ovid’s description of sex read rather like the instructions for assembling an IKEA flat-pack wardrobe.
This trend towards more explicit Latin books leads me to an interesting connection between coiffure and Classics. Can it be only a coincidence that as the books have got raunchier, so teen fringes have got longer? After all, what better place to hide if you feel a blush coming on?