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Fresh ideas


The Smart Set writes about the difficulties of getting historical fiction right: “Is there not a cost to portraying figures from the past as if they were in effect mirrors of our own reality? In his new collection of essays, Waiting for the Barbarians,… critic Daniel Mendelsohn says the danger is that we risk losing the particular reality of the period and place that’s being interpreted — and worse, we may be getting it wrong. Contemporary interpretations of the ancient poet Sappho, whose work only survives in fragments, he says, are rife with this kind of manipulation.”


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