"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Marbles and the Cultural Elite

I have been a very dilatory blogger recently (reading too many damned books) but I am forced to write today having read a piece by Stephen Moss in this morning's Guardian about the Parthenon/Elgin marbles. A spokesperson for the British Museum is quoted and one can hear the fluting tone in this spectacularly arrogant piece of nonsense: "In Greece the sculptures can be viewed as part of the history of Athens and the Acropolis; here, they can be seen as part of a world history." Where does one begin to respond to such clottish impertinence?

Perhaps by contemplating quietly the island of Sifnos in the sun last week (see above) where, just as Lord Elgin wrenched off a caryatid from the Parthenon and hoiked it back to his Scottish mansion, breaking it in the process, a citizen of Kastro, the twisting medieval town on the promontory shown here, long ago borrowed a classical pillar to support their balcony in the main street. Yes, it should have been in the little archaeological museum but it looked nice in the sun where it originally sat.

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