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I had thought of moving on after Virginia Woolf to the writers of the period after the Second World War, since I would not describe as classic any other writers of the Inter-War period, apart from those I have written about. But it occurred to me that this would leave out many memorable works, since of course several writers produced individual pieces of great distinction.
Amongst my absolute favourites amongst all books published during this period is ‘I, Claudius’ by Robert Graves, which I still think the most memorable historical novel ever written in English. It had enormous influence on me in that it governed my determination to study classics, and to concentrate heavily on Roman history. I was never particularly good at this, but I have always cherished the comment of the scholar who took my first term of Roman history tutorials, that we got on very well because he was not so much a historian as a dramatist. Read the rest of this entry »