Greek to Me by Mary Norris review – a salt-caked odyssey


This post is by Charlotte Higgins from Books | The Guardian


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A love letter to Greece and its language is full of delightful facts and brims with nerdish, bookish joy

Mary Norris – whose previous book was an entertaining memoir of her time as a copy editor on the New Yorker – is a passionate Hellenophile. She’s not, though, a classicist in the traditional sense. Most people who get their kicks from the dual and the aorist, from Plato and Sophocles, have arrived in that happy place via Latin. But Latin isn’t her thing. Her passport to Greece and Greek was, in fact, Terry Gilliam’s 1981 film Time Bandits – specifically “the mighty figure of Sean Connery” who did a sword-and-sandals turn battling a Minotaur-like creature. In the New Yorker office the next day, she announced her decision to visit Greece. Her employer, astoundingly, funded her modern Greek classes at NYU. Later, it also paid for her to learn ancient Greek, ...