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An Entertaining Evening with Natalie Haynes

09 May 2018

On May 1st, Natalie Haynes gave two different talks, ‘Honour among Thebes’ and a talk about her book ‘Ancient Guide to Modern Life’. Being students of Miss James, we’ve heard a lot about her and were excited to hear her talks. Natalie talked about the history of drama, and the links between ancient tragedy and modern soap operas, as well as aspects of ancient life such as the role of women in politics. It was a great opportunity to listen to someone who has such enthusiasm for classics and the ancient world. Thank you both Natalie for coming and Miss James for organising such a wonderful event for everyone.

Flic, 12KWI

On the 1st of May, author, comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes visited the Royal High School to give two talks: “Honour Among Thebes” and “an Ancient Guide to Modern Life”. The first of her talks, attended by Year 9-13 Classics students, discussed the works of Sophocles and the myths that originated in the historical city of Thebes. She pointed out the links between Greek Tragedy and modern day soap operas.

Natalie showed through Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus Rex’ (or ‘Oedipus the King’), the important features that are present in both. Lack of sub-text: if a character is upset, they simply state “I’m upset and here’s why”. Continuity of time: all action happens within a day to build tension. Continuity of place: ‘Oedipus Rex’ all takes place just outside of the palace and ‘Coronation Street’ all take place on one road. She used her experience as a Classicist to become a writer and outlined her fictional re-workings of myths. Her passion and energy were extremely exciting and inspiring for all to watch.

That evening, Natalie made a second speech to parents and pupils, here she gave out signed copies of her novels and non-fiction book ‘An Ancient Guide to Modern Life’. She spoke about Rome’s religion, philosophy, law and money and how women were underrepresented in all of these areas. Interspersed with jokes and anecdotes, she made Ancient Rome accessible to modern-day students and parents.

She hopes to grace our halls again next year after the publication of her new book. You can hear Natalie speak on other Classical subjects on the BBC iPlayer – her humour and enthusiasm help to propel the world of 2000 years ago into 2018. Thank you, Miss James, for organising such a wonderful event and to the Friends for sponsoring it.

Charlotte and Eloise, 13JIS

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