This rich and rather odd volume is the product of decades of collecting, compiling, and ruminating on the part of the literary scholar and champion of open access publishing, William St. Clair. Sadly, St. Clair died before he could complete manuscript revisions, and thus we owe thanks to his admirable editors, David St. Clair and Lucy Barnes, for weaving together the pieces and making this valuable, if rather anarchic, book available to readers by open access [...] In the end, I am not even sure that St. Clair is particularly pleased that the Parthenon was saved (and he certainly does not seem to like the historically cleansed, Pausanian look of the acropolis today, though he does praise the new acropolis museum for restoring some of the site’s history). In saying that today the built heritage “is at least as influential as words in constituting and changing mentalities,” he goes so far as to suggest that monuments should be seen not as incidental to conflicts, but as among “the causes and the weapons” (658). Was the ‘saving’ of the Parthenon simply a Frankish quest, whose consequences included the sacrificing of many Greek and Turkish lives and the stripping of the monument of the very history that has made it meaningful? Are the Franks the very people from whom the Parthenon has needed saving? This book poses these uncomfortable questions.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2023.
All the public domain images in this book have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, as William St Clair wished, so that others can use and enjoy them freely.
(7 December 1937 – 30 June 2021) was a British historian, senior research fellow at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.