I'm spending this week moving house and completing a final draft of the thesis at the same time, so I'm afraid this will have to be a quick post and I may not be able to post again until the end of the week.
I wrote a couple of months ago about the difficulty of finding representations of classicists in popular culture. It recently occured to me, while going through old editions of various texts and spotting the name 'T. E. Lawrence', that there is one Classicist who is rather well known.
Lawrence wasn't a professional Classicist, which is partly why I hadn't thought of him before. He was a writer, but, having been privately educated, he read Greek and Latin and among his other works, he published a translation of The Odyssey in the 1930s, originally under the name T E Shaw (you can read the review by The Times here). He was also an archaeologist, working chiefly in the Middle East.
I have to confess I don't know much about Lawrence, and am therefore more reliant than I'd like to be on the internet for information. I've also never seen the David Lean film all the way through - I watched most of it on a long Bank Holiday afternoon years ago (and then felt guilty, as I thought there must have been other things I could do with the Bank Holiday!). What I can't remember is whether there are any references to Lawrence's interest in classics and history in the film?
The real T. E. Lawrence, looking frighteningly like Peter O'Toole
If the film does make mention of Lawrence's appreciation of Classics, that probably makes Lawrence the most famous Classicist around. Since the film is highly romanticised and Lawrence presented as a heroic, dashing (if slightly bonkers, if I remember rightly?) character, that gives Classicists a rather more appealing image than they might otherwise get (not that Giles isn't heroic as well).
If, as I rather suspect, it doesn't, that relegates Lawrence's interest in Classics to a lesser known and not overly interesting (to those outside Classics) fact about him. Perhaps a re-make is in order...
What, you though you were getting away without a camel picture?!