On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up: Humour in Ancient Rome
Mary Beard is a world-renowned classicist who teaches at Cambridge University, the writer of the eclectic blog A Don's Life and the author of Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up. She is also a prominent feminist who does not back away from public battles. Paul Kennedy in conversation with the fascinating and funny scholar. **This episode originally aired on March 9, 2015.
"What I want to do is to to think a bit harder about how the Romans laughed and how we laugh. I think it goes without saying that knowing how a culture laughs, when it laughs, and at what it laughs, helps us understand that culture quite a lot better and I hope that I can convince you that that's true for Roman culture as well."
Mary Beard is Britain's most celebrated classicist. She appears regularly on television and radio, and publishes widely in newspapers and magazines. She has a way of making the ancient world come alive.
Professor Beard teaches at the women-only Newnham College at Cambridge University.
In her blog - called A Don's Life - she writes passionately about everything from feminism to email etiquette to political correctness.
She's been on a twitter campaign "against ageism and sexism to reclaim the word old as something that connotes freedom and experience and not hunchback ladies with walking sticks.
Professor Mary Beard's book Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up, published by University of California Press, 2014.
- Read the first chapter of Mary Beard's book Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up
- A Don's Life
Watch: When I Grow Up I Want To Be Mary Beard - a poem by Megan Beech