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A Thing of Beauty : Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece
Oneworld Publications

A Thing of Beauty : Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece

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A Thing of Beauty
Author(s): Peter Fiennes


‘Peter Fiennes’s road trip around Greece [is] engagingly described’ Mary Beard, TLS

‘Fiennes is a brilliant and generous guide through Greece’ Observer

What do the Greek myths mean to us today?

It’s now a golden age for these tales – they crop up in novels, films and popular culture. But what’s the modern relevance of Theseus, Hera and Pandora? Were these stories ever meant for children? And what’s to be seen now at the places where heroes fought and gods once quarrelled?

Peter Fiennes travels to the sites of some of the most famous Greek myths, on the trail of hope, beauty and a new way of seeing what we have done to our world. Fiennes walks through landscapes – stunning and spoiled – on the trail of dancing activists and Arcadian shepherds, finds the ‘most beautiful beach in Greece’, consults the Oracle, and loses himself in the cities, remote villages and ruins of this storied land.

‘Peter Fiennes’s road trip around Greece – engagingly described in A Thing of Beauty – began with a visit to Lord Byron’s house… Fiennes’s tough talk and his down-to-earth refusal to put up with pretentious silliness contributes a lot to the pleasure of the book… [he] is well attuned to the ambivalence of hope.’
‘Fiennes is a brilliant and generous guide… a must-read.’
‘This book is a lament for a poisoned planet… He goes in search of the numinous but relishes the bathos of modernity… not so much a travelogue as an excursion into the psyche of Anthropocene man.’
‘A wonderful book by a wonderful writer.’
‘A wonderful… really profound meditation on what it means to hope… a gorgeous excursion into Greece and across the centuries on an environmental quest’
A Thing of Beauty is an immensely pleasurable read. It takes you on an adventure around Greece and the myths that the ancients told there. But what really stayed with me were the reflections on storytelling, joy, and hope. Essential reading for our pandemic and pollution ravaged times.’
‘Peter Fiennes has a way of making even the most serious of subjects enjoyable and riveting to the end, and A Thing of Beauty is certainly no exception, this is great travel writing that makes the reader a part of the adventure, and one of the most engaging and enjoyable books I’ve read this year.’
‘A deeply humane travelogue, a beautifully written book of stories, A Thing of Beauty is a siren song for Greece and a generous and precious gift – a classical education for those of us who are bereft of one.’
‘Peter Fiennes… follows in the footsteps of Pausanias, Lord Byron and others to rediscover some of the most evocative landscapes and sites from classical myth.’
A Thing of Beauty is an entertaining, erudite travelogue through Greece, both ancient and modern.’
‘An evocative and informative book… It’s for anyone interested in the Greek Gods and their myths, the Greek countryside and wildlife, Greek politics and history, climate change and sustainable living, whether there’s any hope in the world today… and just how many Greek salads can one man eat? If you’re interested in more than one of those topics, it’s definitely the book for you.’
‘Fiennes sets out to explore the birthplace of Western civilization, Greece, in search of Hope… It’s a highly personal travelogue…with the historical and modern-day detail that late British travel writer Jan Morris might bring to the task.’
‘Passionate and lyrical’
‘An enjoyable journey through Greek myths and modernity in [Fiennes’s] search for hope, beauty and new understanding of our world.’
‘In A Thing of Beauty, myths are not presented as dust-covered artefacts but vibrant, living, often frightening things that, like Greek gods, still affect and manipulate our lives. The quest that Peter Fiennes undertakes is of urgent relevance in this time of environmental change. Startling, informative and often very funny.’
‘Fiennes is a talent and an important voice. His search for hope in the stories of the past feels vital for these times.’
A Thing of Beauty is such a joy. Peter Fiennes invites us to travel with him to visit the ancient Oracle at Delphi as he searches for hope while the pre-vaccine pandemic is at its height and the wild fires rage. Self-deprecating, funny, deeply knowledgeable about Greek mythology, yet simultaneously confronting the challenges that face our world head-on, Fiennes is a most delightful travelling companion.’

ISBN:  9780861540617