Oral culture, just because it does not have an inexhaustible memory at its disposal, by nature tends to preserve its cultural inheritance. Written culture forgets nothing: but when everything can be recalled or somehow retrieved, the problem becomes what to remember and what to comprise to oblivion. This provocative book, written with a light touch, rooted in the Classics but ranging over the whole of Western literary culture, addresses many of the major issues that face us at the turn of the millennium. What is our shared cultural curency? What use - good or bad - do we make of it? Why should anyone involve themselves with the Classics? The tyranny of the anniversary and the magpie nature of the anthology, the urge for instant gratification, the attraction of the cultural canon, the way writing encloses or even imprisons - all these themes are brought together in a passionate plea for the Classics as essentially impervious to these vulgar urges of our age - the Age of Indiscretion.