The body dies, but not love. In The Divine Comedy, Dante three times tried and three times failed to embrace the spirit of his dead friend Casella. Aeneas three times tried to embrace his wife Creusa’s ghost in the Aeneid and then, again three times, his dead father’s in the Underworld.
Dante borrowed the trope from Virgil who in turn borrowed it from Homer. In the Odyssey, the hero three times tried and three times failed to embrace his dead mother’s spirit in Hades.
Classics do not die or willingly let die. They are landmarks and monuments to be continually revisited and learnt from. Homer’s twin epics of the Trojan War were re-imagined for Rome by Virgil, and no-one should be too surprised if Gawain’s journeys through Logres or Gulliver’s around the still only partly-known modern globe occasionally remind them of Odysseus’s and Aeneas's wanderings!
With today’s rising costs and shrinking budgets, study hopes for tomorow’s citizens are being crammed into ever tighter spaces (spatio breve spem longam reseces), for as the cultural and social importance of the humanities grows, so space and time for them are being whittled away from the state’s curriculum at least.
For those who think an at least modest acquaintance with our cultural past matters, WCC abridged translations may help.
At centres from Naples to Brussels and Wiesbaden to Lakenheath, I once helped US service personnel earn semester credit hours towards their first degrees through study of the great texts of Western literature on freshman foundation courses offered by the University of Maryland.
The WCC texts here are simply abridged translations, with notes and introductions, of a few such texts. They are not dumbed down, sexed up or bowdlerised versions of their originals for kiddies or TV.