It is a shame that Olivia Gordon’s splendid tribute to the OUP’s ‘Very Short Introduction’ series (Oxford Today, Michaelmas 2016, p. 49) failed to mention their origins in the equally excellent ‘Past Masters’ series. Yes, the series title might have been unfortunately patriarchal (even in 1980), but they were a boon to my undergraduate career. The quality of the books is evidenced by the fact that several of those titles — AJ Ayer on Hume, Jonathan Barnes on Aristotle amongst others — live on as Very Short Introductions. Even Germaine Greer’s idiosyncratic Shakespeare has been given a second lease of life, though Humphrey Carpenter’s Jesus has passed on.