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Antonina or The Fall of Rome by Wilkie…

Antonina or The Fall of Rome (1850)

by Wilkie Collins

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This was Wilkie Collins' first novel and it shows. He was trying his hand at a historical romance and he sucks at it. The prose is unbelievably purple, the heroine insufferably noble and obedient, there are two ancient men fanatic about their religion (one Christian, one Pagan), and a Gothic warrior who is instantly smitten by our heroine and gets killed for his pains. Collins' grasp of Roman topography is none too sure, as a quick glance at a map of ancient Rome will tell you. He has no idea of Roman daily life and he gives no sense of time and place: he suddenly finds himself in November, yet Antonina can grow flowers. Events rush by, the description of the siege is entirely unconvincing. It would have been useful to know on which sources he drew for this piece of tosh.

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  MissWatson | Feb 20, 2015 |
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The mountains forming the range of Alps which border on the north-eastern confines of Italy, were, in autumn of the year 408, already furrowed in numerous directions by the tracks of the invading forces of those northern nations generally comprised under the appellation of Goths.
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Book description
Published in 1850, Antonina, or The Fall of Rome was Wilkie Collins's first novel. Using accurate historical details about the Roman emperor Honorius and the Gothic king Alaric, he presents the fictitious character of Antonina and narrates her escapades during the siege of Rome. As she flees the city to preserve her honor, she does not realize the perils she will face.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184685976X, Paperback)

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was an early master of mystery and suspense, writing such classics as The Moonstone, The Woman in White, and Basil. Antonina, or, The Fall of Rome was his first published novel, a colorful tale of ancient Rome. Of this work, Collins wrote: "To the fictitious characters alone is committed the task of representing the spirit of the age. The Roman emperor, Honorius, and the Gothic king, Alaric, mix but little personally in the business of the story-only appearing in such events, and acting under such circumstances, as the records of history strictly authorize-but exact truth in respect to time, place, and circumstance is observed in every historical event introduced in the plot, from the period of the march of the Gothic invaders over the Alps to the close of the first barbarian blockade of Rome."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

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