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The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder

The Ides of March (original 1948; edition 1948)

by Thornton Wilder

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4881021,022 (3.65)26
Title:The Ides of March
Authors:Thornton Wilder
Info:Harper (1948), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:A merry can literature

Work details

The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder (1948)

  1. 10
    Burning Bright by Helen Dunmore (vguy)
    vguy: Great novel about Catullus. Brings the period and his passion to life.
  2. 00
    Lesbia Mía by Antonio Priante (longway)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I found this tedious when I didn't have the wherewithal for tedious. Still, the letters were interesting, and at another time in life I would have finished it. ( )
  aulsmith | May 31, 2015 |
Read in July 2013; due for a reread. Will this epistolary novel be as brilliant this time around? ( )
  janerawoof | Oct 1, 2014 |
Roman a lettres not my favourite format, too bitty. Central characters are familiar enough, but then too many side characters with confusing names. some nice bits by Catullus in myth writing passages.But Wilder's way of adding authenticity, with notes, bits in Latin, section headings for left out sections, make it even more confusing. And he tells us already in the intro that he's changed the time sequence of some events - why? When it came to bits in capital letters for emphasis, I gave up. All the Latin would have been in caps, for Jupiter's sake! ( )
  vguy | Nov 28, 2013 |
This is only loosely a historical novel --it combines events leading up to Caesar's assassination with the much earlier events surrounding Catullus's love for Clodia ("Lesbia') and the scandal when Clodia's brother
Publius Clodius was caught disguised as a woman attending the rites of Bona Dea which were strictly for women only; he was allegedly there to see his presumed lover who was then Caesar's wife (the one he divorced for not being "above suspicion") -- she was not in fact his wife at the time of the events leading to his death. It is told as an epistolary novel with wonderful letters not only from the characters already mentioned but also other figures such as Cicero and letters to a hideously mutilated Roman officer whom Caesar takes care of. Rereading it lately, I thought some of Caesar's philosophical musings pretentious but much of the rest stands up --it develops real suspense even knowing how events turned out. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 28, 2013 |
Well, what can I say about this? Some books are very difficult to love, or even get through. It helped that this one was short. Which sounds as if I thought this book was terrible, but it really wasn't. It was well-written, it was just not something I could really get into.

I knew before starting out that it was told in a format of a series of letters and that it had some serious historical inaccuracy. The historical inaccuracy didn't so much bother me; the letter format though made it hard for me to really get into the flow of the story. Though it did lend it a certain "historical" feel in a sense.

Certain things were very odd, like at one point there's a series of chain letters being distributed around Rome, which would be very difficult to do in a age without a printing press or copy machine. And there's an "Aemillian Droughts and Swimming Club" which just took me right out of the time period of the novel every time it was mentioned, because it just didn't fit.

A lot of really antiquated ideas about women in here, and I can't honestly tell if it's because Thornton Wilder was writing this in the late 1940s or if he was writing what he thought Roman men thought about women (which they well might have).

I didn't really buy that Caesar would be so fascinated by Catullus. I don't know, I just didn't.

Overall, I kind of felt like I wasn't really smart enough to enjoy a book like this. ( )
  robotprincess | May 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thornton Wilderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atkinson, BrooksIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oyuela, María AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pivano, FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riera, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Piratical Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Das Schauderin ist der Menschheit bestes Teil;
Wie auch die Welt ihm das Gefühl verteure...
Goethe: Faust, Part Two

The shudder of awe is humanity's highest faculty,
Even though this world is for ever altering its values...

Gloss: out of man's recognition in fear and awe that there is an
Unknowable comes all that is best in the explorations of his
mind - even though that recognition is often misled into super-
stition, enslavement, and over-confidence.
Information from the Piratical Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
This work is dedicated
to two friends:

Roman poet, who lost his life
marshalling a resistance against
the absolute power of Mussolini;
his aircraft pursued by those of the Duce
plunged into the Tyrrhenian Sea
and to

who though immobile and blind
for over twenty years
was the dispenser of wisdom,
courage, and gaiety
to a large number of people
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060088907, Paperback)

Drawing on such unique sources as Thornton Wilder's unpublished letters, journals, and selections from the extensive annotations Wilder made years later in the margins of the book, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this internationally acclaimed novel.

The Ides of March, first published in 1948, is a brilliant epistolary novel set in Julius Caesar's Rome. Thornton Wilder called it "a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic." Through vividly imagined letters and documents, Wilder brings to life a dramatic period of world history and one of history's most magnetic, elusive personalities.

In this inventive narrative, the Caesar of history becomes Caesar the human being. Wilder also resurrects the controversial figures surrounding Caesar -- Cleopatra, Catullus, Cicero, and others. All Rome comes crowding through these pages -- the Rome of villas and slums, beautiful women and brawling youths, spies and assassins.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:44 -0400)

Recreates the final months of Caesar's life by using imaginary documents, letters, and journal entries from the major historical figures surrounding him, including Catullus, Cleopatra, and Cicero.

(summary from another edition)

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