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Augustus (1972)

by John Edward Williams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3164711,817 (4.16)83
"Winner of the 1973 National Book Award. In Augustus, the third of his great novels, John Williams took on an entirely new challenge, a[n] historical novel set in classical Rome, exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire, whose greatness was matched by his brutality. To tell the story, Williams also turned to a genre, the epistolary novel, that was new to him, transforming and transcending it just as he did the western in Butcher's Crossing and the campus novel in Stoner. Augustus is the final triumph of a writer who has come to be recognized around the world as an American master. "[In Augustus,] John Williams re-creates the Roman Empire from the death of Julius Caesar to the last days of Augustus, the machinations of the court, the Senate, and the people, from the sickly boy to the sickly man who almost dies during expeditions[;] to what would seem to be the ruthless ruler. Read it in conjunction with Robert Graves's more flamboyant I, Claudius and Claudius the God, Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil, and Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian." --Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation"--… (more)
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» See also 83 mentions

English (31)  Dutch (7)  Italian (5)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Williams a Stoner-ben könyvvé nemesítette a „közönséges mezei ember” sorsát, aki a lehető legminimálisabb hatással van környezetére, hogy aztán megírja egy olyan figura történetét, aki az európai civilizáció egyik legbefolyásosabb, legmegkerülhetetlenebb szereplője. Mi a közös a csendben elenyésző Stonerben, és Augustusban, aki kvázi tógába rázta a komplett Római Birodalmat? Van egyáltalán valami, ami összeköti őket? Hogyne: a magány. Stoner a dolgok perifériáján ugyanúgy egyes egyedül marad, mint ahogy a császár egyedül marad a hatalom legtetején, és amikor végül kilépnek az életből, üres kézzel lépnek ki. Ennek érzékeltetésére Williams felhasznál még egy eszközt, ami előző könyvéből már ismerős: az apa és a lánya kapcsolat átalakulását, amit olyan borzasztó szomorúan és borzasztó tökéllyel vázol, hogy az ember csak remélni tudja, nem saját tapasztalatait írta meg.

Az Augustus formai értelemben a levélregények ódon műfajához nyúl vissza – 1970-ben, amikor díbolt a posztmodern kísérletek őrülete. A választás szokatlan, ugyanakkor magától értetődő: így Williams képes megteremteni a személyesség terét úgy, hogy közben megfelelő (egyforma) távolságban marad szereplőitől. Senkivel sem kötelezi el magát, senkit sem részesít előnyben, mindenkinek megadja a szót. Plurális személyesség. Csak az utolsó szakaszban tér el ettől, amikor öreg Augustus beszéli el, mit miért és hogyan – ami kockázatos lépés, bele is lehet bukni, mert felboríthatja a kényes egyensúlyt, de az író elég finom és elegáns ahhoz, hogy ezt is jól oldja meg. Ráadásul ez a zárómonológ teszi lehetővé, hogy a könyv a végére „összeálljon” valamiképp – hogy a súlypont a lezárásra helyeződjön át.

Hibátlan könyv. Hibátlan, mint történelmi könyv – mert úgy szól a történelemről, hogy soha el nem évülő dolgokról szól. Hibátlan továbbá mint szépirodalom – mert bár csendesen szól, mégis eléri, hogy mindenki hallja. Alighanem az egyik legjobb regény, amit valaha arról írtak, miképp erodálja a hatalom az ember ember voltát.
( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
What an amazing book. The epistolary form makes you feel like you are right there. ( )
  Marietje.Halbertsma | Jan 9, 2022 |
4 estrellas solo porque Stoner, del mismo autor tiene 5.
( )
  Pindarix | Jul 15, 2021 |
Excellent ( )
  ebethe | Feb 20, 2021 |
After thoroughly enjoying Stoner by John Williams, I was disappointed to discover I only had a few more of his works to look forward to. So I put off the reading of the next one: my way of spreading out the enjoyment. I chose to read Augustus next, for no particular reason. I am not a huge historical fiction fan, and I am not well-versed in Roman history but I loved Augustus. Augustus is a very intimate portrait of a great man who wielded tremendous power over a long life, who loved and was strongly committed to his friends and his children. But Augustus, the novel, also gave me a feel for Roman life during the time of Augustus, the emperor, and introduced me to the impact that political maneuverings, military campaigns and marriages between certain families had on the strength and even the survival of the Empire.

Given my enjoyment in reading Stoner, it would have been easy for Augustus to have disappointed, for my expectations to have simply been too high. That clearly did not happen. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
So in reading Augustus, which Williams himself said was the depiction of the development and workings of the mind of a seemingly honorable man who is forced to perform evil acts in order to achieve a greater good—including the exile of the people closest to him—as Augustus Caesar had to do with his own daughter and his lifelong friends, I’m a bit at sea.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williams, John Edwardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krol, EdzardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lattanzi, AntonellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelsohn, DanielIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Send the boy to Apollonia.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Winner of the 1973 National Book Award. In Augustus, the third of his great novels, John Williams took on an entirely new challenge, a[n] historical novel set in classical Rome, exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire, whose greatness was matched by his brutality. To tell the story, Williams also turned to a genre, the epistolary novel, that was new to him, transforming and transcending it just as he did the western in Butcher's Crossing and the campus novel in Stoner. Augustus is the final triumph of a writer who has come to be recognized around the world as an American master. "[In Augustus,] John Williams re-creates the Roman Empire from the death of Julius Caesar to the last days of Augustus, the machinations of the court, the Senate, and the people, from the sickly boy to the sickly man who almost dies during expeditions[;] to what would seem to be the ruthless ruler. Read it in conjunction with Robert Graves's more flamboyant I, Claudius and Claudius the God, Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil, and Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian." --Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation"--

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