HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Dream of Scipio (2002)

by Iain Pears

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,097526,460 (3.73)89
Dark, erudite and like An Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, The Dream of Scipio confirms Iain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists Set in Provence at three different critical moments of Western Civilisation - the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the fourteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth - The Dream of Scipio follows the fortunes of three men: Manlius Hippomanes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Olivier de Noyen, a poet, and Julien Barneuve, an intellectual who joins the Vichy government. The story of each man is woven through the narrative, linked by the classical text that gives the book its title, and by each man's love for an extraordinary woman. 'Irresistibly seizes the imagination' Evening Standard… (more)
  1. 00
    The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (sturlington)
  2. 00
    The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Each explores individual morality, justice, and Jewish identity in France during different eras. The Paris Architect offers a linear narrative of French and Jewish resistance in World War II; the denser, more complex Dream of Scipio treats 4th-20th century events.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 89 mentions

English (49)  French (3)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Three parallel stories set in a small area of Provence at times when the world or at least civilized life seemed to be coming to an end (the last years of the Western Roman Empire, the Black Death, WWII) look at issues of cultural memory and how ideas survive and recognising and choosing the lesser of evils. ( )
1 vote Robertgreaves | Sep 13, 2022 |
With The Dream of Scipio Iain Pears has written an intelligent, complex, thought-provoking and in parts philosophical examination of civilisation, and the moral choices people make. He illustrates this by telling the stories of three men across three discrete timelines: landowner Manlius Hippomanes at the fall of the Roman Empire, poet Olivier de Noyen during the Black Death, and scholar Julien Barneuve during the Second World War. Each is connected to the other through the manuscript of the title, with an omniscient narrator linking one section to the next.

Iain Pears is absolutely in command of his characters and the period they inhabit, even if the narrative does wander slightly off-topic on occasion and the prose can come across as a bit wordy. The vignettes that are used to describe and illustrate each character's life, actions and decisions are described so vividly that they appear to have been taken from historical sources.

The writing is dense, not only because of a small font being used, but also because of the breadth and depth of ideas that are communicated, and the reader needs to pay attention in order to pick up the nuances and implications, especially since the novel isn't told in chronological order. Instead, the author has chosen to tell his story in three parts, each split into numerous section breaks wherein one era may be followed by another in the same timeline, but is more likely to be succeeded by one of the other two; the effect can come across as disjointed and distracting, and doesn't lend itself to much of the book being read during one session – it took me over two months to finish it, time I consider well spent, nonetheless, since the topic of the novel is timeless. Recommended. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 17, 2022 |
The influence of a MS by Cicero in three eras--Roman Gaul as Empire falls, during Avignon Papacy and Occupied France
  ritaer | Mar 5, 2022 |
Not for the faint-hearted and it might be an easier read if you have some knowledge of classics and medieval history. That said, the three interwoven threads (the fall of the Roman empire, the onslaught of the Black Death and the beginning of the Avignon papacy, and the end of the Vichy government in France are skillfully and thematically related. What happens at the end of civilization? Can an bad act be redeemed because it is done for a good reason? Thought-provoking. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
I really wanted to like this as much as I enjoyed Fingerpost...but the time shifts didn't seem to have meaning; I've been meaning to read it in chronological order...but so many other reads on my night stand. ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
... the plot is certainly dense, if not at times impenetrable. The real benefit and the satisfactions of the book lie not so much in its impressively complex design, but rather in its neat set-piece scenes. ...

Civilisation is what The Dream of Scipio and Pears are really all about. Pears is undoubtedly a writer of peculiarly refined sensibilities, and the book is studded with aphorisms. In the end, though, it all boils down to this: "Do we use the barbarians to control barbarism? Can we exploit them so that they preserve civilised values rather than destroy them?" It's a good question. The Dream of Scipio is one answer.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain Pearsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cerutti Pini, DonatellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Dedication
TO MY FATHER
First words
Julien Barneuve died at 3.28 on the afternoon of 18 August 1943.
Quotations
The world needs only a few geniuses; civilisation is maintained and extended by those lesser souls who corral the men of greatness, tie them down with explanations and footnotes and annotated editions, explain what they meant when they didn't know themselves, show their true place in the awesome progression of mankind. (p. 23)
[Manlius] would then be faced with a decision, and a conundrum: can one act unjustly to achieve justice? Can virtue manifest itself through the exercise of harshness? (pp. 90-91)
Do we use the barbarians to control barbarism? Can we exploit them so that they preserve civilised values rather than destroy them? (p. 171)
Every cataclysm is welcomed by somebody; there is always someone to rejoice at disaster, and see in it the prospect of a new beginning and a better world. Equally, however much an act of God, there is always someone ready to take responsibility for any event or, failing that, to have blame thrust upon them. (p. 176)
Successful governance with no true authority in law depends on convincing others to do your bidding, which in turn means acting in ways which they consider appropriate. (p. 350)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Dark, erudite and like An Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, The Dream of Scipio confirms Iain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists Set in Provence at three different critical moments of Western Civilisation - the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the fourteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth - The Dream of Scipio follows the fortunes of three men: Manlius Hippomanes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Olivier de Noyen, a poet, and Julien Barneuve, an intellectual who joins the Vichy government. The story of each man is woven through the narrative, linked by the classical text that gives the book its title, and by each man's love for an extraordinary woman. 'Irresistibly seizes the imagination' Evening Standard

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Three men, three timelines,
one cerebral discourse on
civilisation.
(passion4reading)

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.73)
0.5 2
1 12
1.5 1
2 36
2.5 9
3 94
3.5 33
4 140
4.5 17
5 110

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 177,088,604 books! | Top bar: Always visible