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The Dream of Scipio

Pears, Iain

3,489 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 157322202X / ISBN 13: 9781573222020
Published by Putnam Publishing Group, The, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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FINE/FINE copy protected by Archival Brodart cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000622

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Dream of Scipio

Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group, The, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

An ancient manuscript called "The Dream of Scipio" that explores timeless philosophical questions links three separate centuries--the fifth, the end of the Roman Empire; the fourteenth, the time of the Black Death; and the twentieth during World War II--and three stories of love, all set in Provence. 125,000 first printing.

Review:

Like his elegant debut, An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears's The Dream of Scipio is an inventive, gloriously detailed historical novel told from multiple viewpoints. But Pears has set himself an additional challenge by spreading his narrators over several centuries: there's the fifth century French nobleman and bishop, Manlius, a civilized man who has embraced the uncouth Christian faith in order to protect what he holds dear; an 11th-century scholar and troubadour named Olivier de Noyen, the famously ill-fated admirer of a married girl; and Julien Barneuve, an early 20th-century scholar of de Noyen who discovers, through him, a magnificent manuscript of Manlius's called "The Dream of Scipio." Though all three men come from the same small Provençal town, it is this manuscript, derived from the teachings of a wise woman, that links the three narrative threads of Pears's story. At the heart of The Dream of Scipio and, one suspects, at the heart of its author, is the conflict between a classical ideal of learning and the contemplation of beauty, and the noisy, uncivilized, democratizing impulses of the Christian era. A novel of ideas like its predecessor, The Dream of Scipio is neither chilly nor didactic and doesn't shy away from depicting the costs of its narrators' unpopular devotions. --Regina Marler

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