The Dream of Scipio
The Barnes & Noble Review
Confirming Ian Pears's prodigious talent, The Dream of Scipio is a stunning meditation on history and moral philosophy that rises to the standard established in his highly acclaimed 1998 novel An Instance of the Fingerpost, the massive, intricate historical mystery that evoked comparisons to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.
In The Dream of Sc...more
The Publisher Says: In The Dream of Scipio, the acclaimed author of An Instance of the Fingerpost intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories�and three of the darkest moments in human history. United by a classical text called "The Dream of Scipio," three men struggle to find refuge for their hearts and minds from the madness that surrounds them...in the final days of the Roman Empire, in the grim years of the Black Death, and in the direst hours of World War ...more
The Dream of Scipio follows the life of three very different men, all of whom lived in Provence in three different centuries, during various times of great and important historical change: Manlius Hippomanes, a wealthy Roman aristocr ...more
1- According to Wikipedia, "The Dream of Scipio (Latin, Somnium Scipionis), written by Cicero, is the sixth book of De re publica, and describes a fictional dream vision of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus, set two years before he commanded at the destruction of Carthage in 146 BCE."
2-Some critics consider Raphael's painting Vision of a Knight to be a depiction of Scipio's Dream.
Themis-Athena wrote a great review about this book.
I do not particularly like kiwis, but neither do I particularly dislike them. I am happy to eat a kiwi which is placed in front of me, without objection or disgust, but I do not necessarily take great pleasure in eating them either. They're fine. They're moyen. They're edible, but I wouldn't cross the street for one.
I am unable to succes ...more
I thought in this simple contrast between the civilised and the barbaric, but I was wrong. It is the civilised wo are truly barbaric, and the Germans are merely the supreme expression of it. They are our greatest a ...more
I cannot think of the last book I read where parallels among characters were drawn with such subtlety an ...more
The three stories of a fifth century Roman bishop, a Medieval court person and a twentieth century historian blend nicely together and have a tension brought on by three turning points in world history: the fall of the Roman Empire, the plague and the Holocaust. Tied together is the will to survive and the scourge of collapse. The three stories are really one story as the more modern person looks back on the Medieval person, who in turn examines the Bishop and each tries to un ...more
Pears's canvas has never been larger ( ...more
The Dream of Scipio opens with the death of one of the main characters, Julien, an academic who has spent much of his life studying one of the other main characters, Oliverio, who in turn had during his life a hunger for learning which drew him to study the third main character, Manlius. Julien was a soldier in WWI and becomes a bureaucrat in occupied France during WWII. Oliverio is a poet and a secretery for a Cardinal in Avignon during the time of Pope Clement before and a ...more
The dream of Scipio is a novel about three men living in three separate times whose only connection to each other is a manuscript, that was written by a philosopher years before. The manuscript is inspired by a female philosopher, and in each subsequent time, each man is inspired to understand her teachings and the manuscript itself through their own work, their own love lives, and the political upheaval in each of thei ...more
Mr. Pears uses the common literary device of telling three s ...more
Three stories overlap and intertwine, one set during the fall of the Roman Empire, the second during the years of the black plague and the removal of the papacy to Avignon and the third takes place in the years of the Second World War. The stories have in common the setting in ...more
About halfway through it did pick up, but with difficulty. It is a trio of interwoven stories following academic Julien in the 20th century (WWII) who is studying the poet ...more
In each of the three plots, Pears skillfully works in themes of love, anti-Semitism, religious fe ...more
It's a risk as you've essentially got three shuffled together novellas - and I'd guess Pears' had a favourite, as the medieval one feels the most real - each of which c ...more
The philosophy is largely beyond my ken, which sometimes drags down the flow of the story, but the characters are strong and true and the settings are brilliantly evoked.
Pears' ultimate argument is that collaboration with barbarism in order to save scraps of civilization is not civilized at all; the evils done by good men are ...more