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Preview — The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears
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 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
Mr. Pears uses the common literary device of telling three s ...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
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
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
Although a worthwhile undertaking, this book feels more like tackling a case study than reading great literature, or perhaps tackling three case studies woven into one morality play. But therein lies the strength of this remarkable piece of historical fiction - the skill with which Iain Pears is able to tie into a nice, neat knot the tales of three protagonists, each struggling with powerful forces of good and evil. The choice of historic periods is superb: each presents the protagonist with a d ...more
First, from the beginning of Cicero's text, "‘Do you see that city there? It was I who made its people submit to Rome. But now they are starting up the old conflicts once again; they refuse to remain at peace!’" Ah yes, "they are starting up the old conflicts once again," indeed!
Pears actually tells three storie ...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
It's not that it is not well written, but I am not engaging in the characters or the plot. Well--that's not exactly true. One set of characters I love reading about, one set is interesting and the third bugs the crap out of me. What to do? Such a dilemma. I shall struggle on, or not, depending onhow the tide turns.
This was a five rating for me until the end. I enjoyed all three stories in the book, all of which could stand on their own. Once I got passed the first couple of chapters, I did not have a problem with the transitions. The main link among the three stories--the philosophical treatise referred to as The Dream of Scipio--and the historical parallels all added to my enjoyment.
Where the book fell short for me was the ending. I wasn't ex ...more