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The Ides of March

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Drawing on such unique sources as Thornton Wilder's unpublished letters, journals, and selections from the extensive annotations Wilder made years later in the margins of the book, Tappan Wilder's Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this internationally acclaimed novel.

'The Ides of March', first published in 1948, is a brilliant epistolary novel set in Jul
Paperback, 282 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published 1948)
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Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-lit
Inspired by several Goodreads friends, I decided to slide this book out of one of the TBR shelves, to lighten that load. But before you send smiling emojis, virtual pats on the back, or other huzzahs, please know that other Goodreads friends wrote reviews of books that caused me to engage in a zero sum game with myself and order two new books which even I, a mathematics dullard, can figure out this means I have more, not less, books to read. Sigh.

This 'The Ides of March', though, is the kind of
I can’t believe that this was published in 1948! It truly has not aged, possibly because it was dealing with much older history. It still felt fresh and I was intrigued.

I began reading this on the Ides of March (I live in hope that my local Shakespeare Company will perform Julius Caesar in March one year, so that I can attend it on the Ides). I adore books that are written in letter format, so I was predisposed to appreciate this one.

It is surprising how well people can be characterized through
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book for lovers of three types of readers: those who love Ancient Roman history, love epistolary novels, and those who love reading the Star Magazine. It's a gossip filled train wreck heading for a certain date in history. If you were turned off Thornton Wilder during high school due to the obligatory reading of Our Town, do yourself a favor and dive into the squirrelly squabbling sneaky lives of the Ides of March. Julius Caesar, Catullus, Brutus and Little Missy Crocodile ha ...more
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susanna - any one who is into ancient Rome
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Thornton Wilder's Ides of March is a polyphonic improvisation on the events and people surrounding the death of Julius Caesar on 15 March 44 BCE. This is an epistolary novel, each letter like a set piece, produced as a distinctive monologue and with a distinctive voice. Wilder's most accomplished re-creations are Caesar himself and the poet Catullus. Caesar is depicted as a man so committed to the philosophical notion of skepticism as opposed to his own belief in what is right that he cannot be ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wayne by: Curiosity about the Past

Reading other people's diaries/letters CAN be more tedious than revelatory.
And I've yet to overhear a private mobile call that had me riveted and prepared to miss my train/bus stop.

Here we are plunged into the private conversations of Ancient Rome's
Who's letter.

Gossip, passion, politics, abuse, invites to dinner, cunning, humour philosophising, frustration, manipulation
...and ALL from the pens of such Luminaries as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Catullus the Poet, Cicero t
Erik Graff
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: Latin teacher
Shelves: literature
In high school we were forced to read Our Town. Didn't much like it--too dated even then. Tried to read The Bridge of San Luis Rey in junior high. Didn't much like it. Don't think I finished it--a rare event. Gave Wilder his, to date, last chance with Ides of March, an epistolary novel leading up to the assassination of Caesar, on the theory that the topic would excite some interest. It didn't. For one thing, Wilder plays loose with the facts, introducing impossible events and meetings. At least ...more
Jane Davis
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
This humorous little book written as a series of letters sent around the Roman Empire from real and fictional characters is a treat to read. Is loaded with witty lines as when Cicero is nicknamed "Nobody up there but smoke." Because of the format of the book and the detail to public and private Roman life, I once found it cataloged as non-fiction history in a school library! To bad the real Rome had a more serious nature.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this is all written by notes passed back and forth by the Roman Republic characters...a historical fiction account...kinda like reading emails of gossip.....funny in places.....I plan to read it again next March......

Get a copy and you do the same....March 15th, THE IDES OF MARCH.
Ian Lepine
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most wonderful novels I have ever read. Thornton Wilder thought of it not as a novel, but a fantasia, one in which he fought the tendency to favour an omniscient narrator who, he argued, diminishes the dynamism of any narrative. The result was this wonderful polyphony of perspectives. It is amazing how unique each letter and fragment is, how it seems it could only have been written by the character in question and no one else.

A true masterpiece.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Three very interesting ideas at work in the Ides of March:
The use of the epistolary novel form. This is a particularly appropriate technique for a novel about ancient Rome, as the Romans were great letter writers. Not only does the form gain plausibility, but the author gains from having so many stylistic models. Not that Wilder necessarily imitates Roman epistolary style, but he does at least reflect the tenor of some of the writers. I don't think imitation was at all a goal for Wilder: rather,
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
Never read a book quite like this: the layered communications of this epistolary novel, the end days of Julius Caesar. Through this medium, Wilder imagines a man worshipped as a god and reviled as a tyrant, a man beyond both love and susceptibility to adoration, wistfully yearning for a meaningful legacy, to be exalted through poetry, a man still deeply inquiring yet deeply tired by a life that puzzled him, disappointed him, yet still had the power to move him. Wilder evokes Rome at this time mo ...more
Nov 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This excellent book makes you admire later authors a little less. Like Pierre Grimal, Robert Graves and Mary Renault, Wilder re-invented historical novel and made it fresher and more modern.
(Sadly, it also made the way for much of the pseudo-historical crap we're having lately-but that's the price you pay)

Catullus and his beloved Lesbia, Caesar, Cleopatra and Brutus come alive and feel very real in this book. Wonderful.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the few books I was forced to read in high school that I immensely enjoyed. I read it so long ago but thought it was fantastic, an epic. The book center around Julius Caesar and the plot to kill him. My second favoirte book of alltime. I definately recommend this book to anyone. Have to reread to provide a more indepth review.
Maya Chhabra
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing

A terribly clever epistolary novel by the author of Our Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Ides of March consists of four sections, each of which begins earlier and ends later than the last, each with a different theme. The first introduces the characters, the second deals with love, the third with religion, and the fourth with politics and death–specifically, the assassination of Caesar, who is the main character.

While it’s far from being historically accurate, Wilder gets points in my b
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thornton Wilder's The Ides of March published in 1945 draws on unique sources such as unpublished letters, journals, and annotations made in his copy of the book to illustrate Julius Caesar's Rome. Caesar of history becomes Caesar the human being. He resurrects Caesar, Cleopatra, and Cicero. He describes the villas, slaves, brawling, spies, assassins and beautiful women. The book is an epistolary novel that brings the era of Caesar into the reader's imagination as vividly as if they were actuall ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent food for thought. Just what I needed at the holidays. I picked this up on a whim from the library for some airplane reading. It looked alright. Imagine my delight when I realized that I had stumbled upon a work of genius.

After reading a few other reviews, I feel compelled to add that this is historical fiction used as a vehicle for ideas. Wilder states right up front that he has taken some very big liberties with the facts and dates and that he is using the historical setting and peopl
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an absolute wonder to me. Wilder has taken a reasonably well-documented period of ancient history and convincingly and thoroughly fleshed out the characters to turn a dusty history into a vibrant pageant of characters, intrigues, and events that continue to shape the world today. Caesar especially, who in his own writing went to such lengths to remove as much of himself as possible, becomes a truly human dramatis persona, one who has the hopes and dreams and worries and fears of eve ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
У книги между строк отчетливо читается "Автор зхакончил Йель или Гарвард." Приятно почитать книгу, написанную эрудированным человеком. Причем эрудированность Уайлдера не такая махровая, как, например, у Эко. Эрудированность Эко после первых же десяти страниц будит чувство интеллектуальнорй неполноценности и отправлет на пятичасовую экскурсию по Википедии. У Уайлдера эрудированность приятная: парочка выражений на латыни, несколько интересных исторических фактов, которыми можно при случае сверкнут ...more
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: usfiction
The first thing to remember is that this is a "fantasia" - it is not historically accurate. I kept wondering what happened to Calpurnia and why Catullus was still alive. Once you get over that it's fine.

Wilder explores the events leading up to the assassination of Caesar through the letters - private and public - of various characters as they plot, explain and obfuscate their way to the Ides of March.

Caesar emerges as a complex character, who has realized that he has to leave aside his needs as
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best, most engaging books I've ever read. I highly recommend it for any Thornton Wilder fan. It's an epitolary novel about the final months of Julius Caesar's reign, and heavily inspired by Gertrude Stein's ideas about history and human progress. Wonderful.
Milagro Espinosa
Este libro se convirtió en uno de mis favoritos, esta lleno de sentencias morales, de pasajes históricos, no más que divertidos, y de una fascinación exhaustiva por el gobierno, los gobernantes y la forma de gobernar. Desde la primera página este libro es un deleite, recomendado.
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Одна из моих самых-самых любимых книг. Когда-то давно исписала цитатами из неё кучу листов. Неторопливая, мудрая и стилистически безупречная.
Ann Agayan
Jun 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You will definitely like it if only you are willing to travel so deep into the history and meet Julius Caesar...
Mar 04, 2008 marked it as to-read
i really want to read this. FUCK, i need to pay off my library fines
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histórica, roma, hcc
Buen libro, aunque, teniendo en cuenta que Wilder ganó el Pulitzer tres veces, y que García Márquez dijo que era la mejor novela histórica de todos los tiempos, esperaba algo más.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-ebook, quest
This is a tough one. I can't say I actually enjoyed reading it, but it was also very interesting in it's structure, so I appreciate that part. Glad I read it, and just as glad I'm finished.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I have no real background in Roman history, so I didn't know what to expect from any of the characters, outside of Caesar's assassination and the whole "E tu, Brute" bit. The format is epistolary, so this is just a series of letters written by the characters, and this format has its limitations --- it's hard to convey action in a letter, for instance.

Despite the subject matter, despite the format, I found myself drawn in. I was surprised
I found a few shining moments in this (the campy delights of the women's letters, mostly) but overall the book was just not good. I could not get over the inclusion of many historical figures who were long dead by this point and certainly never met. The non-chronological order of letters was weird and did not add anything. Long rambling philosophical discussions. I presume that the events were meant to set up why people might want to kill Caesar, but it just did not work.
John R. Goyer
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good story told through a variety of personal communications between the characters. Insight into the politics of the time and the personalities of the rulers and those that served them. Recommended.
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Around the Year i...: The Ides of March, by Thornton Wilder 1 11 Jan 15, 2017 05:42PM  
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Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.

For more see
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“You swore you loved me, and laughed and warned me that you would not love me forever.
I did not hear you. You were speaking in a language I did not understand. Never, never, I can conceive of a love which is able to foresee its own termination. Love is its own eternity. Love is in every moment of its being: all time. It is the only glimpse we are permitted of what eternity is. So I did not hear you. The words were nonsense.”
“Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse” 17 likes
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