Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition

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Cari It is no coincidence that Julian chose kids without any parental guidance and was very keen on not having any outside supervision (ie. other faculty involved). That is never a sign of good intentions. He wanted a group of vulnerable kids to influence without any questioning.
Julian was calculating, self-absorbed and cruel. When he described the mysteries of the bacchanal so alluringly, I understood it as an invitation to explore this idea. That part when he and Henry are talking about "necessary" things is quite suspect. I am sure Julian encouraged Henry to pursue a bacchanal by any means necessary, while at the same time maintaining his saintly persona. If you tell a group of impressionable people to have a bacchanal in the way the followers of Bacchus did, there is not only sex but also extreme violence involved. This Julian clearly understood. In my mind, there is no question he manipulated Henry into it.

Julian likes to play naïve and his students, truly naïve themselves, really believe things such as that Julian doesn't know that they use drugs or that someone like Bunny, who clearly was no scholar, wrote his own papers without assistance. Aside from Henry, Richard explains they didn't even know where Julian lived, that it wasn't uncommon for Julian to pretend that he didn't know them in public and that they really didn't know much about Julian. And yet, they all mistakenly believed Julian loved them. A very convenient belief cultivated by Julian so that his students would shield him from any consequences of their wrongdoing.

Then during Bunny's funeral, Julian has that moment when his façade drops for a minute and joyfully tells Henry that it is all like a Dostoyevsky novel. For someone who rejects all modernity and only finds beauty and value in the classics (of antiquity), what an odd thing to say. Of all novelists, to invoke the one who wrote "Crime and Punishment," which is also quoted in that part of the story, is not a coincidence. In that novel, a gruesome murder is carefully planned and executed. Worst of all, when Julian says the funeral reminds him of Dostoyevsky, he is clearly happy about it. At that point, in my mind, there is no doubt he knows exactly what is going on.

The moment Henry and Richard inadvertently force him to acknowledge the situation in the letter, he can no longer pretend to be oblivious and his game is over. He clearly will not be implicated and his students, spiraling out of control, are not longer useful for discreetly enacting his dark ideals, so he leaves.

The big question for me is whether he has done this before. What happened to the group of students before Richard's? Since Henry was determined to protect him (ie. the contradictory statements that Julian knew "all/not all" about the bacchanal), we will never know the full extent of his involvement. However, to me there is no doubt Julian is the mastermind behind Henry's unhinged ideas/plans. Julian chose him precisely because Henry had the charisma to make the group carry out his (Julian's) ideas.
Erin Lawson There are a few hints that this is the case. Like Ubiqua said, there was stated to be another figure there. Julian could even have been the figure they thought was Dionysus. There's also the conversation that Richard overhears part of in the stairwell of the Lyceum, between Julian and Henry, in which Julian says "you should always do what is necessary". I would believe Julian was involved with the first murder, but not Bunny's. The man in the forest was very beaten, whilst Henry only recalls hitting out at someone who startled him....

To Julian, I think the first killing wasn't intended from the outset - it wasn't sought after, but when the opportunity to live life to its extremes, as dark as they may be, was presented it couldn't be resisted. And it achieved its goal - Henry said himself that he felt exalted. I don't think Julian expected that it would lead to Bunny's murder, and when it did his guilt at turning them in to such people lead him to run.

Oh Henry....we'll be together again one day.... 3
Cecile Perez I think he may be responsible for the theoretical (and philosophical ) approach about murder in general,which influenced Henry so much and led him to the first homicide,and then bunny's deliberate murder.
I don't think he is involved in bunny's murder either,I think he is sincere in his feelings about his students,but when he realizes he went too far,he withdraws,like a coward,what else could he do? He is not in this world anyway,as Donna tartt portrays him.
Chris Rigby
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Lindsey
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Siddharth Well, I just completed the book. I think that Julian (the professor) was not directly involved in the first murder, but he was pushing them towards it and must have hinted that it was murder that would free them. Henry does say that he knew of their attempts, but remains obscure on whether Julian was told about the act or not.

The second one, he was not privy to. That I am pretty sure of. Julian's reaction to the second murder is very very unexpected even for Richard, and I was also surprised by it, as I had always thought that Julian (as portrayed) would probably weep for his students (of whom he is extremely fond of) and may even break down at this act of theirs, but never once did I believe that he would simply up and leave them to their own devices.
Linnea
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Jennifer Interesting but way too long. Much preferred Goldfinch.
Sara Mazzoni
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Laurie
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JabJo The whole book seemed to hint at that all along, and I was expecting some sort of 'reveal' that would show how Julian had been masterminding all along. I think it would have made for a better story. Also expected some climactic exposition about the original Bacchanale and a tie-in with Julian; again there were hints and suggestions (Camilla's blood covered head, something carnal had occurred) yet it all seemed to fade into the past after the second murder.
Viktoria Winter
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Matt Jameson
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Kristen M Because he is withholding critical information, to me, that makes him indirectly involved with the murders.
Titus G
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Alicia I kept waiting for him to step in
& I completed the read last night
& I was just ...............ohmygosh..........
this book was reallllllllllllllllly goode!!~
Ah.................Julian ............mysterious Julian
nat I think he was involved with the murders on a psychological level. His classroom aesthetic, the way he cut off his students from any other guidance, his discussions idolizing the Greek "insanity" and whatnot all influenced the students into their decisions from that point on. His view towards murder and the bacchanals definitely influenced them (Henry especially) to actually commit one. Also, the secret talks he had with Henry telling him to "always do what's necessary" could've been directed towards anything but I think it is rational to assume it is somewhat related to the bacchanal if not exactly the topic of conversation. The way Julian described everything to vulnerable kids who cling on to every word he says was intentional, no way to deny it. Even while Richard listened to him lecture you could literally read his opinions changing and leaning more towards Julian's. He morally corrupted them, but they committed the actions. I don't know if he was actually involved involved but I think his influence is what led them to want to hold the bacchanal that started it all anyway. Also, as the classics professor, Julian had to have known how followers of Bacchus actually did hold their bacchanals and how Henry would want to hold his the same, as Henry was obsessionally immersed in the past. I think the point of the novel was moral corruption and that's essentially what he did. I'm sure they all were already curious about that aspect of Greek mythology (considering they studied Greek) but his romanticization tipped them over the edge into actually wanting to execute it.
Michael Hardy Does the history of medicine record any case of a man shooting himself in the head twice, as one of the students does near the end of this book?
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