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The Dream Of Scipio [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Iain Pears
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Kurzbeschreibung

3. April 2003
Three narratives, set in the fifth, fourteenth, and twentieth centuries, all revolving around an ancient text and each with a love story at its centre, are the elements of this brilliantly ingenious novel, a follow-up to the international bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost.

Now Ian Pears returns with a greatly anticipated novel, so expertly imagined and perfectly constructed the author himself describes it as “a complexity.”

The centuries are the 5th (the final days of the Roman Empire); the 14th (the years of the Plague — the Black Death); and the 20th (World War II). The setting for each is the same — Provence — and each has at its heart a love story. The narratives intertwine seamlessly, and what joins them thematically is an ancient text — “The Dream of Scipio” — a work of neo-Platonism that poses timeless philosophical questions. What is the obligation of the individual in a society under siege? What is the role of learning when civilization itself is threatened, whether by acts of man or nature? Does virtue lie more in engagement or in neutrality? “Power without wisdom is tyranny; wisdom without power is pointless,” warns one of Pears’s characters.

The Dream of Scipio is a bona fide novel of ideas, a dazzling feat of storytelling, fiction for our times.
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 400 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: New Ed (3. April 2003)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099284588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099284581
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 19,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 312.151 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

With his admirable craftsmanship and the rich emotional life Iain Pears grants his beautifully drawn characters, he has created a considerable following for his remarkable novels. The Dream of Scipio is a novel of great ambition that simultaneously engages the emotional and intellectual capacities of the reader while always remaining compulsively readable.

Set in Provence at three crucial moments of Western civilisation (the final collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the 14th century, and the Second World War in the 20th), Pears presents the lives of three men. Manlius Hippomanes is an aristocrat, obsessively concerned with the preservation of Roman civilisation; Olivier de Noyen is a poet; and Julian Barneuve is an intellectual who makes the mistake of joining the corrupt Vichy government. Pears weaves his dazzling and discursive narrative through the troubled lives of each man, the common thread being the classical text which is the book’s title-- a work of challenging philosophical inquiry. The other common denominator is the love each man has for a remarkable woman.

It is difficult to know where to begin in praising the achievement of this rigorous but infinitely beguiling book. The novel of ideas has been moribund for quite some time, but Pears breathes rude life into the genre with an epic that echoes the achievements of Robert Graves and André Gide. The balance between the key questions of existence and the passionate, life-affirming solidity that the author grants to his characters is impeccable, and all three protagonists are forcefully characterised.

But above all, this is a piece of storytelling that almost redefines the very notion of the art: luminescent entertainment by a master, even more impressive than An Instance of the Fingerpost, the book which first drew attention to Pears’ highly individual skills.--Barry Forshaw -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

"Irresistibly seizes the imagination" (Evening Standard)

"Combining the visceral pleasures of a thriller with the more intellectual excitements of a novel of ideas... Beautifully constructed...never less than engrossing" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Vivid, admirably imagined, ultimately very moving...This is a novel of the very highest ambition...immediate, sensuous, beautiful" (Alan Massie Scotsman)

"Combines dazzling erudition with assured narrative skills to offer glimpses of some of history's darkest corners, and stark and timely challenges to the very notions of civilisation and progress" (Independent on Sunday)

"A dazzling hall of mirrors... Ferociously ambitious... Illumined by a fizzing passion for the recondite" (Daily Telegraph)

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2.0 von 5 Sternen The Dream of Scipio 11. September 2004
Format:Taschenbuch
Masterful...artfully written, etc., or so I read in all the reviews. They don't mention that it's boring beyond words. How can an author make a love story, er, make that three stories, so unexciting? It's also one of those novels that interweaves the stories so often that you have to keep going back to check where you are.
Needless to say, it still sits by my bedside table for when sleep won't come.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
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Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  135 Rezensionen
150 von 160 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A multidimensional, open ended morality tale 10. Juli 2002
Von Royce E. Buehler - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Your reaction to Iain Pears' new novel is likely to depend on what you liked about "Instance of the Fingerpost." If it was the Chinese puzzle box of its plot within a plot within a plot, you won't find that here. "The Dream of Scipio" places its bets on depth rather than cleverness. Was it the colorful, cunning, swaggering characters, telling their stories in memorably distinct voices? Calm, third person narrative is the rule this time. Our three main characters - the gregarious aristocrat Manlius Hippomanes, in the final months of the Roman Empire; the impetuous itinerant poet Olivier de Noyen, caught up in papal politics as the Black Death descends on Avignon; and the reclusive historian Julien Barneuve, coping with the demands of the Vichy regime during the Nazi hegemony - are all restrained and bookish men who aspire to live above the storms of passion. Many readers will find them disappointingly bloodless, but I'm not sure this is a flaw. Despite the three peculiar, parallel love stories at the center of the plot, this work intends to be classical rather than romantic in spirit.
But if you are the sort of person who dips into Gibbon's Decline and Fall for pleasure; if what attracted you to "Fingerpost" was the way it made bygone, alien ways of being human palpable; or the subtlety of its characters' intrigues and political calculations; or its philosophical sophistication; or its grasp of both the moral ambiguity of the human situation, and the imperative to behave morally in the face of that ambiguity - then "The Dream of Scipio" will give you at least the same level of satisfaction as the last book.
Be warned that there are murders here (what is human history if not a catalogue of murders?), but no murder mystery. There are elaborate compositional patterns to be noted, and a good deal of real history to be learned, but no "Name of the Rose" style conumdrums to be unravelled. Nevertheless, you'll be left bristling with questions - not the kind of questions that make you instantly begin rereading in order to collect clues, but the kind that make you hungry for a book club so the questions can be thought through in company: What is civilization, really, and why should we value it? What is and is not worth sacrificing in order to preserve it? What makes an act virtuous, its intents or its effects? Unlike most "idea" books, this one doesn't push one set of answers on you, rather it sets out the dilemmas, through concrete hard cases, in all their painful unresolvability.
Four and a half stars, highly recommended, but be aware of what you're getting into.
112 von 119 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A serious and stimulating novel for our times. 9. Juni 2002
Von Mary Whipple - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In this remarkable and hugely conceived novel of ideas, Pears gives us three intense, emotionally gripping stories set in Provence during the fifth, fourteenth, and 20th centuries. In each of these, a sensitive and thoughtful man of letters faces not only a crisis of belief, but also of action, as outside forces threaten to destroy civilization as he knows it. As each man fights to save the values he finds important, Pears explores the ethical underpinnings of western thought and history, those ideas first proffered by Plato which continue to influence men and governments two thousand years later.

A mysterious 5th century manuscript by Manlius Hippomanes connects the parallel plots and eras: the waning days of the Roman Empire, as the barbarian hordes attack Gaul's borders and Manlius Hippomanes writes The Dream of Scipio; the 14th century in Avignon, when poet Olivier de Noyen discovers some of Manlius's writing and deals with papal intrigue, the Hundred Years War, and the Black Death; and the Vichy government in France during World War II, when Julien Barneuve, a scholar who has traced the Manlius manuscript, joins the Vichy government in an effort to "civilize" the German occupiers and prevent deportation of the Jews.

This is not a beach book--its excitement is far more thoughtful than sensational. Pears' characters are real, flawed people living and loving in times of crisis and experiencing conflicts with parents, teachers, friends, and mentors. These conflicts clearly parallel those in the wider world of their political alliances and governments, and ultimately affect their attitudes toward humankind in general. Beautiful love stories, which bring warmth to the narrative, are portrayed with the delicacy such fragile relationships deserve and the strength which allows them to endure. As we, too, face uncertain times and threats to our own civilization, Pears offers a reflective and thought-provoking framework for contemplating our own future. Mary Whipple
33 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Better on 2nd read 1. Januar 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is excellent. For the first time for any novel, I actually started re-reading it the same day I finished it. Like some other reviews say, if you are expecting "Fingerpost 2", this is not it.

This story is not about events that need to be solved, but is about the motives of the people, what they believed, when, why, and how their actions changed. It is a well-balanced blend of history, philosophy, some romance (not as much as the jacket cover implies), and the choices that individuals can make. And, interestly, even though it is fairly clear where Pears comes out on the choices, the presentations of the characters were not basic black-n-white. Each character has some good reasons for what they did. And, each choice has some abiguity to it. No choice yields a 100% balance on the scales of justice.

From this standpoint, this is what I like best about Pears's writing. He is able to create a story that comes close to feeling real because events do not seem force-fitted to make things come out "right". Plus, he apparently does quite a bit of research to get the feel of the time right.

His choices of time were also fascinating. The end of the Roman empire because it was clear that it was the end and this impacted how people reacted. The period of the Black Death when there really could be no sense of historical trend because the plague was a random occurrence, not from the actions of men. And, the German occupation of France where, in general, it was clear the Germans would lose so people could make choices toward an expected result. Each context makes certain choices potentially more reasonable than others. No free lunches on exactly what the right answers are.

I plan on re-reading this again after I get through some other books that have been waiting while I spent my time with this one.
23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Really should be 4 and 1/2 stars 20. August 2002
Von Excession - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Having read An Instance of the Fingerpost (and loved it), I came to this novel with high expectations. I found the first hundred or so pages very tough going (truly brutal), and I just about gave up on the book. If I hadn't read Pears' work before, I probably wouldn't have finished this, and I would have missed the fabulous rest of the novel.
The three stories are intertwined, and they each have an integral part in the other two tales. The last 50 or so pages are wonderful, thought-provoking, and probably controversial for its conclusion. I think any reader who finds the subject matter interesting, i.e. the nature of civilization and the philosophy of civilizing influences, will probably have the "mental toughness" to slog through the difficult beginning. Take it from this reader that it is all worthwhile in the end.
A few warnings regarding the book: this is a novel of ideas, and, as such, none of the characters (except perhaps Julian in WWII era Avignon) are particularly well-developed -- certainly none as compelling as in Instance's narrators; idealistic readers will probably be disappointed by the unrelenting pragmatism of this work (sort of like attending a Jesuit university).
If you are willing to invest the time and effort, this book is well worth it.
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not a beach book for sure! 28. Dezember 2003
Von J. Marren - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
"Scipio" is one of the best novels I've read in years, and I read a lot! Be forewarned by the few negative reviews here on Amazon--to fully appreciate this book you should be interested in history, philosophy, and above all willing to think about how one discerns the right course of action when presented with a moral dilemma. If you're willing to take on the challenge, you're in for a treat!
Pears presents the story of three men in three different historical periods in Southern France. The paralells are eerie--in each case the world is sliding into chaos--the fall of the Roman Empire, the scourge of the Black Death, and the occupation of France by the Germans in WWII. Each man is presented with the same moral dilemmas--does one fight shoulder to shoulder with one's friends in a cause that is probably hopeless? should one betray a friend to save many others? is following our principles at all important when the world crumbles around us? is saving "civilization" the highest goal--or our our responsibilities less lofty--to our family and friends and those we love?
Each protagonist has a love in his life, a dark haired muse, and Pears weaves three unconventional but utterly believable love stories through the novel. That this is also a literary device to verbalize the moral issues presented doesn't ruin the portraits of these three independent, thoughtful, courageous women.
The role of the Jews in this story is also fascinating--in each case they are the pawns of history, as men of power exploit anti-Semitism for their own purposes, either persecuting or in one case protecting them, never out of moral conviction but rather to further other ends.
Our protagonists meet three different ends, and Pears leaves us to judge for ourselves who followed the right path. One achieves his goals--at great cost--and retires to live out his life. One recognizes he has been on the wrong path all along and dies a terrible death in a last grand gesture to redeem himself. One survives with his love, but also at great cost.
Each reader will reach their own conclusions--but Pears also invites us to look at how history judges these three. In the history books one man is a saint, one a traitor, one disappears without a trace. It's said history is written by the winners--if this is so what can we learn from it, other than how to "win?"
I hope one of my book clubs can be persuaded to read this--one could discuss it for hours!
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