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The Ides of March: A Novel Paperback – September 16, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. His Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and films. (His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of Doubt [1943] remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day.) Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060088907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060088903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really liked Thornton Wilder's "The Ides of March" because of it's drama and it's philosophical content. The first thing to note is the great structure of the book which makes it very dramatic. The book is structured into four separate parts and each parts leads up to a scene that is anticipated throughout the part. For part I, it is the dinner at Clodia and Clodius Pulcher's; for part II, it is the reception at Cleopatra's; for part III, it is the profanation of the mysteries of the goddess by clodia pulcher and her brother; and for part IV, it is Caesar's assasination. From the very start of each part, Wilder whets your appetite for how the climactic event is going to go and I was so anxious to find out what happened, which kept me turning the pages. The second thing I want to mention is the great amount of thought provoking philosophical content in this concise, 246 page novel. There is alot of reflection in Caesar's journal about the rational grounds for religion (a belief in God or the Gods), there is a passage on living one's life with the knowledge that one will die one day, and stuff about love and relationships. Also, there is alot of character analysis, analyzing Caesar's character, contrasting it to Cicero's and Junius Brutus's and others. The fact that Caesar and these others are these famous historical figures from ancient rome tinges it all with that feeling that one is gaining an education about the roots of Western Civilization, in touch with the classics. My favorite parts are probably the letters of Caesar to his friend Lucius Mamillius Turrinus because of the great philosophical content and also the letters at the end of each section where some other character will describe in a long letter what happened at the climactic event.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This excellent novel, Wilder's masterpiece, is set during the last 17 years in the life of Julius Caesar in Rome. In it he attempts to answer the following: "What sort of person was Caesar and why was he assassinated?" Told mainly through letters and documents of people who knew him, from the famous - Cleopatra, Catallus, Cicero, Brutus - to the lesser known - Cytheris, an actress; Turrinus, a friend; Cornelius Nepos, a political observer - and including such sources as Caesar's commonplace book and journal, broadsides, and various official memoranda, Wilder creates a brilliant picture of the man and the people who surround him. We learn of Caesar's great love for Rome, but his disdain for those who populate her. In a magnificent observation by his physician Sosthenes, he says, "Caesar does not love, nor does he inspire love. He diffuses an equable glow of ordered good will, a passionless energy that creates without fever, and which expands itself without self-examination or self-doubt....I could not love him and I never leave his presence without relief." Those few sentences speak volumes. We see in Caesar's own (private) letters how different the public figure (lofty, dictatorial, the great warrior) is from the private man (amused by human folly, lonely, sensitive to those who have been injured by life's cruelties). Yet the book is not just a history lesson, despite its appearance, but a moving novel that builds masterfully to a stunning climax on the Ides of March with his murder. The book is truly magnificent, filled with much insight into human motivation and observation. Definitely worth looking into.
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Format: Paperback
This is the perfect book for adolscents whom you want to interest in history. Told in the form of letters from some of Rome's most famous citizens, including Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Julius Caeser himself and Catullus, the poet, the book is divided into four parts, each of which starts earlier and ends later than the previous section. The letter format not only allows the characters to ruminate on the meaning of their lives--and some big issues as well, such as religion and destiny--but it also allows Wilder to show an event from multiple perspectives, a technique he uses well to deepen the complexity of events over the course of the book. Caeser may be the worst writer in the book. He is given to repeating phrases for lyrical effect in a way that can be a little cloying, but on the whole he is viewed a little admiringly to be fashionable in our revisionist times. Wilder's women are strong as usual, and the story is always gripping. It's amazing to me that this book is out of print.
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Format: Paperback
I think most people know the story of Julius Caesar's death: stabbed 23 times on March 15th during a session of the Senate. What Thornton Wilder has done with his novel is to give the reader a glimpse in to the human side of Caesar, through journal entries and correspondence from him and those surrounding him. We learn of the statesman, who tries his best to govern his people; of his "divinity" and his tolerance of the belief in gods and goddesses; of the family man living in a tepid marriage with his wife Pompeia; and of his attraction to intellectuals, whether if be the poet Catullus, whose poetry he highly regards even if it mocks him, and the beautfiul Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, whom he considers almost an equal in terms of ability to rule. Wilder also lets us in on public opinion concerning the Dictator, as Caesar was also known, through intercepted correspondence of Clodia Pulcher and others. Caesar becomes more of a human figure in the hands of Wilder. He has his foibles and his share of indecisions, just like any other person. He also tries to do what he believes to be the right thing in terms of treating others. A unique historical novel.
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