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The Dream of Scipio (2002)

de Iain Pears

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2,207547,206 (3.72)91
The bestselling author of An Instance of the Fingerpost intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories--and three of the darkest moments in human history.
  1. 00
    The Paris Architect de Charles Belfoure (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Each explores individual morality, justice, and Jewish identity in France during different eras. The Paris Architect offers a linear narrative of French and Jewish resistance in World War II; the denser, more complex Dream of Scipio treats 4th-20th century events.… (mais)
  2. 00
    The Fencing Master de Arturo Pérez-Reverte (sturlington)
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Inglês (48)  Francês (3)  Holandês (1)  Espanhol (1)  Todos os idiomas (53)
Mostrando 1-5 de 53 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Ik kende hem niet, maar Iain Pears is blijkbaar een populaire veelschrijver. Voor mij was deze eerste kennismaking toch wel een bevredigende. Dit boek is een ingenieus gecomponeerde historische roman die tal van thema’s combineert. Het verhaal speelt zich in 3 tijdlagen af: het einde van de 5de eeuw, het begin van de 14de eeuw en het midden van de 20ste eeuw, met telkens een centraal hoofdpersonage. Pears springt voortdurend van de ene naar de andere periode, dus je moet je hoofd er wel bij houden. De verbindende draad is het manuscript ‘De Droom van Scipio’, een neoplatonisch geschrift van de hand van het hoofdpersonage in de 5de eeuw dat zowel door de 14de eeuwse als de 20ste eeuwse protagonist wordt herontdekt en geïnterpreteerd. Er is ook een ruimtelijk verbindend element: de gebeurtenissen spelen zich in de drie tijdlagen allemaal af in de Franse Provence, meer bepaald rond het dorpje/stadje Vaison.

En ook de thematieken (filosofisch, romantisch, politiek) zijn gemeenschappelijk. De belangrijkste is de vraag hoe je als individu in tijden van fundamentele crisissen een beschaving overeind kan houden. De vele dialogen in dit boek brengen dit onderwerp voortdurend ter sprake. En daarbij is de boodschap: iets doen is beter dan niets doen, maar hoe dan het juiste doen? De protagonisten in de drie tijdvakken blijken elk in verregaande mate te moeten schipperen tussen goed en kwaad, of beter, tussen het mindere goed en het mindere kwaad. Dat maakt meteen duidelijk dat deze roman in essentie over morele keuzes gaat. En de boodschap die Pears in zijn verhaal gelegd heeft, blijkt dan niet zo hoopgevend: in functie van het hogere doel (de beschaving redden) blijken de drie protagonisten erg dubieuze keuzes te maken, en zelfs ronduit verraad te plegen aan hun idealen en tegenover hun naasten. Na afloop blijf je als lezer met een erg ongemakkelijk gevoel zitten: een betrouwbaar moreel kompas is in de chaos van het heden niet te vinden, en zelfs het verleden blijkt dat niet te leveren. Pears zegt wel: handel, treedt op, verdedig het kamp van de beschaving, maar weet dat je nooit zeker kan zijn dat je de juiste keuzes maakt. Frustrerend.

Dus best een intrigerende en meeslepende roman. Al zijn er een paar zwakke kanten aan. Ik noemde al het lastige heen-en-weer gespring tussen de tijdlagen. Maar ook het neoplatonisme dat Pears aanbrengt, wringt een beetje tegen: het manuscript waar de titel naar verwijst komt maar af en toe in beeld, de neoplatonische thesen komen naar mijn gevoel niet tot hun recht, en op het eind blijkt zelfs dat de schrijver ervan de bal compleet heeft misgeslagen. De liefdeshistories die Pears ten tonele voert (in de 3 tijdlagen) zijn best aardig, maar sommige passages (zoals de korte ontmoeting tussen Julia en Picasso) zijn er met de haren bij gesleurd. Maar niet gezeurd, al bij al is dit best een geslaagde historische roman. ( )
1 vote bookomaniac | Jul 18, 2023 |
En los últimos días del Imperio Romano, durante la Peste Negra y en las más oscuras horas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, tres hombres buscan refugio de la locura que les rodea. Ambientada en Provenza en tres diferentes momentos críticos de la civilización occidental, El sueño de Escipión recorre el destino de Manlio Hipómanes, un aristócrata galo obsesionado con la conservación de la civilización romana; Olivier de Noyen, un poeta al servicio de un poderoso cardenal envuelto en una trama para restaurar el papado en Roma; y Julien Barneuve, un intelectual descontento que se une al gobierno de Vichy.
  Natt90 | Mar 9, 2023 |
Three parallel stories set in a small area of Provence at times when the world or at least civilized life seemed to be coming to an end (the last years of the Western Roman Empire, the Black Death, WWII) look at issues of cultural memory and how ideas survive and recognising and choosing the lesser of evils. ( )
1 vote Robertgreaves | Sep 13, 2022 |
With The Dream of Scipio Iain Pears has written an intelligent, complex, thought-provoking and in parts philosophical examination of civilisation, and the moral choices people make. He illustrates this by telling the stories of three men across three discrete timelines: landowner Manlius Hippomanes at the fall of the Roman Empire, poet Olivier de Noyen during the Black Death, and scholar Julien Barneuve during the Second World War. Each is connected to the other through the manuscript of the title, with an omniscient narrator linking one section to the next.

Iain Pears is absolutely in command of his characters and the period they inhabit, even if the narrative does wander slightly off-topic on occasion and the prose can come across as a bit wordy. The vignettes that are used to describe and illustrate each character's life, actions and decisions are described so vividly that they appear to have been taken from historical sources.

The writing is dense, not only because of a small font being used, but also because of the breadth and depth of ideas that are communicated, and the reader needs to pay attention in order to pick up the nuances and implications, especially since the novel isn't told in chronological order. Instead, the author has chosen to tell his story in three parts, each split into numerous section breaks wherein one era may be followed by another in the same timeline, but is more likely to be succeeded by one of the other two; the effect can come across as disjointed and distracting, and doesn't lend itself to much of the book being read during one session – it took me over two months to finish it, time I consider well spent, nonetheless, since the topic of the novel is timeless. Recommended. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 17, 2022 |
The influence of a MS by Cicero in three eras--Roman Gaul as Empire falls, during Avignon Papacy and Occupied France
  ritaer | Mar 5, 2022 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 53 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
... the plot is certainly dense, if not at times impenetrable. The real benefit and the satisfactions of the book lie not so much in its impressively complex design, but rather in its neat set-piece scenes. ...

Civilisation is what The Dream of Scipio and Pears are really all about. Pears is undoubtedly a writer of peculiarly refined sensibilities, and the book is studded with aphorisms. In the end, though, it all boils down to this: "Do we use the barbarians to control barbarism? Can we exploit them so that they preserve civilised values rather than destroy them?" It's a good question. The Dream of Scipio is one answer.
adicionado por passion4reading | editarThe Guardian, Ian Sansom (Aug 10, 2002)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Iain Pearsautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Cerutti Pini, DonatellaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Julien Barneuve died at 3.28 on the afternoon of 18 August 1943.
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The world needs only a few geniuses; civilisation is maintained and extended by those lesser souls who corral the men of greatness, tie them down with explanations and footnotes and annotated editions, explain what they meant when they didn't know themselves, show their true place in the awesome progression of mankind. (p. 23)
[Manlius] would then be faced with a decision, and a conundrum: can one act unjustly to achieve justice? Can virtue manifest itself through the exercise of harshness? (pp. 90-91)
Do we use the barbarians to control barbarism? Can we exploit them so that they preserve civilised values rather than destroy them? (p. 171)
Every cataclysm is welcomed by somebody; there is always someone to rejoice at disaster, and see in it the prospect of a new beginning and a better world. Equally, however much an act of God, there is always someone ready to take responsibility for any event or, failing that, to have blame thrust upon them. (p. 176)
Successful governance with no true authority in law depends on convincing others to do your bidding, which in turn means acting in ways which they consider appropriate. (p. 350)
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The bestselling author of An Instance of the Fingerpost intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories--and three of the darkest moments in human history.

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