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Sarah Fielding

Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia, The
Millar, 1757

Reviews:

...The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia was Sarah Fielding's seventh complete work. It appeared thirteen years after Fielding established her literary reputation with her two-volume episodic novel, The Adventures of David Simple, and eight years after she published The Governess. In writing The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia, Fielding moved away from pure fiction and toward a uniquely imaginative form of biography. Set in the first century B.C., the Lives presents the stories of two famous women, each of whom played an important role in Roman history during the turbulent period of civil war immediately before the Golden Age of Augustus Caesar. Sarah Fielding allows her characters to tell their own stories from beyond the grave, creating narratives that are at once factual and fictional. The Lives - borrowed from a number of historical and literary works - reveals the inner turmoil of the ruthless Cleopatra and the eternal felicity of the patient Octavia. Although earlier readers were quick to dismiss the Lives as a simple work of didactic fiction, modern readers will recognize in it the intricacy and subtlety of a work that explores eighteenth-century understandings of historiography, psychology, marriage, and education. -from the Publisher

- Publisher , 11/27/2005

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