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Thornton Wilder

Ides of March, The
Harper & Bros, 1948
Barnes & Noble


"The principal liberty taken is that of transferring an event which took place in 62 BC - the profanation of the Mysteries of the Bona Dea by Clodia Pulcher and her brother - to the celebration of the same rites seventeen years later on December 11, 45." (vii) This statement by Wilder immediately killed this book's usefulness for high school students. Fiction is one thing, but 17 years is a bit much! The book is written in the form of letters from various people - Caesar, his wives Pompeia and Calpurnia, Cleopatra, Nepos, Brutus, Clodia and Catullus, and many more. Caesar, as usual, comes off the best. Catullus is whiny, though Wilder does quote some poems in Latin (with poor English translations) and has Caesar remark on Catullus' genius. Clodia is a real piece of work - exactly as we would expect. However, Catullus had probably been dead about 10 years by 45 BC. The letters wander back and forth in time, so that you keep rereading the same information given by different people. I finally got to the point where I was skimming it. I was disappointed in this book - I had hoped for better. - Ruth Breindel

- Ruth Breindel , 12/19/2005

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