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Plutarch - Plutarch Lives - ( Item 111463 )

Published in London by Folio Society. 2010. First Thus. 4 Fine Hardbacks. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. 4 volumes bound in buckram. Blocked with a design based on a 16th-century binding and incorporating individual portraits. Set in Dante. 2,408 pages in total. 33 full-page illustrations. 10 x 6 ins. Thomas Jefferson said that there were three books that every gentleman should have to hand: Livy's History of Rome, the Aeneid and Plutarch's Lives. Plutarch's fascinating account of the lives of the greatest Greeks and Romans was one of the first major works of biography as we know it. It had an incalculable effect on Western culture, shaping the way we see the ancient world and influencing writers from Shakespeare to Emerson. This major new Folio Society publication, in four volumes, is introduced by acclaimed historian Tom Holland, and is vividly enhanced by a series of original illustrations by award-winning artist David Rooney. 'We have thought fit', wrote Plutarch in his Life of Pericles, 'to spend our times and pains in writing of the lives of famous persons.' It was an audacious plan, particularly for a Greek citizen of Rome writing in the first century AD. Not only was the art of biography in its infancy, but Plutarch paired celebrated Greeks with Romans, pointing out parallels between them. Greeks were esteemed by the Romans for their art and philosophy, but were not seen as heroes, warriors or law-makers. Plutarch's Greeks, however - Theseus, Pericles, Alexander - were no less heroic than the Romans. As introducer Tom Holland writes, this could have struck Roman readers as an exercise in conceited presumption, but the Romans loved the Lives, and their popularity proved instant and enduring. It is impossible to exaggerate the influence of Plutarch's Lives on our view of the ancient world. For centuries he was the main source of information about such figures as Alexander and Cleopatra. Shakespeare based the stories of his Roman plays almost entirely on the accounts in the Lives. Many passages in Antony and Cleopatra, most famously the description of Cleopatra on her barge, are taken almost word for word from Plutarch. Voltaire and Montaigne were ardent admirers, while the Founding Fathers of America drew on many examples from the Lives in their writings and letters. This new Folio Society edition uses the classic translation overseen by John Dryden. Each life is placed in chronological order, with the Greeks before the Romans, creating an enthralling narrative history of the ancient world.

Price 110.85                 Other items you may like                 Others by the same author

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