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I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  

I, Claudius

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics Series
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May 2014 Guest Editor Daisy Goodwin on I, Claudius...

Discovered this in my early teens and was completely hooked by the story of the rise to power of the most unlikely Roman Emperor. Graves was a classical scholar, but he never forgets that his primary role as a novelist is to tell a story. He inhabits Ancient Rome, as surely as Hilary Mantel breathes the air of the Tudor Court. Great historical novels are the ones that show us the past rather than tell us about it.

If you like Robert Graves you might also like to read books by Allan Massie.

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Synopsis

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Bringing to life the subterfuge and double-dealing of Roman nobility, Robert Graves' I, Claudius brings the ancient world to life with startling clarity and meticulous realism. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is a includes an introduction by Barry Unsworth. Despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool, the nobleman Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. In I, Claudius he watches from the sidelines to record the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula. Written in the form of Claudius' autobiography, this is the first part of Robert Graves' brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of ancient Rome, and stands as one of the most celebrated, gripping historical novels ever written. Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel I, Claudius and the critical study of myth and poetry The White Goddess . His autobiography, Goodbye to All That , was published in 1929, quickly establishing itself as a modern classic. Graves also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics , and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths . His translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin Classics . If you enjoyed I, Claudius , you might like Graves' sequel Claudius the God , also available in Penguin Modern Classics . An imaginative and hugely readable account of the early decades of the Roman Empire ...racy, inventive, often comic . ( Daily Telegraph ). Still an acknowledged masterpiece and a model for historical fiction ...sympathetic and intensely involving: a great feat of imagination . (Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall ).

Reviews

'I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD are an imaginative and hugely readable account of the early decades of the Roman Empire ... racy, inventive, often comic' Daily Telegraph

'One of the really remarkable books of our day, a novel of learning and imagination, fortunately conceived and brilliantly executed' New York Times

'Still an acknowledged masterpiece and a model for historical fiction ... sympathetic and intensely involving: a great feat of imagination' -- Hilary Mantel

About the Author

Robert Graves

Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, the son of Irish writer Perceval Graves and Amalia Von Ranke. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. After this, apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, he earned his living by writing, mostly historical novels, including: I, Claudius; Claudius the God; Count Belisarius; Wife of Mr Milton; Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth; Proceed, Sergeant Lamb; The Golden Fleece; They Hanged My Saintly Billy; and The Isles of Unwisdom. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. The Times Literary Supplement acclaimed it as 'one of the most candid self portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted', as well as being of exceptional value as a war document. Two of his most discussed non-fiction works are The White Goddess, which presents a new view of the poetic impulse, and The Nazarine Gospel Restored (with Joshua Podro), a re-examination of primitive Christianity. He also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961 and made an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, in 1971.

Robert Graves died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929. On his death The Times wrote of him, 'He will be remembered for his achievements as a prose stylist, historical novelist and memorist, but above all as the great paradigm of the dedicated poet, "the greatest love poet in English since Donne".'

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd August 2006

Author

Robert Graves

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Publisher

Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
416 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9780141188591

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