Declines and Falls, and Their Literary Influence

Map of Ancient Rome

Edward Gibbon is best-known for his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work so mammoth that its abridged edition is still a sizable doorstopper, abounding with information about the Roman Empire’s culture, systems of government, and rulers–both good and bad. And if that was all that Gibbon had featured, that would suffice to confirm its classic status. But there’s plenty more to consider in Gibbon’s book, both structurally and in terms of the vast influence it’s had on the centuries of work that followed.

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#tobyreads: The Surreal is the Familiar

Earlier in the month, I came across Jo Walton’s glowing review of Angelica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial. (The English translation is by Ursula K. Le Guin.) Then I read Sofia Samatar’s write-up of the same book, and realized that I should probably give it a proper read, as it had been glaring at me from my to-read shelf for a while. And, sure enough, I found it to be terrific. Largely organized as a storyteller recounting the long history of an empire, […]

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