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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Notes on Fictional Cities Forbidden and Strange

For some readers, there’s a romance to reading about cities or countries that never were, or have vanished, or exist only in the most conceptual way. Not far from my desk is Lonely Planet’s guide to micronations, which features profiles of theoretically sovereign states ranging from Sealand to British West Florida. The title of the first collection of the G. Willow Wilson-written comic book Air neatly summarizes the romance of geography disappeared and nonexistent: Letters From Lost Countries. If you […]

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