1948 1st edition; Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York and London; hardbound in dark blue boards with silver lettering on spine; quite good condition with unmarked pages; there are several newspaper clippings inside book about the author and subject; inside cover has foxing where a newspaper clipping was stored; overall quite good with clean pages and tight binding.
The Ides of March is an epistolary novel by Thornton Wilder that was published in 1948. It is, in the author's words, 'a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic. Historical reconstruction is not among the primary aims of this work'.
The novel deals with the characters and events leading to, and culminating in, the assassination of Julius Caesar. American publisher Bennett Cerf remarked at that year's meeting of the American Booksellers Association that there had been "only three novels published since the first of the year that were worth reading . Cry, The Beloved Country, The Ides of March, and The Naked and the Dead. Wilder himself once wrote that the book was "a kind of crossword puzzle" that "only begins to speak at its second reading." Edmund Fuller called the novel "a text so rich that it requires exploration rather than reading."
The novel is divided into four books, each of which starts earlier and ends later than the previous book. Catullus' poems and the closing section by Suetonius are the only documents of the book which are not imagined; however, many of the events are historical, such as Cleopatra's visit to Rome. Though the novel describes events leading up to Caesar's assassination on 15 March 44 BC a number of earlier events are described as if they were contemporary. Thus, the violation of the Bona Dea mysteries by Publius Clodius Pulcher, Caesar's subsequent divorce of his second wife Pompeia, and the circulation of two poems by Catullus suggesting that Caesar and his engineer, Mamurra, were lovers (and Catallus's subsequent apology) are transposed from December 62 BC to December 45 BC. In addition, many of the characters depicted as living in the novel were actually dead by 44 BC, including M. Porcius Cato (in 46 BC), Catullus (in c. 54 BC), Julia Marcia (in 69 BC) and Clodius (in 52 BC).