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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marius the Epicurean by Walter Pater

Epicureanism is a philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, that's him above. Epicureanism is typically  summarized as a love of pleasure, but it's more complicated then that.

Book Review
Marius the Epicurean
 by Walter Pater
p. 1885

  I'm calling shenanigans on the inclusion of this title in the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list.  Really?   Marius the Epicurean is one of the 1001 Books I simply must read before I die?  How so?  I read the accompanying essay in the 1001 Books book, and I read the book itself, but I am left flabbergasted that someone thought this was a book that everyone needs to read prior to death.

  Marius the Epicurean is a young Roman living in the second century AD, 161-177 AD to be exact.  The "plot" is basically a coat hanger for the author, Walter Pater (who is known as a historian, not a novelist) to explicate on various ethical, religious and philosophical themes.  I suppose that as a piece of early experimental fiction it is worth noting, but you've already got Ben Hur and The Temptation of Saint Anthony in the same 10 year time span, the former is a better novel set in a similar time period, and the later is a more experimental novel set in the same time period.

 At least Marius the Epicurean is short and easily tamed.

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