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Cleopatra: A Life (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


In this captivating account of one of history's most brilliant rulers, Pulitzer Prize-winning Stacy Schiff introduces us to a Cleopatra we have not met before and, in this case anyway, truth is far more interesting than fiction. I've been talking about it for years and can't see myself not bringing up this amazing woman in conversation any time soon. Can't recommend it enough!

— Emma

November 2010 Indie Next List


“Here is a wonderful antidote to the endless salacious fictionalizations of Cleopatra. Well researched and documented, this biography draws a complete portrait of Cleopatra and her age, and the wealth of detail is balanced by a strong narrative thread. Schiff has a natural sensitivity for her subject, and it turns out that the real Cleo may be even more interesting than our imagined one!”
— Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Summer 2012 Reading Group


“Here is a wonderful antidote to the endless salacious fictionalizations of Cleopatra. Well researched and documented, this biography draws a complete portrait of Cleopatra and her age, and the wealth of detail is balanced by a strong narrative thread. Schiff has a natural sensitivity for her subject, and it turns out that the real Cleo may be even more interesting than our imagined one!”
— Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Description


The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and -- after his murder -- three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

About the Author


Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Ambassador Book Award; Cleopatra: A Life, winner of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography; and The Witches: Salem, 1692.

Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Government, she lives in New York City.

Praise For…


"Stacy Schiff does a rare thing: She gives us a book we'd miss if it didn't exist."—Wall Street Journal

"A masterpiece."—Daily Beast


Product Details
ISBN: 9780316001946
ISBN-10: 0316001945
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2011
Pages: 432
Language: English
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Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 5/26/2020 06:05am