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I, Claudius Hardcover – Nov 18 1976

4.7 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Nov 18 1976
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (Nov. 18 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413370704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413370709
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,716,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Having never seen the famous 1970s television series based on Graves' historical novel of ancient Rome and being generally uneducated about matters both ancient and Roman, I wasn't prepared for such an engaging book. But it's a ripping good read, this fictional autobiography set in the Roman Empire's days of glory and decadence. As a history lesson, it's fabulous; as a novel it's also wonderful. Best is Claudius himself, the stutterer who let everyone think he was an idiot (to avoid getting poisoned) but who reveals himself in the narrative to be a wry and likable observer. His story continues in Claudius the God. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

* Makes a ripping yarn. The Guardian --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
All fans af historical fiction need look no further for an intersesting read. The book chronicles the reigns of the Roman Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula as seen through the eyes of Tiberius Claudius. The book reads in true roman fashion, with characters droping like flies from the very start. The odd thing is how the book makes you not cry but chuckle. The combination of ridiculusly evil characters and humerously unfourtunate events make for a story so tragic you just have to laugh. This is only added to by the way that Claudius records things like murder,war,assasination,divorce and mass executions in a trivial way. Claudius, who is considerd as an idiot due to his stutter and limp, plays up his stupidity in order to stay out of the constant political intrigues, while in fact he is one of the smartest romans of the lot and in the end, I couldn't help but feeling somewhat attached to Claudius.
This book is truley marvelous and succeeds perfectly in retelling an ancient tale. And as a plus, I am now extremly knowledgeable on this time of history after reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
I was very excited to read "I, Claudius" because of the almost unanimous praise it has received by Amazon readers. I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed in it.
It's by no means a bad book, but I found that Robert Graves' cold historical voice kept me at a distance emotionally from the story and characters. Graves relates the story in a "first this happened, then that happened" kind of way, which has the benefit of explaining the history surrounding Claudius's rise to Roman Emperor in a clear and non-convoluted way. However, Graves' approach to the story also succeeds in keeping the reader uninvolved in the proceedings, because characters never become alive, but instead remain as about as engaging as the people you read about in high school history books.
In short, I would recommend this book if you're in the mood for a plot-driven novel---and believe me, there's plenty of plot to sink your teeth into.
But if you're in the mood to wrap your mind around fully developed characters and psychological complexity, I would read something besides this.
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Format: Paperback
This novel written in 1935 is set as the autobiography of Claudius, before he becomes Roman emperor and as he sees the various members of his family die off, mainly through mischief.

It is not particularly well written. How for example can Claudius report word for word conversations that were held hundreds of kilometers away?

Also, the characters' psychology is poorly developed and inconsistent. Why for instance would Livia suddenly decide to confide her wrongdoings to Claudius whom she has always despised?

Though not graphic by today's standards, violence is so pervasive throughout the work that it becomes tedious.

To potential readers interested in an analogous approach to Roman Antiquity, Marguerite Yourcenar's `Memoirs of Hadrian' constitutes a far superior option.
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By A Customer on April 5 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is so self-conscious and self-aware, one has to wonder whether the author is not more taken with himself than interested in writing a novel for others to enjoy. Way too cutesy for me.
I did not like this book at all.
I would have much preferred the author just write a nice, deep, rich biography or even a third-person historical novel, perhaps with footnotes or indexed research notes. The first-person mechanism is highly overused, to the point of abuse. There appears to have been a great deal of research that went into this book, but because of the tone and style, the reader cannot determine or make an assessment as to whether the material is fact or fiction, or merely self-serving attempts to appear clever. The heavy-handed overused literary device severely detracts from the good qualities of the book, which are: good story, interesting historical period, insight into times and lifestyles of long ago, and occasional easy flow of language.
This is one book I would not recommend.
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Format: Paperback
I, Claudius has just made its way onto my Netlfix queue, and I can only hope that the mini-series based on the Robert Graves novels are played as a black comedy! Robert Graves has managed to write a wickedly funny portrayal of the "royal family" from the reign of Augustus Ceaser through the wanton debauchery of Caligula. All three reigns are told through the eyes of the seemingly idiotic Claudius, whom ends the book on the shoulders of his countrymen as their new Ceaser.
Graves, who is a true literary giant in his own right, colorfully fills in the blanks of the historical Roman record. Whether his interpretations of events are factual or not is left up for debate, but the genius of his narrative through Claudius is not. You'll need to draw a map of how all the various characters are related since marriage, divorce and adoption within the same family is rampant. Claudius' grandmother Livia is a real force whose product ends up being the sordid reign of Caligula. Augustus and Tiberius are "interesting" in their own way, and the stories attached to each Ceaser's reign or one part tragic and 10 parts black comedy. That Claudius is able to survive by playing the embicile shows his true genius. Can't want to see what the DVDs have in store!
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