In an extraordinary tour-de-force Frederic Raphael, the acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and critic imagines the life of that most passionate and outspoken Roman poet, Gaius Valerius Catullus, the ill-used young lover of `Lesbia', his married mistress Clodia Metelli, the wife of a powerful consul.
'I hate and I love. You may wonder why I do that.' In an extraordinary tour-de-force Frederic Raphael, the acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and critic, imagines the life of that most passionate and outspoken Roman poet, Gaius Valerius Catullus, the ill-used young lover of Lesbia, his married mistress, the wife of a powerful consul. Catullus meets, charms and clashes with Julius Caesar, Cicero, Publius Clodius and other contenders for fame and fortune in the last, bloody decades of the Roman republic. The narrative of the poet's life and loves, including his affair with a young male contemporary and his view of Caesar and his contemporaries, is intercut with new, sharp translations of his erotic and satirical poems. Catullus was one of the the greatest Roman lyric poets - who lived fast and died young. Prized by some for his sincerity and chastised by others for crudeness he has influenced generations of writers and thinkers from Ovid, Horace and Virgil to Thornton Wilder and Louis MacNiece. 'Crossing the Rubicon, jaundiced divide, decisive dribble, I was on my way past more dried, perhaps still drying, blood and wormy guts than I chose to think about, minded only to make my mark in Rome, armed with a satchel of words.'
Frederic Raphael became a household name at the beginning of his career when his original screenplay for Darling, starring Julie Christie, won an Oscar. Two for the Road, starring Audrey Hepburn, soon followed; later he worked with Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut. For many years, Raphael was a fiction reviewer for the Sunday Times, appearing regularly on BBC radio and television arts programming, creating features and drama series including The Glittering Prizes. His first novel was Obbligato (1956), which has been followed by works such as The Limits of Love, Lindmann, Richard's Things, and After the War. In all Frederic has published over 40 books of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from philosophy to memoir, and several works on the classical era, translating several works from Greek and Latin, in collaboration with the late Kenneth McLeish. In 1979 they released an edition of the Poems of Catullus. His memoirs, Personal Terms, are being published by Carcanet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages throughout the world. Next year Holland House will be publishing a volume of Frederic's selected short stories and re-issuing several of his novels. A Thousand Kisses is a development of a Drama on 3 play for BBC Radio Three, performed in 2010 and starring Geoffrey Palmer as the narrator, with Dan Stevens as Catullus. Yet the origins of the book go much further back - right to Frederic's schooldays when he first conceived the idea of a novel of the poet's life.
A Thousand Kisses by Frederic Raphael
Used - Very Good
Holland House Books
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