Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Books I've been with

One idea of this blog was to keep track of things I've read, maybe why I've read them, what happened in them and sort of what they're about.
Here goes:
Romulus der Grosse by Swiss playwright Friedrich Duerrenmatt. Play about the final days of the Western Roman Empire, 476 AD.
Emperor Romulus - named after the Roman founder - tends his chickens while ignoring pleas by his wife and daughter, a fleeing Byzantine Emperor and an exhausted messenger to make a last stand against the invading Germanic tribes. Tables are turned when Romulus' family and guests are drowned en route to Sicily, and Germanic leader Odoaker turns out to sympathize with Romulus' dislike of empires, power and their oppression.
A sideways look at Empire: how much allusion there is to World Wars, Cold War times I'm not sure, but something is there. The Diogenes text was reworked by the author in 1980: a previous version goes back to 1957.
Smoothly, slickly written even: using the old Greek rules of drama (24 hours, one setting, and ...) this is an accomplished piece, without necessarily standing out as a masterpiece. Effectively challenges any heroic writings on Rome's glory: too much blood built this and any Empire.
Read the comments on http://www.amazon.de/Romulus-Grosse-ungeschichtliche-historische-Neufassung/dp/3257230427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248817792&sr=1-1 while they're there.
Then read the play.

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