The Plato Papers
"Ackroyd has written what we always knew that he alone could produce: a timeless literary masterpiece....This is a marvelous fable for our times. It is funny, wise, and strange...In the 18th century, Dean Swift cast a scorching searchlight on his own times by isolating their follies in imagined lands to which Gulliver made his imaginary travels. Ackroyd has pulled off a similar feat of travel in time and imagination." --A.N. Wilson,Daily Mail At the turn of the thirty-eighth century, London's greatest orator, Plato, regularly delivers bravura public lectures on the long, tumultuous history of what is now a tranquil city. Plato focuses particularly on the obscured and confusing era that began in A.D. 1500, which he calls the Age of Mouldwarp. Basing his work on an incomplete archaeological record, Plato pieces scraps of evidence together into a semicoherent whole. He lectures on the clown Sigmund Freud's comic masterpiece,Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, and on the prolific author Charles D.'s greatest novel,The Origin of Species. And he explores the confusing rituals of Mouldwarp, including the cult of webs and nets that covered and enslaved the population. In approximately A.D. 2300, when the sun went out and the planet fell into a thousand years of darkness, the Age of Mouldwarp came to a close, and the dark Age of Witspell began. But this epoch holds little interest for Plato, and in the midst of his public performances he begins a dialogue with his soul that leads him closer to the citizens of Mouldwarp than any strict historical inquiry might allow. As with the best of Ackroyd's fiction,The Plato Paperstreads a thin line between fantasy and biography, the genre of which Ackroyd is a heralded master. It is at once remarkably funny and erudite, a brilliant and entertaining portrayal of the ways in which the future is imagined, the present absorbed, and the past misrepresented.The Plato Papersis a tour de force of wisdom and wit that enlists all of Ackroyd's most wonderful skills and talents in a true masterpiece, brimming with delights and insights. THE PLATO PAPERS, as with the best of Ackroyd's fiction, treads a thin line between fantasy and biography, the genre of which Ackroyd is a heralded master. It is at once remarkably funny and erudite, a wise and entertaining portrayal of the ways in which the past is misrepresented. Perfectly timed for the year 2000 as we imagine millennia beyond our own, "this masterpiece of contemporary writing will entertain readers for years to come" (Jay Parini, author of The Last Station). -->
New York : Nan A. Talese, c2000.
1st ed. in the U.S.A.
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