From the imagination of one of the most brilliant writers of our time and bestselling author of The Life of Thomas More, a novel that playfully imagines how the "modern" era might appear to a thinker seventeen centuries hence.At the turn of the 38th century, London's greatest orator, Plato, is known for his lectures on the long, tumultuous history of his now tranquil city. Plato focuses on the obscure and confusing era that began in A.D. 1500, the Age of Mouldwarp. His subjects include Sigmund Freud's comic masterpiece "Jokes and Their Relation to the Subconscious," and Charles D.'s greatest novel, "The Origin of Species." He explores the rituals of Mouldwarp, and the later cult of webs and nets that enslaved the population. By the end of his lecture series, however, Plato has been drawn closer to the subject of his fascination than he could ever have anticipated. At once funny and erudite, The Plato Papers is a smart and entertaining look at how the future is imagined, the present absorbed, and the past misrepresented.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Peter Ackroyd is best known to me as one of England's finest writers, and an entertaining expert on London and the country it dominates. 'The Plato Papers' is, for me, a brightly illuminating star in an infinitely broader canvas, that of life and its self-perception. All societies seem to throw up outsiders, and the human subject of the society which is here the context is fortunate in having his alien qualities accepted as such without rancour, despite endemic misunderstanding. The setting is a London of the far future, for which present times are pathetically (and amusingly) mistaken, and the character called Plato is found arguing that the accepted world picture of his future existence invites and embraces enlightening comparisons that are unpalatable to this future picture. It is a short novel whose arguments are both clearly set out and startlingly illuminating. A superb book.more
A clever short novel set in the year 3700, in a future London where a future Plato orates to the people of the city about the distant, obscured past (including on the novelist Charles Dickens' reviled story On the Origin of Species, the humorist Sigmund Freud, and the Esteemed American Poet known as E. A. Poe. The book ends up being both a playful meditation on misinterpretation of historical evidence and on the nature of philosophical inquiry generally.more
Exceedingly clever read in true Socratic fashion, if a bit fast with a weak ending. Ackroyd captures brilliantly how misinterpretation can occur, and how seemingly human nature itself creates outcasts from the most "superior" culture.more
A very brief novel (138 p., with a number of blank and partially filled pages), the premise seems to be that an orator in 3700 AD named Plato speaks his mind in London, and is eventually charged with “corrupting the young by spinning lies and fables.” Part philosophy, part science fiction, Ackroyd makes a number of clever observations on our own age, while putting forth the notion that everyone in every age must be willing to question assumptions and “cherished” beliefs.more
A brilliant, philosophical allegory on how easy it is to misinterpret fragments of artifacts from another time or place.more
Interesting if very weird book about a historian/orator called Plato, who dwells on the ancient history of the era referred to as Mouldwarp (AD 1500 to 2300), interesting looks at how ideas and concepts can be warped by perception. It does follow Plato's Trial quite closely and sometimes is too clever but things like that happens.more
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