January 7, 2023
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The Cambridge Companion To Edward Gibbon

by Karen O’Brien and Brian Young, eds.

In Catalonia for the Hypertext Conference, we saw plenty of Roman ruins. Some, like Tarragona, I expected, but others (Emporias!) were a remarkable surprise. On the way home, I had a nice dip into the Decline and Fall. One night, wanting to look beyond my familiar reading stack, I grabbed this. What fun!

Gibbon published the start of The Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776. His cadences have the resonance of that era’s best writing, and he is a subtly funny writer, the master of adding a footnote or choosing an extra adjective to turn a statement on its head. This volume is filled with finely-written, accessible and engaging pieces on such topics as Gibbon’s style, his library and note-taking practices, and his knowledge of the city of Rome. More fun than a book like this has any right to be.