Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Rambling: Cleopatra

It struck me yesterday when I saw the new book on Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff: Cleopatra A Life (which I've bought) that there have been a number of books about Cleopatra on the shelves lately, both fiction and nonfiction. Stacy Schiff's is only the latest in a long series. We've definitely been fascinated by this Egyptian ruler for a long time. Shakespeare wrote about her, as have many others since, including a couple of my favourite authors: Jo Graham and Michelle Moran. Not to mention Colleen Mccullough's Antony and Cleopatra, which I think is part of her First Man In Rome series.

Cleopatra fascinates me, both the way she's treated in fiction, such as in Hand of Isis by Jo Graham, and in non-fiction, as in the book mentioned above. But, I'm also a little surprised at the number of books about her. There's the other recent biography by Duane Roller, which came out earlier this year as well. And those aren't the only books I have on her.

The other famous Egyptian women don't seem to have the same attention paid to them: Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and the like. Although, I guess I shouldn't quite say that. After all, Judith Tarr has done a novel on Hatshepsut, and one other that I can't quite remember, and Michelle Moran did one each on Nefertiti and Nefertari.

But why Cleopatra and not the others? Anyone have any ideas?


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to read how the new Cleopatra biography is.
I'm going to buy that one as well.

Elena said...

It does look like a good book. I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks for commenting.

The Bookworm said...

I've never read anything about Cleopatra but I want to one day. She does fascinate me.

Elena said...

And a lot of others too, Naida. Thanks for stopping in.

J.G. said...

Hmmm. Might be a fun challenge in the making with these ancient queens at the center of it.

Meanwhile, perhaps her popularity is because she is directly part of our Western culture, due to her affiliation with Rome. Of course, it could also be the Elizabeth Taylor Effect. :-)

Elena said...

Probably more the latter than the former, I'd guess (at least given the way current American culture seems to be going).

Thanks for the comment, J.G.


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