Author(s): John Williams
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award In "Augustus, " the third of his great novels, John Williams took on an entirely new challenge, a historical novel set in classical Rome, exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire, whose greatness was matched by his brutality. To tell the story, Williams also turned to a genre, the epistolary novel, that was new to him, transforming and transcending it just as he did the western in "Butcher's Crossing" and the campus novel in "Stoner." "Augustus" is the final triumph of a writer who has come to be recognized around the world as an American master. "[In "Augustus," ] John Williams re-creates the Roman Empire from the death of Julius Caesar to the last days of Augustus, the machinations of the court, the Senate, and the people, from the sickly boy to the sickly man who almost dies during expedi- tions to what would seem to be the ruthless ruler . . . . Read it in conjunction with Robert Graves's more flamboyant "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God," Hermann Broch's "The Death of Virgil," and Marguerite Yourcenar's "Memoirs of Hadrian."" --Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation
John Williams (1922-1994) was born and raised in northeast Texas. He published two volumes of poetry and two other novels, "Butcher's Crossing" and "Stoner." In the past year, "Stoner" has become an international best seller. Both novels are available from NYRB Classics. Daniel Mendelsohn is a translator, critic, memoirist, and classicist. He is the author of the international best seller, "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million," and his essay collection "Waiting for the Barbarians "(NYRB) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Art of the Essay Award. He teaches at Bard College.