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Read The Plato Papers (2001)

The Plato Papers (2001)

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0385497695 (ISBN13: 9780385497695)

The Plato Papers (2001) - Plot & Excerpts

Ackroyd's usual locale is London, how the city regenerates itself from century to century, and how the ghosts of the past still exist in some way, coeval with the present populace. In a way 'The Plato Papers' followed that vision to its inevitable conclusion, as this time the present (that is to say the last 500 years of history) is seen through the prism of the future.Plato, a 39th century orator, entertains and educates the young with fables from the age of "Mouldwarp", but the elders become concerned that his visions are having an increasingly corrupting influence. However, to say that something may have been lost in translation down the eons is something of an understatement. Examples abound, but try these: 'The Origin of the Species' is believed to be a novel by Charles Dickens, whilst the works of Freud are analyzed as an elaborate joke book!There is serious intent here, but essentially its a comedy of misinterpretation, a fun one too. We get lectures, dialogues, and an encyclopedia of meanings, all laughably erroneous. Favourite entries in the later include -"fibre optic": a coarse material woven out eyes, worn by the high priests of the mechanical age in order to instill terror among the populace and, "literature": a word of unknown provenance, generally attributed to 'litter' or waste.I tried a few myself when I read it, none of which I can remember, all of which were no comparatively lame. I just thought of a new one though -"reality TV": an abominable dream, or 'Terror Vision', where the sleeper is haunted by the apparent pointlessness of life.Yep, that's pretty lame too. Try Ackroyd's efforts though. He knows how to tell 'em.

“The Plato Papers, Ackroyd’s final novel of the twentieth century, is set in London in circa 3700 A.D., in the fifth age as measured at that time. Plato, an orator who acts also as interpreter of history and of historical artefacts, pronounces on the four Ages preceding his own to the best of his abilities, and is seen as the arbiter of historical fact. When however he begins to question the validity of his understanding, his soul offers him the chance to see reality by withdrawing its protection. It is in this state that he becomes aware of another London, one beneath his own, and his visit to this subterranean city causes him to question his perception of reality. On his return, he brings ideas that disconcert the accepted order such that he is put on trial for the danger threatened by his teachings. Though he is acquitted, he chooses to undergo punishment in the form of exile from the protective walls of London rather than accept the restrictions which he can now see that life in the city imposes on its citizens.”As with all of Ackroyd’s other books, I found this to be extremely cleverly written and a pleasure to read. I particularly loved the “in jokes” as to the nature of the authors of texts, whereby some of the text, including part of the author’s name had been destroyed e.g. Charles D … (Dickens/Darwin?!). It made one question how we can be sure of our interpretations of other historical ages, and what would the dwellers of those eras we’re attempting to analyse make of our results?Also … a lovely quick read!

What do You think about The Plato Papers (2001)?

Condition: Used - GoodSold by: little-river-books 0.01The glossary reads like The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary. Cleverness abounds here, lots to ponder on but not so many outloud laughs unless you count 'Gravesend' on page 22 - that was teh funneh. The crux of the idea here reads a lot like the Hitler's yearned for Hollow Earth Theory.

More of a clever intellectual exercise than a novel, but then that's Ackroyd, author of a biography of Dickens that unabashedly situates itself inside its subject's fertile brain. The Plato Papers is a post-apocalyptic tale that resurrects a rogue Plato to discourse fatuously on the meaning of it all, much of the humor coming from the (mis)use of fragments of humanity's past. Best: taking the works of Edgar Allan Poe as evidence for what life in the 19th century was like, which makes a kind of weird sense, the more you think about it...

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