Stacy Schiff won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2000 biography of Vera Nabokov and her 2005 biography of Benjamin Franklin was described as “most insightful” in BookPage. Now, she tackles a subject that has fascinated everybody from Plutarch to Shakespeare to fans of Elizabeth Taylor: Cleopatra.
I started reading Cleopatra: A Life over lunch the other day, and I was immediately hooked. See for yourself:
Catastrophe reliably cements a reputation, and Cleopatra’s end was sudden and sensational. She has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since. Many people have spoken for her, including the greatest playwrights and poets; we have been putting words in her mouth for two thousand years. In one of the businest afterlives in history she has gone on to become an asteroid, a video game, a cliché, a cigarette, a slot machine, a strip club, a synoonym for Elizbaeth Taylor. Shakeapeare attested to Cleopatra’s infinite variety. He had no idea.
Schiff aims to separate fact from fiction in the famous Queen’s life. For a chance to win Cleopatra, leave a note in the comments with the name of your favorite biography OR the person you believe to be the most intriguing historical figure.
For another preview of Cleopatra, read Anne Bartlett’s review of the book (which includes some interesting details about Cleopatra’s relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony). Also, watch the book trailer in a Trailer Tuesday post.