➱ [Read] ➬ Creation By Gore Vidal ➼ – Horse-zine.co.uk

Creation chapter 1 Creation, meaning Creation, genre Creation, book cover Creation, flies Creation, Creation 8f1ceb852e1cb Once Again The Incomparable Gore Vidal Interprets And Animates History This Time In A Panoramic Tour Of The Th Century BC And Embellishes It With His Own Ironic Humor, Brilliant Insights, And Piercing Observations We Meet A Vast Array Of Historical Figures In A Staggering Novel Of Love, War, Philosophy, And Adventure There Isn T A Page Of CREATION That Doesn T Inform And Very Few Pages That Do Not Delight John Leonard, The New York Times From The Paperback Edition

10 thoughts on “Creation

  1. says:

    The late Gore Vidal had a penchant for upending history, with his retellings of Burr, Lincoln, the Emperor Julian, and Roosevelt Here, he has an irresistible setting the memoirs and recollections of a Persian diplomat who is fed up with listening to Herodotus boast about an imagined victory barbarians , and retells his life to his son He has met, and hobnobbed with, Zoroaster, Anaximander, Pericles, Socrates, the Buddha, Confucius, Xerxes, Darius, and Lao Tsi All of these figures with the exception of Zoroaster did live within roughly the same time frame, the 5th century b.c The setting alone, and the luxurious descriptions thereof, are a traveler s and historian s dream.Of course, our narrator is a diplomat after all So in between the descriptions are some universal truths about politics in human nature that is, it s a whole bunch of assholes trying to fuck each other.In contrast to this, the narrator makes a point to search for Truth He is a dualist, believing in the struggle between good and evil, and seeks to find Truth wherever he goes This his earnest questions of prophets and sages abroad The history and setting alone make this worth a good look The political descriptions are especially tedious but the rest is worth reading.

  2. says:

    Persian history at the peak of the Achaemenid Empire 5th century BCE is pretty neatly summed up in a few lines from our high school world history courses, largely in connection with Greek history We hear a few snippets about the Persian rulers, Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes a big paragraph about the runner who sprinted from Marathon to warn the Greeks of the Persian attack which was comeuppance for supporting a revolt in Persia and burning the city of Sardis and ever after served as the namesake for future long distance running contests the battle at Thermopylae in which a handful of Spartans embarrassed an overwhelming Persian force under the Persian king, Xerxes, immortalized and buried under a mountain of hyperbole in cinema, and how Greeks won freedom from a terrible oppressor, launching democracy, serving as a basis for civilization and western world, blah blah blah.Hyperbole And partial nudity And epic nose chains.Essentially, most of what we know about Persia has been related through the lens of Greek history The Persians amassed an enormous army and had an equally enormous empire, making them the perfect foil in the Star Wars parable that we ve made Greek v Persia history out to be.Look, sir Greeks It s a suitable mentality to have even in the current age, as the Persian empire stretched across the middle east, a land that is, and has been, largely unfriendly to the Western world for centuries, mostly for religious reasons on both sides that didn t exist during the Achaemenid empire.Say, isn t this this pretty much the same empire Alexander ruled and was considered so awesome for creating, but promptly fell apart when he died The question that must come to mind to anyone reading this myopic history is How did this empire come to be so massive and rich Surely it could not have been all bad Vidal s Creation answers this question and carefully explores what most folk of the Western hemisphere have deliberately ignored as a relic of the backwards and dangerous middle east the Persian perspective.What Vidal provides in Creation, from the viewpoint of the fictional diplomat and spiritual inheritor of Zoroastrianism, Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of none other than Zoroaster and childhood friend of Xerxes, is the story of a lush and powerful civilization, rife with power struggles and an abundance of history, just like the Greeks, and with ample justification for the contempt that Persians in power felt for the Greeks And not without cause, as they re depicted as self serving, filthy, shifty, and hardly trustworthy Reading Creation, you re liable to share the Persian contempt In many ways, and without stretching the truth, Spitama compares and contrasts Greek and Persian civilization, and it s difficult, in the end, to see how Greece receives the historical accolades while Persia is ignored There s certainly a sense of foreboding and bitterness in Spitama as an old man recounting his journeys throughout the Persian empire, Greece, India, and China, who seems to know the wheels of fate have turned inexplicably in favor of Greek culture.While much of Spitama s angst is directed at the Greeks, having metastasized from previous Persian rulers who had to deal with them, he also serves as a diplomat to the East as well He visits and marries in India, is captured in China, and meets figures of extraordinary historical significance.It s important to note that Vidal has selected a singularly remarkable time period and location to explore, in which the likes of significant eastern historical figures, such as Siddhartha Guatama the Buddha , Master K ung Fu tzu Confucius , Lao Tse creator of the Tao Te Ching , were mucking about in the East at the same time prominent Greeks and Persians were mucking about in the West Not only do we meet these philosophical titans, we get to listen to their followers interact and deride one another, which is an unparalleled treat.Much of the greatness I attribute to this story has little to do with Vidal s writing ability, which itself is slick as wet glass in the reader s mind, and to do with Vidal s selection of time period Volumes and volumes and volumes of books have been written on each of the characters in this work, on the empires explored including those lesser known in India , on the political machinations of those in power including Zoroaster himself, which provided Spitama with an important political role where he otherwise might have been No One But to combine this confluence of activity and personality seamlessly into a single novel is all at once an obvious choice, a fascinating exploration of that which most overlook, and ultimately nothing short of sublime.

  3. says:

    An historical novel of truly epic proportions20 October 2012 I didn t realise that Gore Vidal was what is called a revisionist when it came to his historical novels, but it only makes me want to pick up of his books because revisionists tend to give us an alternate view of history that differs from the history that is written by the winners This book is one of those examples not so much a retelling of Herodotus but rather a version of Herodotus written from the view of a Persian For those who are not familiar with Ancient Greek literature, Herodotus is known as the Father of History, but he is also known as the Father of Lies, most likely because of his portrayal of the Persians who were the enemies of the Greeks However, Herodotus Histories is not strictly a history text but rather an anthropological text in which he describes a number of cultures that existed around the Eastern Mediterranean during his time A large section of his book deals with the Egyptians in which we learn a lot about Egyptian culture such as the fact that they practised circumcision that we may not have otherwise known However, in the end, it appears that Herodotus purpose is to demonstrate that the greatest of the civilisations is that of the Greeks Vidal tries to overturn that belief by writing from the point of view of a Persian diplomat, Cyrus Spitama The novel begins near the end of Spitama s life, when he is posted to Greece as a diplomat Here is spends his time discussing politics and philosophy with Anaximander, which is interesting because when most of us think of Greek philosophers, we think of Plato who had not been born at this time and Socrates who makes an appearance in the story, but is described as a pest with a big nose In a way Spitama, who was raised a Zoroastrian and believes in a dualistic world, namely a world in which equal but opposite powers are forever struggling for control, on a search for truth and meaning in life His travels, as he tells them to his Greek friends, have taken him to India, where he met with the Buddha, and as far abroad as China, where he met with Confucius There is little to no discussion of Greek religion in this book, namely because it is generally accepted that Greek religion was fairly primitive at the time Instead we have discussions on philosophy with one of the pre Socratic philosophers, as well as an exploration of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Confucianism It should be noted that, with the exception of Zoroastrianism, all of these religions are not strictly religions, but rather philosophies It should also be noted that there is an acceptance that the old polytheistic religions such as the one that Zoroastrianism superseded in Persia were considered primitive, and that a movement forward involved moving away from a world of conflicting deities, to a world with either one, or no, deities Zoroastrianism has been considered to be the foundation religion from which the major monotheistic religions of today arose, however I tend to disagree It is noted by some commentators that there is a problem with Spitama being Zarathustra s grandson in that it is now suspected that he lived a lot earlier than he did in this book I tend to fall into the position that Zoroastrianism had probably been around in Persia for a while and in fact it was probably introduced to Persia when the empire expanded to the northeast , but became popular after the fall of Babylon and the freeing of the Jews Vidal seems to consider that the 4th century BC was a period in which there was a lot of expansion in human knowledge It was during this time that Buddhism developed in India, moving away from the pantheistic Hindu religion, Zoroastrianism superseded the older Persian polytheism, as well as seeing the collapse of the Neo Babylonian empire Greece was also developing a democratic political system as well as a system of philosophy, ethics, and rudimentary scientific ideas I believe we even have encounters with the Jews in this book, but it has been quite a while since I read it that I am not able to say for sure though it is on my list of books to read again If this is the case, then it is another break from Herodotus, who for some reason, seems to completely ignore this rather important people who would end up having an even greater impact upon our culture though I explore the reasoning behind this in my commentary on Herodotus I wish to finish off with another comment on Zoroastrianism, and that is how many of us do not realise the significant impact that it has had on our culture As well as enhancing the popularity of monotheistic religions in that there is only one god that mattered because the other god as out to destroy us , it also introduced the concept of dualism, and that is the eternal struggle between good and evil It was not the idea that existed beforehand, and is not the actual Christian or Jewish position Previously, evil was present, but weak, and this has taken hold to some extent with Christians who actually understand the bible, not so much that God is powerful, but rather that love extinguishes evil much than evil extinguishes love Yet, despite all this we are still a dualistic society, and the modern church preaches not only on a Platonic background of heaven and hell, but on a dualistic notion of good and evil Satan is everywhere, and if we don t watch out he will ensnare us and destroy us, despite the Bible telling us that love will always triumph over evil While the bible warns us about indulging in evil, the concept of love, and of evil as being selfish, has become blurred to the extent that we end up living in fear of the real world, or we align ourselves with those who seek to destroy the freedoms that we have fought so hard to obtain.

  4. says:

    Creation is my most favourite novel on the subject of an ancient history, and not because it had opened my eyes to some antediluvian clandestine truths but because of its freewheeling stylishness I am blind But I am not deaf Because of the incompleteness of my misfortune, I was obliged yesterday to listen for nearly six hours to a self styled historian whose account of what the Athenians like to call the Persian Wars was nonsense of a sort that were I less old and privileged, I would have risen in my seat at the Odeon and scandalized all Athens by answering him That is the beginning and from here on in there s no stop

  5. says:

    This is a magnificent novel by Gore Vidal I had read a translation of it many years ago However a few weeks ago Vidal was in Toronto and that was how I began looking at the novel again For those Iranians who were angry at the movie 300, this book works as a relief The narrator is an imaginary Cyrus Spitama, who Vidal describes as the grandson of Zoroaster Zarathushtra I have to add that Zoroaster lived somewhere between 4000 to 7000 years ago Recent studies are in favour of 7000, including Mary Setegast s marvelous research When Zarathushtra Spoke So in a way Vidal s Cyrus Spitama cannot be the prophet s grandson, since the author is talking about events of the Achemenide king Xerxes And by this time even the language of Gathas, Zoroaster s divine songs, was a dead language But the good thing of this historical novel is that it reveals the lies of Herodotus, the well known Greek historian whose lies were often used against Iranian civilization Cyrus Spitama s narration as an ambassador of the King Xerxes in Athens is witty and philosophical at the same time It is interesting to note that Cyrus Spitama is of a mixed marriage between an Iranian father and a Greek mother, something that was very common in those days I recommend reading of this novel to all my Iranian friends and non Iranians who are not satisfied with western clich attitude against the barbarians i.e Iranians

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  7. says:

    This is not one of my favorite books of all time, but I am giving it five stars anyway because it truly is amazing Vidal s grasp of history never fails to impress me Creation is a long rambling journey across the fourth century B.C as viewed by Cyrus Spitama, a Persian diplomat and the grandson of Zoroaster Vidal breaks several of the cardinal rules of fiction, and the book can seem a little exhausting at times the lengthy conversations about ancient Greek politics would have been interesting if I had a in depth understanding of Grecian history That said, Gore is at his gossipy best when he delves into harem politics, and his vivid descriptions of Cathay, India, and Persia give life to an era too often blandly summarized.

  8. says:

    This and Julian may be my favorite novels by Vidal, not that I ve read them all yet.Creation postulates, within the realm of plausibility, a character who, in the course of his lifetime, travels from Persia to India to China to Greece and meets such luminaries as Zoroaster, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius and Herodotus It is done amusingly, but seriously enough that a reader unfamiliar with the period might be inspired to pursue a serious study.

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