Mark Prins's debut novel The Latinist is a modern day reimagining of the Apollo and Daphne myth, a page-turning suspense novel of power, ambition, love and obsession. The plot is intertwined with ancient Roman archaeological sites, necropolises, ancient texts, and Oxford University academia.
About Mark Prins
The Latinist is Mark Prins's laudable debut novel, a suspenseful and gripping contemporary retelling of the Apollo and Daphne myth.
Mark is originally from New York City and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark studied literature at Williams College and Exeter College, Oxford. He later graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop and stayed in Iowa teaching for an additional year. He wrote the first draft of The Latinist while in Iowa.
Mark then returned to New York where he completed the final draft of the Latinist. Mark has a passion for Latin and studied it throughout middle school and high school which enabled him to compose the Latin poetry in The Latinist.
Mark has received fellowships from the Truman Capote Trust, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.
Mark is now in the early stages of work on his second book.
Bernini's Apollo and Daphne
Gian Lorenzo Bernini's life-sized Baroque marble sculpture, Apollo and Daphne, was sculpted between 1622 and 1625. It's part of the permanent collection at the Borghese Gallery in Rome. It depicts the climax moment of the Apollo and Daphne story from Ovid's Metamorphosis. As Apollo relentlessly pursues Daphne she realizes she has no way to escape his aggression other than to make the ultimate sacrifice and transform herself into a laurel tree.
The Latinist is a contemporary retelling of the Apollo and Daphne myth through the contorted and obsessive relationship between the book's two protagonists: Oxford classics professor and mentor Chris Eccles and PhD candidate and mentee Tessa Templeton.
Ostia and the Isola Sacra necropolis site
The Isola Sacra necropolis is 30 km south west of Rome near Ostia Antica. It's not easy to find and best reached by car. The necropolis and cemetery date back to the first century A.D. and were in active use for about 300 years. A visit to Isola Sacra is well worth it if for nothing else than to see the exquisite mosaics.
Mosaics tell the story about who is buried at Isola Sacra. Most of the families were well-known tradesmen and laborers: farmers, fishermen, blacksmiths. There are also some professionals like the surgeon Marco Ulpio Amerimno. He is depicted performing what can only be imagined as an amputation because of the knives surrounding doctor and patient.
One of the protagonists in the Latinist, Tessa, spends time at the Isola Sacra working on an archaeological dig where she uncovers new facts (albeit fictitious) about Marius and Sepulcia, both ancient Roman poets.
More about Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his Apollo and Daphne sculpture
Bernini and His World is a unique exploration of Gian Lorenzo Bernini the sculptor, offering new insights into the artist and his approach to sculpture. The book is beautifully illustrated and due to come out May 2, 2022. The Apollo and Daphne sculpture is prominently featured in the book.
There are a number of interesting books about the life of Bernini: Bernini the Sculptor of the Roman Baroque and The Artist and the Eternal City are two of them.
Piazza Navona is one of Rome's most beautiful piazzas with three beautiful fountains including Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651).
Flavor of Italy offers a Fountain Tour of Rome that features these three fountains and many more.
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