"Rembrandt is in his studio, painting his famous picture 'Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Home'. With his customary wit and passionate intelligence, Joseph Heller examines the picture out of its frame. Perspectives change, and suddenly ancient Greece and Rembrandt's Holland reflect the present. And as Rembrandt paints in a glimmer of gold, Heller sharply exposes the parallels between Sparta and Athens and the superpowers of today."
The novel is an eclectic historical journey across multiple periods of history, all connected by a single painting: Rembrandt van Rijn's Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer. The work jumps from the golden age of Athens to 17th Century Holland, to the rise of the American Empire; hopscotching from Aristotle to Rembrandt, to Socrates, and back to Heller and even Jimmy Carter. It examines fundamental dichotomies in human existence under the guise of satire.
This edition was published in 1989, one year after the First Edition, and is highly collectable among fans of Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22.