Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur

by Sheba Blake, Lew Wallace

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Overview

Ben-Hur is a novel by Lew Wallace published by Harper & Brothers on November 12, 1880, and considered "the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century". It became a best-selling American novel, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in sales. The book also inspired other novels with biblical settings and was adapted for the stage and motion picture productions. Ben-Hur remained at the top of the US all-time bestseller list until the publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936). The 1959 MGM film adaptation of Ben-Hur was seen by tens of millions and won eleven Academy Awards in 1960, after which the book's sales increased and it surpassed Gone with the Wind. It was blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the first novel ever to receive such praise. The success of the novel and its stage and film adaptations also helped it to become a popular cultural icon that was used to promote numerous commercial products.

The story recounts in descriptive detail the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince from Jerusalem who is enslaved by the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century and becomes a charioteer and a Christian. Running in parallel with Judah's narrative is the unfolding story of Jesus, from the same region and around the same age. The novel reflects themes of betrayal, conviction, and redemption, with a revenge plot that leads to a story of love and compassion.

Ben-Hur is a story of a fictional hero named Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman who was falsely accused of an attempted assassination and enslaved by the Romans. He becomes a successful charioteer. The story's revenge plot becomes a story of compassion and forgiveness.

The novel is divided into eight books, or parts, each with its own subchapters. Book one opens with the story of the three Magi, who arrive in Bethlehem to hear the news of Christ's birth. Readers meet the fictional character of Judah for the first time in book two, when his childhood friend Messala, also a fictional character, returns to Jerusalem as an ambitious commanding officer of the Roman legions. The teen-aged boys come to realize that they have changed and hold very different views and aspirations. When a loose tile is accidentally dislodged from the roof of Judah's house during a military parade and strikes the Roman governor, knocking him from his horse, Messala falsely accuses Judah of attempted assassination. Although Judah is not guilty and receives no trial, he is sent to the Roman galleys for life; his mother and sister are imprisoned in a Roman jail, where they contract leprosy; and all the family property is confiscated. Judah first encounters Jesus, who offers him a drink of water and encouragement, as Judah is being marched to a galley to be a slave. Their lives continue to intersect as the story unfolds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781548168384
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/16/2017
Pages: 536
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875 - 1932) was an English writer. Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at age 12. He joined the army at age 21 and was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War, for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on his time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialized short stories in magazines such as The Windsor Magazine and later published collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognized author. Wallace was such a prolific writer that one of his publishers claimed that a quarter of all books in England were written by him. As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace's work. He is remembered for the creation of King Kong, as a writer of 'the colonial imagination', for the J. G. Reeder detective stories and for The Green Archer serial. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions, and The Economist describes him as "one of the most prolific thriller writers of [the 20th] century."

Table of Contents

Introduction vii(17)
Note on the Text xxiv(1)
Select Bibliography xxv(2)
A Chronology of Lew Wallace xxvii
BEN-HUR
1(521)
Explanatory Notes 522

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