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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

by Lew Wallace

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by David Mayer

'That moment Malluch, in the gallery, saw Ben-Hur lean forward over his Arabs, and give them the reins. Out flew the many folded lash in his hand; over the backs of the startled steeds it writhed and hissed. . .'

Ben-Hur is better known as a film than as a novel. Cinematic in scope and narrative, it was nevertheless as a book that it first met huge popular success on its publication in 1880.

Intended as a moral and inspirational narrative, Judah Ben-Hur's life parallels that of Jesus as he makes a journey of discovery and enlightenment through the Mediterranean world from Jerusalem through Nazareth to the galleys that carry him to shipwreck in the Aegean and, finally, Rome. A spiritual tale of the quest for love and the recovery of identity and patrimony, the novel also displays a vivid realism based on Wallace's biblical research and knowledge of the Holy Land. Like other 'toga novels' of the period, Ben- Hur reflects the dissent, division, and moral contradiction of America's emerging imperial culture, the 'New Woman' question, the settlement of the Far West, and even trade unionism. Rich in social parallels, Ben-Hur is both a great historical epic and a window on late nineteenth-century literature.

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Format: Paperback
530 Pages
First Published: 1880

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