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The Last Days of Pompeii (The Works of Edward Bulwer-Lytton (19 Volumes)) Library Binding – 1834


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 2 pages
  • Publisher: Classic Books (1834)
  • ISBN-10: 0742633160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742633162
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Too much to slog through.
Elena Hughes
I bought this battered old book at an antique shoppe because I was intrigued by the title, and the obvious age of the novel.
A. Watchman
If the book is now out of fashion, it nevertheless remains a fascinating read.
Rick Darby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Rick Darby on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
If all you know about Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton is the notorious opening sentence of another of his novels, "It was a dark and stormy night ...," and that this is supposed to imply that he wrote overblown purple prose -- I urge you to try The Last Days of Pompeii (first published in 1834). You may be surprised to find yourself in the hands of an expert storyteller and, yes, an often splendid stylist.
Bulwer-Lytton was one of the most popular fiction writers in the 19th century (and his reputation has really only waned in the last 60 years or so). Our ancestors weren't naive dupes; they rightly recognized that there was something exceptional about Last Days. If the book is now out of fashion, it nevertheless remains a fascinating read.
Briefly, the story concerns four people in Pompeii in the period leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the city in ash in AD 79. They are Glaucus, a Greek-born, rich young man who is a bit of a rake (he gambles on the gladiatorial games) but fundamentally decent; Ione, his lover (in the author's words, "The wealth of her graces was inexhaustible -- she beautified the commonest action; a word, a look from her, seemed magic. Love her, and you entered into a new world, you passed from this trite and common-place earth"); Nydia, a blind slave girl passionately and uselessly in love with Glaucus; and Arbaces, a brilliantly malevolent high priest of the cult of Isis.
The reader, too, passes out of "this trite and common-place earth" in the book's pages. The style is of another time, to be sure, one that is unashamedly colorful and romantic.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Rick Darby on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
If all you know about Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton is the notorious opening sentence of another of his novels, "It was a dark and stormy night ...," and that this is supposed to imply that he wrote overblown purple prose -- I urge you to try The Last Days of Pompeii (first published in 1834). You may be surprised to find yourself in the hands of an expert storyteller and, yes, an often splendid stylist.
Bulwer-Lytton was one of the most popular fiction writers in the 19th century (and his reputation has really only waned in the last 60 years or so). Our ancestors weren't naive dupes; they rightly recognized that there was something exceptional about Last Days. If the book is now out of fashion, it nevertheless remains a fascinating read.
Briefly, the story concerns four people in Pompeii in the period leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the city in ash in AD 79. They are Glaucus, a Greek-born, rich young man who is a bit of a rake (he gambles on the gladiatorial games) but fundamentally decent; Ione, his lover (in the author's words, "The wealth of her graces was inexhaustible -- she beautified the commonest action; a word, a look from her, seemed magic. Love her, and you entered into a new world, you passed from this trite and common-place earth"); Nydia, a blind slave girl passionately and uselessly in love with Glaucus; and Arbaces, a brilliantly malevolent high priest of the cult of Isis.
The reader, too, passes out of "this trite and common-place earth" in the book's pages. The style is of another time, to be sure, one that is unashamedly colorful and romantic.
Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Elena Hughes on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
I agree with other reviewers that this is a wonderful story based in 79 AD just prior to Mt Vesuvius' fateful eruption. The characters are vivid and the story is very rich. However, the prose is completely overblown which is sometimes a distraction. I couldn't even read the lyrics of the various songs and odes in the book. Too much to slog through.
My main complaint with this book, however, is the editing. This edition is really horrible. The introduction alone has glaring errors (such as the author lived from 1803 - 1873, but was married in 1927). This mistake is repeated on the back cover blurb. Entire pages in the book are blank. Whole words and phrases are missing in the chapter titles. For a $20 paperback, I would expect a bit more.
I would recommend the book if you have an interest in the ancient Roman empire, but definitely buy a different edition.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This historically accurate novel is filled with exceptional characters and an intriguing plot. Set in the days before the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvious, the novel highlights several stories at once, dealing with romance, adventure, and treachery. Edward Bulwer-Lytton did an excellent job in making the story deep and colorful. It is perfect for students studying Roman culture, as well as anyone looking for a good novel. This book is definitely a classic worth reading!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a romantic historical novel, with a convoluted and exciting romantic story of passion, hate, revenge, and adventure. So what? There are many books like that, most of them pretty cheap and predictable. The trick, of course, is the writing. Bulwer Lytton, an early Victorian character with his own peculiarities (he was very interested in the mystical cults of Rome) is an extraordinary storyteller. The plot, as I said, is long to summaryze, but it concerns Glauco, a Greek stud who is beloved by almost every woman in the story; Ione, the Naples girl he loves; Nadia, a blind slave who is -of course- in love with Glauco, and the excellently portrayed Arbaces, a priest of the cult of Isis, the Egyptian goddess. Two other interesting characters are Julia, a rich and mean heiress who is, alas, in love with Glauco, and Salustio, a dissipated and drunken Roman.
The plot revolves around the constant intrigues of the characters, which include magic love-potions, betrayals and heroism. But at the back of the action, there is a volcano about to explode and leave this town covered by tons of dust and volcanic rock. The characters are planning their lives and lusting for passion, without knowing that they have no future. Like some of us, maybe.
Summing up, this novel is great entertainment, intelligent fun. The best, in my opinion, is the re-creation of a lost world, a city full of color and passion, living in full while Destiny works its own way.
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