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The Last Days of Pompeii (The Works of Edward Bulwer-Lytton (19 Volumes))

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 2 pages
  • Publisher: Classic Books (1834)
  • ISBN-10: 0742633160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742633162
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
The novel's situation is always in the back of your mind, the reader always has the tingling nervousness that the volcano is going to explode any time. With this juxtaposition of a love story which is epic and purely inspiring in its purest form the novel is a great read and drags you through the Pompeiin's world. Bulwer excited me most in his description of Glaucus' and Julia's love for each other, it is the most purest and devotional of loves, they are epic figures in a landscape of treachery and shallowness and the reader strives for them to succeed. If you are interested in the Roman culture and its history, plus if you're a romantic at heart who wishes to be in the sun of Italia then read this book. Bulwer's poems sweeten the denseness of his archaic syntax and the Blind girl's song's strike a chord of lovely imagery, I'm still recovering form the read's epicness!
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Format: Hardcover
Though the description is overdone and the plot rather creaking, I was caught up by both the description and the story. Glaucus, an Athenian in Pompeii, loves Ione, as does Arbaces, an Egyptian of evil. Nydia, a blind slave, also loves Glaucus. Arbaces kills Apaecides, brother of Ione, who has become a Christian, and then blames the killing on Glaucus, who has become temporarily crazed by a supposed love potion given him by Nydia--after Nydia took it from Julia, who had gotten it from a witch at Arbaces' urging. To illustarte the fulsome style: "The eyes of the crowd folowed the gesture of the Egyptian, and beheld, with ineffable dismay, a vast vapour shooting from the summit of Vesuvius, in the form of a gigantic pine-tree, the trunk, blackness,--the branches, fire!--a fire, that shifted and wavered in its hues with every moment, now fiercely luminous, now of a dull and dying red, that again blazed terrifically forth with intolerable glare!" You will not soon forget this awesome book.
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