Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last Days of Pompeii - by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Last Days of Pompeii  is a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  It is not to be mistaken for a history of the doomed city. (US Edition) (UK Edition) (DE Edition)

Although Snoopy immortalized the beginning of one of his novels, “It was a dark and stormy night;” and although Bulwer-Lytton’s name is perhaps best known nowadays for an eponymous “bad writing” contest – this is supposed to be an enjoyable novel.

'I must have yon bunch of violets, sweet Nydia,' said Glaucus, pressing through the crowd, and dropping a handful of small coins into the basket; 'your voice is more charming than ever.' 

The blind girl started forward as she heard the Athenian's voice; then as suddenly paused, while the blood rushed violently over neck, cheek, and temples. 

'So you are returned!' said she, in a low voice; and then repeated half to herself, 'Glaucus is returned!' 

'Yes, child, I have not been at Pompeii above a few days. My garden wants your care, as before; you will visit it, I trust, to-morrow. And mind, no garlands at my house shall be woven by any hands but those of the pretty Nydia.' 

Nydia smiled joyously, but did not answer; and Glaucus, placing in his breast the violets he had selected, turned gaily and carelessly from the crowd. 

'So she is a sort of client of yours, this child?' said Clodius. 

'Ay—does she not sing prettily? She interests me, the poor slave! Besides, she is from the land of the Gods' hill—Olympus frowned upon her cradle—she is of Thessaly.' 

'The witches' country.' 

There are some bits of poetry, such as Nydia's flower selling song, that are not properly formatted, but the text is still readable.

I am sure that much of the enjoyment of the book is in the anticipation of the ending. It may seem timely with so many disasters these days.  My thoughts are with those people in the areas affected by earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires and flooding.

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