Friday, September 2, 2011
Ben-Hur; a tale of the Christ - by Lewis Wallace
Lew Wallace was one of many celebrated Indiana authors, a state that at one time seemed to produce more authors than any other. (Can you tell I am a proud Hoosier?)
"I am a Bethlehemite," said Joseph, in his most deliberate way. "Is there not room for--"
"There is not."
"You may have heard of me--Joseph of Nazareth. This is the house of my fathers. I am of the line of David." These words held the Nazarene's hope. If they failed him, further appeal was idle, even that of the offer of many shekels. To be a son of Judah was one thing--in the tribal opinion a great thing; to be of the house of David was yet another; on the tongue of a Hebrew there could be no higher boast.
I hope I am not giving away the story to say that he finds somewhere to spend the night.
Later on (this is a long book,) we come to young Ben
"Well, Messala always had his share of the disagreeable quality. When he was a child, I have seen him mock strangers whom even Herod condescended to receive with honors; yet he always spared Judea. For the first time, in conversation with me to-day, he trifled with our customs and God. As you would have had me do, I parted with him finally. And now, O my dear mother, I would know with more certainty if there be just ground for the Roman's contempt. In what am I his inferior? Is ours a lower order of people? Why should I, even in Caesar's presence; feel the shrinking of a slave? Tell me especially why, if I have the soul, and so choose, I may not hunt the honors of the world in all its fields? Why may not I take sword and indulge the passion of war? As a poet, why may not I sing of all themes? I can be a worker in metals, a keeper of flocks, a merchant, why not an artist like the Greek? Tell me, O my mother--and this is the sum of my trouble--why may not a son of Israel do all a Roman may?"
The book is known as a popular success and not a critical success. Does that make it a bad book? You decide . . .
This blog is a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the US & UK Kindle. If you enjoy my suggestions, please tell your friends who read to give my blog a try.
For a nominal fee of 99 cents/pence, you can subscribe to this blog and have it automatically download on your Kindle. This gives you the convenience of being able to download the books directly to your Kindle, instead of downloading them to your computer and then transferring them to your Kindle. It also helps support my blog.
UK readers may go to this Amazon link to subscribe. (Slightly more than half my readers are from the UK)
US readers may go to this Amazon link
Posted by Marilyn Litt at 8:00 PM