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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Lew Wallace certainly fits anyone’s definition of an influential author. From his wiki intro:

Lewis “Lew” Wallace (April 10, 1827 – February 15, 1905) was an American lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, territorial governor and statesman, politician, and author. Wallace served as governor of the New Mexico Territory at the time of the Lincoln County War and worked to bring an end to the fighting.

Of his novels and biographies, he is best known for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880), a bestselling book since its publication, and called “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.”[1] It has been adapted four times for films.

I know I had seen the 1959 movie version of Ben Hur probably a half dozen times or more before I ever read the book. I think I first read Ben Hur my sophomore year in high school since it was one of the options for our weekly multiple choice “book reports/tests.” I have probably read it a half dozen times total over the years. Why? It is a good tale. And I have probably seen the movie a good dozen times since I first read the book.

I know I was surprised when I first read some of Wallace’s bio and discovered he had been a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. Even more surprising was learning that he had been the territorial governor of New Mexico during the Lincoln County War:

As governor, Wallace offered amnesty to many men involved in the Lincoln County War. In the process he met with the outlawed William Henry McCarty, also known as Billy the Kid. On March 17, 1879, the pair arranged that the Kid would act as an informant and testify against others involved in the Lincoln County War, and, it has been claimed, that in return the Kid would be “scot free with a pardon in [his] pocket for all [his] misdeeds.”[citation needed] According to this account, Wallace, facing the political forces then ruling New Mexico, was unable to come through on his end of the bargain. The Kid returned to his outlaw ways and killed additional men.

While Ben Hur is far and away his best known piece of writing, wiki shows a total of ten books, both fiction and non-fiction. Goodreads has two pages of Wallace books though of course, there are multiple versions of Ben Hur alone.

The 1959 movie version of Ben Hur is of course the best known but there were also two silent versions, from 1907 and 1925, an animated version from 2003 (with Charlton Heston voicing Judah Ben Hur) and a television “mini-series” from 2010. IMDB is also showing yet another version of “pre-produciton” currently scheduled for 2016.

This is from the wiki for Ben Hur:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published on November 12, 1880 by Harper & Brothers. Considered “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century”,[1] it was the best-selling American novel from the time of its publication, superseding Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). It remained at the top until the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936). Following release of the 1959 MGM film adaptation of Ben-Hur, which was seen by tens of millions and won 11 Academy Awards in 1960, book sales surpassed Gone with the Wind.[2] Blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the novel was the first work of fiction to be so honored.[3]

Yep, being the author of one of the all-time best selling books surely does fit the definition of “influential.”


Picture from Gwydion M. Williams licensed under Creative Commons

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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Lew Wallace certainly fits anyone’s definition of an influential author. From his wiki intro:

Lewis “Lew” Wallace (April 10, 1827 – February 15, 1905) was an American lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, territorial governor and statesman, politician, and author. Wallace served as governor of the New Mexico Territory at the time of the Lincoln County War and worked to bring an end to the fighting.

Of his novels and biographies, he is best known for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880), a bestselling book since its publication, and called “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.”[1] It has been adapted four times for films.

I know I had seen the 1959 movie version of Ben Hur probably a half dozen times or more before I ever read the book. I think I first read Ben Hur my sophomore year in high school since it was one of the options for our weekly multiple choice “book reports/tests.” I have probably read it a half dozen times total over the years. Why? It is a good tale. And I have probably seen the movie a good dozen times since I first read the book.

I know I was surprised when I first read some of Wallace’s bio and discovered he had been a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. Even more surprising was learning that he had been the territorial governor of New Mexico during the Lincoln County War:

As governor, Wallace offered amnesty to many men involved in the Lincoln County War. In the process he met with the outlawed William Henry McCarty, also known as Billy the Kid. On March 17, 1879, the pair arranged that the Kid would act as an informant and testify against others involved in the Lincoln County War, and, it has been claimed, that in return the Kid would be “scot free with a pardon in [his] pocket for all [his] misdeeds.”[citation needed] According to this account, Wallace, facing the political forces then ruling New Mexico, was unable to come through on his end of the bargain. The Kid returned to his outlaw ways and killed additional men.

While Ben Hur is far and away his best known piece of writing, wiki shows a total of ten books, both fiction and non-fiction. Goodreads has two pages of Wallace books though of course, there are multiple versions of Ben Hur alone.

The 1959 movie version of Ben Hur is of course the best known but there were also two silent versions, from 1907 and 1925, an animated version from 2003 (with Charlton Heston voicing Judah Ben Hur) and a television “mini-series” from 2010. IMDB is also showing yet another version in “pre-production” currently scheduled for 2016.

This is from the wiki for Ben Hur:

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published on November 12, 1880 by Harper & Brothers. Considered “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century”,[1] it was the best-selling American novel from the time of its publication, superseding Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). It remained at the top until the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936). Following release of the 1959 MGM film adaptation of Ben-Hur, which was seen by tens of millions and won 11 Academy Awards in 1960, book sales surpassed Gone with the Wind.[2] Blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the novel was the first work of fiction to be so honored.[3]

Yep, being the author of one of the all-time best selling books surely does fit the definition of “influential.”

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dakine01

dakine01

Small town Kentucky country boy lived all over the country. Currently in Ruskin, FL