Quo Vadis (novel)

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Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero
Quo Vadis 1897 Edition.jpg
First American edition title page
AuthorHenryk Sienkiewicz
Original titleQuo vadis. Powieść z czasów Nerona
TranslatorJeremiah Curtin
W. S. Kuniczak
CountryPoland
LanguagePolish
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherPolish dailies (in serial) and Little, Brown (Eng. trans. book form)
Publication date
1895
Media typePrint (Newspaper, Hardback and Paperback)
ISBNNA
 
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Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero
Quo Vadis 1897 Edition.jpg
First American edition title page
AuthorHenryk Sienkiewicz
Original titleQuo vadis. Powieść z czasów Nerona
TranslatorJeremiah Curtin
W. S. Kuniczak
CountryPoland
LanguagePolish
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherPolish dailies (in serial) and Little, Brown (Eng. trans. book form)
Publication date
1895
Media typePrint (Newspaper, Hardback and Paperback)
ISBNNA
Scene of the historical novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz ("Quo Vadis"), entitled "Ligia leaves Aulus' house". Illustration by Domenico Mastroianni.Postcard from 1913. Publisher: A.N. Paris (Alfred Noyer Studio).
Nero and the burning of Rome, Altemus Edition, 1897. Illustration by M. de Lipman.

Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero, commonly known as Quo Vadis, is an historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz in Polish.[1] "Quo vadis Domine" is Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?" and alludes to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, in which Peter flees Rome but on his way meets Jesus and asks him why he is going to Rome. Jesus says, "I am going back to be crucified again", which makes Peter go back to Rome and accept martyrdom.

The novel Quo Vadis tells of a love that develops between a young Christian woman, Ligia (or Lygia), and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman patrician. It takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero, circa AD 64.

Sienkiewicz studied the Roman Empire extensively prior to writing the novel, with the aim of getting historical details correct. As such, several historical figures appear in the book. As a whole, the novel carries an outspoken pro-Christian message.[citation needed]

Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, it came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.[citation needed]

Several movies have been based on Quo Vadis including two Italian silent films, Quo Vadis (1912), and 1924, the Hollywood production, Quo Vadis (1951), and the 2001 adaptation by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

Characters in Quo Vadis[edit]

Historical events[edit]

Sienkiewicz alludes to several historical events and merges them in his novel, but some of them are of doubtful authenticity.

Similarities with Barrett play[edit]

1896 was also the year that playwright-actor-manager Wilson Barrett produced his successful play The Sign of the Cross. Although Barrett never acknowledged it, several elements in the play strongly resemble those in Quo Vadis. In both, a Roman soldier named Marcus falls in love with a Christian woman and wishes to "possess" her. (In the novel, her name is Ligia, in the play she is Mercia.) Nero, Tigellinus and Poppea are major characters in both the play and novel, and in both, Poppea lusts after Marcus. Petronius, however, does not appear in The Sign of the Cross, and the ending of the play diverges from that of Quo Vadis.

Adaptations[edit]

In 1951, Quo Vadis was adapted as a film by Mervyn LeRoy.

A successful stage version of the novel by Stanislaus Stange was produced in 1900.[2] Film versions of the novel were produced in 1901, 1912 and 1924.[3] A 1951 version directed by Mervyn LeRoy was nominated for eight academy awards. The novel was also the basis for a 1985 mini-series starring Klaus Maria Brandauer as Nero and a 2001 Polish mini-series directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

Jean Nouguès composed an opera based on the novel, to a libretto by Henri Caïn; it was premiered in 1909. [4] Feliks Nowowiejski composed an oratorio based on the novel, performed for the first time in 1907, and then his most popular work.

Ursus[edit]

Following the success of the film Quo Vadis, Ursus was used as a superhuman Roman-era character who became the protagonist in a series of Italian adventure films made in the early 1960s.

When the "Hercules" film craze hit in 1959, Italian filmmakers were looking for other muscleman characters similar to Hercules whom they could exploit, resulting in the 9-film Ursus series listed below. Ursus was referred to as a "Son of Hercules" in two of the films when they were dubbed in English (in an attempt to cash in on the then-popular "Hercules" craze), although in the original Italian films, Ursus had no connection to Hercules whatsoever. In the English-dubbed version of one Ursus film (retitled Hercules, Prisoner of Evil), Ursus was actually referred to throughout the entire film as "Hercules".

There were a total of 9 Italian films that featured Ursus as the main character, listed below as follows: Italian title/ English translation of the Italian title (American release title);

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halsey, F. R. (1898-02-05). "Historians of Nero's Time" (PDF). New York Times. pp. BR95. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  2. ^ Gerald Bordman, "Stange, Stanislaus", The Oxford companion to American theatre, Oxford University Press, 1984.
  3. ^ http://www.casttv.com/video/f987ap1/the-many-faces-of-ursus-ed-fury-dan-vadis-alan-steel-video
  4. ^ Gesine Manuwald, Nero in Opera: Librettos as Transformations of Ancient Sources. (Tranformationen der Antike ; 24). Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. ISBN 9783110317138

External links[edit]