The fall and rise of Lew Wallace gaining legitimacy through popular culture /

by Lighty, Shaun Chandler.

Abstract (Summary)
THE FALL AND RISE OF LEW WALLACE: GAINING LEGITIMACY THROUGH POPULAR CULTURE by Shaun Chandler Lighty As a lawyer, soldier, and politician, Lew Wallace epitomized the nineteenth-century ideals of manhood. Yet a series of professional failures prompted Wallace to turn to writing as a way to reconstitute his identity. The century’s best-selling novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, was the result. The questions Wallace explored in Ben-Hur about the historic reality of Christianity also resonated with the popular religiosity of Americans eager to experience faith vicariously. Aided by the late nineteenth-century mass-market machinery that propelled his novel to commercial success, Wallace became a popular authority on secular and religious matters by deriving definition and legitimacy from his audiences. Scholars generally omit Wallace and Ben-Hur from current historiography, yet both reveal important insights into late nineteenth-century American culture regarding manhood, popular religiosity, and celebrity.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:wallace lew ben hur manhood popular religion religious novels celebrity bauthorship mass media harper and brothers reader response reception consumer culture masculinity religiousness


Date of Publication:

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