Really ought to go see General Lew Wallace's Study in Crawfordsville. Fascinating building, filled with books and bookshelves, a lovely survival of a vanished time.
Lew Wallace? He wrote Ben-Hur -- the inspiration for which was a conversation with outspoken agnostic Robert Green Ingersoll.*
He did not, however, write it in that study; it came long after the book, which probably helped fund its construction.
FWIW, Ben-Hur was a best-seller and helped reverse a trend toward more conventional novels of everyday life in favor of historical/adventure fiction: we may have Lew Wallace to thank for Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, at least in part.
* The best-selling book is considered, "the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century." Perhaps to the surprise of Colonel Ingersoll. Which only goes to show that while good oratory may be moving, it doesn't necessarily move the audience in the direction the orator intends.
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