The Scarlet Pimpernel
(THE GREAT CLASSICS LIBRARY)
The Scarlet Pimpernel is an adventure novel set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution and is a forerunner of such "disguised superhero" tales such as Zorro and Batman. It was based on a play which was initially unsuccessful, but, after some re-writing, became immensely successful in London at the start of the twentieth century. The novel, published soon after the play's opening, was an immediate success. Orczy gained a following of readers in Britain and throughout the world. The popularity of the novel encouraged her to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical and other media.
The international success of The Scarlet Pimpernel allowed Orczy and her husband to live out their lives in luxury. Over the years, they lived on an estate in Kent, a bustling London home and an opulent villa in Monte Carlo. Orczy wrote in her autobiography, Links in the Chain of Life:
I have so often been asked the question: "But how did you come to think of The Scarlet Pimpernel?" And my answer has always been: "It was God's will that I should." And to you moderns, who perhaps do not believe as I do, I will say, "In the chain of my life, there were so many links, all of which tended towards bringing me to the fulfillment of my destiny."
- Revenant, October 2012
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