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Imperial Purple

by Edgar Saltus

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Edgar Evertson Saltus, was an American writer known for his highly refined prose style. His works paralleled those by European decadent authors such as Huysmans and Wilde. Saltus wrote two books of philosophy, The Philosophy of Disenchantment and The Anatomy of Negation. Acclaimed by fellow writers in his day, Saltus fell into obscurity after his death, and his works have yet to have a revival. His short story The Paliser Case was adapted to film in 1920, and his novel Daughters of the Rich was filmed in 1923.

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But even to a god life is not an unmixed delight. Caligula had his troubles. About him there had settled a disturbing quiet. Rome was hushed, the world was very still. There was not so much as an earthquake. The reign of Augustus had been marked by the defeat of Varus. Under Tiberius a falling amphitheatre had killed a multitude. Caligula felt that through sheer felicity his own reign might be forgot. A famine, a pest, an absolute defeat, a terrific conflagration--any prodigious calamity that should sweep millions away and stamp his own memory immutably on the chronicles of time, how desirable it were!



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