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 around 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 a powerful pro-Christian message.
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.
Quo Vadis ("Where are you going?") was one of the world's first bestsellers and contributed toward the author's 1905 receipt of the Nobel Prize in literature. Originally written in Polish, its tale of the Roman suppression of Christianity echoes the Russian domination of Poland. This edition features Jeremiah Curtin's English translation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's enduring epic.
Translator Peter J. Obst is a lecturer at LaSalle University and a researcher for The Poles in America Foundation, established by historian Edward Pinkowski. He received his BS in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University (1977) and his MA in Central and East European Studies from LaSalle University (2004). He also studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Several of his book-length translations from Polish have been published: Lech Walesa: Democrat or Dictator?, My Flights to Freedom, A Family from Sosnowiec, and A Man Who Spanned Two Eras. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Europe, Private Pilot magazine, the Polish-American Journal, Nowy Dziennik, Post-Eagle and other Polonia and American mainstream publications. The recently published Polish American Encyclopedia (edited by James Pula) contains nine entries he authored. He contributed 42 photographs to Allan M. Heller’s album Monuments and Memorials of Philadelphia. He is active in the Kosciuszko Foundation (KF) and the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC).