Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803 — 1873) was an English novelist, poet, playwright and politician. A lot of his works contributed to the early growth of the science fiction genre. «The Last Days of Pompeii» is a novel inspired by the painting by the Russian painter Karl Briullov. It describes the cataclysmic destruction of the city of Pompeii by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The novel uses its characters to contrast the decadent culture of 1 st-century Rome with both older cultures and coming trends.