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An English writer and politician, who was directly or indirectly responsible for He was born in London in 1803, and began publishing poetry in 1820. In 1828 he had a great success with his novel of fashionable life Pelham; and in 1831 became Reform MP for St Ives. (He was later to represent Lincoln, then Hertfordshire.) His literary and political careers proceeded together, and he published many more novels throughout his life; while becoming Colonial Secretary in 1858. He died in 1873.

His novels, few of which are now read, included

His plays included His poetry included Now to untangle those connexions. As Colonial Secretary from 1858 to 1859 he was responsible for the creation of Queensland and British Columbia.

His novel Rienzi was the basis for Wagner's opera of that name. Other operas on his works were William Fry's Leonora and Frederick Cowen's Pauline (both from The Lady of Lyons); Enrico Petrella's Ione and Victorin de Joncières' Le dernier jour de Pompéi and Marziano Perosi's Pompei (all from The Last Days of Pompeii); another Rienzi by Vladimir Kashperov; and a Karel Bendl opera Leila whose source is one apparently not on the above list. Hunh.

Paul Clifford begins with the famous line "It was a dark and stormy night", which so dogged Snoopy, and which gave life to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The Coming Race is a science fiction tale of subterranean beings who fled from an ancient catastrophe to the centre of the earth, where they use the marvellous power of vril (a bit like electricity with go-faster stripes), and have no crime or war. The love interest's famous line is "Love is swifter than vril". This strange power later gave its name to Bovril the beef extract.

What have I missed? Oh yes. Back in Dr Johnson's or Jane Austen's day the men wore brightly coloured clothing, buff pantaloons, and brown velvet and blue silk and all sorts of things. Henry Pelham, hero of the immensely successful novel Pelham, took on the droll habit of dressing all in black at society parties, ages before goth was in. This actually changed the dressing habits of all of society. This is why men still on occasion persist in disguising themselves as penguins.

Finally his names. He was born Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer. His novels were published either anonymously or under the pseudonym Bulwer Lytton. He was created a baronet in 1838, so became Sir Edward ... Bulwer. His mother was the heiress of Knebworth in Hertfordshire; on her death in 1843 he inherited that and took on her surname, Lytton, as a surname, so becoming Sir Edward ... Bulwer-Lytton. In 1866 he was created first Baron Lytton.

Late news! geeklizzard has been telling me startling things about his wife, the Irish beauty Rosina Wheeler. I await the node...

Lytton, Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Baron, English poet, author and statesman. He was the youngest son of General Bulwer of Woodalling, and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton of Knebworth, and was born in 1805; died 1873. He entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduated B. A. in 1826, M. A. in 1835, and gained the chancellor's prize medal for his English poem on "Sculpture." He published poetry at an early age, but first gained reputation by the novels "Pelham" and "The Disowned" (1828), "Devereux" (1829), and "Paul Clifford" (1830). These were followed up with the popular romances of "Eugene Aram," "The Pilgrims of the Rhine," "The Last Days of Pompeii," "Rienzi," and "Ernest Maltravers," with its sequel "Alice." In connection with Macready's management at Covent Garden, Bulwer-Lytton produced his "Duchesse de la Valliere," which proved a failure, but this was retrieved by the instant success of the "Lady of Lyons," "Richelieu," and "Money." When he had thus shown his quick adaptability of talent he returned to novel-writing, and published in steady succession -- "Night and Morning," "Zanoni," "The Last of the Barons," "Lucretia," "Harold," "The Caxtons," "My Novel," and "What Will He do with It?" In 1845 he published a poetical satire called "The New Timon," in which he attacked Tennyson, who replied more vigorously than had probably been expected. He entered Parliament for St. Ives in 1831, and supported the Reform Bill as a Whig; but he changed his opinions and latterly supported the Conservatives. Under Lord Derby's ministry he was colonial secretary, and in 1806 entered the House of Lords as Baron Lytton. He was elected rector of Glasgow University in 1856. His later literary works were "The Coming Race," published anonymously (1871), "The Parisians" (1872), and "Kenelm Chillingly" (1873). Among his poetic works were the epic "King Arthur;" the Lost Tales of Miletus;" "Brutus," a drama, etc.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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