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Bulwer Lytton

Bulwer Lytton   ( born 1803  died  1873)
was a playwright, poet and prolific novelist.
He wrote a stream of best selling novels which
made him a considerable fortune.

Lord Lytton had an interest in the occult and his
novel....Zanoni full of his esoteric theories.

A number of esoteric groups have continued to claim Bulwer-Lytton as their own, chiefly because  of his writings— like the  1842  Zanoni  ... which  include  Rosicrucian and other esoteric notions.

He wrote in a variety of genres, including historical fiction, mystery, romance, the occult, and science fiction.

Bulwer reached the height of his popularity with the publication of Godolphin (1833).
This was followed by The Pilgrims of the Rhine (1834),

The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), Rienzi, Last of the Roman Tribunes (1835),[3] and Harold, the Last of the Saxons (1848).

The Coming Race or Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (1871),  drew heavily on his interest in the occult and contributed to the birth of the science fiction genre.
Its story of a subterranean race waiting to reclaim the surface of the Earth is an early science fiction theme.

Bulwer was honoured with burial in Westminster Abbey  ( against his own wishes. )


   * Falkland (1827)
   * Pelham: or The Adventures of a Gentleman (1828)
   * The Disowned (1829)
   * Devereux (1829)
   * Paul Clifford (1830)
   * Eugene Aram (1832)
   * Godolphin (1833)
   * Falkland (1834)
   * The Last Days of Pompeii (1834)
   * Rienzi, the last of the Roman tribunes (1835)
   * The Student (1835)
   * Ernest Maltravers (1837)
   * Alice (1838)
   * Night and Morning (1841)
   * Zanoni (1842)
   * The Last of the Barons (1843)
   * Lucretia (1846)
   * Harold, the Last of the Saxons (1848)
   * The Caxtons: A Family Picture (1849)
   * My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853)
   * The Haunted and the Haunters or The House and the Brain (1857)
   * What Will He Do With It? (1858)
   * A Strange Story (1862)
   * The Coming Race or Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (1871)
   * Kennelm Chillingly (1873)
   * The Parisiens (1873 unfinished)

I have never read any of his novels, Goldbug - what are they like?

I made a start on Last Days of Pompeii  years
ago but... alas...  did nt finish it.
Still, he is an interesting figure who lived through
the Regency and the Victorian Age...
a contemporary of  Dickens and seemingly
quite as prolific  !
Being a bit of a biog nut, Im going to keep an
eye out for his biography.

you can get hold of  Zanoni on line
go here


The only thing I know of Bulwer-Lytton is that he is the originator of the phrase "It was a dark and stormy night", which gave such inspiration to Snoopy over the years.

I have never understood why that phrase is so mocked.  It seems to me admirable clear and concise and could lead on to innumerable scenarios.

Presumably because it's such a cliche, and a lazy way of attempting to create atmosphere.

The first of Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules for Writers (yes I know they're there to be broken!) is this:
Never open a book with weather. If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

I think it's a splendid opening, really - it's just that it has been done so often that it has become clichéd. And on top of that, what has followed that line hasn't usually been the most subtle or nuanced of narratives.

Regular Readers will not be surprised to learn that I have actually seen one of Bulwer Lytton's plays in performance. Twice.  The RSC and the National Theatre both produced his 'Money' (1840) some years ago.  It 's a good play and holds the stage well with good scenes and good acting parts.  He also had a great succeses with 'The Lady of Lyons' and 'Richlieu' neither of which, as far as I know, have been revived in my playgoing days.  My complete mid-Victorian copy of his plays (which I rooted out between the last sentence and this) also includes 'The Duchess de la Valliere' and 'Not So Bad As We Seem'.

This is interesting, I've just been 'up the Amazon' and ordered The Coming Race together with Edmund Gosse's Father and Son and Samuel Butler's Erewhon.

Now how to find time and space for them? Confused

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