Bulwer-Lytton

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC (25 May 1803 – 18 January 1873), was an English politician, poet, playwright, and prolific novelist. He was immensely popular with the reading public and wrote a stream of bestselling novels which earned him a considerable fortune. But, like many authors of the period, his style seems florid and embellished[citation needed] to modern tastes. He coined the phrases "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the famous opening line "It was a dark and stormy night".

Life

Bulwer-Lytton was born on 25 May 1803 to General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling, Norfolk and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton of Knebworth, Hertfordshire. He had two elder brothers, William Earle Lytton Bulwer (1799–1877) and Henry (1801–1872), later Lord Dalling and Bulwer.

When Edward was four his father died and his mother moved to London. He was a delicate, neurotic child and was discontented at a number of boarding schools. But he was precocious and Mr Wallington at Baling encouraged him to publish, at the age of fifteen, an immature work, Ishmael and Other Poems.

In 1822 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but shortly afterwards moved to Trinity Hall. In 1825 he won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for English verse. In the following year he took his B.A. degree and printed, for private circulation, a small volume of poems, Weeds and Wild Flowers.

He purchased a commission in the army, but sold it without serving.

In August 1827, against his mother's wishes, he married Rosina Doyle Wheeler (1802–1882), a famous Irish beauty. When they married his mother withdrew his allowance and he was forced to work for a living. They had two children, Lady Emily Elizabeth Bulwer-Lytton (1828–1848), and (Edward) Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton (1831–1891) who became Viceroy of British India (1876–1880).

His writing and political work strained their marriage while his unfaithfulness embittered Rosina; in 1833 they separated acrimoniously and in 1836 the separation became legal. Three years later, Rosina published Cheveley, or the Man of Honour (1839), a near-libellous fiction bitterly satirising her husband's hypocrisy.

In June 1858, when her husband was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she indignantly denounced him at the hustings. He retaliated by threatening her publishers, withholding her allowance, and denying access to the children. Finally he had her committed to a mental asylum. But, after a public outcry she was released a few weeks later. This incident was chronicled in her memoir, A Blighted Life (1880). For years she continued her attacks upon her husband’s character.

Bulwer-Lytton in later life

The death of Bulwer-Lytton's mother in 1843, greatly saddened him. His own "exhauston of toil and study had been completed by great anxiety and grief", and by "about the January of 1844, I was thoroughly shattered". In his mother's room, Bulwer-Lytton "had inscribed above the mantelpiece a request that future generations preserve the room as his beloved mother had used it"; it remains essentially unchanged to this day.

On 20 February 1844, in accordance with his mother's will, he changed his surname from 'Bulwer' to 'Bulwer-Lytton' and assumed the arms of Lytton by royal licence. His widowed mother had done the same in 1811. But, his brothers remained plain 'Bulwer'.

By chance he encountered a copy of "Captain Claridge's work on the 'Water Cure,' as practised by Priessnitz, at Graefenberg", and "making allowances for certain exaggerations therein", pondered the option of travelling to Graefenberg, but preferred to find something closer to home, with access to his own doctors in case of failure: "I who scarcely lived through a day without leech or potion!".

After reading a pamphlet by Doctor James Wilson, who operated a hydropathic establishment with James Manby Gully at Malvern", he stayed there for "some nine or ten weeks", after which he "continued the system some seven weeks longer under Doctor Weiss, at Petersham", then again at "Doctor Schmidt's magnificent hydropathic establishment at Boppart", after developing a cold and fever upon his return home.

In 1866 Bulwer-Lytton was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton.

The English Rosicrucian society, founded in 1867 by Robert Wentworth Little, claimed Bulwer-Lytton as their 'Grand Patron', but he wrote to the society complaining that he was 'extremely surprised' by their use of the title, as he had 'never sanctioned such'. Nevertheless, a number of esoteric groups have continued to claim Bulwer-Lytton as their own, chiefly because some of his writings—such as the 1842 book Zanoni—have included Rosicrucian and other esoteric notions. According to the Fulham Football Club, he once resided in the original Craven Cottage, today the site of their stadium.

Bulwer-Lytton had long suffered with a disease of the ear and for the last two or three years of his life he lived in Torquay nursing his health. Following an operation to cure deafness, an abscess formed in his ear and burst; he endured intense pain for a week and died at 2am on 18 January 1873 just short of his 70th birthday. The cause of death was not clear but it was thought that the infection had affected his brain and caused a fit. Rosina outlived him by nine years. Against his wishes, Bulwer-Lytton was honoured with a burial in Westminster Abbey.


Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Novels

    * Leila: or The Siege of Granada
    * Calderon, the Courtier
    * The Pilgrims of the Rhine
    * 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 (1859)
    * What Will He Do With It? (1858)
    * A Strange Story (1862)
    * The Coming Race (1871), republished as Vril: The Power of the Coming Race
    * Kennelm Chillingly (1873)
    * The Parisiens (1873 unfinished)

Verse

    * Ismael (1820)[3]
    * The New Timon (1846) (An attack on Tennyson published anonymously)
    * King Arthur (1848-9)

Plays

    * The Lady of Lyons (1838)
    * Richelieu (1839) adapted for the 1935 film Cardinal Richelieu
    * Money (1840)

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