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...