Edward Bulwer-Lytton  

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"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."--Paul Clifford (1830) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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Edward Bulwer-Lytton ( 1803 – 1873) was an English novelist, playwright, and politician. Lord Lytton was a florid, popular writer of his day, who coined such phrases as "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the infamous incipit "It was a dark and stormy night." Despite his popularity in his heyday, today his name is known as a byword for bad writing. San Jose State University’s annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing is named after him.

He was the youngest son of General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling, and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton of Knebworth, Hertfordshire. He had two brothers, William (1799-1877) and Henry (1801-1872), afterwards Lord Dalling.

Lord Lytton was a member of the English Rosicrucian society, founded in 1867 by Robert Wentworth Little. Most of Lord Lytton's writings—such as the 1842 book Zanoni—can only be understood in light of this influence.


Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton


  • 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
  • Kenelm Chillingly (1873)
  • The Parisiens (1873 unfinished)


  • Ismael (1820)
  • The New Timon (1846), an attack on Tennyson published anonymously
  • King Arthur (1848–9)


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Edward Bulwer-Lytton" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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