Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

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Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (Bulwer), Lord Lytton

Also Known As: "1st Baron Lytton"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Torquay, Torbay, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Elizabeth Barbara Bulwer
Husband of Rosina Bulwer Lytton
Father of General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton
Brother of William Earle Lytton Bulwer and Henry Lytton Earle Bulwer, 1st Baron Dalling and Bulwer

Occupation: politician,poet, playwright, and prolific novelist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC

From Wikipedia:

The Right Honourable Lord Lytton

  • PC
  • Born 25 May 1803(1803-05-25)
  • London
  • Died 18 January 1873(1873-01-18) (aged 69)
  • Secretary of State for the Colonies

In office

  • 5 June 1858 – 11 June 1859
  • Monarch: Victoria
  • Prime Minister : The Earl of Derby
  • Preceded by Lord Stanley
  • Suceeded by The Duke of Newcastle
  • Nationality: British
  • Political party: Whig Conservative
  • Spouse(s) Rosina Doyle Wheeler
  • (1802–1882)
  • Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Trinity Hall, Cambridge

The Right Honourable Lord 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. He coined the phrases "the great unwashed",[1] "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the famous opening line "It was a dark and stormy night".[2]

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.[citation needed]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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;[5] in 1833 they separated acrimoniously and in 1836 the separation became legal.[5] Three years later, Rosina published Cheveley, or the Man of Honour (1839), a near-libellous fiction bitterly satirising her husband's hypocrisy.[5]

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.[5] Finally he had her committed to a mental asylum.[5] But, after a public outcry she was released a few weeks later.[5] This incident was chronicled in her memoir, A Blighted Life (1880).[6][7] For years she continued her attacks upon her husband’s character.


Bulwer-Lytton in later lifeThe 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".[8][9] 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.[10]

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!".[8][9]

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.[8]

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'.[11] 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.[12] 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.[12] The cause of death was not clear but it was thought that the infection had affected his brain and caused a fit.[12] Rosina outlived him by nine years. Against his wishes, Bulwer-Lytton was honoured with a burial in Westminster Abbey.[13]

His unfinished history Athens: Its Rise and Fall was published posthumously.

Career

Bulwer-Lytton began his career as a follower of Jeremy Bentham. In 1831 he was elected member for St Ives in Cornwall, after which he was returned for Lincoln in 1832, and sat in Parliament for that city for nine years. He spoke in favour of the Reform Bill, and took the leading part in securing the reduction, after vainly essaying the repeal, of the newspaper stamp duties. His influence was perhaps most keenly felt when, on the Whigs’ dismissal from office in 1834, he issued a pamphlet entitled A Letter to a Late Cabinet Minister on the Crisis.[14] Lord Melbourne, then Prime Minister, offered him a lordship of the admiralty, which he declined as likely to interfere with his activity as an author.

In 1841, he left Parliament and didn't return to politics until 1852; this time, having differed from the policy of Lord John Russell over the Corn Laws, he stood for Hertfordshire as a Conservative. Lord Lytton held that seat until 1866, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton of Knebworth in the County of Hertford. In 1858 he entered Lord Derby's government as Secretary of State for the Colonies, thus serving alongside his old friend Disraeli. In the House of Lords he was comparatively inactive. He took a proprietary interest in the development of the Crown Colony of British Columbia and wrote with great passion to the Royal Engineers upon assigning them their duties there. The former HBC Fort Dallas at Camchin, the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers, was renamed in his honour by Governor Sir James Douglas in 1858 as Lytton, British Columbia.[15]

Literary works

Bulwer-Lytton's literary career began in 1820 - with the publication of a book of poems - and spanned much of the nineteenth century. He wrote in a variety of genres, including historical fiction, mystery, romance, the occult, and science fiction. He financed his extravagant life with a varied and prolific literary output, sometimes publishing anonymously.[5]


1849 printing of Pelham with Hablot K. Browne (Phiz) frontispiece: Pelham's electioneering visit to the Revd. Combermere St Quintin, who is surprised at dinner with his family.In 1828 Pelham brought him public acclaim and established his reputation as a wit and dandy.[5] Its intricate plot and humorous, intimate portrayal of pre-Victorian dandyism kept gossips busy trying to associate public figures with characters in the book. Pelham resembled Benjamin Disraeli's recent first novel Vivian Grey (1827).[5]

Bulwer-Lytton admired Benjamin’s father, Isaac D'Israeli, himself a noted author. They began corresponding in the late 1820s and met for the first time in March 1830, when Isaac D'Israeli dined at Bulwer-Lytton’s house (also present that evening were Charles Pelham Villiers and Alexander Cockburn. The young Villiers was to have a long parliamentary career, while Cockburn became Lord Chief Justice of England in 1859).

Bulwer-Lytton 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),[5] and Harold, the Last of the Saxons (1848).[5] The Last Days of Pompeii was inspired by Karl Briullov's painting, The Last Day of Pompeii, which Bulwer-Lytton saw in Milan.

He also wrote the horror story The Haunted and the Haunters or The House and the Brain (1859).[16]

Bulwer-Lyton penned many other works, including The Coming Race or Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (1871), which 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. The book popularised the Hollow Earth theory[citation needed] and may have inspired Nazi mysticism.[citation needed] His term "vril" lent its name to Bovril meat extract.

His play, Money (1840), was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, on December 8, 1840. The first American production was at the Old Park Theater in New York on February 1, 1841. Subsequent productions include the Prince of Wales's Theatre's in 1872 and it was also the inaugural play at the new California Theatre in San Francisco in 1869.[17]

Legacy

Quotations

Bulwer-Lytton's most famous quotation, "the pen is mightier than the sword", is from his play Richelieu where it appears in the line

beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword

In addition, he gave the world the memorable phrase "pursuit of the almighty dollar" from his novel The Coming Race.

He is also credited with "the great unwashed". He used this rather disparaging term in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford:

He is certainly a man who bathes and ‘lives cleanly’, (two especial charges preferred against him by Messrs. the Great Unwashed).

The Last Days of Pompeii has been cited as the first source, but inspection of the original text shows this to be wrong. However, the term "the Unwashed" with the same meaning, appears in The Parisians: "He says that Paris has grown so dirty since the 4 September, that it is only fit for the feet of the Unwashed." The Parisians, though, was not published until 1872, while William Makepeace Thackeray's novel Pendennis (1850) uses the phrase ironically, implying it was already established. The Oxford English Dictionary refers to "Messrs. the Great Unwashed" in Lytton's Paul Clifford (1830), as the earliest instance.

Bulwer-Lytton is also credited with the appellation for the Germans "Das Volk der Dichter und Denker", the people of poets and thinkers.

Contest

Further information: Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Bulwer-Lytton's name lives on in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which contestants think-up terrible openings for imaginary novels, inspired by the first seven words of his novel Paul Clifford:

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.

Entrants in the contest seek to capture the rapid changes in point of view, the florid language, and the atmosphere of the full sentence.[citation needed] The opening was popularized by the Peanuts comic strip, in which Snoopy's sessions on the typewriter usually began with It was a dark and stormy night. The same words also form the first sentence of Madeleine L'Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning novel A Wrinkle in Time. Similar wording appears in Edgar Allan Poe's 1831 short story, The Bargain Lost, although not at the very beginning. It reads:

It was a dark and stormy night. The rain fell in cataracts.

Written a year after Paul Clifford, it appears to be Poe's deliberate mocking of Lord Lytton's opening line.

'''Operas'''

Several of Bulwer-Lytton's novels were made into operas, one of which, Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen by Richard Wagner, eventually became more famous than the novel. Leonora by William Henry Fry, the first opera composed in the United States of America, is based on Bulwer-Lytton's play The Lady of Lyons.

'''Magazines'''

In 1831 Bulwer-Lytton became the editor of the New Monthly but he resigned the following year. In 1841, he started the Monthly Chronicle, a semi-scientific magazine. During his career he wrote poetry, prose, and stage plays; his last novel was Kenelm Chillingly, which was in course of publication in Blackwood’s Magazine at the time of his death in 1873.

Translations

Bulwer-Lytton's works of fiction and non-fiction were translated in his day and since then into many languages, including Serbian (by Laza Kostic), German, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Finnish, and Spanish. In 1879, his Ernest Maltravers was the first complete novel from the West to be translated into Japanese.[18]

Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

'''Novels'''

Leila: or The Siege of Granada Calderon, the Courtier The Pilgrims of the Rhine Falkland (1827)[5] Pelham: or The Adventures of a Gentleman (1828)[5] 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)[5] 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)[5] The Caxtons: A Family Picture (1849)[5] My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853)[5] The Haunted and the Haunters or The House and the Brain (1859) What Will He Do With It? (1858) [5] A Strange Story (1862) The Coming Race (1871), republished as Vril: The Power of the Coming Race Kenelm Chillingly (1873) The Parisiens (1873 unfinished) [5]

Verse

Ismael (1820)[5] The New Timon (1846), an attack on Tennyson published anonymously [5] King Arthur (1848-9) [5] Glenaveril or The metamorphoses - A poem in six books (1885)


Plays

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

Hollow earth theory

References

1.^ #Quotations 2.^ first seven words of his novel Paul Clifford (1830) 3.^ Bulwer [post Bulwer-Lytton], Edward George [Earle] Lytton in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958. 4.^ World Wide Words - Unputdownable 5.^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Drabble, Margaret (2000). The Oxford Companion to English Literature (sixth edition) pp.147. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-1986-6244-0. 6.^ Lady Lytton (1880). A Blighted Life. London: The London Publishing Office. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Blighted_Life. Retrieved 28 November 2009. (Online text at wikisource.org) 7.^ Devey, Louisa (1887). Life of Rosina, Lady Lytton, with Numerous Extracts from her Ms. Autobiography and Other Original Documents, published in vindication of her memory. London: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co. http://www.archive.org/details/liferosinaladyl00devegoog. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 8.^ a b c Lord Lytton (Published posthumously, 1875). "Confessions of a Water-Patient". in Pamphlets and Sketches (Knebworth ed.). London: George Routledge and Sons. pp. 49–75. http://www.archive.org/stream/pamphletsandsket00lyttuoft#page/48/mode/2up. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 9.^ a b Bulwer (April 1863). "Bulwer's Letter on Water-Cure". In R.T. Trall (ed.). The Herald of Health, and The Water-cure journal (see title page of January edition, pp.5). vol.35-36. New York: R.T. Trall & Co. pp. 149–154 (see pp.151). http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015066610265;q1=captain;start=1;size=100;page=root;view=image;seq=141;num=149. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 10.^ "Mrs. Bulwer-Lytton's Room", Knebworth House Antique Photographs, http://www.knebworthhouse.com/specialtours/antiquephotos/page7.html, retrieved 28 November 2009 11.^ R. A. Gilbert, 'The Supposed Rosy Crucian Society', in Caron et. al. (eds.), Ésotérisme, Gnoses et Imaginaire Symbolique, Leuven: Peeters, 2001, pp. 399. 12.^ a b c Mitchell, Leslie George (2003). Bulwer Lytton: the rise and fall of a Victorian man of letters, pp. 232. London, New York: Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 1852854235. 13.^ Westminster Abbey monuments and gravestones 14.^ Lord Lytton (Published posthumously, 1875). "The Present Crisis. A Letter to a Late Cabinet Minister". Pamphlets and Sketches (Knebworth ed.). London: George Routledge and Sons. pp. 9–48. http://www.archive.org/stream/pamphletsandsket00lyttuoft#page/viii/mode/2up. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 15.^ The Canadian Press (17 August 2008). "Toff and prof to duke it out in literary slugfest". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2008/08/17/writing-bad.html. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 16.^ This story is included in Isaac Asimov's anthology, Tales of the Occult. Asimov, Isaac, ed (1989). Tales of the Occult. Prometheus. ISBN 0-87975-531-8. It also appears in The Wordsworth Book of Horror Stories. The Wordsworth Book of Horror Stories. ISBN 1-84022-056-2. 17.^ Don B. Wilmeth 2007) The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre 18.^ Keene, Donald (1984). Dawn to the West. New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 62. ISBN 0-03-06281408.

Further reading

Christensen, Allan Conrad (1976). Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Fiction of New Regions. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0820303879. Christensen (Ed.), Allan Conrad (1976). The Subverting Vision of Bulwer Lytton: Bicentenary Reflections. Newark, Delaware: The University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0874138566. Escott, T. H. S. (1910). Edward Bulwer, First Baron Lytton of Knebworth; a Social, Personal, and Political Monograph. London: George Routledge & Sons. Mitchell, L. G (2003). Bulwer Lytton: The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Man of Letters. London & New York:: Hambledon and London. ISBN 1852854235. (Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Palgrave Macmillan)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Edward Bulwer-Lytton 
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Bulwer-Lytton ebooks

Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton at Project Gutenberg Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton at Internet Archive Other links

Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803–73) Dickens or Bulwer? A quiz to tell the difference between their prose. John S. Moore's essay on Bulwer-Lytton Edward Bulwer-Lytton biography and works Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded by William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley James Morrison Member of Parliament for St Ives 1831 – 1832 With: James Halse Succeeded by James Halse Preceded by Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp George Fieschi Heneage Member of Parliament for Lincoln 1832–1841 With: George Fieschi Heneage 1832–1835 Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp 1835–1841 Succeeded by Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp William Rickford Collett Preceded by Thomas Plumer Halsey Sir Henry Meux, Bt Hon. Thomas Brand Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire 1852 – 1866 With: Thomas Plumer Halsey 1852–1854 Sir Henry Meux, Bt 1852–1859 Abel Smith 1854–1857, 1859–1865 Christopher William Puller 1857–1864 Henry Edward Surtees 1864–1865 Henry Cowper 1865–1866 Succeeded by Henry Edward Surtees Henry Cowper Abel Smith Political offices Preceded by Lord Stanley Secretary of State for the Colonies 1858–1859 Succeeded by The Duke of Newcastle Academic offices Preceded by The Duke of Argyll Rector of the University of Glasgow 1856–1859 Succeeded by The Earl of Elgin Peerage of the United Kingdom New creation Baron Lytton 1866–1873 Succeeded by Robert Bulwer-Lytton Baronet (of Knebworth) 1838–1873 Persondata Name Lytton, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Alternative names Short description Date of birth 25 May 1803 Place of birth London Date of death 18 January 1873 Place of death Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Bulwer-Lytton,_1st_Baron_Lytton&oldid=450972771"

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bulwer-Lytton

British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote Falkland, Pelham, and Eugene Aram. These novels won instant success and made him a wealthy man. As a result, he entered Parliament as a liberal member representing St. Ives, Huntingdonshire. Bulwer-Lytton remained an active politician yet still found time to produce many novels, plays, and poems.

According to his baptismal certificate, the full name of this once famous author was Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton. He was born in London May 23, 1803. His father was a Norfolk squire, William Bulwer of Heydon Hall, colonel of the 106th regiment (Norfolk Rangers); his mother was Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, a lady who claimed kinship with Cadwaladr Vendigaid, the semi-mythical hero who led the Strathclyde Welsh against the Angles in the seventh century.

As a child the future novelist was delicate, but he learned to read at a surprisingly early age and began to write verses before he was ten years old. Going first to a small private school at Fulham, he later attended school at Rottingdean, where he continued to manifest literary tastes, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott being his chief idols at this time.

Bulwer-Lytton was so talented that his relations decided it would be a mistake to send him to a public school. Accordingly he was placed with a tutor at Ealing, under whose care he progressed rapidly with his studies. Thereafter he proceeded to Cambridge, where he earned his degree easily and won many academic awards. After graduation he traveled for a while in Scotland and France, then bought a commission in the army. He sold it soon afterward, however, and began to devote himself seriously to writing.

Although busy and winning great fame, Bulwer-Lytton's life was not really a happy one. Long before meeting his wife, he fell in love with a young girl who died prematurely. This loss seems to have left an indelible sorrow. His marriage was anything but a successful one, the pair being divorced comparatively soon after their union.

Early Works

His first publications of note were the novels Falkland, Pelham, and Eugene Aram. These won instant success and made the author a wealthy man. As a result, he entered Parliament as a liberal member representing St. Ives, Huntingdonshire in 1831. During the next ten years he was an active politician yet still found time to produce many stories, such as The Last Days of Pompei, Ernest Maltravers, Zanoni, and The Last of the Barons. These were followed by The Caxtons. Simultaneously he achieved some fame as a dramatist, perhaps his best play being The Lady of Lyons.

Besides further novels, Bulwer-Lytton issued several volumes of verses, notably Ismael and The New Union, while translating works from German, Spanish, and Italian. He produced a history of Athens, contributed to endless periodicals, and was at one time editor of the New Monthly Magazine.

Active Political Career

In 1851 Bulwer-Lytton was instrumental in founding a scheme for pensioning authors and also began to pursue an active political career. In 1852 he was elected conservative Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire and held the post until his elevation to the peerage in 1866. He became Secretary for the Colonies in Lord Derby's ministry (1858-59) and played a large part in the organization of the new colony of British Columbia. He became Baron Lytton of Knebworth in July 1866 and thereafter took his place in the House of Lords.

In 1862 Bulwer-Lytton increased his stature by his occult novel entitled A Strange Story. Toward the end of the decade he began to work on another story, Kenelm Chillingly, but his health was beginning to fail, and he died on May 23, 1873, at Torquay.

Even as a child, Bulwer-Lytton had demonstrated a predilection for mysticism. He had surprised his mother once by asking whether she was "not sometimes overcome by the sense of her own identity." Bulwer-Lytton's interest in the occult increased, and it is frequently reflected in his literary output, including his poem "The Tale of a Dreamer," and in Kenelm Chillingly. In A Strange Story he tried to give a scientific coloring to old-fashioned magic.

Interest in Psychic Phenomena

Bulwer-Lytton was a keen student of psychic phenomena. The great medium D. D. Home was his guest at Knebworth in 1855. Home's phenomena greatly aroused his curiosity. He never spoke about his experiences in public, but his identity was at once detected in an account in Home's autobiography ((Incidents in My Life), "Immediately after this another message was spelt out: 'We wish you to believe in the . . . ' On inquiring after the finishing word a small cardboard cross which was lying on a table at the end of the room was given into his hand."

When the press asked Bulwer-Lytton for a statement, he refused to give any. His wariness to commit himself before the public was well demonstrated by his letter to the secretary of the London Dialectical Society, February 1869: "So far as my experience goes, the phenomena, when freed from inpostures with which their exhibition abounds, and examined rationally, are traceable to material influences of the nature of which we are ignorant. They require certain physical organizations or temperaments to produce them, and vary according to these organizations and temperaments."

Bulwer-Lytton sought out many mediums after his experiences with Home and often detected imposture. His friendship with Home continued for ten years. When he began the wildest of his romances, A Strange Story, he intended initially to portray Home, but abandoned this plan for the fantastic conception of Margrave. The joyousness of Home's character, however, is still reflected in the mental make-up of Margrave.

Bulwer-Lytton also became acquainted with the French occultist Eliphas Levi, whom he assisted in magical evocations, and Levi was clearly a model for the character of the magus in The Haunted and The Haunters.

Source: BookRags

Other References

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Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton's Timeline

1757
1757
1803
May 25, 1803
London, United Kingdom
1831
November 8, 1831
Age 28
1873
January 18, 1873
Age 69
Torquay, Torbay, England, United Kingdom
????
????
London, England