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Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George Earle Lytton, first Baron Lytton I Sir Bulwer Lytton l, 1803-1873, author, M.P. B.A. Cambridge, 1826; M.A. 1835; Hon. LL.D. Oxford, also Cambridge. Created baronet 1838; in 1843, on succeeding to Knebworth estate, added Lytton to his surname; raised to peerage 1866. M.P. for many years at various periods of his life. As editor and as contributor, connected with numerous periodicals, e.g., New Monthly, Monthly Chronicle, Edin. Rev., Blackwood's, Quart. Rev. Author of more than twenty-five works of fiction; dramatist; author of poems and miscellaneous works. 



      Bulwer-Lytton and Dickens were friends, their acquaintance dating from about 1838. They had frequent personal and social contacts. Dickens named his seventh son after Bulwer-Lytton. The two men were closely associated in the founding of the Guild of Literature and Art. Bulwer-Lytton expressed generous admiration of Dickens's novels; Dickens had high praise for Bulwer-Lytton as novelist, dramatist, and poet, and greatly valued his critical advice. It was on that advice that he altered what he had originally written as the ending of Great Expectations. At Dickens's urgent request, Bulwer-Lytton contributed his novel A Strange Story to A.Y.R. Smith, Elder & Co.'s Monthly Circular found it a matter for comment that Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton was "not above writing in a cheap weekly journal under the editorship of Mr. Charles Dickens" (Hurley, House of Smith Elder, p. 167). 
      In his H.W. article on the Guild of literature and Art, May 10, 1851, Dickens wrote of Bulwer-Lytton's part in "the origination of the scheme" and of his donation of land and the copyright of a comedy to the Guild. Other H.W. articles referred to Bulwer-Lytton's connection with the drama and to his plays: "Crotchets of a Playgoer," "Shakspeare and Newgate," "Wanderings in India" (Jan. 2, Jan. 16, 1858). Various articles referred to his novels: "The Blue-Jacket Agitation" mentioned Harold; "The City of Sudden Death" mentioned The Last Days of Pompeii; "House-Tops" quoted a passage from The Caxtons; "Mine Inn" referred to the inns so "excellently depicted" in Bulwer-Lytton's novels. "Malines" mentioned the "noble and tender" love story "The Maid of Malines" in The Pilgrims of the Rhine; of all that has been written about Malines, stated the article, only Bulwer-Lytton's story comes to the recollection of those who visit the city, "so abiding is the remembrance of the lightest creation of a master." 
      The Office Book assigns to Bulwer-Lytton only the first imitation from Phaedrus ["The Revenge of Æsop. Imitated from Phædrus" I, 288. June 15, 1850]; the second ["The Two Sacks. Imitated from Phædrus" I, 304. June 22, 1850], appearing in the H.W. number of the followmg week, seems obviously to be by him, though the authorship cannot be proved. No payment is recorded for either. The Examiner reprinted "The Revenge of Æsop." 
                                                                                                                                              D.N.B.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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