Rosina Bulwer Lytton

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Rosina Bulwer Lytton
Rosina Anne Doyle Bulwer Lytton (née Wheeler), Lady Lytton (cropped).jpg
Born4 November 1802 Edit this on Wikidata
Died12 March 1882 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 79)
Spouse(s)Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edit this on Wikidata
ChildrenRobert Bulwer-Lytton Edit this on Wikidata

Rosina Bulwer Lytton (née Rosina Doyle Wheeler; 4 November 1802 – 12 March 1882) wrote and published fourteen novels, a volume of essays and a volume of letters. Her husband was Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a novelist and politician. She spelled her married surname without the hyphen used by her husband.

Family and early life[edit]

Rosina Doyle Wheeler's mother was the advocate of women's rights Anna Wheeler, the daughter of the Rev. Nicholas Milley Doyle, a Church of Ireland clergyman, Rector of Newcastle, County Tipperary,[1][2] while her father was Francis Massey Wheeler, an Anglo-Irish landowner.[1] One of her mother's brothers, Sir John Milley Doyle (1781–1856), led British and Portuguese forces in the Peninsular War and the War of the Two Brothers.[3]

Rosina Doyle was educated in part by Frances Arabella Rowden, who was not only a poet, but, according to Mary Mitford, "had a knack of making poetesses of her pupils"[4] This ties Rosina to other of Rowden's pupils such as Caroline Posonby, later Lady Caroline Lamb; the poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon ("L.E.L."); Emma Roberts, the travel writer; and Anna Maria Fielding, who published as S.C. Hall.[5]


Rosina Doyle Wheeler married Edward Bulwer-Lytton (at that time surnamed simply Bulwer) on 29 August 1827. This was against the wishes of his mother, who withdrew his allowance, so that he was forced to work for a living.[6]

His writing and efforts in the political arena took a toll upon their marriage, and the couple legally separated in 1836. Her children were taken from her.[7] In 1839, her novel, Cheveley, or the Man of Honour, in which Edward Bulwer-Lytton was bitterly caricatured, was published.

In June 1858, when her husband was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she appeared at the hustings and indignantly denounced him. She was consequently placed under restraint as insane, but liberated a few weeks later following a public outcry. This was chronicled in her book A Blighted Life.[8][9] For years she continued her attacks upon her husband's character; she would outlive him by nine years.


They had two children:


  • Cheveley: or, The Man of Honour (in two volumes, 1839)
  • The Budget of the Bubble Family (1840)
  • The Prince-Duke and the Page: An Historical Novel (1843)
  • Bianca Cappello: An Historical Romance (1843)
  • Memoirs of a Muscovite (1844)
  • The Peer's Daughters: A Novel (1849)
  • Miriam Sedley, or the Tares and the Wheat: A Tale of Real Life (1850)
  • The School for Husbands: or Moliére's Life and Times (1852)
  • Behind the Scenes, A Novel (1854)
  • The World and His Wife, or a Person of Consequence, a Photographic Novel (1858)
  • Very Successful (1859)
  • The Household Fairy (1870)
  • Where there's a Will there's a Way (1871)
  • Chumber Chase (1871)
  • Mauleverer's Divorce (1871)
  • Shells from the Sands of Time (1876)
  • A Blighted Life (1880)
  • Refutation of an Audacious Forgery of the Dowager Lady's name to a book of the Publication of which she was totally Ignorant (1880)


  1. ^ a b Literary Encyclopaedia - Rosina Bulwer-Lytton (1802-1882) by Marie Mulvey-Roberts, University of the West of England
  2. ^ Edward Cave, John Nichols, eds., The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle (1834), p. 276
  3. ^ Henry Morse Stephens, Doyle, John Milley from Dictionary of National Biography at Wikisource
  4. ^ eds, Lilla Maria Crisafulli & Cecilia Pietropoli, (2008). "appendix". The languages of performance in British romanticism (Oxford ; Bern ; Berlin ; Frankfurt am Main ; Wien$nLang. ed.). New York: P. Lang. p. 301. ISBN 3039110977.
  5. ^ "Rowden [married name de St Quentin], Frances Arabella (1774–1840?), schoolmistress and poet | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/59581. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  6. ^ World Wide Words - Unputdownable
  7. ^ "Life of Rosina, Lady Lytton"
  8. ^ Lady Lytton (1880). A Blighted Life. London: The London Publishing Office. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Online text at
  9. ^ 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. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (

Further reading[edit]

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