Talk:Edward Bulwer-Lytton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


What about adding the 1911 encyclopedia article? --Keichwa 17:30 Apr 26, 2003 (UTC)

done --Keichwa 20:41, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Removed from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton:

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton was also a terrific artist. For example, his painting THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII is quite famous.

Bulwer-Lytton as a painter isn't known to me. Where can I see this picture? --Keichwa 19:41, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)


Richard Wagner's work Rienzi is based a Bulwar Lytton work, anyopne know the title?

It is based on B-L's novel of the same title, Rienzi. Antandrus (talk) 20:31, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

To the Sentence[edit]

Personaly, I don't find that sentence so horrible, quite normal actualy. New Babylon

Do you mean the famous "It was a dark and stormy night..." sentence? Are not all stormy nights dark?
Well yes,but the level of the darknes is different-when there's no cloud's and there's a full moon it's generaly more lighted then when there's either a storm,or an eclipse,so the emphasizing on the word "dark" could also be interpreted as extremely dark,aka. having even less light then usual.New Babylon

A fine Victorian stylist?[edit]

On what basis do we call him this? I've not read more than a few pages of Bulwer-Lytton, but comparing what I've read to other Victorian writers - even to one so mediocre as Wilkie Collins, leaves Bulwer-Lytton rather short. Do critics actually consider him a good stylist? john k 18:35, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I claim that he IS a fine and wery,WERY good writter and all this is disacreting,I mean you just stamp him negativly and then people will get psychicly blocked from even Trying to read something (and they'd find out it's pretty good).Yours Truly (New Babylon)

Bulwer-Lytton was not a great stylist (although his writing improved with time and experience) but he was adequate and could be colorful on occasion. Like Wilkie Collins (mentioned above) he could even be inspired on occasion when given a good idea or character to develop.

You could sign.Anyway I liked his works pretty much actualy,his short story about a haunted house inspired me quite a bit.Also "The Last Days of the Pompeii" were Masterfully written. New Babylon 15:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

When we have such stylists as Charles Dickens as points of comparison, he is a very good stylist indeed. (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

fwiw paul clifford[edit]

frankly, I think BL was parodying novels of his time in general in this work.

The Great Unwashed[edit]

Hi, I was redirected to this page when looking for "The Great Unwashed" - it is quite interesting, but it does not answer my original question! (Being: What the heck does "The Great Unwashed" *mean*?)“

Those who aren't of the elite, as spoken of by the elite. The hoi polloi, the lumpenproletariat, the lowest common denominator; Tom, Dick, and Harry; the man in the street/man on the Clapham omnibus, etc. Scutigera (talk) 05:51, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

It was a dark and stormy night[edit]

I said it once and Ill say it again-this sentence has nothing so "bad! about it.A simple example-if there is a night where clouds obstruct the moon,then it is a DARK knight and when those clouds are rain clouds and it rains,its a STORMY night.A dark night does NOT necesarily HAVE to be STORMY.If it would go "stormy and dark" THEN it would have been "bad" ,however I have often seen nights witch are DARK and are NOT stormy.Therefore I believe this (plus the contest of bad literature,given Edward Bulwer-Lytton's name) an unfair disgrace of the writer.

New Babylon 2 12:31, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Have you read the rest of the opening sentence? 'Dark and stormy night' is just a dull, undescriptive cliché, but the rest of the sentence is truly terrible, and entirely deserves its infamy. Terraxos (talk) 21:00, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Why or how is it dull? It reflects the Romantic interest in the sublime. As the previous writer noted, it is imformative. Is it a cliche? Now, yes. But had it ever been used before B-L? If so, why is he given (dis)credit? If not, then it WAS hardly a cliche. Shall we like-wise call WS the most cliche-ridden writer since the Bible?

Kdammers (talk) 01:58, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence in full really isn't bad at all. I can easily picture a dark street, the rain showers, the blasts of wind. Modern literature tries to hook the reader with a catchy opening in the first few sentences, but Victorian literature often begins with evocative description. Compare the opening to Bleak House: "London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Afalbrig (talkcontribs) 09:03, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
It may be a cliché now but it wasn't a cliché when he wrote it.


how is it possible that the book zanoni is influenced by Bulwer Lyttons membership of the english Rosicrucian Society which was founded in 1867, while the book was published in 1842? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:23, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

"Great Unwashed"[edit]

A quick Google Books search reveals the phrase "the great unwashed" in the 1835 book The Unfortunate Man by Frederic Chamier (New York: Harper & Bros., p. 164):

Here is a Google Books link.

This would appear to predate The Parisians by BW by a good half-century or more. Grover cleveland (talk) 00:28, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I found the phrase in Thackeray's "Pendennis" (1850):

Colleges, schools, and inns of courts still have some respect for antiquity, and maintain a great number of the customs and institutions of our ancestors.... The poorest mechanic in Spitalfields has a cistern and an unbounded suppy of water at his command; but the gentlemen of the inns of court [have only water fetched in jugs].... Gentlemen, there can be but little doubt that your ancestors were the Great Unwashed. []

The context seems to imply that Thackery was making a pun on a well-known phrase. Chamier wouldn't be the first literary one-hit wonder to be outlived by his work. Scutigera (talk) 05:52, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

"The Great Unwashed": Historical and socio-political context[edit]

Like many others, I have long known of the phrase "the great unwashed", which has entered the lexicon and is typically used unattributed, with most people probably unaware of its origin or context, unless they seek out the source, or learn it along the way.

I am one of the latter. I didn't set out to learn the source. I learned along the way, courtesy of Wikipedia and the contributions of editors such as above. And given the time-period, I can also see the context, again courtesy of Wikipedia, and the reading around I have been doing in my own contributions. Sanitation and hygiene were particularly salient issues of that era, to the extent that it impacted mortality in the population at large, and in hospitals. And then along come the overlapping hydropathy and sanitation movements of the 1840s onwards, followed by a series of parliamentary acts to facilitate the construction of baths and washhouses for the general public. So "the great unwashed" is not just a quote, the origins of which are oft forgotten or unawares, it is a quote with context.Wotnow (talk) 01:59, 5 December 2009 (UTC)Wotnow.

The phrase originates before the widespread introduction of indoor plumbing. At the time only the rich had bathrooms and washing facilities. Everyone else had to have a wash or bath in a tin bath in front of the fire, or wash using a tin bucket filled from a well - if they washed at all. Hence the phrase.

Not one of the first SF novels[edit]

'Unquestionably, its story of a subterranean race of men waiting to reclaim the surface is one of the first science fiction novels." - I guess it depends on what one understands by "one of" ( one of three, one of thirty, one of three hundred?), but - especially with the first word fo the sentence - I can't see how this can be claimed. Consider Tyssot de Patot's hollow-earth novel La Vie, Shelley's two novels, Loudon's Mummy, and Verne's earlier novels for starters. Kdammers (talk) 11:47, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Bias in favour of the Almighty Contest[edit]

Why does this page clearly serve for the sole purpose of bashing on Lytton?I mean,aside from claims that his "name is a byword for bad writing",to which the sole reference is the existence of the contest,which is also shown not in an exactely neutral point of view-but I must also complain about the links-the "Dickens of Lytton" page outright calls Lytton "the worst author in the history of leters" ,once again basing its asumptions solely on the EXISTENCE of the contest. (talk) 09:00, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Methinks, this "bad" writing was a style, and B-L was a pioneer of this movement. Think of this. Back then, "novels" were serialized on newspapers and magazines, and read to the (illiterate) factory workers aloud. So if you want to be a writer who survives on this kind of audience, you need to do two things.

(1) Write the novel as if it were rhetoric ... i.e., more florid languages, plenty of nested clauses, to describe things and the prior clauses.

(2) Introduce as many fillers and plot twists as possible, so that the story will take longer to tell (and therefore more money). For those who only listen a section of it a day, while there are other distractions, some of these elements would seem very exciting (probably because you don't give a damn after listening to it).

Some of these renowned writers in the Victorian era, like Dickens, Hardy, and B-L, all adopted this style of writing for the above mentioned audience. Their novels, came originally in serialized form, will certainly contain the above elements. Aside from being a source of colorful vocabulary, I personally find reading these works more frustrating than watching soap operas.

Take on the other hand, authors like Wells, Stoker, and Wilde do not serialize their novels the way the above authors did. The style of their novels are more in line with what we see in novels today: somewhat direct in their description, and much more focused in their themes and storyline.

So, I don't think it is really good or bad writing. It's just a style of writing that was catered to a niche audience (a pretty big niche, back in those days), and how quickly it ran in and out of vogue.

--Bart weisser (talk) 08:08, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Circumstances of Death[edit]

There's very little about the circumstances surrounding his death: if some good soul might contribute a little of the wheres and whens and whys, it would be good. Otterswimshome (talk) 05:07, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Otterswimshome you may be interested in the last couple of para's that are now in the EBL 'Life' section. CPES (talk) 19:44, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Not a forum[edit]

The Wikipedia rules clearly state that the talk page is not a forum for general discussion. What you think of him, his books or his style is not what talk pages are for. They are stricly to discuss what should or should not be inserted in the article. If you can find critiques of his work by famous writers (either positive or negative), you may place that in the article if you wish, but having chat sessions about who likes him and who doesn't is AGAINST THE RULES. Mike Hayes (talk) 01:32, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Radio Times quote (Claire Webb)[edit]

Here is the email reply granting permission to place all or part of the above quote in the Wikipedia Bulwer-Lytton article:

Thank you for your email,

We can now grant you permission and we would have no objection to this provided that a credit for Radio Times is put on “by kind permission of Radio Times” which will indicate no payment has taken place.

kind regards


Radio Times Reader Service (

CPES (talk) 11:47, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The quotation has the man's name in brackets with a wrong spelling. Can't this be corrected with-out creating a problem? Kdammers (talk) 12:42, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Kdammers it is done- no probs. CPES (talk) 18:05, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Quote now deleted: 18:51, 5 December 2009 CharlesMartel (talk | contribs) m (28,205 bytes) (Uneeded block quote in unencyclopedic style) CPES (talk) 09:43, 10 January 2010 (UTC)


How is his last name / title pronounced? Is it "lie-ton" or "lit-ton?" (More historical figures need pronunciation guides for their names IMHO.) (talk) 01:22, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I've pronounced it Litton for decades but I don't recall why.
Varlaam (talk) 21:40, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
It's pronounced bull-yer-lit-ton. "Lytton" is a variation of Litton.

Falkland (1827) and Falkland (1834)[edit]

I guess he just had a hard time coming up with fresh titles, eh? Varlaam (talk) 21:39, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Bad News: "The Pen Is Mighter Than The Sword," which he coined...[edit]

...was a phrase also used by an English playwright, who wrote a few plays in the late 1500's and early 1600's. Actually they're quite good, and some people still read them today. You might have heard of him. It's very possible that Edward Bulwer-Lytton had read him, too. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:52, 12 November 2010 (UTC).

Would you mind providing a citation for this? A computer search of Shakespeare's complete works ( turns up no such phrase. I suspect that, as occurs with many well known phrases, this line has been misattributed to the Bard, and the misattribution has then been passed around uncritically. Anlala (talk) 16:58, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Are you for serious[edit]

How many hundreds of references do you want me to produce that prove the infamy of the "it was a dark and stormy night" line? I mean, calling it 'famous' is virtually akin to saying that it is good. The consensus points in the other direction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vulpesinculta51 (talkcontribs) 13:09, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sentence; "it was a dark and stormy night". It is concise, it is descriptive, and it is good grammar. It sets the scene of a night with little light, due to cloud or no moon or starlight, and with storms present or threatening. What more need one know about the night.
Perhaps the critics are upset because Bulwer-Lytton used it before they were able to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

The pen is[edit]

I'm wondering how to reference something that I know personally to be true, but for which I don't have a written source. A friend of mine showed me a first edition he had bought of the book in which Bulwer-Lytton's play Richelieu first appeared in print. The way the famous quote appears is quite illuminating. "The pen is" appears at the end of a line, and the space between 'pen' and 'is' very noticeably narrower than all the other spaces on the page (presumably the typesetter used an n-space instead of an m-space). The implication is that B-L was suggesting "the penis--mightier than the sword" as well as its explicit meaning. I saw this with my own eyes, and know that it is a fact, but I don't want to include it in the article without some kind of independent citation. Am I right in thinking this is the proper Wikipedia procedure? Anlala (talk) 17:09, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

I can't find "the great unwashed" text in Paul Clifford.[edit]

Can anybody identify precisely where it is (page, chapter etc.)? I'm reading the original text and have searched multiple different sources and web based texts and it truly does not seem to be in this novel. -- (talk) 04:19, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Follow up: OK I get it. The "unwashed" phrase and "lived cleanly" do not actually appear in the text of Paul Clifford. They appear in a footnote within the 'Dedicatory Epistle' that seems to have only appeared in early printings of the book. It seems to have been dropped from later printings and reprints, including the many so-called complete texts that can be downloaded. See reference #21 in the Article section of this entry. Suggest the original author rephrase the Article to explain more clearly where the phrase appears. Certainly most modern readers of the book will never see the Epistle. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:34, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

That's exactly what I was going to write here. Could anybody answer? There's no 'lived cleanly' in the various online texts either, probably the citation comes from another book. Glatisant (talk) 13:49, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Literary works[edit]

The last sentence I changed as it seemed fairly subjective regarding the "superior" earlier draft - I have tried to change it to reflect a more npov — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:41, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved per request. Favonian (talk) 15:56, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron LyttonEdward Bulwer-Lytton – per WP:COMMONNAME Orange Mike | Talk 17:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Support It's not as if we have to distinguish him from all the other people named Edward Bulwer-Lytton! ;-D Seriously, the name without the title is by far the most common usage. --MelanieN (talk) 06:20, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:NCPEER: "Peers who are very well known by their personal names and who only received a title after they retired". He seems to be far more famous for his pre-peerage life.  — Amakuru (talk) 10:58, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support He only received his peerage fairly late in 1866, after he had done the bulk of his writing and political activity, and the article on Vril, the one important work he wrote after this date, simply states that it was written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. PatGallacher (talk) 16:43, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 19:07, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Henrietta Vansittart[edit]

"However by 1859, Henrietta was having a love affair with Edward Bulwer Lytton..." Snori (talk) 01:12, 11 May 2017 (UTC)