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Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton , first Baron Lytton (London, May 25, 1803-Torquay, January 18, 1873), was a British poet, novelist, dramatist, politician, and journalist . Lytton was a popular writer of his time who coined phrases such as “The pen is stronger than the sword” and “Pursue the almighty dollar.” Today his topic is better remembered: “It was a dark and stormy night …”.
His son Robert Bulwer-Lytton, First Earl of Lytton, was Viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880.
Origins and formation
Younger son of General William Earle Bulwer, of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling (Norfolk), was born in London on May 25, 1803. He had two brothers: William (1799-1877) and Henry (later Lord Dalling, 1801- 1872). Bulwer’s father died when the boy was four years old. His mother, Elizabeth Barbara, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton, of Knebworth (Hertfordshire), settled in London after the death of her husband. Bulwer, who was delicate and neurotic, gave evidence of a precocious talent and was sent to several boarding schools, where he was always unhappy, until at the center of a Mr. Wallington in Ealing he found in his teacher a sympathetic and admiring listener.
In 1822 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but soon moved to Trinity Hall. In 1825 he won a poetry prize, the Chancellor’s Medal for English Verse. The following year he graduated in Arts, publishing a book of poems: Weeds and Wild Flowers. He briefly went through the army and, against the wishes of his mother, he married Rosina Doyle Wheeler. His mother, then, withdrew the financial allowance, and Lytton had to go to work. In 1836, after a stormy relationship, he separated from his wife. Three years later she would publish a novel in which she caricatured her husband. These attacks would last for years.
In 1831 he would be elected to Parliament, since he kept for nine years. His political career was prolonged in time, and did nothing but prosper, making him worthy, among other appointments, of Secretary of State for the Colonies (1858).
His literary career began in 1820, with his first poems. Wrote in a variety of genres, including historical fiction, mystery, romantic novel, occult and science fiction.
From his macabre stories, such as the Zanoni novel or the stories “Strange story” and “The house and the brain”, HP Lovecraft pointed out, in his essay El supernatural horror in literature, that «despite its strong doses of rhetoric and hollow romanticism, the success of his writings is undeniable thanks to his ability to weave a certain kind of singular enchantment. “
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