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

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George Earle Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, 1803–73, English novelist. The son of Gen. William Bulwer and Elizabeth Lytton, he assumed the name Bulwer-Lytton in 1843 when he inherited the Lytton estate "Knebworth." He was created Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. His varied and highly derivative novels won wide popularity. Many of his early novels of manners— Falkland (1827), Paul Clifford (1830), and Eugene Aram (1832)—reflect the influence of his friend William Godwin. Bulwer-Lytton, however, is best remembered for his extremely well-researched historical novels, particularly The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) and Rienzi (1835). In 1849, with The Caxtons, he began a series of humorous domestic novels, which had recently become the vogue. His utopian novel, The Coming Race, prefigured the works of Wells and Huxley. A member of Parliament from 1831 to 1841, Bulwer-Lytton was a reformer, but in 1852 he returned to Parliament as a Conservative. In 1858 he was appointed colonial secretary. He was also a successful dramatist. His plays include The Lady of Lyons (1838), Richelieu (1839), and Money (1840).

See biography by L. Mitchell (2003); study by S. B. Liljegren (1957); C. Shattuck, ed., Bulwer and Macready (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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