Publisher’s Note: My first trip to England was to write a travel piece on the very trendy tourist area of Torquay. So when I came across this article about Edward Bulwer-Lytton the author of the Coming Race and many other books I thought to share this article with you. The Coming Race is a book about an advanced civilization living underground that used advanced technology called VRIL to manage their world. It was said that Adolf Hitler and others believed Bulver-Lyton’s book was factual Dirk
ON JANUARY 18 1873 Edward Bulwer-Lytton died in his Torquay home Argyll Hall on Warren Road, having lived there since 1867.
Built in 1849, Argyll Hall became the Roseland Hotel and is now an apartment block called Marine Palms (pictured) occupying a prominent position on Rock Walk.
In addition to his writing, he had an impressive political career, serving twice in Parliament, first as a Whig Radical, then a Conservative MP, and going on to the House of Lords as Baron Lytton. While Secretary of State for the Colonies, towns were been named after him in British Columbia and Australia.
Nowadays, he is perhaps best known for comedy purposes. Since 1982 the English Department at California’s San Jose University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for the worst beginning to an imaginary novel. This was inspired by the first line of Edward’s Paul Clifford:
“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
Otherwise, Edward is now mostly forgotten. However, his twenty-five novels are the source of a number of phrases that have become clichés, including: ‘the great unwashed’; ‘pursuit of the almighty dollar’; and ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
In the late nineteenth century Bulwer-Lytton was one of England’s most popular novelists, and has been called the father of: the English detective novel; science fiction; the fantasy novel; the thriller; and the domestic realistic novel. In 1831 Mary Shelley asked: “What will Bulwer become? The first author of the age? I do not doubt it. He is a magnificent writer.”