After a prolific life as an author with a European reputation, outselling Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton was ennobled and, on his death, buried in Westminster Abbey. Since the First World War, however, his literary reputation has sunk and he is now little read. Bulwer Lytton is the first modern biography of an extraordinary man whose literary output was prodigious. It ranged from novels, such as The Last Days of Pompeii, and poetry to plays, biographies and extensive political commentaries and journalism. A dandy to rival Disraeli, he lived life in London, at Knebworth, his country house, or more frequently abroad, with hectic intensity. Arousing strong emotions in public, his private life was turbulent in the extreme; his acrimonious and bitter divorce from his wife Rosina providing one of the most public and prolonged marital disputes of the period. Despite this, he became Secretary for the Colonies in 1858 and was responsible for the setting up of Queensland. Leslie Mitchell's biography, written to mark the two hundredth anniversary of Bulwer Lytton's birth, is an account of an eminent and very remarkable Victorian.
The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Man of Letters
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