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To put it in a nutshell - though, not an ordinary hazelnut-shell, because this would be far too small - and not a walnut-shell either, though it is bigger in size but too rounded - unfortunately, a cashew nut is too crooked - a peanut would come pretty close in length but it is too narrow - a chestnut has too odd a form to be suitable - and a Brazil nut is too unknown and not suitable either - it is more or less a complete virtual nutshell I am talking about: to put it in such a nutshell this story has nothing to do with nuts at all.
Green, not blue as for some who stare endlessly in to sky or out to sea, gaping to find some thing of interest backlit by azure or cerulean or buried in navy or cobalt, nor red as for those who would scan field and forest for smudges of scarlet or crimson, for smears of cherry or ruby, nor yet yellow as for others who all their lives lust for gold or long for blond, nor even purple as for some who think God feloniously offended should they not notice violet or lilac, lavender or plum, is my second favorite color.
The moon looked like a discarded toenail clipping submersed in a puddle of saliva on a black formica countertop. Since the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.
Conscripted numerous times to be a judge in writing contests that were, in effect, bad writing contests but with prolix, overlong, and generally lengthy submissions, he struck upon the idea of holding a competition that would be honest and—best of all—invite brief entries. Furthermore, it had the ancillary advantage of one day allowing him to write about himself in the third person. By campus standards, the first year of the BLFC was a resounding success, attracting three entries.
The following year, giddy with the prospect of even further acclaim, Rice went public with the contest and, with the boost of a sterling press release by Public Information Officer Richard Staley, attracted national and international attention. Since the BLFC has continued to draw acclaim and opprobrium. Thousands continue to enter yearly, the judging has been covered by all the major American television networks, and journalists and pundits from Charles Osgood to George F. Will have commented on the BLFC phenomenon. To sustain the momentum, the Penguin collections of entries have reached five, each an indispensable addition to the bookshelves of discerning readers and collectors lamentably, they are now all out of print, a commentary on the misplaced and mercenary values of modern publishing companies.
In the off chance you are interested in the assessment of species diversity in the Montane Cordillera Ecozone near Lytton, B. There will be overall winners as well as category winners. This is not much of an exaggeration. The last of his books to be popular was The Last Days of Pompeii, a cruder work than his best historical novels, though credited with inspiring Madame Blavatsky to her adventurous career as mystical hierophant and founder of the theosophical society. But it would be wrong to conclude from the fact that he is not read to the judgement that he is not worth reading.
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Why has this idea taken hold? He began writing to finance an extravagant lifestyle as man of fashion. He was Secretary of State for the Colonies in For his achievements as novelist, playwright and statesman, he was elevated to the peerage in He died in He treated intelligently and interestingly perennial themes of good and evil, of freedom and despotism, egoism and altruism, life affirmation and the power of will.
His treatment can seem all the fresher partly because he is no longer familiar. His influence was world-wide. It was notable in Germany, whose deep and thoughtful culture he both affected and was affected by. Britain and Germany have often seemed far apart culturally, looking to different types of philosophy, and separated by a degree of mutual contempt. To some continental critics, the stranglehold of the old universities has adversely affected the whole of English cultural life.
Such criticism was by no means unechoed in Britain.. Coleridge and Carlyle are examples of that enthusiasm for Germany that was a significant strand in nineteenth century British culture. Many in Victorian times had ideas of Germany as a kind of alternative England, a place of new possibilities, romantically rich, a new country to be constructed. We may think of the creation of an original German culture as an international project, with a not altogether happy outcome.
Viewing Bulwer as part of this is to guard against thinking solely in terms of English literature. He says that he throws valuable light on the thought of the Victorians, on their view of the world.
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Though he also argues for his intrinsic interest, many might think that Bulwer is mostly of concern to historians, and students of the Victorian age, and that for literature we should read other novelists. That he was original and influential no one would deny. Others have surpassed him in some, perhaps most, of the genres in which he worked. Vanity Fair has been called the masterpiece of the fashionable, Oliver Twist of the Newgate school.
Some conclude that his influence has passed on, into other and greater writers, with the implicit suggestion that he has nothing to say to us. This is very disputable, certainly in view of much of the nineteenth literature that still continues to be read. Many of the ideas expressed are as lively and relevant today as they were when he wrote. Supposed weaknesses of style like his unfashionable archaism, need not obstruct appreciation. Admittedly he has acquired an unfortunate reputation for corniness. Another obvious obstacle is the sheer diversity and range of his work.
No one is likely to be drawn to all of it. I only feel qualified to argue for the interest of some of it, and to indicate a few of his more notable themes.
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Far from being superseded, his best work is unique in English literature, of permanent interest, and quite unfairly ignored. It would be surprising if someone who made so many successful hits never attained to lasting originality Admittedly the idea of having to plough through his whole oeuvre would be dismaying. Who could say where a Lytton revival might lead? We can certainly see him as a representative Victorian, with his roots appropriately in an earlier era. He was a survivor from the days of George IV. His first poetry was published in , his first novel in All his life he cultivated a dandy image which came to seem worse than old fashioned.
It inspired counter accusations of effeminacy from Tennyson, whom he had himself accused of girlishness. This inspired a lifelong feud.
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The young Bulwer, who began as an admirer of Byron, found a new hero in Bentham, entering parliament in the reform interest in At this period he wrote of the need to balance the urge to self fulfilment with more social concerns. His Pelham allegedly changed the fashion from Byronism to the moral earnestness of the Victorian social reformers. For amoral individualism, the Byronism of the s had prefigured the Nietzscheanism of the end of the century.
After the s people tired of egoistic assertion for a season, much as, following a similar reaction, was to happen with Nietzsche. Bulwer found fertile material in the dialectic of egoism and idealism. It is the sacrifice of the strong to the weak. This is wholly against the principles of evolution. Any nation which does this systematically on a sufficiently large scale destroys itself. The sacrifice is vain, the weak are not even saved. Consider the action of Zanoni in going to the scaffold in order to save his silly wife. He was a living link between the original Romantic Movement, and the belief in the power of the imagination that characterised the aesthetic revolt.
The symbolist movement was largely underpinned by occult philosophy. Mystery was intrinsic to the reaction against the supposed rationality of the high Victorians. Bulwer had a rich and genuine occult learning that earned him the respect of all the leading figures of the occult revival.
He had made an intensive study of magical writers like Iamblichus, Psellus, and Cornelius Agrippa, and was not above claiming secret knowledge and initiation into the Rosicrucian brotherhood.