Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Literary Birthday – 25 May – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Edward Bulwer-Lytton was born 25 May 1803 and died 18 January 1873.


  1. Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.
  2. Genius is but fine observation strengthened by fixity of purpose.
  3. Talent does what it can: Genius does what it must.
  4. 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.
  5. We love the beautiful and serene, but we have a feeling as deep as love for the terrible and dark.
  6. Laws die. Books never.
  7. Art itself is essentially ethical; because every true work of art must have a beauty or grandeur of some kind, and beauty and grandeur cannot be comprehended by the beholder except through the moral sentiment. The eye is only a witness; it is not a judge. The mind judges what the eye reports to it; therefore, whatever elevates the moral sentiment to the contemplation of beauty and grandeur is in itself ethical.
  8. In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.
  9. The magic of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician. He wrote many bestselling novels which earned him a large fortune. His works of fiction include The Last Days of Pompeii and The Coming Race. He coined the phrases “the great unwashed”, “pursuit of the almighty dollar”, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, and the opening line “It was a dark and stormy night”.

Source for image: Henry William Pickersgill, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edward_George_Earle_Lytton_Bulwer_Lytton,_1st_Baron_Lytton_by_Henry_William_Pickersgill.jpg

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th May 2018