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the Complete Review
the complete review - biography

Edward Bulwer


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Title: Edward Bulwer
Author: T.H.S.Escott
Genre: Biography
Written: 1910
Length: 343 pages
Availability: Edward Bulwer is out of print
  • A Social, Personal, and Political Monograph

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Our Assessment:

B : informative if old-fashioned

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The NY Times Sat. Rev. . 30/4/2003 W.S.Walsh

  From the Reviews:
  • "Mr. Escott seems only dimly to understand that Lytton's literary fault was insincerity, a fault which is quite incompatible with greatness." - W.S.Walsh, The New York Times Saturday Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       T.H.S.Escott's biography of Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873) appeared in 1910. Without access to all the material Leslie Mitchell was able to utilize in his Bulwer Lytton (2003), but written closer to the times, Escott's work is a useful complement to the newer biography. More reserved -- and proceeding more ploddingly straightforwardly (adhering to something of a chronology, rather than presenting Bulwer Lytton's life in more thematically-organised chunks as Mitchell does) -- Escott's biography does provide more detail and insight about certain aspects of Bulwer Lytton's life.
       Escott helpfully provides a bit more information about Bulwer Lytton's literary production (and its reception) -- and doesn't try to merely show everything in the best possible light, writing about the reception of Falkland, for example:

The London reviewers generally agreed that the book was unentertaining, sickeningly monotonous, and downright dull, nor uninteresting and uninstructive only, but morally and socially pernicious into the bargain.
       Escott can't go into quite the same explicit detail about Bulwer Lytton's personal life and his nightmarish marriage to Rosina Wheeler, but he's willing to lay the blame (at least for their getting married in the first place) squarely on Rosina, and even prettily suggests what should have happened:
A female who had reached years of discretion, and who saw things in the proper light, occupying a station like Rosina Wheeler's, ought not to have hesitated a moment. She should meekly have thanked the brilliant being she had captivated for the proposed honour, should have reminded him that Irish kings from whom, indeed, she could claim descent, were unworthy of comparison with the Hertfordshire patricians whose blood ran in his own veins. Then, with arms ingenuously folded on her breast, she should have made a low obeisance and vanished from his presence, either into a convent near the former home of her misguided, democratic, probably atheistic mother at Caen, or in some obscure corner of her native Connaught.
       (This passage suggests Escott really didn't understand Rosina at all.)
       Escott doesn't detail Bulwer Lytton's personal and intimate life closely, but he does give a better impression of his role in public life -- though some of this includes tiresome details concerning long-forgotten people and events.
       Escott's writing is curiously stilted (see the passages quoted above), yet not without appeal. He's willing to indulge in tangential anecdotes (some quite amusing), though there's also a great deal of precise and rather monotonous listing of events and occurrences. Still, it is readable throughout, sufficiently informative and entertaining in turn to hold one's interest.
       Edward Bulwer is a solid survey of Bulwer Lytton's life and career. It doesn't offer as much salacious material as Leslie Mitchell's biography, but is a clearly presented overview of man and work -- a good introduction and useful reference work.

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Edward Bulwer Lytton: Other books about Bulwer Lytton under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Thomas Hay Scott Escott wrote numerous works of non-fiction.

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© 2003-2010 the complete review

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