1803 Born 25 May at 31 Baker Street, London, youngest of three sons of General William Earle Bulwer (1757-1807) of Heydon Hall in Norfolk and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton (1773-1843), heiress of the Robinson and Lytton families of Knebworth in Herfordshire.
1804 Mrs. Bulwer obtains legal guardianship of her children through the Court of Chancery; her husband appoints her estranged husband military commander of Lancashire.
1807 7 July: Death of his father, General William Earle Bulwer, who, having arranged for the defence of Lancashire against possible French invasion, had anticipated being elevated to the peerage.
1812 Attends Dr. Ruddock's school in Fulham; as a result of ill treatment, he is transferred to Dr. Hooker's school at Rottingdean.
1819-1821 Studies Latin, Greek, history, and rhetoric under Rev. Charles Wallington at Ealing in preparation for attending Cambridge. His platonic love affair with Lucy D is cut short by her family's marrying her off, sending him into a Byronic melancholy.
1820 London firm of J. Hatchard and Son publishes the Byronic Ismael: An Oriental Tale, with Other Poems, for which BL received acknowledgement from Sir Walter Scott.
1821 Works on his mathematics skills with Oxford tutor Thomson.
1822 Enters Trinity College, Cambridge, during the Easter term ; subsequently transferred to Trinity Hall as a fellow-commoner, thereby being excused from attending lectures. Through the Union Debating Society he becomes acquainted with the university's leading undergraduates, including Thomas Babington Macaulay.
1823 Delmour; or, A Tale of a Sylphid, and Other Poems
1824-1826 Travels in England and abroad, making a pilgrimage to the grave of Lucy D in Ullswater. He also visited Robert Owen's model factory. At Brocket Park near Knebworth becomes infatuated with Byron's ex-mistress, the mercurial Lady Caroline Lamb.
1825 July, wins the Chancellor's medal for his poem "Sculpture." The poem is attacked by Fraser's Magazine. Bulwer-Lytton publishes the early novel Rupert de Lindsay
1826 Weeds and Wildflowers published. Bulwer-Lytton takes his BA, then travels to Paris, the Faubourg St. Germain, and Versailles, returning to London in April.
1827 On 30 August, at St. James's Church in London, BL married Irish wit and free-thinker Rosina Doyle Wheeler, niece of General Sir John Doyle and prot´g´e of Lady Caroline Lamb, much to his mother's disapproval. BL publishes the gloomy Byronic romance Falkland.
1828 June: Bulwer-Lytton publishes the witty, anti-ByronicPelham, a 'silver fork' novel about fashionable life. December:The Disowned based on BL's youthful excursions with the Gypsies near his home and his brief adventures in France.
1829 June: BL attempts the genre of the historical novel with Devereux, set in the reign of Queen Anne.
1830 August: BL publishes his first 'Newgate' (crime) novel, Paul Clifford , a novel with a purpose: the reform of the British judicial system.
1831-1832 BL publishes the long, satirical poem The Siamese Twins and an edition of Collected Poems . BL becomes editor of the New Monthly Magazine.
1831-1841 As reforming Liberal Member of Parliament for St. Ives and Lincoln, BL is instrumental in the passage of the First Reform Bill of 1832, and helps prevent a Tory return to power through the publication of the pamphlet Letter to a Late Cabinet Minister on the Present Crisis (1834).
1832 PublishesEugene Aram, a psychological crime thriller; the controversial aspect of the story is that the protagonist is a murderer.
1833 Anticipates his later occult thrillers with Godolphin , a novel of fashionable life. He also publishes the two-volume History of England , about his nation during and after the Napoleonic Wars. Breakdown of health, journey to Italy, and first separation from his wife.
1834 The Last Days of Pompeii BL meets noted actor-manager W. C. Macready.
1835 Receives an MA from Cambridge, and publishes Rienzi, a novel about mediaeval Italy.
1836 Final separation from his wife. The Duchess de la Valliere .
1837 4 January: Macready stages The Duchess de la Valliere , a Three Musketeers-like drama concerning a young courtier in the days of Louis XIV and her tragic love for a soldier, but the play holds the stage only seven nights. publishes a two-volume classical history Athens, Its Rise and Fall and another novel of fashionable life, Ernest Maltravers .
1838 Sequel to Ernest Maltravers, Alice, a bildungsroman; and two mediaeval Spanish-set potboilers, Leila; or, The Siege of Granada and Calderon the Courtier. Bulwer-Lytton wins parliamentary abolition of the last vestige of West Indian slavery ("apprenticeship"). He writes the highly successful drama The Lady of Lyons, which Macready stages from 15 February at Covent Garden.
1839 William Macready stages Bulwer-Lytton's Richelieu a five-act play in blank verse, from 7 March to public acclaim. Encouraged by its success, Bulwer-Lytton writes another historical five-act drama, The Sea Captain; or, The Birthright , which ran for several weeks at the Haymarket Theatre in October, but popular reception is mixed, and W. M. Thackeray satirizes the play with ruthless brilliance in The Yellow Plush Papers.
1840 8 December: The pre-Wildean comedy Money at the Haymarket wins wide acceptance among London theatre audiences, running until May, 1841; this drawing-room comedy would be revived throughout the century.
1841 Retires from Parliament. Publishes the novel Night and Morning
1842 Zanoni.
1843 Parliament finally passes the Theatre Regulation Act ("Bulwer's Bill") granting status to minor theatres but extending the licensing power of the Lord Chamberlain. The Last of the Barons. Mother's death; following the terms of her will, he hyphenated his name to the patrician-sounding "Bulwer-Lytton."
1846 Lucretia; or, The Children of the Night
1847 Defends his crime fiction against public criticism in A Word to the Public.
1848 The historical novel Harold, set at the time of the Norman Conquest, embodies Bulwer-Lytton's theory about certain leaders' being successful because they exemplify the Spirit of the Age. His beloved daughter Emily dies of typhus in London; Bulwer-Lytton is stricken with grief.
1849 The Caxtons: A Family Picture runs serially in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine from April, 1848, through October, 1849, prior to volume publication.
1850 My Novel, by Pisistratus Caxton; or, Varieties in English Life runs serially in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine from Sept., 1850, through January, 1853, prior to volume publication.
1851 Dickens and his amateur perform Bulwer-Lytton's especially-written Not So Bad as We Seem for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on May 7 as BL's contribution to The Guild of Literature and Art, a pension scheme he and Dickens have created; Bulwer-Lytton joins the Conservative party.
1852-1866 Returns to Parliament as Conservative member for Hertford.
1857 The story "The Haunted and The Haunters" appears in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in August.
1853 My Novel published by Blackwood and Son.
1858 Charles Dickens supplies Bulwer-Lytton with the title What Will He Do with It? by Pisistratus Caxton, which runs serially in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine from June, 1857, through January 1859, prior to volume publication.
1858-1859 As Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord Derby's conservative administration, Bulwer-Lytton names the new Pacific crown colony where gold has been discovered "New Caledonia."
1862 The (anonymous) novelA Strange Story runs weekly in Dickens's journal All the Year Round from 10 August, 18621, to 8 March, 1862. Bulwer-Lytton turns down the throne of Greece left vacant by the abdication of King Otho.
1863 Caxtoniana .
1864 Cambridge honours a lifetime's contributions to literature with the degree of LLD.
1866 Raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton — henceforward, he is known as "Bulwer-Lytton." Volume of verse The Lost Tales of Miletus published by Blackwood.
1869 The historical play Walpole; Bulwer-Lytton's metrical translation of The Odes and Epodes of Horace published.
1870 On 15 January, receives the order of St. Michael and St. George.
1871 The novel The Coming Race is published by Blackwood in a single volume.
1872 The novel The Parisians runs serially in Blackwood's from October, 1872, through January, 1874.
1873 Kenelm Chillingly: His Adventures and Opinions published in three volumes by William Blackwood. 18 January, Bulwer-Lytton dies at Torquay. The Parisians published in four volumes by William Blackwood.
1876 Pausanias the Spartan published posthumously through the efforts of his son, Robert, and Bulwer-Lytton's old college friend, Benjamin Hall Kennedy from BL's notes.
1882 Bulwer-Lytton's last historical drama Darnley staged.

References

"Bulwer-Lytton." (Professor Matsuoka's Nagoya site)

Campbell, James L. Sr. Edward Bulwer-Lytton . Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986.

Christensen, Allan C. Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Fiction of New Regions. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976.

Ley, J. W. T. The Dickens Circle . New York: E. P. Dutton, 1918.


Victorian Overview

Last updated 12 December 2000