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Friday, August 22, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night

Writing in The Guardian, Alison Flood reports that the great-great-great grandson of the much-maligned author Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton is to take part in a debate to defend his ancestor's writing.

The Honourable Henry Lytton Cobbold, of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, is travelling to Bulwer-Lytton's namesake, the town of Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, to take on the founder of the International Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, Professor Scott Rice, in a public debate on August 30.

Bulwer-Lytton has been ridiculed by the contest since 1982, when Rice came up with the idea for a competition to compose the opening sentence to the worst possible novel, inspired by Bulwer-Lytton's notorious "It was a dark and stormy night".

"I come to bury Lytton, not to praise him," said Rice. "The evil that men do lives after them, in Lytton's case in 27 novels whose perfervid turgidity I intend to expose, denude, and generally make visible."

"I'm off to defend his honour," Lytton Cobbold said. "Bulwer-Lytton was a remarkable man and it's rather unfair that Professor Rice decided to name the competition after him for entirely the wrong reasons. He was a great champion of the arts."

It won't be a "dark and stormy night." The debate is at 3 PM.

(I had to look up "perfervid." It is a real word. Apparently it means "very fervid.")

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