[The follow passage appears in Stopford A. Brooke's Life and Letters (1865). George P. Landow, Professor of English and the History of Art, Brown University, has scanned it from the text of the 1902 edition (see bibliography) and formatted it in HTML.]

I have been reading 'My Novel' — the first volume only as yet — the only work in the form of a tale I ever read which succeeded in introducing moral and political discussion, and even making the work practical by their introduction, without being tedious, tempting the reader to skip the politics and take the story; even 'Coningsby' failed in this. 'My Novel' weaves the tale and the doctrines inseparably together, and in a really masterly way. The discussion of the Parson and Riccabocca with Linney respecting the pamphlet with the motto 'Knowledge is power,' is very clever and interesting. The book breathes a sound, healthy tone of feeling, very different from Bulwer Lytton's earlier works. For instance, in page 204: 'He had been brought up from his cradle in simple love and reverence for the Divine Father and the tender Saviour — Whose life, beyond all record of human goodness — Whose death beyond all epics of mortal heroism, no being whose infancy has been taught to supplicate the Merciful and adore the Holy — yea, even though his later life may be entangled amid the storms of dissolute pyrrhonism — can ever hear reviled and scoffed without a shock to the conscience and a revolt to the heart.'

Bulwer's mental career is a very peculiar one. Generally minds exhaust themselves — the wine first, the lees afterwards; witness Sir Walter Scott after many years. But his was a strong nature. Commonly the indications of running dry, or repeating old views and character under new forms, show themselves after one or two works: in the lady novelists this is very conspicuously so — so too in Hawthorne; in the voluminous James, of course. But here is Bulwer coming out with his last two novels as fresh and different from each other, and as racy and original, as if he had never written anything before. [CLIX Cheltenham, 1853, pp. 302-3]


Brooke, Stopford A. Life and Letters of Fred[erick]. W. Robertson, M. A., Incumbent of Trinity Chapel, Brighton, 1847-53. People's Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., 1902.

Last modified 7 December 2007