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(LYTTON) It will be a dark and stormy night in Canada’s Hot Spot when Lord Lytton’s descendant dukes it out with the American academic who’s made his famous forebear a literary laughing stock.
The Honourable Henry Lytton Cobbold (great-great-great-grandson of Victorian novelist and politician Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, namesake of the village of Lytton) is taking the gloves off for a no-holds barred literary slamfest with his famous forebear’s tormentors from San Jose State University.
“I am very pleased for the opportunity to defend Bulwer Lytton’s literary reputation in debate with Professor (Scott) Rice, whose scurrilous Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest cannot even spell the great man’s name correctly,” said Lytton Cobbold.
“To have been the first to pen a cliché of the renown, ‘It was a dark and stormy night,’ is a mark of genius and I’ll stand against any man who says otherwise!”
Lytton Cobbold will provide a vigorous and spirited literary defense of his literary ancestor against Professor Scott Rice of San Jose State University during the Great Bulwer-Lytton Debate, August 30, 3:00 p.m. in Lytton.
Professor Rice is head of the Bulwer-Lytton Writing contest, which just handed out its awards this week. And Rice isn’t afraid to take the gloves off to defend his contest.
“I come to bury Lytton, not to praise him,” said Rice. “The evil that men do lives after them, in Lytton’s case in twenty-seven novels whose perfervid turgidity I intend to expose, denude, and generally make visible.”
The trans-Atlantic literary slugfest is a centerpiece of Lytton’s Riverfest celebrations (Aug. 29-31) and was organized with the help of the New Pathways To Gold Society.
“We’re delighted to have the Honourable Henry Lytton Cobbold and Professor Rice square off as part of our festival,” said Bernie Faudrich, chair of the Riverfest committee.
“It’s a fitting way to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the community of Lytton.”
Henry Lytton Cobbold and Professor Rice will debate the literary merits of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, who was born in 1803 and was a Member of Parliament as well as a writer. In 1858 he was appointed Colonial Secretary. It was Lord Lytton who helped end the Hudson’s Bay monopoly of trade on the Mainland of British Columbia, appointing James Douglas as governor of a new Crown colony.
“He was very influential in shaping the course of B.C. history,” said Lytton Mayor Chris O’Connor, who is also co-chair of the New Pathways To Gold Society.
“Lord Lytton was also deeply concerned about the welfare of B.C.’s First Nations and sent specific instructions to Governor Douglas in that regard”
O’Connor noted that Lord Lytton also sent a detachment of Royal Engineers to British Columbia under the command of Colonel Richard Clement Moody, an experienced colonial hand who had a great influence on the colony during its formative years.
He was created Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. As a novelist, Bulwer Lytton was popular during his lifetime. Among his novels are such works as Paul Clifford (1830), The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) and his utopian book, The Coming Race. He was also a playwright, writing such works as Richelieu (1839).
The Bulwer-Lytton Writing contest has poked fun at Lytton’s prose since 1982, sending up the former Colonial Secretary’s opening to Paul Clifford, published in 1830.
The complete quote reads: “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.”