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Defending Bulwer-Lytton.

Jess Nevins has posted up his defense of Bulwer-Lytton's prose over at No Fear of the Future, saying that the Victorian writer wasn't all that bad:
But Bulwer-Lytton deserves better. Never mind that he wrote in the style of his era, and that to single him out for writing like his contemporaries is unjust. Never mind that other writers who are his stylistic inferiors are not targeted so; no sober critic would read Walter Scott or Fenimore Cooper, and then read Bulwer-Lytton, and declare that Bulwer-Lytton is more deserving of derision. Never mind that, as Jaime Weinman says, "It was a dark and stormy night" isn’t really that bad. (I can find several opening lines in Dickens that are worse).
Bulwer-Lytton is of course the inspiration for the infamous contest of bad (made-up) first lines for novels with his "It was a dark and stormy night" leading the way for other terrible prose-stylists.

It looks like they've also announced this year's winners for the Bulwer-Lytton contest, with the winning line won by Jim Gleeson:
Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.
Do also check out the other entries, they're all wonderfully terrible!

Comments

  1. Well, I thought it was a great way to start a novel. Peeing and lava...what more could anyone want?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gratuitous titties would've been nice.

    ReplyDelete

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