Edward Bulwer-Lytton

English Author

In the late 1860s, Bulwer-Lytton spent some time putting his papers and correspondence in order. Beside the letters of some of his most intimate friends, Bulwer-Lytton appended comments; of Dickens he wrote:

"His work needs no eulogies from me. In his own way he is unrivalled and that way is one which leads to the widest range of popularity. He has been fortunate in escaping the envy of fellow writers and has aided their good fortune by very skillful care of his own fame watching every occasion to refresh it in times when it has seemed to fade a little, and maintaining a corps of devoted parasites in the press. He understands the practical part of authorship beyond my part.

"His nature is good and genuine -- an admirable actor, he is not without theatrical arts off the stage. He can even be insincere but unconsciously so. His power of observation on minute points of humor and character are marvellous -- he detects oddities and out of them invents original creations by a pleasing exaggeration of the salient points, so that his most humorous characters have a touch of caricature. He fails in characters of intellectual depth or refinement nor can he describe the struggle of the grander passions. He is no metaphysician nor could he have made a poetic dramatist. He hit upon that which he could do better than any other man and is only less than himself where he deviates from it. Certainly, on the whole, one of the greatest geniuses in fiction the world has produced."

from Sibylla Jane Flower, "Charles Dickens and Edward Bulwer-Lytton,"The Dickensian, Volume 69, Part 2, May 1973, p. 79.