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Lytton

February 25, 2015

This is Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

640px-Edward_George_Earle_Lytton_Bulwer_Lytton,_1st_Baron_Lytton_by_Henry_William_Pickersgill

He’s the important and quintessential Victorian gentleman most people haven’t ever heard of. Among his achievements:

The Golden Dawn, by the way, and its various offshoots, are responsible for the vast majority of late Victorian and 20th century New Age philosophy and occultism. The history of that is kind of fascinating, and I don’t know nearly enough to talk about it here. I do recommend at least reading the Wikipedia article I linked to and checking out the list of members near the bottom.

There is also speculation that his novel Vril: the Power of the Coming Race inspired the Nazis. With his reaction to the New Agers who adopted him, I bet he was spinning in his grave about that, if it’s true.

The small British Columbia community of Lytton is named after him. It started as a fur trading fort, became a major transportation hub starting during the Gold Rush, and is now kind of a backwater. It’s literally one of the hottest places in Canada, with summer temperatures topping 40°C.

aerial lytton

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is, obviously, also named for Sir Edward.

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