Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803-1873) was an English novelist, playwright, and politician. Bulwer-Lytton's literary career began in 1820, with the publication of his first book of poems. He wrote in a variety of genres, including historical fiction, mystery, romance, the occult, and science fiction. In 1828 he attracted general attention with Pelham, a humourous, intimate study of the dandyism of the age which kept gossips busy in identifying characters with public figures of the time.
By 1833, he had reached the height of his popularity with Godolphin, followed by The Pilgrims of the Rhine (1834), The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), Rienzi: The Last of the Roman Tribunes (1835), and Harold: The Last of the Saxon Kings (1848). Lord Lytton was a florid, popular writer of his day, who coined such phrases as "the great unwashed," "pursuit of the almighty dollar," "the pen is mightier than the sword," and the infamous incipit "It was a dark and stormy night. "