Bulwer

Bulwer

[bool-wer]
Bulwer, William Henry Lytton Earle, Baron Dalling and Bulwer, 1801-72, English diplomat and author; brother of the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He was known most of his life as Sir Henry Bulwer. Although he sat in Parliament for some years (1830-37, 1868-71), he was most prominent as a diplomat. As secretary of the embassy in Constantinople (1837-38) he secured a commercial treaty with Turkey. He was ambassador to Spain (1843-48) during the affair of the Spanish Marriages (see Isabella II) but was ordered to leave by the dictator Ramón Narváez, whom he offended. As minister to Washington (1849-52), he concluded the important Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. Among his later diplomatic posts were Florence, Bucharest, and, again, Constantinople (1858-65). He was created a baron in 1871. His writings include An Autumn in Greece (1826), France: Social, Literary, and Political (1834-36), Historical Characters (1867), and biographies of Lord Byron (1835) and Viscount Palmerston (1870-74, unfinished).

(1850) Compromise agreement designed to harmonize contending British and U.S. interests in Central America. The treaty provided that the two countries jointly control and protect what was to become the Panama Canal. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty was superseded in 1901 by the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, under which the British government agreed to allow the U.S. to construct and control the canal.

Learn more about Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) is a tongue-in-cheek contest that takes place annually and is sponsored by the English Department of San José State University in San Jose, California. Entrants are invited "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels" — that is, deliberately bad. A prize of US$250 is awarded.

History

The contest was initiated in 1982 by Professor Scott Rice and is named "in honor" of English novelist and playwright Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, author of the much-quoted first line "It was a dark and stormy night." This opening continues floridly:

"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."

The first year of the competition attracted just three entries from on-campus, but it expanded to gain international attention and may attract as many as 10,000 entries in a year. There are also now several subcategories, such as detective fiction, romance novels, Western novels, and purple prose. Sentences that are notable but are judged not quite bad enough to merit the Grand Prize or a category prize are awarded Dishonorable Mentions.

Prior winners of the award include Gary Dahl, inventor of the Pet Rock, in the 2000 contest.

Winning entrants

Year Author Entry
2008 Garrison Spik Washington, D.C. Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.
2007 Jim Gleeson Madison, WI 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" mean the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash—to pee.
2006 Jim Guigli Carmichael, CA Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.
2005 Dan McKay Fargo, ND As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
2004 Dave Zobel Manhattan Beach, CA She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight … summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail … though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism … not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein … and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand … and that brought her back to Ramon.
2003 Mariann Simms Wetumpka, AL They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white … Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.
2001 Sera Kirk Vancouver, BC A small assortment of astonishingly loud brass instruments raced each other lustily to the respective ends of their distinct musical choices as the gates flew open to release a torrent of tawny fur comprised of angry yapping bullets that nipped at Desdemona's ankles, causing her to reflect once again (as blood filled her sneakers and she fought her way through the panicking crowd) that the annual Running of the Pomeranians in Liechtenstein was a stupid idea.
2000 Gary Dahl Los Gatos, CA The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors, their rocky elbows slipping off land's end, their bulbous, craggy noses thrust into the thick foam of the North Sea like bearded old men falling asleep in their pints.
1998 Bob Perry Milton, Massachusetts The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job.
1997 Artie Kalemeris Fairfax, Virginia The moment he laid eyes on the lifeless body of the nude socialite sprawled across the bathroom floor, Detective Leary knew she had committed suicide by grasping the cap on the tamper-proof bottle, pushing down and twisting while she kept her thumb firmly pressed against the spot the arrow pointed to, until she hit the exact spot where the tab clicks into place, allowing her to remove the cap and swallow the entire contents of the bottle, thus ending her life.
1996 Janice Estey Aspen, Colorado "Ace, watch your head!" hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn't you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips if he really tries, but he appreciated her warning.
1995 John L. Ashman Houston, Texas Paul Revere had just discovered that someone in Boston was a spy for the British, and when he saw the young woman believed to be the spy's girlfriend in an Italian restaurant he said to the waiter, "Hold the spumoni—I'm going to follow the chick an' catch a Tory."
1994 Larry Brill Austin, Texas As the fading light of a dying day filtered through the window blinds, Roger stood over his victim with a smoking .45, surprised at the serenity that filled him after pumping six slugs into the bloodless tyrant that mocked him day after day, and then he shuffled out of the office with one last look back at the shattered computer terminal lying there like a silicon armadillo left to rot on the information superhighway.
1993 Wm. W. "Buddy" Ocheltree Port Townsend, Washington She wasn't really my type, a hard-looking but untalented reporter from the local cat box liner, but the first second that the third-rate representative of the fourth estate cracked open a new fifth of old Scotch, my sixth sense said seventh heaven was as close as an eighth note from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, so, nervous as a tenth grader drowning in eleventh-hour cramming for a physics exam, I swept her into my longing arms, and, humming "The Twelfth of Never," I got lucky on Friday the thirteenth.
1992 Laurel Fortuner Montendre, France As the newest Lady Turnpot descended into the kitchen wrapped only in her celery-green dressing gown, her creamy bosom rising and falling like a temperamental souffle, her tart mouth pursed in distaste, the sous-chef whispered to the scullery boy, "I don't know what to make of her."
1991 Judy Frazier Lathrop, Missouri Sultry it was and humid, but no whisper of air caused the plump, laden spears of golden grain to nod their burdened heads as they unheedingly awaited the cyclic rape of their gleaming treasure, while overhead the burning orb of luminescence ascended its ever-upward path toward a sweltering celestial apex, for although it is not in Kansas that our story takes place, it looks godawful like it.
1990 Linda Vernon Newark, California Dolores breezed along the surface of her life like a flat stone forever skipping across smooth water, rippling reality sporadically but oblivious to it consistently, until she finally lost momentum, sank, due to an overdose of fluoride as a child which caused her to lie forever on the floor of her life as useless as an appendix and as lonely as a five-hundred-pound barbell in a steroid-free fitness center.
1989 Ray C. Gainey Indianapolis, Indiana Professor Frobisher couldn't believe he had missed seeing it for so long—it was, after all, right there under his nose—but in all his years of research into the intricate and mysterious ways of the universe, he had never noticed that the freckles on his upper lip, just below and to the left of the nostril, partially hidden until now by a hairy mole he had just removed a week before, exactly matched the pattern of the stars in the Pleides, down to the angry red zit that had just popped up where he and his colleagues had only today discovered an exploding nova.
1988 Rachel E. Sheeley Williamsburg, Indiana Like an expensive sports car, fine-tuned and well-built, Portia was sleek, shapely, and gorgeous, her red jumpsuit molding her body, which was as warm as the seatcovers in July, her hair as dark as new tires, her eyes flashing like bright hubcaps, and her lips as dewy as the beads of fresh rain on the hood; she was a woman driven—fueled by a single accelerant—and she needed a man, a man who wouldn't shift from his views, a man to steer her along the right road, a man like Alf Romeo.
1987 Sheila B. Richter Minneapolis, Minnesota The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically peddling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by Nature's maxim, "Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work," and at last I knew Pittsburgh.
1986 Patricia E. Presutti Lewiston, New York The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.
1985 Martha Simpson Glastonbury, Connecticut The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably—the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.
1984 Steven Garman Pensacola, Florida The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarous tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong, clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, "Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you'll feel my steel through your last meal."
1983 Gail Cain San Francisco, California The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails—not for the first time since the journey began—pondered snidely if this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent with Basil.

Books

Five books collecting the "best" BLFC entries have been published,

  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night (1984), ISBN 0-14-007556-9.
  • Son of "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" (1986), ISBN 0-14-008839-3.
  • Bride of Dark and Stormy (1988), ISBN 0-14-010304-X.
  • It Was a Dark & Stormy Night: The Final Conflict (1992), ISBN 0-14-015791-3.
  • Dark and Stormy Rides Again (1996), ISBN 0-14-025490-0.

And an audio cassette,

  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night (1997), Audio cassette, ISBN 1-57270-045-9.

See also

References

External links

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