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Lucretia — Volume 01 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
page 1 of 87 (01%)

by Edward Bulwer Lytton


"Lucretia; or, The Children of Night," was begun simultaneously with "The
Caxtons: a Family Picture." The two fictions were intended as pendants;
both serving, amongst other collateral aims and objects, to show the
influence of home education, of early circumstance and example, upon
after character and conduct. "Lucretia" was completed and published
before "The Caxtons." The moral design of the first was misunderstood
and assailed; that of the last was generally acknowledged and approved:
the moral design in both was nevertheless precisely the same. But in one
it was sought through the darker side of human nature; in the other
through the more sunny and cheerful: one shows the evil, the other the
salutary influences, of early circumstance and training. Necessarily,
therefore, the first resorts to the tragic elements of awe and distress,
--the second to the comic elements of humour and agreeable emotion. These
differences serve to explain the different reception that awaited the
two, and may teach us how little the real conception of an author is
known, and how little it is cared for; we judge, not by the purpose he
conceives, but according as the impressions he effects are pleasurable or
painful. But while I cannot acquiesce in much of the hostile criticism
this fiction produced at its first appearance, I readily allow that as a
mere question of art the story might have been improved in itself, and
rendered more acceptable to the reader, by diminishing the gloom of the