Alice or the Mysteries - PDF novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Alice or the Mysteries

Alice or the Mysteries


Review by Tristan Shandy

Alice or The Mysteries picks up the story of the disenchanted poet-gone-politician-gone-recluse Ernest Maltravers, his early love Alice Darvil and his underhanded antagonist Lumley Ferrers. Whereas, after Florence Lascelles’s death, Ernest has withdrawn from the world, everything seems to go well with Lumley, who has inherited the title of Lord Vargrave and started a political career. 

There is only the want of a fortune with which to further his social ambitions that keep Lumley busy, and he is quite sure to lay hands on his late uncle’s vast inheritance by marrying the latter’s ward Evelyn, a marriage that has been wished for but not commanded by his dying relative. However, Fate, at its most willful, again throws 

Ernest into Lumley’s way for when Maltravers meets the gentle and charming heiress and falls in love with her, the girl’s reservations against her long-time fiancĂ© Lumley begin to grow, and the cynical politician again begins to plot against his former friend.

From the novel introduction:

For the original idea — which with humility I will venture to call the philosophical design — of moral education or apprenticeship, I have left it easy to be seen that I am indebted to Goethe's " Wilhelm Meister." But in " Wilhelm Meister " the apprenticeship is rather that of theoretical art.

In the more homely plan that 1 set before me, the apprenticeship is rather that of practical life; and with this view, it has been especially my study to avoid all those attractions lawful in romance — or tales of pure humour or unbridled fancy, — attractions that in the language of reviewers are styled under the head of " most striking descriptions," "scenes of extraordinary power," etc., and are derived from violent contrasts and exaggerations pushed into caricature. It has been my aim to subdue and tone down the persons introduced, and the general agencies of the narrative, into the lights and shadows of life as it is. 

I do not mean by " life as it is " the vulgar and the outward life alone, but life in its spiritual and mystic as well as its more visible and fleshly characteristics. The idea of not only describing but developing character under the ripening influences of time and circumstance is not confined to the apprenticeship of Maltravers alone, but per- vades the progress of Cesarini, Ferrers, and Alice Darvil. 

The original conception of Alice is taken from real life, — from a person I never saw but twice, and then she was no longer young, but whose history made me a deep impression. Her early ignorance and home; her first love; the strange and affecting fidelity that she maintained, in spite of new ties; her final re-meeting, almost in middle- age, with one lost and adored almost in childhood, — all this, aa showed in the novel, is but the imperfect transcript of the true adventures of a living woman.


the book details :
  • Author:Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Publication date: 1849
  • Company: Boston: D. Estes

  • Download Alice - PDF novel 32.6 MB

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