3309639Eugene Aram — PrefaceEdward George Earle Lytton Bulwer


Nearly two years have elapsed, dear Reader, since, in Paul Clifford, I, last—and somewhat more than four since, in Pelham, I first—addressed thee in my present capacity. The Tale which I now submit to thee, differs equally from the last as from the first of those works; for, of the two evils, perhaps it is even better to disappoint thee in a new style, than to weary thee with an old. With the facts on which the tale of Eugene Aram is founded, I have exercised the common and fair licence of writers of fiction: it is chiefly the more homely parts of the real story that have been altered; and for what I have added, and what omitted, I have the sanction of all established authorities, who have taken greater liberties with characters yet more recent, and far more protected by historical recollections. The book was, for the most part, written in the early part of the year, when the interest the task created in the Author was undivided by other subjects of excitement, and he had leisure enough not only to be nescio quid meditans nugarum, but also to be totus in illis!

I originally purposed to have adapted the story of Eugene Aram to the Stage. I abandoned that design when more than half completed; but 1 have wished to impart to this Romance something of the nature of Tragedy,—something of the more transferable of its qualities. Enough of this—it is not the Author's wishes, but the Author's books, that the world will judge him by. Perhaps, then, (with this I conclude) in the dull monotony of public affairs, and in these long winter evenings, when we gather round the fire, prepared for the gossip's tale, willing to indulge the fear, and to believe the legend, perhaps, dear Reader, thou mayest turn, not reluctantly, even to these pages, for at least a newer excitement than the Cholera: or for a momentary relief from the everlasting discussions on "the Bill."

London, Dec. 22, 1831.