Anorak News | Winner Of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest: ‘Gerald Began – But Was…

Winner Of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest: ‘Gerald Began – But Was…

by | 2nd, August 2007

IT was a dark and stormy night… The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest takes its name from Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel “Paul Clifford” famously begins “It was a dark and stormy night.”

A Wisconsin man whose blend of awkward syntax, imminent disaster and bathroom humor offends both good taste and the English language won an annual contest Monday that salutes bad writing.

Jim Gleeson, 47, of Madison, Wis., beat out thousands of other prose manglers in San Jose State University’s 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this convoluted opening sentence to a nonexistent novel:

“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’ meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash – to pee,” Gleeson wrote.

Scott Rice, an English professor at San Jose State, called Gleeson’s entry a “syntactic atrocity” that displays “a peculiar set of standards or values.” Rice has organized the contest since founding it in 1982.

Posted: 2nd, August 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink