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Lyttelton, Thomas

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1744-1779) UK politician and author, best known as a libertine, and for his volatile side-changing in Parliament on the subject of the American colonies, as they began to achieve independence. He is of sf interest for the posthumous Poems, by a Young Nobleman ...; Particularly the State of England, and The once flourishing City of London. In a Letter from an American Traveller, Dated from the Ruinous Portico of St Paul's, in the Year 2199 ... [for full title see Checklist] (coll 1780 chap), which contains the first published narrative presentation of the version of the Ruins and Futurity topos where a tourist of the future investigates the ruins of a contemporary city (in this case London, see also New Zealander), almost always (as in this case) evoking the decline and fall of Rome and her Empire. Equally significant is Lyttelton's downgrading of moral calamity or divine pettishness as causes of decline, replacing these traditional figurations with assertions of economic decline and shifts in power; these assertions are clearly attuned to the transformations of Proto SF in the latter years of the eighteenth century. [JC]

Thomas Lyttelton, Second Baron Lyttelton

born Hagley, Worcestershire: 30 January 1744

died Epsom, Surrey: 27 November 1779



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