Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Jeremy Corbyn – the early years

The call for the comically appalling first or final paragraph of the memoir of a well-known figure was one of those challenges where we raise a glass in memory of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Victorian novelist and patron saint of purple prose. The oft-cited example of his florid style is the opening to the 1830 novel Paul Clifford — ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ — which was used by Charles Schulz as the first line of Snoopy’s novel, and by Brian Murdoch in his winning entry below.

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