Eugene Aram, a brilliant but reclusive scholar, lives in obscurity, devoting his life to arcane research. But he is gradually coaxed from his solitary lifestyle by his kindly old neighbour, Rowland Lester, and as Aram's visits to Lester become more frequent, he becomes more and more enamoured of beautiful Madeline Lester. And yet, despite the young lovers' apparent happiness, Aram seems to be hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, Madeline's cousin Walter sets out to learn the fate of his long-lost father. His quest will lead to the discovery of a long-hidden and horrible crime and the trial of Eugene Aram for murder!
When Eugene Aram appeared in 1832, it drew mixed reactions: critics condemned it vehemently for romanticizing the life of a well-known convicted murderer, while the reading public eagerly snatched up copies of the novel. Controversial both for the artistic liberties Bulwer took with the facts of the case and for his ambivalent portrayal of his eponymous anti-hero, Eugene Aram remained nonetheless one of the most popular novels of the Victorian period.
This new scholarly edition includes the unabridged text of the original three-volume edition of 1832, together with an introduction and annotations by Ann-Barbara Graff. Also featured are appendices containing contemporary reviews of the novel, a parody by Thackeray, Bulwer's fragment of a tragedy about Aram, and other contextual documents.