Mapping Male Sexuality: Nineteenth-Century England

By Jay Losey; William D. Brewer | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Benjamin Disraeli, Judaism, and the
Legacy of William Beckford

RICHARD DELLAMORA

You will surely not find it strange that this subject,
so profound and difficult, should bear various
interpretations, for it will not impair the face of the
argument with which we are here concerned. Either
explanation may be adopted.

—Moses Maimonides


INTRODUCTION

SHORTLY AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE FIRST REFORM BILL IN 1832, BENjamin Disraeli began to write a romance about a legendary Jewish hero named David Alroy.1 Why did he do so at a time when he was attempting to launch a political career in England, a country where Jews were not permitted to hold seats in Parliament? Why, moreover, did the book, when published, bring Disraeli to the attention of William Beckford, a wealthy amateur musician and author of an Oriental romance, whose main claim to fame had been his involvement in a notorious sexual scandal? And why did Richard Harris Barham, a noted humorist and Anglican divine, immediately pen a parody of Disraeli’s text, in which Barham identifies Jewish literary aspiration with theft and Jewish heroism with an assault on the Established Church? In a poisonous sketch, Barham identifies Alroy and Disraeli with Isaac Solomon, the best known Jewish criminal of the 1830s (and the model of Fagin in Oliver Twist, 1838).

In publishing The Wondrous Tale of Alroy (1833), Disraeli attempted to constitute himself as a national subject, affirming his identity simultaneously as a minority and an imperial subject. As a young man, he wrote: “My mind is a continental mind. It is a revolutionary mind.”2 Nor did a single continent suffice. Disraeli’s mind and travels included not only Europe but also the Middle East, where he traveled in 1830 and 1831, and extended as far afield as

-145-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mapping Male Sexuality: Nineteenth-Century England
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 376

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?