The Young Disraeli

The Young Disraeli

The Young Disraeli

The Young Disraeli

Excerpt

BENJAMIN DISRAELI has never ceased to be an interesting personality. An enigma to his contemporaries, he probably attracted more attention during the fifty-five years that he was in the public eye than any other Victorian. No less a mystery since his death in 1881, he has made his way into not only world history but also novels, stage plays, motion pictures, and Sunday supplements. He is quoted in the American Senate and in gardening magazines. His grave at Hughenden and his statue in Parliament Square are decorated every spring on the anniversary of his death. Even his novels are still read. A frequent attraction to scholars and a natural subject for professional popularizers, he has merited one of the best standard biographies in the language and a number of crisp, readable best-sellers. There have appeared at least fifty book-length studies of one or another aspect of his life, and other items on him in books and periodicals run into the thousands. Rare is the book on the Victorian period that contains no mention of him. It would seem that enough has been written about him. However, the most frequent complaint of students of Disraeli is that not enough has been written about his early years. With the discovery of heretofore neglected manuscript materials we are at last able to tell a story about him that has never been told before and to paint a picture of the young Disraeli. These neglected manuscripts consist of his correspondence with the "great friends" of his youth, Benjamin and Sara Austen, in all more than a hundred and fifty letters; a file dealing with his mistresses, Clara Bolton and Lady Sykes; and hundreds of others letters, memoranda, and scraps of paper dealing with his youth and early manhood.

Most of the information in the manuscripts consulted for this book has been suppressed by people who have already . . .

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