When we think of Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), one of two images inevitably first springs to mind: either Disraeli the two-time prime minister of Britain, or Disraeli the author of major novels such as Coningsby, Sybil, and Endymion. But were these two sides of his persona entirely separate? After all, the recurring fantasy structures in Disraeli's fictions bear a striking similarity to the imaginative ways in which he shaped his political career. Disraeli: The Romance of Politics provides a remarkable biographical portrait of Disraeli as both a statesman and a storyteller. Drawing extensively on Disraeli's published letters and speeches, as well as on archival sources in the United Kingdom, Robert O'Kell illuminates the intimate, symbiotic relationship between his fiction and his politics. His investigation shines new light on all of Disraeli's novels, his two governments, his imperialism, and his handling of the Irish Church Disestablishment Crisis of 1868 and the Eastern Question in the 1870s.
Robert O'Kell is Professor of English, and Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts, at the University of Manitoba.
Acknowledgments Preface Introduction 1. The Representative Affair 2. The Byronic Legacy 3. Virtues and Vanities 4. Henrietta: A Love Story 5. What Is He? The Crisis Examined 6. Prejudice 7. Vindication 8. "The Arts of a Designing Person": Disraeli, Peel, and Young England / Coningsby; or the New Generation 9. Sir Robert Peel and the Apotheosis of Young England 10. Sybil; Two Nations, or One?: Disraeli's Allegorical Romance 11. The Corn Law Debate of 1846 and the Politics of Protection 12. Tancred: Principles, Expediency and Trust 13. Leadership 14. On Top of the Greasy Pole: The Disestablishment Crisis of 1868 15. Lothair: The Politics of Love, Faith and Duty 16. "The Family Romance": Politics, Power and Love in Disraeli's Endymion 17. The Faery Queen, the "Arch Villain," and "the Mephistopheles of Statesmanship" 18. The Conquering Hero / Falconet Bibliography Index