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Time to think again

Michael Neve, 3 March 1988

Benjamin DisraeliLetters 1838-1841 
edited by M.G Wiebe, J.B. Conacher, John Matthews and M.S. Millar.
Toronto, 458 pp., £40, March 1987, 0 8020 5736 5
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Salisbury: The Man and his Policies 
edited by Lord Blake and Hugh Cecil.
Macmillan, 298 pp., £29.50, May 1987, 0 333 36876 2
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... readers of the Sunday Telegraph. Time to think again. Time to look at the ‘theories’ of Benjamin Disraeli, and time, especially, to discover the deeply intellectualist conservatism of the third Marquis of Salisbury, whose record as the most electorally successful Conservative prime minister seems likely to be snatched by Mrs Thatcher. The ...

More Like a Mistress

Tom Crewe: Mr and Mrs Disraeli, 16 July 2015

Mr and Mrs DisraeliA Strange Romance 
by Daisy Hay.
Chatto, 308 pp., £20, January 2015, 978 0 7011 8912 9
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... I first heard​ of Benjamin Disraeli in a school assembly when I was ten or eleven. Our headmaster also taught history, and though he was known to us mainly as an expert in horse-drawn hoes, seed drills and threshing machines, that day he introduced us to a man born into the wrong religion and given an imperfect education, an author of unlikely novels and unlikelier cheques, sniffed at by the upper classes when he arrived at their dinner tables and baited by the mob when he asked for their votes ...

Jews on horseback

Peter Clarke, 10 May 1990

Disraeli 
by John Vincent.
Oxford, 127 pp., £4.95, March 1990, 0 19 287681 3
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... else he has lost in the process, it is not his ironic sense of humour, and in appraising one of Disraeli’s early bellelettrist fables, Vincent is nicely deadpan in quoting Jupiter’s comment on Apollo’s career as an editor: ‘for my part I should only be too happy to extinguish the Sun and every other newspaper were it only in my power.’ This is ...

Prime Ministers’ Pets

Robert Blake, 10 January 1983

Benjamin Disraeli Letters: Vol. I 1815-1834, Vol. II 1835-1837 
edited by J.A.W. Gunn, John Matthews, Donald Schurman and M.G. Wiebe.
Toronto, 482 pp., £37.50, June 1982, 0 8020 5523 0
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The Gladstone Diaries: with Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, Vol. VII, January 1869-June 1871, Vol. VIII, July 1871-December 1874 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew.
Oxford, 641 pp., £35, September 1982, 0 19 822638 1
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Disraeli 
by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 297 78153 7
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Gladstone: Vol. I 1809-1865 
by Richard Shannon.
Hamish Hamilton, 580 pp., £18, November 1982, 0 241 10780 6
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H.H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley 
edited by Michael Brock and Eleanor Brock.
Oxford, 676 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 19 212200 2
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... In reviewing the Gladstone Diaries and the Disraeli Letters I must declare an interest. I am chairman of the committee which superintends the publication of the former and one of the research consultants involved in the latter. But the quality and scholarship of the editors of all these volumes has been so widely acclaimed by others that there is no danger of appearing to give an unwarranted puff to works with which I am connected ...

Writing and Publishing

Alan Sillitoe, 1 April 1982

... pictures from Hollywood, which had for its subject the life of the great British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The scene that comes back is during a debate in the House of Commons on some great issue, when Disraeli sat with eyes closed, seemingly asleep, while the Leader of the Opposition, probably Mr ...

Misappropriation

Colin Kidd: Burke, 4 February 2016

Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... of Burke has a long history, going back at least as far as the 1830s and 1840s, when Benjamin Disraeli concocted lineages of authentic Toryism which he distinguished from mere conservatism. Disraeli’s hero was Viscount Bolingbroke, the leader of the Tories in the early 18th century, but he also found a ...

Snobs v. Herbivores

Colin Kidd: Non-Vanilla One-Nation Conservatism, 7 May 2020

Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism 
by Nick Timothy.
Polity, 275 pp., £20, March, 978 1 5095 3917 8
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... a Tory adviser. His hero wasn’t a member of the Conservative pantheon – Churchill, Thatcher, Disraeli – but the Liberal radical Joseph Chamberlain. As mayor of Birmingham in the 1870s, Chamberlain employed the techniques of municipal socialism to better the lives of its inhabitants, using compulsory purchase to establish efficient local monopolies in ...

The Shirt of Nessan

Patricia Craig, 9 October 1986

The Free Frenchman 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 570 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 40966 6
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Dizzy’s Woman 
by George MacBeth.
Cape, 171 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 224 02801 4
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On Foreign Ground 
by Eduardo Quiroga.
Deutsch, 92 pp., £7.95, April 1986, 0 233 97894 1
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A New Shirt 
by Desmond Hogan.
Hamish Hamilton, 215 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 241 11928 6
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... MacBeth’s declared intention is to supply a want. In the series of letters exchanged between Benjamin Disraeli and Frances Anne Vane-Tempest, Lady Londonderry (known as ‘Vane’) there’s an unexplained hiatus. A silence, beginning in 1839, the year of Disraeli’s marriage, and persisting until 1845, overtook ...

Overstatements

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Anti-Semitism, 10 June 2010

Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England 
by Anthony Julius.
Oxford, 811 pp., £25, February 2010, 978 0 19 929705 4
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... and who adroitly and flamboyantly played with all the Jewish stereotypes; one can’t imagine Benjamin Disraeli leading the Wilhelmine Second Reich. Equally, one could write a similar book to Julius’s about anti-Catholic prejudice in England over the last three centuries, or indeed about anti-homosexual prejudice. All these three irrationalities ...

Incompetents

Stephen Bann, 16 June 1983

Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 48 pp., £5.50, April 1983, 0 7145 3979 1
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That Voice 
by Robert Pinget, translated by Barbara Wright.
Red Dust (New York), 114 pp., $10.95, May 1983, 0 87376 041 7
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King Solomon 
by Romain Gary, translated by Barbara Wright.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 261416 2
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A Year in Hartlebury, or The Election 
by Benjamin Disraeli and Sarah Disraeli.
Murray, 222 pp., £8.50, May 1983, 0 7195 4020 8
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The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02130 3
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... Fantoine and Agapa’. Gary’s King Solomon kept its alias for no more than a year: Benjamin and Sarah Disraeli’s A Year at Hartlebury, or The Election has remained pseudonymous for a century and a half, to await republication at this most appropriate of seasons. No literary subterfuge was involved, but the ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... Lord Byron, David Livingstone, Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Benjamin Disraeli, William Ewart Gladstone, Samuel Smiles, Herman Melville and Washington Irving were all published from Albemarle Street. J.M.W. Turner and David Roberts provided illustrations for Murray Books. Granted, it’s a major archive. But the ...

Downsize, Your Majesty

David Cannadine, 16 October 1997

The Royals 
by Kitty Kelley.
Warner, 547 pp., $27, September 1997, 0 446 51712 7
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... The creation of this new-old style of royalty was popularly (and excessively) attributed to Benjamin Disraeli; it was, quite appropriately, a great-power monarchy for the great-power nation Britain undeniably was at the time of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897; and with the abolition of the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian thrones during ...

Gove or Galtieri?

Colin Kidd: Popular Conservatism, 5 October 2017

Crown, Church and Constitution: Popular Conservatism in England 1815-67 
by Jörg Neuheiser, translated by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser.
Berghahn, 320 pp., £78, May 2016, 978 1 78533 140 4
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Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy 
by Daniel Ziblatt.
Cambridge, 450 pp., £26.99, April 2017, 978 0 521 17299 8
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Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History 
by Emily Jones.
Oxford, 288 pp., £60, April 2017, 978 0 19 879942 9
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Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir 
by Ken Clarke.
Pan, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 5098 3720 5
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... needs of urban and industrial Britain. Yet within a few decades, at first under the inspiration of Benjamin Disraeli, this protectionist laager had been reoriented as a national, broad-based democratic party. In Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy Daniel Ziblatt conducts a comparative analysis of the European transition to democratic politics ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Spengler

Tom Nairn, 24 January 1980

An Unfinished History of the World 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 700 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 241 10282 0
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... to revive the noblest political lineage of Europe, that of ‘Dr Johnson, Pitt the Younger, Burke, Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Salisbury’. Some other recent world-histories have taken a stand against Euro-centrism, notably William McNeill’s A World History (1971) and J.M. Roberts’s The Hutchinson History of the World (1976). In this regard, Mr Thomas ...

Not Many Dead

Linda Colley, 10 September 1992

Riot, Risings and Revolution: Governance and Violence in 18th-Century England 
by Ian Gilmour.
Hutchinson, 504 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 09 175330 9
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... the masses. Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke and Alexander Pope argued this at the time, and Benjamin Disraeli made the same point when he stigmatised the Venetian oligarchy. Yet labelling the Whigs as the bad guys in this fashion, and indeed discussing 18th-century England in terms of internal violence in the way that both Gilmour and certain ...

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