Disraeli: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert - review by Catherine Peters

Catherine Peters

The Pragmatic Populist

Disraeli: A Personal History


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"WHAT WE CALL the heart", said Sidonia, "is a nervous sensation, like shyness, which gradually disappears in society. It is fervent in the nursery, strong in the domestic circle, tumultuous at school. The affections are the children of ignorance; when the horizon of our experience expands, and models multiply, love and admiration imperceptibly vanish." "I fear the horizon of your experience has very greatly expanded. With your opinions, what charm can there be in life?" "The sense of existence."

Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby Christopher Hibbert's welcome new biography of Disraeli implies that he had a good deal in common with his mysterious character Sidonia. This is a 'personal history', but there is a coldness in the portrait which repels intimacy, only occasionally warmed by sparks of affection. An enigma to

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