Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-546b4f848f-bvkm5 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-05-31T17:45:32.602Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

1 - Disraeli's education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2010

Get access

Summary

‘A sneer! Oh! Ladylove, do I ever sneer?’ (Vivian Grey)

In 1852, one month after Disraeli became chancellor of the exchequer, Heinrich Heine wrote: ‘A singular phenomenon in England – a novelist becoming a minister.’ Disraeli was not the first public man with literary inclinations; but the romantic and imaginative quality of his writing makes him unique. This anomalous combination of romantic artist and practical politician, together with the apparent disjunction between what he wrote in his books and what he did in political life, has caused his biographers to comprehend him either as actuated by a mere vulgar ambition to climb, or as a far-sighted statesman, whose career was guided by transcendent ideas. If the former view is accepted, then a charge of insincerity must be sustained; if the latter is accepted then his opportunism is inexplicable. In this chapter, on the basis of an examination of his unconventional education, I explore whether or not it is possible to combine Disraeli's romantic ideas and cynical politics as an organic whole, without excluding either one or the other.

Little is known of Disraeli's education prior to his fourteenth year. At a very early age, he was sent to a school at Islington, which was kept by a Miss Roper. He was then moved to a boarding school at Blackheath, whose headmaster was a nonconformist minister named Potticary. Later in life Disraeli had little recollection of Blackheath but, according to one of his schoolfellows, Disraeli and another Jewish boy were required to stand at the back of the room during prayers.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1999

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×