DISRAELI'S TWENTIES were a period of exploration, shaping his ideas and sense of self. He was very much a young man in a hurry, seeking fame and wealth to fulfil his sense of destiny. As a writer and novelist raiding history and his own life for copy he achieved the first - though at times it was closer to notoriety; the second eluded him: he was no financial wunderkind. Part of the notoriety was due to his flamboyant appearance. Disraeli wore the bright colours, tight trousers, frilled shirts and large jewels of a dandy - a foppish, feminized style personified and led by Count D'Orsay (1801-52), a member of the Byron circle and future mentor to Disraeli.
Byron's life was a great inspiration to Disraeli as for many others. For Disraeli it percolated into his travels through Europe and the Middle East in the mid-1820s and early 1830s, and in his writing and friendships, and even extended to finding employment in his father's household for Byron's former gondolier and manservant Battista Flaceri (Tita), whom he had encountered in Malta in the summer of 1830. Byron died in Tita's arms at Missolonghi, as Issac D'Israeli would years later at Bradenham, the D'Israeli family home in Buckinghamshire.
During these formative years the emotional patterns in Disraeli's life emerge: closer relationships with older women (often Sarah D'Israeli look-alikes) and younger men; periods of frenetic activity and creativity followed by nervous exhaustion and collapse, relieved by periods of solitude in the country.
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Last modified: 02 August 2005 by LwM