Sybil, or the two nations By Benjamin Disraeli MP, author of Coningsby'
Extract from second edition (London, 1845)
Vet. A6 e.18/1, pp. 148-9
Perhaps Disraeli's best-known novel, with its reference to the existence of two nations, the rich and the poor living side by side but in two serarate worlds, 'ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts and feelings'. For his description of social conditions Disraeli drew on primary and secondary sources and his own observations. With its rejection of materialism and emphasis on social welfare Sybil is perhaps also his most idealistic work. It did not propose specific remedies but its resonance lasted well beyond the 1840s. After the Second World War some of the brightest of the new parliamentary intake would form the One Nation Group. Sybil was dedicated to Mary Anne. Published like Coningsby in three volumes it, too, sold 3,000 copies. Both novels made about £1,000 profit each, which Disraeli and Colburn shared equally.
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