Benjamin Disraeli: Sybil

(3920 words)

Genesis and the Political Context

Sybil, or The Two Nations (1845), the second novel in Benjamin Disraeli’s Young England Trilogy, is his most famous work, not least because it launched the phrase “the two nations” which British politicians and pundits still find pertinent. The first occurrence of the phrase was actually in Disraeli’s commonplace book of 1842 but it was not until 1844, after the publication of Coningsby, that he saw its potential as the theme of a polemical novel on what the Victorians termed “the condition-of-England question”. Thomas Carlyle is generally credited with inaugurating debate about the condition-of-England in his pamphlet Chartism in 1839, and contributing to i…

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Clausson, Nils. "Sybil". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2012
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]