chapter  5
Animal Magnetism, or Unknown Tongues
Pages 18

In Coningsby and in Sybil Disraeli the novelist, by his deftness as an artist, and by his habitual attempts to order and rationalise disparate ideals, lent grace and some genuine literary respectability to an amalgam of political ambitions and historical perspectives. These novels invite us to question the link between Disraeli's fiction and reality. Disraeli's practical political growth after 1837 was only one of the several factors which contributed to the expressions in the Young England novels. In his Young England novels Disraeli goes out of his way to make a number of provocative anti-Whig and almost Jacobite points, as when in Sybil he proclaims the beneficence of Charles I's tax system. The idea that Coningsby and Sybil require 'a devilish deal of history' to be understood has dominated much of the comment which the novels have generated.