chapter  6
Inhabitants of Different Planets
Pages 20

When Thackeray moved from inspiring the pen of Jeames to writing a review of Sybil for the Morning Chronicle of 13 May 1845, he presented a more balanced opinion of Disraeli's contribution to Young England. Disraeli was well aware of which way the wind was blowing, and he realised the political dangers of a close literary association with Puseyism. Sybil's Catholicism is a faith of tradition and paternalism. The one great catch-phrase that Sybil has handed down to us is 'The Two Nations', and to examine the seemingly irreconcilable sides of Disraeli's world would appear to be to penetrate the heart of the novel. Disraeli's view of the human condition, even if it reflects mainly the author's own idiosyncrasies, is ultimately more significant for an assessment of the man as a novelist than is any attempt to construct a philosophical and political synthesis through fiction. Perhaps the most important oxymoron to be remembered is that of 'political novelist'.