A Reassessment of Benjamin Disraeli’s Jewish Aspects

The attraction of Disraeli’s personality, the enigma of his career and of his success in British public life, preoccupied many biographers, writers, politicians and critics both during his life and after.1 A Punch cartoon described Disraeli as a ‘Sphinx’, and so he was considered by many friends and foes. Some biographers went out of their way to be hostile to their subject due to his ‘Jewishness’, some played down this side of his personality. The Jewish aspects of Disraeli were discussed in a number of scholarly works (L. Wolf, A. Kulisher, H. Waelder, B. Segal owitz, J. Caro, R. A. Levin and others). Most of these works were partial, were published forty to fifty years ago, and were based mainly on the definitive six-volume biography by Monnypenny and Buckle that appeared in the years 1910-20, for which the Disraeli archives (‘Hughenden Papers’) were used. None of these scholars saw the

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