Sybil: Or the Two Nations (2nd Revised edition)

ISBN : 9780198759898

Benjamin Disraeli; Nicholas Shrimpton
464 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
Oxford World's Classics


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  • A new edition of one of the first modern political novels
  • No previous edition of Sybil has been so fully annotated with the notes providing a thorough explanation of the distinctively Tory view of English history which Disraeli opposed to the increasingly dominant 'Whig History' of the period
  • The Chronology which offers an unprecedentedly full summary of Disraeli's twin careers as author and politician
  • The Note on the Text which gives a complete account of the process of composition and publication
  • The Text, is that of the first edition of 1845, not the revised version which later became customary
  • The Introduction gives a new and distinctive reading of the political symbolism of the novel. This stresses its roots in the polemical medievalism of the 1840s, while suggesting that the radical Northern Tories of the 'Ten Hours' movement (such as W. B. Ferrand) were more important to Disraeli by 1845 than the 'Young England' group with which Sybil is usually associated
  • The Introduction also makes the case for the interest of Sybil as a work of art, as well as an historical and political document

Sybil, or The Two Nations is one of the finest novels to depict the social problems of class-ridden Victorian England. The book's publication in 1845 created a sensation, for its immediacy and readability brought the plight of the working classes sharply to the attention of the reading public. The 'two nations' of the alternative title are the rich and poor, so disparate in their opportunities and living conditions, and so hostile to each other. that they seem almost to belong to different countries. The gulf between them is given a poignant focus by the central romantic plot concerning the love of Charles Egremont, a member of the landlord class, for Sybil, the poor daughter of a militant Chartist leader.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Benjamin Disraeli
Edited by Nicholas Shrimpton, Emeritus Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford 
Nicholas Shrimpton is the editor of Trollope's The Prime Minister (2011) and The Warden(2014) for Oxford World's Classics. His most recent title for Oxford World's Classics is Trollope's An Autobiography (2016). He is currently completing an edition of Matthew Arnold's poetry and a book on Arnold's early poetry.

"perfect timing for this new edition ... with a brilliant introduction that throws fresh light on Disraeli's views, explains the novel's culutural roots and defends its place as an accomplished work of fiction in its own right" - The Lady

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