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Coningsby, or, The New Generation

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  13 reviews
1903. Known as a dandy, a novelist, a brilliant debater and England's first and only Jewish prime minister, Disraeli (Earl of Beaconfield) is best remembered for bringing India and the Suez Canal under control of the crown. This is the first novel in Disraeli's trilogy completed by Sybil and Tancred. Coningsby follows the fortunes of Harry Coningsby, the orphaned grandson ...more
Paperback, 573 pages
Published April 28th 2006 by Adamant Media Corporation (first published 1844)
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Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Disraeli's Sybil, (you can find my observations around here somewhere), I somehow came away with the idea that he had only written a couple of novels and when I stumbled upon this 1940s Modern Library edition (in the rather excellent Pickwick bookstore in Nyack, New York), I envisioned myself shortly having "done" Disraeli's oeuvre. Further research reveals that he wrote at least 18 novels, so you'd have to be a rather ardent enthusiast of Victorian literature ...more
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010

I turned to this after rereading Tom Reiss' "The Orientalist." Wanted to read about the status of Jews in 19th Century Britain.

How amazing people were before TV and the internet and twitting. Politicians wrote fine books and knew about art & literature! Obama would have been much happier back then. Well, without the racism, of course...

Anyway, wonderful novel incorporating Disraeli's ideas for a more perfect society. Excellent character descriptions, (naturally) an exceptional grasp of
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
1. Too many digressions/rants about politicians/politics of the early 19th c.

2. Pale imitation of Trollope.

3. There are some interesting characters and situations buried amid the rants (this kept me from abandoning the book), but probably not worth the effort.
This is an odd book. Nominally a novel, the plot and setting are pretty much just padding and framing for character sketches and analysis on the politics of the era. Its purpose is not so much to entertain as to explain the views of the author, B. Disraeli, MP. It's distinctly Victorian, with very long digressions by the author, a preference for telling rather than showing, no great efforts at characterization, and a tendency to idealize. It's not enough to be a nice day it must be the nicest da ...more
Pat Schakelvoort
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The edition from World Classics gave a handy index of the terms used compiled by Sheila Smith. Although it could have gone more into the historical background. The novel is more about the historical political background and Disraeli's political stances than about the story. For a modern reader Disraeli's ideas can come across a bit like 'who care as long as your rich. Heriditary or not .
Colin Hoad
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had always been an admirer of Disraeli ever since learning about him in history lessons at school. After recently reading 'The Lion and the Unicorn', I thought it was about time I tried one of Disraeli's own novels - and what a pleasant read it has been.

Disraeli ought to be up there with Dickens in terms of his ability to construct beautiful, witty prose with entertaining characters and a strong narrative that tells both a story and conveys a set of ideas and principles. The ostensible tale of
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Undoubtedly a useful historical insight on Disraeli’s thinking and something of a reflection on the politics of the day, but a fairly awful novel. Often excruciating eulogising of a social class (upper), a large part of which, one suspects, despised the author because of his origins, no matter how useful he may have been politically.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Yep, Disraeli is no Dickens or Trollope. There are lots of passages of politics, as was expected. But even his passages of narrative and description bored me. I didn't feel as emotionally connected to the characters as I do with other authors.

Still, I'm glad I listened. It was a bit of an education, and there's enough story there to keep me interested. (Listened to the LibriVox edition.)
Peter Thomson
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loses nothing of its power as literature, in spite of the dated style and language used.
Monica Perez
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Several times I saw reference to this book by the UK PM Disraeli so I felt I had to read it. I'm not sure why it was considered so was either because of the lengthy description of a character who is clearly a Rothschild who has a great and mysterious influence in the world through shadow mechanisms and who would never mix his pure "Mosaic Arab" (Jewish) race with mere Caucasians (though he thinks highly of Mohammedan Arabs - an interesting difference from the early 1800s to today) ...more
Paul Taylor
Jun 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Why did Disraeli the novelist think that his readers would be so interested in mid 19th century English politics? If the Reform Bill is your thing, then write a history book about it. Don't dress it up as a truly tedious novel. One star is too generous for this book but I can't give it the zero stars rating which it really merits.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a joy to read. An absolute classics. I devoured the book in three days, Disraeli is one of my favorites now as a writer.
Marty Anderson
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Feb 03, 2017
Trina Hollis
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Bookworm2016 Briggs
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Sep 09, 2012
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May 28, 2020
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One of the great British politicians of the nineteenth century, Disraeli served twice as Tory Prime Minister (1868 and 1874 - 1880) and was also a prominent figure in opposition. He is most famous today for the bitter hatred between himself and his political rival William Gladstone. He enjoyed the favour of Queen Victoria, who shared his dislike of Gladstone. His most significant political achieve ...more

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