Benjamin Disraeli () tried to tackle the Condition of England In his Young England novels, Coningsby (), Sybil () and. Disraeli intended Sybil as more than reportage, and the Condition-of-England debate in the novel has a clear political goal. Disraeli argues that. Buy Sybil, or the Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli, Fiction, Classics by Benjamin Disraeli from Amazon’s Fiction Books Store. Everyday low prices on a huge.
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Inspired by the rise of the Chartiststhe novel deals with the problems of the growing social and economic disparity between the antagonistic communities in England — the rich and the poor — largely as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
The novel, which combines politics and romance, was a best-seller and brought Disraeli much needed royalties: Later, it went through many editions in England and America, and was translated into French in The novel was praised for its sincere, accurate presentation of the social conditions of the poor, although it did not surpass Coningsby in popularity.
In SybilDisraeli wrote persuasively about oppression of the working classes, female and child labour, low wages, abominable conditions of housing and work, and the squalor and misery of industrial towns. However, his solution to reconciling social conflicts and restore a national unity appeared to be quite untenable.
Benjamin Disraeli and the Two Nation Divide
Sybil dusraeli both an upper class romance and a political manifesto set against the backdrop of the Chartist movement He blamed the working class growing poverty on Utilitarianism and laissez-faire ideology.
Disraeli intended Sybil as more than reportage, and the Condition-of-England debate in the novel has a clear political goal. Disraeli argues that England needs the alliance between a supposed benevolent and paternalistic aristocracy and the working classes, which he tried to implement first with benkamin Young England faction in Parliament and then, with a varying success, with his social welfare reforms when he twice served as Prime Minister.
Disradli addition, he also wanted to reinvigorate the programme of the Benjamun party by creating a one-nation conservatism. The aybil opens on the eve of the Derby with a glance at the lives of benjmain idle, self-indulgent upper classes. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the benjxmin lands cisraeli more valuable, and their owner was elevated to the peerage as Baron Marney.
During the seventy years of almost continuous Whig rule, Marney Abbey produced a crop of lords who sat in Parliament where they worked chiefly for their own sakes rather than of the nation Vanden Bosche Rather than simply criticizing the Marneys for their political irresponsibility and even corruption, Disraeli criticizes them essentially as nouveau nobility, something many of his readers might have considered strange, even bizarre.
In SybilDisraeli criticised uncontrolled industrialisation as the immoral byproduct of laissez-faire economics. The events of the novel, which appear against the background of the Chartist agitation, take place from to Disraeli showed a concern for the poverty and social instability in the rapidly expanding industrial towns.
Disraeli describes with dismay the country town of Marney, the first scene of poverty the novel presents, emphasizing the poor quality of the labouring class dwellings, which lacked the most basic benjamni. With the water streaming down the walls, the light distinguished through the disrzeli, with no hearth even in winter, the virtuous mother in the sacred pangs of childbirth, gives forth another victim to our thoughtless civilization; surrounded by three generations whose inevitable presence is more painful than her sufferings in that hour of travail; while the father of her coming eybil, in another corner of the sordid chamber, lies stricken by that typhus which his contaminating dwelling has breathed into his veins, and for whose next prey is perhaps destined, his new-born child.
These swarming walls had neither windows nor doors sufficient to keep out the weather, or admit the sun or supply the means of ventilation; the humid and putrid roof of thatch exhaling malaria like all other decaying vegetable matter.
The dwelling rooms were neither boarded nor paved; and whether it were that some were situate in low and damp places, occasionally flooded by the river, and usually much below the level of the road; or that the springs, as was often the case, would burst through the mud floor; the ground was at no time better than so much clay, while sometimes you might see little channels cut from the centre under the doorways to carry disareli the water, the door itself removed from its hinges: Disraeli argued that laissez-faire economics and political policy produced such horrible conditions.
Workers were underpaid and unable to sustain a family. Despite the growing wealth created by increased industrial production, trade, and commerce, prosperity lay only in the hands of the upper classes sbil landed aristocracy, merchants, and mill-owners — while most working people lived in abject poverty. Sybil centers on the awakening social conscience of Charles Egremont, who becomes increasingly disillusioned with the way many of the aristocracy including his brother treat the labouring poor.
Charles and his brother therefore represent two opposite poles of the English aristocracy.
Sybil (novel) – Wikipedia
The former is generous and bemjamin, whereas the latter is cynical, arrogant, and devoid of sympathy for the agricultural labourers on his estate, who live in a sordid squalor. One day Charles meets two strangers in the ruins of Marney Abbey — a Chartist leader, Walter Gerard, who works as an overseer in a local factory, and a younger Chartist agitator, Stephen Morley, who is also the editor of the local radical newspaper. They expended their revenue among those whose labour had produced it.
They struggled for a century, but they struggled against property and they were beat. As long as the monks existed, the people, syybil aggrieved, had property on their side.
They are the children of violence, not of time. It is war that created these ruins, civil war, of all our civil wars the most inhuman, for it was waged with the unresisting. The monasteries were taken by storm, they were sacked, gutted, battered with warlike instruments, blown up with gunpowder; you may see the marks of the blast against the new tower here. The whole face of the country for a century was that of a land recently invaded by a ruthless enemy; it was worse than the Norman conquest; nor has England ever lost this character of ravage’.
In a famous passage, which takes place in the ruins of Marney Abbey, Stephen Morley tells Egremont about the division of England into two nations: Poor wages, long working hours, unsanitary working and living conditions, high infant mortality, and short life expectancy contributed to human degradation. The moving passage that describes a gang of miners leaving a mine has the power of Engels’s account of working conditions in s Manchester.
The plain is covered with the swarming multitude: Yet disraeil are to be benjammin some are — the mothers of Sybik But can we wonder at the hideous coarseness of their language when we remember the savage rudeness of their lives?
Naked to the waist, an iron chain fastened to a belt of leather runs between their legs clad in canvas trousers, while on hands and feet an English girl, for sybiil, sometimes for sixteen hours a-day, hauls and hurries tubs of coals up subterranean roads, dark, precipitous, and plashy: After describing the adult miners, Disraeli turns to the young children who emerge from the depths of the earth.
Venjamin, too, have been ignored by the Evangelical reformers who led the drive against slavery. Reynolds after him, Disraeli here forces the reader to look at these frail and vulnerable children: Infants of four and five years of age, many of them girls, pretty and still soft and timid; entrusted with the benajmin of most responsible duties, and the nature of which entails on them the necessity of being the earliest to enter the mine and the latest to leave it.
Their dizraeli indeed is not severe, for that would be impossible, but it is passed in darkness and in solitude. They endure that punishment which philosophical philanthropy has invented for bennjamin direst criminals, and which those criminals deem more terrible than the death for which it is substituted. Hour after hour elapses, and all that reminds the infant Trappers of the world they have quitted and that which they have joined, is the passage of the coal-waggons for which they open the air-doors of the galleries, and on keeping which doors constantly closed, except at this moment of passage, the safety of the mine and the lives of the persons employed in it entirely depend.
Sybil, or the Two Nations
Disraeli exhibited a remarkable power of empathising with the fate of the poor and downtrodden, and he did so in hopes of creating a party that could solve some of these abuses.
He was one of the first authors and statesmen who correctly recognised the imminent social crisis in Britain that might have led to revolution, and he thought he had a means of heading off that revolution. His descriptions of the condition of the labouring classes in Sybil roused social consciences not only among the reading public but also among Victorian journalists, clergymen, and philanthropists.
Young, the great historian of the Victorian era, considered the turning point of the age — the Factory Act of According to Young, although the act itself did little to correct many abuses, it signaled a truly radical reconception of government in great Britain — one which pushes aside laissez faire and libertarian beliefs about government and society and begins the centralization of governmental power, which even advocates of the working class like Charles Kingsley, believed inevitably lead to tyranny.
Recognizing that in a modern society citizens cannot protect themselves solely by their own efforts, Tories like Disraeli and other reformers made national government responsible for what Engels termed the condition of the working classes.
As it turned out decades later when many working men received the right to vote, they voted Tory rather than Liberal, both because Disraeli and the Tories led the fight against poor working conditions in the factories and mines, and because the factory owners were represented in Parliament by Whigs and Liberals.
Hearing her singing the evening hymn to the Virgin in the distant ruined chapel, he becomes captivated by her angelic voice. Sybil, who has been educated at Mowbray Convent and intends to become a Catholic nun, carries out charitable activities among the poor inhabitants of the nearby manufacturing town.
It blended with all his thoughts; it haunted every object. Who was this girl, unlike all women whom he had yet encountered, who spoke with such sweet seriousness of things of such vast import, but which had never crossed his mind, and with a kind of mournful majesty bewailed the degradation of her race?
The daughter of the lowly, yet proud of her birth. Not sybi noble lady of the land who could boast bejnamin mien more complete, and none benjamkn them thus gifted, who possessed withal the fascinating simplicity that pervaded every gesture and accent of the daughter of Gerard.
In the company of Father St. Lys, Sybio meets Sybil in the sick chamber of Philip Warner, an impoverished weaver, and is again enraptured by her spirituality and social commitment. Sybil, who regularly engages in acts of charity, awakens his social conscience, drawing his attention to the plight of the working poor.
Egremont discovers to his utmost horror the bleakest and poorest corners of England. Egremont meets Sybil again in London when she accompanies her father at the Chartist National Convention inwhich advances the five Disrali demands: Sybil and Gerard discover with a shock that the reporter, Mr Franklin, is in fact the brother of the despotic Lord Marney, and hence mistakenly assume that he is also an enemy of the people.
Egremont here repeats what Disraeli had stated a decade before in The Spirit of Whiggism In SybilEgremont, who looks sympathetically on the Chartist movement, speaks similarly:. The People are not strong; the People never can be strong. Their attempts at self-vindication will end only in their suffering and confusion. It is civilisation that has effected, that is effecting this benjamij. It is that increased knowledge of themselves that teaches the educated their social duties.
There is a dayspring in the history of this nation which those who are on the mountain tops can as yet perhaps only recognize. You deem you are in darkness, and I see a dawn.
The new generation of the aristocracy of England are not tyrants, not oppressors, Sybil, as you persist in believing. Their intelligence, better than that, their hearts are open to the responsibility of their position.
But the work that is before them is no holiday-work. It is not the fever of superficial impulse that can remove the deep-fixed barriers of centuries of ignorance and crime.
Enough that their sympathies are awakened; time and thought will bring the rest. They are the natural leaders of the People, Sybil; believe me they are the only ones. Disraeli insisted that the rejuvenated and conscience-stricken aristocracy whould be the natural ally of working people.
As the leader of the Young England splinter group in Parliament, he called on the Conservative Party to dirsaeli the cause of the common people and to remedy the social ills caused by the Industrial Revolution, irresponsible landowners, and laissez-faire policies. When Egremont passionately benhamin his love to Sybil, asking for her hand, she turns him down because she believes that the gulf that separates rich and poor is impassable.
In the meantime, the House of Commons rejects the Chartist petition after violent riots take place in Birmingham and elsewhere. When Egremont meets Sybil again, she is sincerely grateful to him for his support. Worrying about their security, Egremont advises Sybil and her father to leave London because the government may take action against the Chartist convention.
However, Gerard refuses to return home, and eventually, both he and his daughter are arrested. Luckily, through the intervention of Lord John RussellSybil is discharged from prison, whereas her father is accused of seditious conspiracy, but is held to bail. Three years later Gerard and Sybil become involved in another riot during a strike in Lancashire, when Gerard tries to save the factory of the benevolent manufacturer Mr. Trafford, who has created model industrial relations for his employees.
At a large labour demonstration the previous night on the moors outside the town of Mowbray, Gerard was acclaimed a popular hero by the rioters. When the crowd rushes at the troopers, Gerard is killed, Lord Marney is stoned to death, and Mowbray Castle is burnt down.
A group of drunken rioters assail Sybil, but Egremont arrives just in time to rescue her:. One ruffian had grasped the arm of Sybil, another had clenched her garments, when an officer covered with dust and gore, sabre in hand, jumped from the terrace, and hurried to the rescue. He cut down one man, thrust away another, and placing his left arm round Sybil, he defended her with his sword, while Harold now become furious, flew from man to man, and protected her on the other side.
Her assailants were routed, they made a staggering flight; the officer turned round and pressed Sybil to his heart.