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Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1   By: (1766-1848)

Book cover

First Page:

CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE.

BY

ISAAC DISRAELI.

A New Edition,

EDITED, WITH MEMOIR AND NOTES,

BY HIS SON,

THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:

FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.,

BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.

LONDON:

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

Transcriber's Note: In this text the macron is represented as [=u] and [=o] [R 'c'] represents a reverse 'c'

ADVERTISEMENT.

This is the first collected edition of a series of works which have separately attained to a great popularity: volumes that have been always delightful to the young and ardent inquirer after knowledge. They offer as a whole a diversified miscellany of literary, artistic, and political history, of critical disquisition and biographic anecdote, such as it is believed cannot be elsewhere found gathered together in a form so agreeable and so attainable. To this edition is appended a Life of the Author by his son, also original notes, which serve to illustrate or to correct the text, where more recent discoveries have brought to light facts unknown when these volumes were originally published.

LONDON, 1881.

ON THE

LIFE AND WRITINGS OF MR. DISRAELI.

BY HIS SON.

The traditionary notion that the life of a man of letters is necessarily deficient in incident, appears to have originated in a misconception of the essential nature of human action. The life of every man is full of incidents, but the incidents are insignificant, because they do not affect his species; and in general the importance of every occurrence is to be measured by the degree with which it is recognised by mankind. An author may influence the fortunes of the world to as great an extent as a statesman or a warrior; and the deeds and performances by which this influence is created and exercised, may rank in their interest and importance with the decisions of great Congresses, or the skilful valour of a memorable field. M. de Voltaire was certainly a greater Frenchman than Cardinal Fleury, the Prime Minister of France in his time. His actions were more important; and it is certainly not too much to maintain that the exploits of Homer, Aristotle, Dante, or my Lord Bacon, were as considerable events as anything that occurred at Actium, Lepanto, or Blenheim. A Book may be as great a thing as a battle, and there are systems of philosophy that have produced as great revolutions as any that have disturbed even the social and political existence of our centuries.

The life of the author, whose character and career we are venturing to review, extended far beyond the allotted term of man: and, perhaps, no existence of equal duration ever exhibited an uniformity more sustained. The strong bent of his infancy was pursued through youth, matured in manhood, and maintained without decay to an advanced old age. In the biographic spell, no ingredient is more magical than predisposition. How pure, and native, and indigenous it was in the character of this writer, can only be properly appreciated by an acquaintance with the circumstances amid which he was born, and by being able to estimate how far they could have directed or developed his earliest inclinations.

My grandfather, who became an English Denizen in 1748, was an Italian descendant from one of those Hebrew families whom the Inquisition forced to emigrate from the Spanish Peninsula at the end of the fifteenth century, and who found a refuge in the more tolerant territories of the Venetian Republic... Continue reading book >>




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