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Disraeli or The Two Lives

Disraeli's novels are full of men with the swagger that he brought to politics

Disraeli or The Two Lives by Douglas Hurd & Edward Young (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20)

WB Yeats once wrote that, “The intellect of man is forced to choose/Perfection of the life, or of the work.” Benjamin Disraeli chose the former. For him as for few else the world was an epic movie, with himself in the starring role. Or rather, a novel. For as Douglas Hurd and Edward Young remind us in this highly absorbing biography, Disraeli’s novels are full of men such as he saw himself—mysterious, brilliant, destined for greatness—and he brought a novelist’s swagger and panache to the…

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