Vivian Grey (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Century Company, 1906 - Fiction - 479 pages
1 Review
Disraeli was barely twenty-one when he published "Vivian Grey," his first work of fiction; and the young author was at once hailed as a master of his art by an almost unanimous press. In this, as in his subsequent books, it was not so much Disraeli's notable skill as a novelist but rather his portrayal of the social and political life of the day that made him one of the most popular writers of his generation, and earned for him a lasting fame as a man of letters. In "Vivian Grey" is narrated the career of an ambitious young man of rank; and in this story the brilliant author has preserved to us the exact tone of the English drawing room, as he so well knew it, sketching with sure and rapid strokes a whole portrait gallery of notables, disguised in name may be, but living characters nevertheless, who charm us with their graceful manners and general air of being people of consequence. "Vivian Grey," then, though not a great novel is beyond question a marvelously true picture of the life and character of an interesting period of English history and made notable because of Disraeli's fine imagination and vivid descriptive powers.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Vivian Grey

User Review  - Karen - Goodreads

Too hard to get through, though it was interesting to sample Disraeli's fiction. Read full review

Selected pages

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 19 - The Bar, pooh ! law and bad jokes till we are forty, and then, with the most brilliant success, the prospect of gout and a coronet. Besides, to succeed as an advocate I must be a great lawyer, and to be a great lawyer I must give up my chance of being a great man.
Page 106 - But am I entitled — I, who can lose nothing — am I entitled to play with other men's fortunes? Am I, all this time, deceiving myself with some wretched sophistry ? Am I then an intellectual Don Juan, reckless of human minds as he was of human bodies — a spiritual libertine...
Page 113 - Shrined in this secret chamber of your soul there is an image before which you bow down in adoration, and that image is YOURSELF. And truly, when I do gaze upon your radiant eyes," and here the lady's tone became more terrestrial; "and truly, when I do look upon your luxuriant curls...
Page 96 - We talked with open heart, and tongue Affectionate and true, A pair of friends, though I was young, And Matthew seventy-two. We lay beneath a spreading oak, Beside a mossy seat ; And from the turf a fountain broke, And gurgled at our feet. 'Now, Matthew...
Page 475 - ... side, and hope gave way before the scene of desolation. Immense branches were shivered from the largest trees; small ones were entirely stripped of their leaves; the long grass was bowed to the earth; the waters were whirled in eddies out of the little rivulets; birds...
Page 395 - He had so great an esteem for him that he intrusted him with the care to provide his favourite ladies with all the things they stood in need of: he chose for them their clothes, furniture, and jewels, with admirable taste. His good qualities, and the favour of the caliph, made the sons of emirs, and other officers of the first rank, be always about him : his house was the rendezvous of all the nobility of the court.
Page 19 - The want, the indefinable want, which he had so constantly exfierienced, was at last supplied; the grand object on which to bring the powers of his mind to bear and work was at last provided. He paced his chamber in an agitated spirit, and panted for the Senate.
Page 20 - Supposing I am in contact with this magnifico, am I prepared? Now, let me probe my very soul. Does my cheek blanch ? I have the mind for the conception; and I can perform right skilfully upon the most splendid of musical...
Page 143 - In life, surely man is not always as monstrously busy as he appears to be in novels and romances. We are not always in action, not always making speeches, or making money, or making war, or making love.
Page 132 - M?" is neither the vile nor the excellent being which he sometimes imagines himself to be. He does not so much act by system as by sympathy. If this creature cannot always feel for others, he is doomed to feel for himself; and the vicious are, at least, blessed with the curse of remorse. "You are now inspecting one of the worst portions of society in what is called the great world (St. Giles...

About the author (1906)

A great master of the political novel, Disraeli may be said to have originated the genre. Disraeli's early books were all romans a clef, novels in which he introduced real personages who were easily recognizable beneath fictitious names. With Coningsby (1844), Sybil (1845), and Tancred (1847), Disraeli produced his best work. All of them are political novels and more or less comprise a trilogy, since the same characters appear and reappear. In these novels Disraeli dramatized ambition, romantic egoism, and the role of the outsider, particularly the Jew, and revealed a strong sense of the social and economic problems of mid-Victorian Britain. He then gave up writing temporarily, gradually rose to be chancellor of the exchequer, and finally, prime minister from 1867 to 1868 and again from 1874 to 1880. During his second term of office, when he was knighted, he took a name from his first novel and became the first Earl of Beaconsfield. In his later years, he resumed his writing and became an intimate friend of Queen Victoria, who referred to his death as "a national calamity.

Bibliographic information