Vivian Greyby Benjamin Disraeli
Disraeli's early "silver fork" novels Vivian Grey (1826) and The Young Duke (1831) featured romanticised depictions of aristocratic life (despite his ignorance of it) with character sketches of well-known public figures lightly disguised. In some of his early fiction Disraeli also portrayed himself and what he felt to be his Byronic dual nature: the poet and the man of action.
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.
- Echo Library
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Prompted by a recent New Yorker article, I decided to plunge into the novels of Benjamin Disraeli, beginning with his first, VIVIAN GREY. It was, I am told, a stunning success when first unveiled upon an unsuspecting public. How low standards were in 1826-7. The novel is really made up of three different adventures in the life of a not very interesting young man. It is full of implausible situations, plot twists that take the place of ideas, and turgid, unending descriptions of interior decoration and clothing. It combines the passion of George Sand with the ridiculousness of the Penny Dreadfuls. In the first section, Vivian - a vain and pompous young man who wants to succeed - concocts a plot to rally a group of nobility out of favor to storm the gates of government with he as their organizer to win back their places in the sun - a plot that fails, ending in a deadly duel, which plunges him into social and political banishment. We next find our hero on the continent in the company of a baron, who we learn is a card shark. When a young woman Vivian take a fancy to reveals that her brother killed himself after losing his fortune at cards with the selfsame Baron, Vivian publicly exposes the villian, only to have the young lady expire in his arms - from what we haven't the faintest idea. Perhaps Vivian's eau de cologne was splashed on too heavily that day. The last section we find Vivian (with his garrulous and mildly humorous servant) rescuing a German Prince from a boar and in the ensuing gratitude, getting involved in German Royal intrigue, falling in love with another young lady- an Archduchess masquerading as a Baroness (the feelings are mutual) and ending when she reveals she is the (incognito of course) intended bride of the Crown Prince. Like Childe Harold, Vivian is for the third time disappointed in life and just when we think he might be learning a lesson, a sudden storm comes up, killing his servant and causing his horse to dump him unconscous in the mud. Here we leave Vivian - and not a moment too soon. Had the novel been any longer I should have had to commit myself to Bedlam. The writing is competent only. Disraeli uses over a hundred words that were popular in his day and allusions to names and situations he takes for granted his readers are all aware of, but which have no meaning whatever today, thus further irritating the present reader. If his impossible plotting, turgid and extremely boring descriptions, and our incomprehension at his meanings were not enough, this volume (published by Wildside Press) is riddled with spelling and punctuation errors. I counted well over a hundred when I gave up counting. All in all VIVIAN GREY is a very very poor novel indeed and is served as it deserves by its publisher.
She super-kicked a soccer ball.
Is a soccer player. Woohoo!
Gtgtb cobt tommorow nite... sorry.