The Upward Rise: Politics and Literature

Miloš Ković

in Disraeli and the Eastern Question

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199574605
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595134 | DOI:
The Upward Rise: Politics and Literature

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter shows, through an analysis of the novels Contarini Fleming, Alroy, and The Rise of Iskander, how Disraeli, with his entry into the ranks of the Tory radicals, changed his views on the Eastern Question. With his newly discovered appreciation for democracy and nationalism, he began to display a positive disposition for the struggles of the Balkan nations against the Ottoman Empire. With his return to the Tories, however, he also returned to his old imperialism and Turkophilia. The analysis of the novel Tancred shows the early phase of Disraeli's gradual disenchantment with the Ottoman Empire along with contemplation of its division, while the novel Coningsby is used to show how his dual Jewish—Arabic and English identity took shape. The chapter also stresses that Disraeli was much more of a ‘Balkanist’ than an ‘Orientalist’. The fact that his first public conflict with Peel was over the Eastern Question is also highlighted.

Keywords: Contarini Fleming; Alroy; Iskander; Tancred; democracy; nationalism; imperialism; orientalism; balkanism

Chapter.  11479 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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