Sybil, or the Two Nations cover

Sybil, or the Two Nations

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

1. 00 - Dedication and Advertisement
2. 01 - Book I, Chapter i
3. 02 - Book I, Chapter ii
4. 03 - Book I, Chapter iii
5. 04 - Book I, Chapter iv
6. 05 - Book I, Chapter v
7. 06 - Book I, Chapter vi
8. 07 - Book II, Chapter i
9. 08 - Book II, chapter ii
10. 09 - Book II, chapter iii
11. 10 - Book II, chapter iv
12. 11 - Book II, chapter v
13. 12 - Book II, chapter vi
14. 13 - Book II, chapter vii
15. 14 - Book II, chapter viii
16. 15 - Book II, chapter ix
17. 16 - Book II, chapter x
18. 17 - Book II, chapter xi
19. 18 - Book II, chapter xii
20. 19 - Book II, chapter xiii
21. 20 - Book II, chapter xiv
22. 21 - Book II, chapter xv
23. 22 - Book II, chapter xvi
24. 23 - Book III, chapter i
25. 24 - Book III, chapter ii
26. 25 - Book III, chapter iii
27. 26- Book III, chapter iv
28. 27 - Book III, chapter v
29. 28 -Book III, chapter vi
30. 29 - Book III, chapter vii
31. 30 - Book III, chapter viii
32. 31 - Book III, chapter ix
33. 32 - Book III, chapter x
34. 33 - Book IV, chapter 1
35. 34 - Book IV, chapter ii
36. 35 - Book IV, chapter iii
37. 36 - Book IV, chapter iv
38. 37 - Book IV, chapter v
39. 38 - Book IV, chapter vi
40. 39 - Book IV, chapter vii
41. 40 - Book IV, chapter viii
42. 41 - Book IV, chapter ix
43. 42 - Book IV, chapter x
44. 43 - Book IV, chapter 11
45. 44 - Book IV, chapter 12
46. 45 - Book IV, chapter 13
47. 46 - Book IV, chapter 14
48. 47 - Book IV, chapter 15
49. 48 - Book V, chapter 1
50. 49 - Book V, chapter 2
51. 50 - Book V, chapter 3
52. 51 - Book V, chapter 4
53. 52 - Book V, chapter 5
54. 53 - Book V, chapter 6
55. 54 - Book V, chapter 7
56. 55 - Book V, chapter 8
57. 56 - Book V, chapter 9
58. 57 - Book V, chapter 10
59. 58 - Book V, chapter 11
60. 59 - Book VI, chapter 1
61. 60 - Book VI, chapter 2
62. 61 - Book VI, chapter 3
63. 62 - Book VI, chapter 4
64. 63 - Book VI, chapter 5
65. 64 - Book VI, chapter 6
66. 65 - Book VI, chapter 7
67. 66 - Book VI, chapter 8
68. 67 - Book VI, chapter 9
69. 68 - Book VI, chapter 10
70. 69 - Book VI, chapter 11
71. 70 - Book VI, chapter 12
72. 71 - Book VI, chapter 13

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Summary

Sybil is one of the most prominent political novels of the mid-nineteenth century, taking as its subject the "condition of England" question. That phrase was first used by Thomas Carlyle in an essay of 1839 on Chartism, a working-class protest movement that plays a prominent role in this novel. The two nations are the rich and the poor, and the increasing gulf between them, and their condition also inspired such writers as Charles Dickens and Mrs. Gaskell, among others (one of whom, Friederich Engels, was the disciple of Karl Marx, and in his The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 described the appalling effects of the industrial revolution a year before Sybil appeared). Disraeli, of course, was far from being a Marxist though, like Engels, his sympathies are with the poor, exemplified in this book particularly by the Chartists, who were active between roughly 1839 and 1848. In his view, the villains are the aristocratic Whigs and Whig-Liberals, who, ever since the despoliation of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the sixteenth century, had made sure that the moneys which had been used for the alleviation of social distress and poverty, now flowed into their own pockets, leaving the poor with little recourse to help. His solution, which he sought to put into effect when he later became Prime Minister, was to push for measures of what he called "Tory democracy," or a kind of "compassionate conservatism," though quite different from the sort recently seen in the United States. Whatever one thinks of his politics, Disraeli tells a good story, in this case about the love of the aristocratic Charles Egremont for the lovely Chartist Sybil Gerard. In 2003, the Guardian ranked Sybil as No. 15 on its list of Hundred Greatest novels, and some consider it the best political novel of the nineteenth century. There is also general agreement that Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield, as he became) and Winston Churchill are probably the only two prime ministers who can be seen as successes in the world of literature as well as that of politics.