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Men's Club Book Group
“Benjamin Disraeli” by Adam Kirsch
Tuesday, Apr 3rd, 2012 8:30 AM

One East 65th Street
Open to all Temple members
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DANDY, A BEST-SELLING NOVELIST and a man of political and sexual intrigue, Benjamin Disraeli was one of the most captivating figures of the 19th century. His flirtation with proto-Zionism, his ideas about power and empire, and his fantasies about the Middle East remain prophetically relevant today.

How a man who was born a Jew — and who remained in the eyes of his countrymen a member of a despised minority — managed to become prime minister of England seems even today nothing short of miraculous. In this compelling biography, renowned poet and critic Adam Kirsch looks at Disraeli as a novelist as well as a statesman, recognizing that the outsider Jew who became one of the world’s most powerful men was his own greatest character.

Though baptized by his father at the age of 12, Disraeli was seen — and saw himself — as a Jew. But he created an idea of Jewishness to rival the British notion of aristocracy. Disraeli was a figure of fascinating contradictions: an archconservative who benefited from England’s liberal attitudes, a baptized Christian who saw Jewishness as a matter of racial superiority, a perennial outsider who dreamed of glory for England, which, in the words of one contemporary, became for Disraeli “the Israel of his imagination.”
(Source: Publishers Website)


ADAM KIRSCH, a book critic for the New York Sun, is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New Republic. He is the author of two poetry collections, The Thousand Wells and Invasions, and two works of nonfiction on poetry, The Wounded Surgeon and The Modern Element. He lives in New York City.




Open to all members of the Temple, our discussion will be held in the Marvin and Elisabeth Cassell Community House (One East 65th Street). Questions? Contact the Men’s Club.


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