Sybil (novel)

novel by Benjamin Disraeli

Sybil, or The Two Nations is an 1845 novel by Benjamin Disraeli. Published in the same year as Friedrich Engels's The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Sybil traces the plight of the working classes of England. As the title suggests, Disraeli is interested in dealing with the horrific conditions in which the majority of England's working classes lived — or, what is generally called the Condition of England Question.

Quotes edit

Book I edit

  • I rather like bad wine; one gets so bored with good wine.
    • Chapter 1.
  • But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day, and the race a life.
    • Chapter 2.
  • The Duke of Wellington brought to the post of first minister immortal fame; a quality of success which would almost seem to include all others.
    • Chapter 3.
  • The Egremonts had never said anything that was remembered, or done anything that could be recalled.
    • Chapter 3.
  • To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge.
  • Variant: To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
    • Chapter 5.

Book II edit

  • Principle is ever my motto, not expediency.
    • Chapter 2.
  • Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws: the rich and the poor.
    • Chapter 5.
  • In great cities men are brought together by the desire of gain. They are not in a state of co-operation, but of isolation, as to the making of fortunes; and for all the rest they are careless of neighbours. Christianity teaches us to love our neighbour as ourself; modern society acknowledges no neighbour.
    • Chapter 5.
  • Property has its duties as well as its rights.
    • Chapter 11. Previously said by Thomas Drummond, Letter to the Landlords of Tipperary (May 22, 1838).

Book III edit

  • Little things affect little minds.
    • Chapter 2.
  • We all of us live too much in a circle.
    • Chapter 7.

Book IV edit

  • Mr. Kremlin himself was distinguished for ignorance, for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.
    • Chapter 5. Compare: "That fellow seems to me to possess but one idea, and that is a wrong one", Samuel Johnson, in Life of Johnson (Boswell), Volume iii, Chapter v (1770).
  • "I was told," continued Egremont, "that an impassable gulf divided the Rich from the Poor; I was told that the Privileged and the People formed Two Nations, governed by different laws, influenced by different manners, with no thoughts or sympathies in common; with an innate inability of mutual comprehension."
    • Chapter 8.
  • There is no wisdom like frankness.
    • Chapter 9.
  • Power has only one duty—to secure the social welfare of the PEOPLE.
    • Chapter 14.

Book V edit

  • A public man of light and leading.
    • Chapter 1.
  • Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing.
    • Chapter 2.
  • We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.
    • Chapter 4.

Book VI edit

  • Frank and explicit; that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others.
    • Chapter 1.
  • That we may live to see England once more possess a free Monarchy and a privileged and prosperous People, is my Prayer; that these great consequences can only be brought about by the energy and devotion of our Youth is my persuasion. We live in an age when to be young and to be indifferent can be no longer synonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The claims of the Future are represented by suffering millions; and the Youth of a Nation are the trustees of Posterity.
    • Chapter 13.

External links edit

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