02 September 2013

Review: Tancred; or, The New Crusade by the Earl of Beaconsfield

Hardcover, 487 pages
Published unknown (originally 1847)
Acquired May 2012
Read October 2012
Tancred; or, The New Crusade
by the Earl of Beaconsfield

Sybil; or, The Two Nations isn't the greatest work of nineteenth-century literature, or even a middling one, but it has its moments. Benjamin Disraeli's Tancred; or, The New Crusade has a moment. Exactly one: when there's a two-page joke at the expense of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. What does it say about me that I actually laughed at a joke about pre-Darwinian evolutionary theory? Unfortunately, literally nothing else interesting happens in this novel. I skimmed hundreds of pages looking for something good, but it never came. I was interested to note that some characters from Sybil reappear in this book: I had known that Coningsby; or, The New GenerationSybil, and Tancred constituted the "Young England" trilogy, but until I read Tancred I'd thought the links were just thematic. (That Tancred is the only "Young England" novel to lack a contemporary reprint should have been a clue. Whatever source led me to think that science actually had something to do with this book beyond the two-page Vestiges joke I need to hunt down and get my revenge on.)

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