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The Sayings of Disraeli.

The three new volumes in this series are examples of true 'pocket books' compact enough to be carried about for refreshment and occasional distraction. To learn many aspects of the mind of a writer whose work has endeared him to his contemporaries is in itself a pleasure. All editors of these books are experts in their field: for instance, Richard Mullen's deep, sympathetic knowledge of Trollope's voluminous writings ensures the true ring of his selections. James Munson's native American understanding of the meaning of Mark Twain's stories to both children and adults makes his editing and choice paramount. Robert Blake knows the basic seriousness of Disraeli's philosophy as well as his intentionally unorthodox political career.

There are many 'sayings' which do not appear in dictionaries of quotations but are equally useful to recall. Good reasons for such memory aids have to do with the popular influence attained by a writer in his lifetime. Mark Twain is, for example, an American writer to whom most English speakers can easily warm; Trollope is a perennial favourite for the secure world he created; and Disraeli a formidable Victorian Prime Minister who enters racial memory trailing several question marks. The answers may frequently be found in his novels which reveal a different aspect of the writer, notably a romantic one. All three editors have fully justified their choice.
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Author:Abel, Betty
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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