Home News Lecturer’s book on Disraeli wins critical acclaim

Lecturer’s book on Disraeli wins critical acclaim


University of Exeter English lecturer Dr Daisy Hay’s new book has received critical acclaim and will be discussed on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Programme on Thursday 22 January.

Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance, gives a new angle on the dynamic relationship between the 19th Century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne.

The book focuses on an unusual marriage and the way in which it played out, often in dramatic fashion, in the public arena and the press. Hay describes how “Disraeli spun a public fantasy about his private life to win votes.” Disraeli allegedly declared to Anne “Why, my dear, you are more like a mistress than a wife.”

Most of Dr Hay’s findings are based on private letters held at Oxford’s Bodleian library. By using the largely neglected collection, she brings new life to the story and makes wider comments about 19th century society.

Dr Hay says the book “was a privilege to research and write. During the years I spent working on the Disraelis’ papers I was constantly surprised by what I found, and kept having to rethink my sense of both their marriage and the world in which they lived.”

Anna Lively, News Team

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