Reading Outside of the Lines
Bibliophile and Historian
Isaac D'Israeli (1766–1848) was an assimilated first generation English Jew. His father, a merchant, had immigrated from Italy 18 years before Isaac's birth. He was a writer and scholar, and became one of the noted bibliophiles of his time. He wrote several English adaptations of traditional tales from the Middle East, some historical biographies, and a number of poems. In addition to Amenities of Literature, his most popular work was a collection of essays entitled Curiosities of Literature, which was a collection of anecdotes about historical persons and events, unusual books, and the habits of book-collectors. His book The Life and Reign of Charles I (1828) earned him a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) from Oxford University. His son, Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81), who edited this book, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1868 and again from 1874 to 1880.