7 years, 4 months ago
From the late, great Paul Foot's book The Vote: How it was Won and How it was Undermined:
...Benjamin Disraeli wrote a novel about Chartists. It was called Sybil, or the Two Nations (1845), a deeply sympathetic and beautifully written account of the rise of Chartism and of its appeal to the suffering masses. The central theme of the novel is the distinction between 'moral force' Chartism, espoused by the unblemished heroine, Sybil, and 'physical force' Chartism, described with obvious distaste. The theme of the novel was that the conflict between the good on the 'moral force' side and the evil on the 'physical force' side became so bitter that it could not be solved by working people. The solution had to come from outside, from on high, from a brilliant, sensitive and eloquent Tory MP, Charles Egremont. Sybil's disillusionment with her rougher supporters, who include her beloved father, begins when she reads an account of an emotional speech in Parliament by Egremont, who then conveniently arrives in the middle of 'physical force' chaos to carry off his beloved and make a lady of her.
It occurs to me that, if you take out the romantic ending, this pretty much describes the basic plotline of 'The Monster of Peladon'.
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