Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Eton. Fashionable boys’ preparatory school, located near Windsor, outside London, to which the protagonist, Harry Coningsby, is sent after he loses both parents at age nine. Founded in the fifteenth century, Eton is the most prestigious public school (equivalent to an American private school) for boys in Britain. The novel portrays the school as a scenic place at which bells ring merrily as boys advance in age, while forging influential bonds of friendship that are to last lifetimes. The boys also run the famous Library at Eton, an experience intended to serve as a participatory model for governance of free institutions. Coningsby reads much, and by the age of eighteen is ready to complete his education at Cambridge University, which ranks with Oxford University as the finest institution of higher learning for the elite of British society.

Monmouth House

Monmouth House. Magnificent mansion and residence of Coningsby’s grandfather, the Marquis of Monmouth, at which Coningsby renews his acquaintance with his grandfather, along with an assortment of uncles and aunts. Lord Monmouth tells young Coningsby to regard the house as his own. Coningsby’s own family home, Beaumanoir, is also a vast and ornate mansion in which even mundane things, such as the serving of breakfast, can evolve into a ceremonious occasion.

Forest Inn

Forest Inn. Traveler’s hostelry in England’s Midlands...

(The entire section is 458 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bivona, Daniel. “Disraeli’s Political Trilogy and the Antinomic Structure of Imperial Desire.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 22, no. 3 (Spring, 1989): 305-325. Sees Coningsby as addressing the problem of how to join aristocrats and bourgeoisie so as to renew England while maintaining a stable hierarchy. Views the answer provided in the novel—Coningsby’s marriage to Edith—as a form of imperialism.

Cazamian, Louis. “Disraeli: Social Toryism.” In The Social Novel in England, 1830-1850. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973. Places Disraeli’s political trilogy—Coningsby, Sybil, and Tancred—in the context of his political position of social Toryism. Refers to Coningsby as a “hybrid,” part political tract, part “fashionable novel.”

Edelman, Maurice. “A Political Novel: Disraeli Sets a Lively Pace.” Times Literary Supplement, August 7, 1959, 10-11. Presents Coningsby as a political novel still read more than one hundred years after its publication. Explores the novel’s strong characters, some of whom are shown to reflect Disraeli’s own situations and concerns.

Masefield, Muriel. Peacocks and Primroses: A Survey of Disraeli’s Novels. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1953. Contains two chapters on Coningsby written for an audience not familiar with Disraeli’s works. Provides plot, lengthy quotations from the novel, background historical information, and identifications of characters with historical figures.

O’Kell, Robert. “Disraeli’s Coningsby: Political Manifesto or Psychological Romance?” Victorian Studies 23, no. 1 (Autumn, 1979): 57-78. Believes Coningsby is much more similar to Disraeli’s earlier romance novels than is often accepted. Presents political portions of the novel as secondary to the theme of personal identity.