Historical romance and the mythology of Charles I in D'Israeli, Scott and Disraeli

Dani Napton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mythology surrounding the figure of Charles, forged during the unique events of his time, was often employed in response to socio-political situations and debates of the late eighteenth and then the nineteenth century. Isaac D’Israeli, Sir Walter Scott and Benjamin Disraeli, writing at a time when the interpretation of history was dominated by Whig historiography, sought to negate, counter or dismantle those representations of modern British history by referencing Charles and his fate. Against the Whig premise that the Glorious Revolution heralded, in fact was, the exordium to British modern history, D’Israeli and Scott saw the need to construct agonistic, Tory interpretations of the past, countering Whig interpretations of history relating to the Civil War, and to the regicide specifically, by reinventing the mythology of Charles I. Benjamin Disraeli employed the mythology of Charles I differently from its use by his father and by Scott: in order comprehensively to denounce and dismantle Whig interpretations of history from medieval to then-contemporary times, and to construct an alternate, inherently Tory perspective on the social ills of his time in his fiction and non-fiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-165
Number of pages18
JournalEnglish Studies
Issue number2
Early online date12 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2018


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