[Ads-l] 1868 Disraeli-attributed quotation: "...My ancestors were lords of the tabernacle...his were naked savages...."
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 9 14:51:35 EST 2017
Fascinating citation, Stephen.
I've been tracking another version of the historical comparison schema
attributed to Disraeli. There is a footnoted passage in a 1983
biography that claims Disraeli wrote a version in his work "Contarini
Disraeli supposedly wrote the phrase "the inhabitants of England were
going half-naked and eating acorns in their woods". But I think this
assertion is probably incorrect. I have not found this excerpt in
"Contarini Fleming". Instead, the pertinent text actually appeared in
an 1880 biography of Disraeli by Georg Brandes (in translation). See
the two citations below.
[ref] 1983, Disraeli by Sarah Bradford, Chapter 1: The Byronic Youth,
Quote Page 2, Stein and Day, New York. (Verified with scans)[/ref]
Yet he felt himself innately superior, an aristocrat by instinct; the
only way in which he could face up to and enter the world of politics
and power for which he longed and for which he felt himself destined
was by glorying in his ancient lineage as a Jew. He was to describe
his situation in one of his early novels, Contarini Fleming:
Was then this mixed population of Saxons and Normans, among whom he
had first seen the light, of purer blood than he? Oh no, he was
descended in a direct line from one of the oldest races in the world,
from that rigidly separate and unmixed Bedouin race who had developed
a high civilization at a time when the inhabitants of England were
going half-naked and eating acorns in their woods. 2
Footnote 2: Contarini Fleming, Pt. I, ch. ii
Below is the citation for the 1880 biography with the phrase "half
naked, and eating acorns in their woods".
Title: Lord Beaconsfield: A Study
Author: Georg Brandes (Georg Morris Cohen Brandes)
Translator: Mrs. George Sturge
Chapter 3: Youthful Ambition
Quote Page 41 and 42
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
A pariah—but why? And here query after query arose. Was, then, this
mixed population of Saxons and Normans, among whom he had first seen
the light, of purer blood than he? Oh no, he was descended in a direct
line from one of the oldest races in the world, from that rigidly
separate and unmixed Bedouin race, who had developed a high
civilization at a time when the inhabitants of England were going half
naked, and eating acorns in their woods. He was of pure blood; and
yet, strange to say, they regarded his race as of lower caste, and
nevertheless, they had adopted most of the laws, and many of the
customs, which constituted the peculiarity of this caste in their
On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 6:29 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> The Disraeli-attributed passage may be a paraphrase of portions of his 1847 novel, Tancred, or, The New Crusade, such as [m:
> "...when you arrive at Jerusalem, you will naturally go to the convent of Terra Santa. You will make there the acquaintance of the Spanish prior, Alonzo Lara. He calls me cousin; he is a Nuevo of the fourteenth century. Very orthodox; but the love of the old land and the old language have come out in him, as they will, though his blood is no longer clear, but has been modified by many Gothic intermarriages, which was never our case. We are pure Sephardim. Lara thoroughly comprehends Palestine and all that pertains to it. He has been there a quarter of a century, and might have been Archbishop of Seville. You see, he is master of the old as well as the new learning; this is very important; they often explain each other. Your bishops here know nothing about these things. How can they? A few centuries back they were tattooed savages. This is the advantage which Rome has over you, and which you never can understand. That Church was founded by a Hebrew, and the magnetic influence lingers. But you will go to the fountain head. Theology requires an apprenticeship of some thousand years at least; to say nothing of clime and race."
> Stephen Goranson
> From: American Dialect Society <...> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <...>
> Sent: Saturday, January 7, 2017 3:57 PM
> To: ...
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] 1868 Disraeli-attributed quotation: "...My ancestors were lords of the tabernacle...his were naked savages...."
> Below is a citation from 1857 that compared the ancestors of the
> Chinese and English. The ancestral English were referred to as "naked
> savages". This phrase also appeared in some of the Disraeli attributed
> quotations, e.g., 1868.
> [ref] 1857 Seventh Month (July) 25, Friends' Intelligencer, Volume 14,
> Number 19, Character of the Chinese People, Quote Page 303, Published
> by William W. Moore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Google Books Full
> View) link [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> The Chinese understood the mariner's compass, gunpowder, the
> manufacture of glass, printing on blocks, manufacturing paper, when
> the ancestors of Englishmen were naked savages.
> [End excerpt]
> On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 1:10 PM, Jesse Sheidlower <...> wrote:
>> I wasn't going to mention this earlier because it's the opposite of what we've been talking about (here Jews = exploited class), but since it's semi-famous and we're branching out:
>> Hesh, the Jewish studio mogul, to Massive Genius, an African-American rap impresario seeing reparations for the treatment of exploited musicians:
>> "You're talking to the wrong white man, my friend. My people were the white man's nigger when yours were still painting their faces and chasing zebras."
>> --The Sopranos, "A Hit is a Hit" (Season 1, episode 10), 1999
>> On Sat, Jan 07, 2017 at 11:48:12AM -0600, GEOFFREY NUNBERG wrote:
>>> I heard an Italian version of this one several years ago, reported as if witnessed by the speaker himself. A bunch of Lega Nord (Northern separatist party) members were in Rome for a convention of some sort and were carousing in a taverna, making fun of the locals. One of the Romans finally stood up and said, “Senti, quando i vostri antenati si vestivano in pelle d’orso, i miei furono giá froci.” = “When your ancestors were wearing bear skins, mine were already faggots.”
>>> > From: ADSGarson O'Toole <...>
>>> > Subject: Re: 1868 Disraeli-attributed quotation: "...My ancestors were lords of the tabernacle...his were naked savages...."
>>> > Date: January 6, 2017 at 1:18:56 PM CST
>>> > Great citation, Stephen. Thanks for sharing it, and thanks for posting
>>> > on a different thread the 1860 citation with quotes attributed
>>> > Frederic of Prussia, Marshal McMahon, and Napoleon in a book authored
>>> > by James Parton.
>>> > Garson
>>> > On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:55 AM, Stephen Goranson <...> wrote:
>>> >> Mr. D'Israeli never forgets--never allows others to forget--that he is of that race whence all our prophets came and Jesus Christ himself was born....
>>> >> On one occasion, when taunted with being a descendant perhaps of the thief on the cross, he replied, in proud and soul-stirring words, "My blood thrills with the traditions of my race! My ancestors were lords of the tabernacle and princes of Israel when his were naked savages in the woods of Northern Germany."
>>> >> March, 1868, The Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated, p. 86 col. 1
>>> >> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__babel.hathitrust.org_cgi_pt-3Fid-3Dcoo.31924057441390-3Bview-3D1up-3Bseq-3D92&d=CwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=wzLgYiy8TU3PzoOBibs8UcTxKAXSQVKuK1RehqXsb5A&s=OWUMxHtpDKuyvGp-j-F2a7rmb4lGa1hv_VgSR_xJhmM&e=
>>> >> Stephen Goranson
>>> >> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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