This chapter examines the process of the formation of Disraeli's initial understandings of the East and the Eastern Question. The social and political context within which the young Disraeli grew up is scrutinized, as well as the influence of his Jewish origins and the personality of his father, Isaac D'Israeli. The influence of the liberal Toryism of Canning and the romanticism of Lord Byron on the shaping of Disraeli's understanding of the Eastern Question are equally stressed. Finally, the influence of Gibbon's pessimistic view of the 'slavic races' of Eastern Europe as examples of ‘barbarism’ and ‘backwardness’ is also highlighted.
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