The title of a widely read biography
by Lytton Strachey
, published in 1921
Stachey, also the author of Eminent Victorians, had an amazing talent for portraying revered figures of the 19th century with irreverence, undermining the most earnest conventional wisdom with his own shrewd but essentially frivolous point of view.
"(Benjamin Disraeli) surveyed what was before him with the eye of a past-master....He realised everything - the interacting complexities of circumstance and character, the pride of place mingled so inextricably with personal arrogance, the superabundant emotionalism, the ingenuousness of outlook, the solid, the laborious respectability, shot through so incongruously by temperamental cravings for the coloured and the strange, the singular intellectual limitations, and mysteriously essential female element impregnating every particle of the whole."