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Lothair (1870) was a late novel by Benjamin Disraeli, the first he wrote after his first term as Prime Minister. It deals with the comparative merits of the Catholic and Anglican churches as heirs of Judaism, and with the topical question of Italian unification. Though Lothair was a hugely popular work among 19th century readers, it now to some extent lies in the shadow of the same author’s Coningsby and Sybil. Lothair, a wealthy young orphaned Scottish nobleman (loosely based on the 3rd Marquess of Bute) has been brought up in the legal guardianship of his Presbyterian uncle Lord Culloden and of a Catholic convert, Cardinal Grandison (based on H. E. Manning). When he comes of age Lothair finds himself the centre of attention of three fascinating women, Lady Corisande, Clare Arundel, and Theodora Campion, representing the Church of England, the Roman Catholic church, and the Radical cause respectively. Wavering in his allegiances, he unsuccessfully proposes marriage to Lady Corisande, almost joins the Catholic church, and finally joins Theodora in Italy as a volunteer in the army of Garibaldi, which is fighting to take the Papal States for Italy.

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