Phineas Finn is an Irish MPA who is climbing the political ladder, largely through the assistance of his string of lovers. The questions he is forced to ask himself about honesty, independence, and parliamentary democracy are questions still asked today. Phineas Finn is the second of Anthony Trollope's six Palliser novels, which together comprise a large, coherent composition that captures the fashions, manners, and politics of two decades of society in the high Victorian period.
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Table of Contents
|Note on the Text||xxv|
|A Chronology of Anthony Trollope||xxviii|
|Appendix: The Second Reform Bill, 1866--7||II. 357||(1)|
|Explanatory Notes||II. 359||(1)|
|Who's Who in Phineas Finn||II. 377|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this, the second of the Palliser novels, we follow the career of Phineas Finn, a personable and handsome young Irishman with no strong convictions or clear direction in life, whose friends persuade him that to stand for Parliament would be a fine thing. This is sometimes described as one of Trollope's political novels, but in actual fact is a wonderful blend of the political and the personal, as we follow Phineas into Parliament and into English society, where he loses his flighty heart to a series of women, and falls into and out of all sorts of scrapes.Set against the events leading up to the Reform Bill of 1867 in which voting rights were extended to a larger proportion of the British male population, and in which 'pocket boroughs' (constituencies controlled by local aristocrats) were abolished, there is a strong political content in the novel. A basic familiarity with British history of the period probably makes this more interesting to the reader.Trollope has a calm, undemonstrative style, unlike the verbal pyrotechnics of Dickens, and the pace of his novels is best described as 'soothing'. Apart from one hair-raising hunting scene and another scene in which a character is rescued from attackers, there is very little action. But you don't read Trollope for fast-paced action, you read him for the charm of his characters.One of the things that I love most about Anthony Trollope is his complex depiction of female characters. In 'Phineas Finn', three of the principal characters are strong-minded, intelligent women, who despite the restrictions placed upon them by society, nethertheless manage to initiate a great deal of the change within the novel. There is also a moving description of a 'prudent' marriage, made for money and position, gone horribly wrong, with dire consequences for the woman.Note on the Oxford World's Classics 2008 paperback edition: well-printed with an attractive cover, but instead of a general wide-ranging introduction, contains an essay by Jacques Berthoud on 'Trollope The European'.
Audiobook..........In the big picture of literature I have read, "Phineas Finn" is probably more of a three star read, but I really like Trollope's ability to create characters who struggle with moral dilemmas and then lets the reader watch them mature over time. In this case, our "dear Finn", starts out as a young man who chooses the path of least resistance to reach an idealized goal....to be a Member of Parliament. He falters in Parliament and in love, yet discovers, almost to his own surprise, that he is actually an honorable, good fellow. I don't think I give anything away by saying things work out in the end. Along the way, the reader is treated to Trollope's view of the politics of the time, the "Irish" issues, and as is always true, the author's perceptions of women. I love this stuff, but if you want excitement in your novels.....probably not a good selection. Think Dickens......