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Phineas Finn (1869)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Palliser Novels (2)

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1,886328,723 (4.01)2 / 280
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Though he rose to literary fame on the strength of his series of novels set in the fictional rural county of Barsetshire, Anthony Trollope's later works were more concerned with politics and social issues. The novel Phineas Finn is the second in Trollope's series known as the Palliser novels, which focus on political intrigue and relationships among members of Parliament. This volume focuses on Phineas Finn, an immigrant from Ireland who runs for Parliament and, to most everyone's surprise, is successful in his bid.

.… (more)
  1. 00
    Charles Stewart Parnell by F. S. L. Lyons (nessreader)
    nessreader: Phineas Finn, the parliamentary fiction about the struggles of an Irish MP in Westminster, was written before Parnell the member for Meath came to prominence, but Trollope's abiding fascination for politics and society makes it engrossing background reading on the culture Parnell was experiencing. The real Parnell stirred nations before he was destroyed while the fictional Finn sinks into mediocrity, but their situations are parallel in some ways.… (more)
  2. 00
    The English Constitution by Walter Bagehot (thorold)
    thorold: Parliament at the time of the 1867 Reform Act: in fact and fiction
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» See also 280 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
This is a long, tedious book if you don't like politics and social drama. In fact, it may be tedious anyway. But, I did actually enjoy the political day-to-day parts of this novel, a lot more than the romantic drama stuff. Phineas seemed pretty realistic, and reminded me of several young men I know who let their enthusiasm and the flattery of older people around them lead them in over their heads as they try to build themselves careers and grown-up lives. I read this book alongside George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, and I enjoyed contrasting the storytelling between Trollope and Eliot. The female characters especially were an interesting contrast, though I was pleased with Lady Laura in this book, that she was so engaged in politics, even if she had to use Phineas as her proxy essentially in order to participate. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
Phineas Finn.... you'd think you'd be able to pass on this "political" novel- or "parliamentary" - really? I am supposed to read that - it's like the 21st century and we don't have rotten boroughs any more, do we ? (I really don't know actually) but- you guessed it- that isn't really the point - it is a derring do tale almost worthy of tom jones for his good qualities but more real. How real it is comes in his 1st speech to parliament- how bad that memory it is - though technically it wasn't me that gave that awful speech. I identify so strongly with his failures, hurts and self deluded self justification that it is like a diary at time, though sadly I can't identify with his good qualities and successes. still- this book is ... necessary. and my good friend told me that this in nothing compared to Phineas Redux, but that I must first read, #3 Eustace Diamonds first. Sigh. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
I’m re-reading the Palliser novels this summer of which Phineas Finn is the third in the series. This novel is one of the most intensely political of all of Trollope’s novels, following the young, and intensely handsome Finn as he journeys from Ireland to London to make his was in Parliament, winning a seat in a pocket borough controlled by Lord Tulla, and becoming fast friends with Lady Laura Standish, the daughter of a powerful politician, Lord Brentford.. He tries to marry Lady Laura, but she rejects him in favor of the rich Robert Kennedy.

Phineas soon recovers and falls in love with Violet Effingham. However both Lady Laura and her father want Violet to marry Lord Brentford's estranged son, Lord Chiltern, who is also a fiend of Phineas. This proves awkward and hen Chiltern discovers Phineas’ feeling for Violet he challenges Phineas to a duel in Belgium.

Meamwhile, Lord Tulia decides to grant his Pariamentary seat to his brother and Finn is seemingly out of a job. However, as luck would have it, one night leaving the House, Finn walks out withy Robert Kennedy who is attacked by a man trying to kill him. Finn saves Kennedy & in gratitudw, Lord Brentford supports Finn as MP for the seat that he controls. (If all this is confusing, read up on pocket and rotten boroughs that were in exisence until the Reform Bill of 1867 eliminated them). Finn also makes the acquaintance of a charming, foreigner, Madame Max Goesler, a young and beautiful widow of a rich Jewish banker, who is attracted to the handsome Finn..

Finn’s career progresses and he is given a salaried position in government in the government in the office that handles the colonies in which he excels.. In the meantime, Lady Laura and Robert Kennedy’s marriage goes from bad to worse and she ends up leaving him and flees abroad where her husband has no legal rights over her.

Finn visits Ireland with Mr Joshua Monk, a leading Radical politician and a supporter of increased rights for Irish tenant farmers. Under Mr Monk's influence, Finn becomes radicalized and argues in support of a new tenant-right bill. When this happens, the government does not support it and Finn must choose between his loyalty to the government and his political convictions. He chooses the latter, resigns his government position and retires from politics.

With his political career in shambles, Finn seeks consolation from Madame Max. In an unexpected development, she offers him her hand and her wealth in marriage. Finn is greatly tempted, but finally returns to Ireland to marry his faithful, long-time sweetheart, Mary Flood Jones. As a parting reward for his hard work, his party obtains for him a comfortable living as a poor-law inspector in Cork at a salary of a thousand pounds a year.

Trollope’s portrait of politicians, their handlers and the tabloid journalism of its day is highly relatable to anyone who follows politics today. Finn’s position as an Irishman from the middle classes shows the difficulty at the time of a man without private means in breaking into politics and how the patronage of a wealth benefactor was useful, is not essential. 150 years after it was written, this novel still holds interest for modern day readers. ( )
  etxgardener | Jul 5, 2022 |
3.5 stars ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
3 and 1/2 stars really. Phinny Finn redeemed himself in some ways from the 1970s BBC series and incriminated himself in others. And I sorely missed Lady Glencora and grew rather tired of Lady Laura. I don't think I was meant to, but she was always whining about the same choice to Violet and it was repetitive. But, since Trollope is dead, I suppose he won't care. Pretty masterful for a political drama from the 1800s though. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cazzullo, RossellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dentith, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leslie, ShaneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millais, John EverettIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powell, J. EnochIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raven, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raven, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dr Finn, of Killaloe, in County Clare, was as well known in those parts - the confines, that is, of the counties Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Galway - as was the bishop himself who lived in the same town, as was as much respected.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Though he rose to literary fame on the strength of his series of novels set in the fictional rural county of Barsetshire, Anthony Trollope's later works were more concerned with politics and social issues. The novel Phineas Finn is the second in Trollope's series known as the Palliser novels, which focus on political intrigue and relationships among members of Parliament. This volume focuses on Phineas Finn, an immigrant from Ireland who runs for Parliament and, to most everyone's surprise, is successful in his bid.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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