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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope

Lady Laura Standish is one of three women that the titular hero tries to woo.



Book Review
Phineas Finn
by Anthony Trollope
p. 1869

This is Violet Effingham, the second female love interest in Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope.  Violet Effingham is obviously younger and more attractive then Lady Laura Standish


   What is the Audience for Anthony Trollope in 2012?  Literature grad students and undergraduates.  Publishing professionals?  Anthony Trollope was, above all else- prolific. He wrote two six volume Novel series about two separate environments- the Barset books deal with a church intensive part of rural England and the Palliser series- to which Phineas Finn belongs.  The Palliser series , "analyzes the lifes and loves of government ministers and their families."

Madame Max Goesler: This is the third love interest for Phineas Finn a wealthy Jewish widow.   Trollope is pretty straight up about confronting anti-Semetic attitudes in british society in the 19th century.



   WHOOO!  Are you excited by that description?  Is anyone?  Seriously, anyone in the world who isn't a graduate student or undergraduate studying literature who wants to read a six volume series about the lives and loves of government ministers in Victorian England?   I suppose the answer is television shows of the sort Aaron Sorkin specializes in.  By extension, you could include all of the doctor and lawyer tv shows and novels.

This is Phineas Finn, the titular hero- here looking older then in the book.  The character type is recognizable as the "Hugh Grant" style of appeal and awkwardness.  A contemporary remake of Phineas Finn might well star Hugh Grant


  Compared to the Barsetshire Chronicles, the Government Ministers live in a more "exciting" environment- if you consider 19th century British parliamentary procedure "exciting."

  The fact that Trollope is the first to master the mundane details of a proto-modern life does everything to  both ensure his enduring inclusion as a classic Victorian Novelist while also minimizing his appeal to a contemporary Audience for classic literature.   Also Trollope is writing like someone who got paid by the word- and he did actually get paid by the word.  Trollope is a wizz at managing the multiple strands of plot the length of the Novel requires.   His writing has a formal elegance that surpasses predecessor/contemporaries like Charles Dickens.

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