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Phineas Finn, The Irish Member (English Library) Paperback – 29 Sep 1977


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Frequently Bought Together

Phineas Finn, The Irish Member (English Library) + Can You Forgive Her? (English Library) + The Eustace Diamonds (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Sep 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140430857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140430851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was born in London to a bankrupt barrister father and a mother who, as a well-known writer, supported the family. Trollope enjoyed considerable acclaim both as a novelist and as a senior civil servant in the Post Office. He published more than forty novels and many short stories that are regarded by some as among the greatest of nineteenth-century fiction.



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First Sentence
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, and was as much respected. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By bookpike on 7 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
The second novel in the Palliser's series, Phineas Finn follows the story of an Irish Member of the British Houses of Parliament from humble beginnings as the son of a doctor through the aristocratic and political salons of the mid-19th century.
Finn is something of a ladies man but Trollope writes him beautifully as someone who seems to blunder accidentally into good fortune and an interest in several women without the faintest trace of self-knowledge. He is unassuming, charming, deliciously shallow and, we are told, handsome to look at. Men and women alike are taken in by him.
Trollope as always slowly builds the many strands of his story from the start. But as you read on through, the narrative gathers pace until it is bowling hypnotically along with its own momentum. After the first 200 pages it becomes unputdownable as events and personalities unfold sometimes as you thought they would, and other times ending in surprise.
My favourite charcter became Lord Chiltern. He grew on me every time he appeared. He's a plain-speaking, unsophisticated man who has gained a reputation for being violent and difficult but gradually I began to wonder how much was truth and how much hearsay. He is the anti-thesis of the charming but deceptive Phineas Finn. Chiltern is disliked while Finn is admired and favoured by the same people and so Trollope makes his point that what you see isn't always what you get.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Aug 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This, the second novel in Trollope's Palliser-novels, is as good as one has grown to expect from such an immaculate novelist as Trollope.

Phineas is a penniless Irishman (his father being a modest country doctor) who, against all expectations (including his own) is elected to the British Parliament. This not only introduces him to the political world of the day (which Trollope describes with great acumen and at times sarcasm) but also to London society, where Phineas soon becomes a favorite. But before long Phineas is faced with two dilemmas. In his political life he has to decide whether, having become a government employee, it is his duty to always vote as the government does or to follow his own judgement (perhaps at the cost of his job). In his private life he is torn between staying true to his Irish childhood-love and (since she is penniless too) forsaking his dreams of a grand political career, or to dump her for one of the London heiresses...

The whole story is masterly told by Trollope whose style, once you've been introduced to it, is ever so charming and really like no other. I've been charmed and seduced by every single novel of his I've read so far and this one is no exception. Thoroughly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By 100wordreviewer on 3 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
The best known of the six "Palliser" novels, "Phineas Finn" is an entertaining account of a young man's progress through the London society of the 1860s. If that sounds dull, think again: this is a book full of brilliantly observed relationships, sexual politics, Westminster politics and many wise epithets, eg 'It has been the great fault of our politicians that they have all wanted to do something.' Palliser writes clearly and brightly, with wonderful irony, carefully measured humour and none of the self-consciousness which weighs so heavily on some Dickens novels. I've so far read the first four of the Palliser novels, starting with the little-known but outstanding "Can You Forgive Her?" and found them all excellent. If you fancy something entertaining with a bit of literary substance, you can't do better.

Upside: revelatory. Downside: quite long.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 29 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Phineas Phinn is one of Trollope's best characters - attractive, charming, ambitious and passionate, he starts the book as a young man falling into fortune, but matures throughout the novel.

A typical Victorian book, Phineas's relationships with three very different women are described in exquisite psychological detail.

Read this for a view of Victorian politics, for the relationships between men and women, for an analysis of the role of money in society - or simply as a rivetting, unputdownable story.

The sequel, Phineas Redux, is much darker and must be read straight after.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is surely right to rate Phineas Finn among Trollope's greatest achievements. The novel, part of the Palliser series - which can all be read independently and in disorder even though many of the same characters reappear in them - strikes just the right balance between social and psychological portrayal, between a story of ambition and political calculation and a more conventional love and marriage subplot. The book takes place before and around the second reform act. Phineas, the able son of a well-to-do Irish doctor, is elected, on a fluke, to parliament. As he takes up his seat in Westminster, however, he is torn between the aim of making his mark in that exalted assembly and his complete lack of independent means. Our hero, by dint of his charm, hard work, and good character, nevertheless manages to rise among the lords, ladies, and wealthy magnates that make his adopted London society. But reform soon threatens the loss of his seat. And while the solution might be to marry Violet, an unattached heiress, love, scruples, and male rivalries get in the way.

The introduction writes that Phineas Finn provides a good account of the passage of the second reform act. Not so, in my opinion. The act was passed by the Tories, whereas in the novel it is passed by the Whigs. The debate raged around the composition and level of the borough franchise, whereas Trollope was more interested in the ballot question and in the redistribution of seats that affects his hero. But Trollope never pretended to be giving a historical account. Where this is historical is in its restitution of parliament, its debates, clubs, and backdoor doings. The scene describing Phineas's first speech in the Commons is unforgettable.
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