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The Prime Minister (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 12 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199587191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199587193
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 796,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Nicholas Shrimpton is Emeritus Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This, the fifth novel in the Palliser series, is according to David Skilton in his introduction `the key work in the (...) series'. Now I wouldn't know about that, not having read the sixth and last novel, but what I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that this is a very very good novel in its own right.

Trollope loosely intertwines two plots in `The Prime Minister'. In the `political' plot Plantagenet Palliser is asked and eventually (though reluctantly) accepts to become prime minister, to the great pride and joy of his wife Lady Glencora. In the `social' plot, Emily Wharton, daughter of a wealthy lawyer, falls in love with and marries, against the advice of all her friends and relatives, a certain Ferdinand Lopez (about whom nobody seems to know much, not who his parents were, or how he makes a living). In both cases the protagonists come to realize before long that it's not all gold that glitters: Palliser learns that being prime minister is not all it's made out to be, and Emily discovers how deceptive appearances can be when she gets to know her husband better.

Trollope investigates several themes in `The Prime Minister' by (implicitly) comparing and contrasting the main characters. As to the men: Plantagenet Palliser is indeed `the perfect gentleman' but this has its drawbacks too, or so it seems: he is scrupulous to a t, unable to socialize and `joke around' with other men, and ever in doubt of his own capability to be a good prime minister. The question Trollope raises is ultimately: can a true gentleman be a good prime minister? Ferdinand Lopez on the other hand is the opposite: he has all the outer trappings of a gentleman, but it turns out that beneath this thin veneer he is a ruthless and egotistical opportunist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Prime Minister contains two interlacing stories: the career of Plantagenet Palliser, the hero in the series of which this novel is the crowning part, and the tribulations of the London heiress Emily Wharton in love and marriage. I thought the insider's view of parliamentary and cabinet politics would be the novel's attraction. Actually the struggles of Emily Wharton, who has made a love match to a dangerous adventurer, turned out to be more exciting. Trollope was a master storyteller, and that tale is full of interesting surprises as well as sharp, entertaining dialogue. The political story tends to form a lighter backdrop to it.

The Prime Minister is indeed half social comedy and half psychological. It is a cross, perhaps, between Evelyn Waugh and George Eliot. It tends, besides, to be interested in the emotional side of politics and in the effect of social mores on private life, not the other way around. It is also prejudiced (the villain is a swarthy Latin, and he is an arch-villain), though somehow that doesn't shock too much (so am I: a swarthy Latin, I mean, not an arch-villain). But most importantly, it is a compelling read.

Two more points. First, it is not necessary to have read the previous Palliser novels to enjoy this one. Second, in spite of its length, it is quickly read, even if the last hundred pages are superfluous (the work was serialised and expected to reach a certain length).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
What I love about Trollope is his scope and vision. He writes so brilliantly about politics and just makes them come alive. There is not a moment of boredom from start to finish, and that is because Trollope has a fundamental understanding of what politics is all about, it is about people, and he cares passionately for people. I get so attached to the characters in his novels because they are given real, interesting lives. This book is about compromise in politics, about how ideals have to be tempered for real life and is an interesting precursor to the final book in the series "The Duke's Children" for what Palliser learns in politics here he has to learn more brutally in his private life next. Fantastic
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 2 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
The political theme of the Pallisers is in full sight here - Plantagenet Palliser completes his rise from "Planty Pall", the neophyte politician glimpsed in the Barchester novels, and is finally not just Duke of Omnium, but also Prime Minister. As he discovers the vanity of human wishes, in discovering his unfitness for the role amidst the gladhanding and the backbiting of real political life, we can tremble over Lady Glen's (no, one can't really think of her as "the Duchess") entirely predictable revelling in all the bits of the position which the Duke himself hates, and her innate ability to do harm when only trying to do good. The Duke is, in this one book, properly centre stage, and one cannot help loving the man - his intense desire to do the right thing, and his complete inability to make himself other than he is (shy and intensely unsociable) to facilitate his dreams. The passage where he walks with Lady Rosina (what a come down for her since the days of Dr Thorne and Small House) and finds balm for his wounded soul in discussing the difficulty of getting boots with good soles is simply delightful!
But the emotional core of the book lies in the story of Emily Wharton, a beautiful, ladylike girl, the cherished daughter of a weathy man. She chafes against the bonds of propriety in the simplest and most fatal way - by determining that she will reject her childhood sweetheart (a wonderfully clever, worthy young man) and marry a bounder and a cad called Lopez. Not, of course that she realises that he is rotten until it is too late - we know she is making a terrible mistake, and so do all her friends, but all we can do is watch helplessly as she falls into the trap - and as she realises that she has tied herself to a man she cannot love and must despise.
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