David's Reviews > The Prime Minister

The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
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's review
Apr 10, 07

bookshelves: trollope

This is the fifth novel in the Palliser series. It a favorite of Tolstoy, and readers may notice the similarity of an incident in The Prime Minister to what is perhaps the most famous incident in Tolstoy's fiction. (It appears that each man wrote his relevant passage before the other's passage had appeared in print.)

Trollope focuses here on politics and marriage, and the compromises that can often be necessary to success in either, but can sometimes be destructive as well. Plantagenet Palliser, now Duke of Omnium, is asked to form, and does form, a coalition government. His wife, Lady Glencora, is now taking an active interest in political machinations as well. Theirs is a complicated marriage -- don't forget that when they were newly wed, Glencora almost ran off with Burgo Fitzgerald, in Can You Forgive Her? -- so it makes for a good story. They are older now and have reached the age when marriage becomes more alliance than romance.

Trollope devotes a good portion of his narrative to the career of Ferdinand Lopez, a career intertwined with the Pallisers, not least of all because Lopez himself is a candidate for a seat in Parliament. Lopez is another example of a favorite Trollope type. He is not a gentleman. And when non-gentlemen begin to make headway into what used to be the exclusive world of gentlemen, trouble always looms.

Like a lot of Trollope's later fiction, The Prime Minister is darker than some of his earlier fiction.
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