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Phineas Redux (Palliser, #4)
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Phineas Redux: July 15-21: Ch 1-8

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
Welcome to the opening chapters of our fourth Palliser novel. We are back in familiar company, with Phineas Finn, now a widower with no children, invited to stand for Parliament again by his old party.

After 2 years absence, Phineas has returned to London, clearly pleased to be back and anxious to reestablish his social connections. Some, such as those with the Chillterns, return as if he had never left. Others will take more work.

Were you glad to see Phineas back in London again? Do you find him older and wiser?

Do you see any possibilities for romance for our hero? Any old flames to rekindle or new ones to light?

We also see the Bunces and the Lows back in the picture. Anyone who hasn't appeared yet that you hope will return?

Do you think Phineas should go to Dresden?

What did you think of his latest political foray?

Please share your thoughts on this section of our new novel.


message 2: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
I decided to do a bit of research on disestablishment, the political movement described in these chapters which proposes separating the church from the state, and imagine my surprise on finding that this topic is still under heated discussion.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...

As an active member of the Anglican Church of Canada I had this vague notion of the Queen as the head of the church but didn't realize how much further the church and UK state are entwined. I am going to copy this post into the background thread if anyone has further information on this topic but thought I would also post this here as it is directly relevant to understanding this section.


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments Frances wrote: "Welcome to the opening chapters of our fourth Palliser novel. We are back in familiar company, with Phineas Finn, now a widower with no children, invited to stand for Parliament again by his old pa..."

The more things change, the more they stay the same? Trollope seems to be replaying some old plot lines to reveal characterization, albeit with revision. Does he do this to jog the reader's memory of the events and characters of the first book? Trying to be brief (!)- Phineas returns once again as an outsider who is recruited by his party to run for a seat in Parliament. Barrington Erle and others again are looking for good men as the Liberals try to win back the government. Phineas faces the same inner conflict- the exciting life of Parliament versus practical economic decisions. Whereas before he abandoned a law career for Parliament, now he would be sacrificing a guaranteed income in Dublin for definitely no income in London. But as Trollope tells us Phineas had been bored by Dublin life, there’s no doubt as to his decision. Although we are told he grieves for Mary, Trollope evidently knew Mary had to die for Phineas to resume his life in London. Phineas again is trying for a seat in a borough with which he has no ties and relies on advisors to help his campaign. Unlike the first book, Phineas immediately must take a stand on an issue which his party will be unhappy with. He finds that he needs to endorse disestablishment in order to have a chance at winning, but he knows the party was not ready to fight for this issue and he’s right. Barrington Erle is really angry, but it seems the need for Phineas is greater than this faux pas, particularly after Daubeny steals the issue for his own political advantage. Also different is Phineas’s oratory skills which he had perfected during the first novel.

This novel is so much more political from the get go. I find the the political machinations really interesting and still so relevant for today. In the United States, many are still wondering when the Republicans will find their conscience and a line which they cannot cross in their continued support for a President who some are now calling treasonous.

Poor Laura, unless Kennedy dies, I don’t see a promising future for her. I’m glad Violet and Oswald have found happiness. I’m hoping and expecting Glencora, my favorite character, to reappear. I don’t see Phineas remaining unattached for long, but I hope he’s less fickle than in the first novel.


message 4: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
I was pleased to see the Bunce's back, and liked the bit of working-class perspective Mr Bunce brought to the issues. Clearly something has happened at the Daily Planet (or whatever the newspaper is called) and I'm sure we'll find out what.

I'm wondering if Miss Palliser has been introduced as a possible love interest, and if Mme Max will reappear.


message 5: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
Trollope has no qualms about killing off a character to give him more of a story. Poor Mary is sacrificed so Phineas can have a new book. Same thing between The Warden and Barchester Towers. Some of us weren't sure Phineas would really be happy out in Ireland in a quiet life, anyway. Maybe Kennedy will also conveniently die.

I also found some of the politics relevant today, about choosing party over country, for instance, and being more concerned for how an initiative is received by the public and press over what is right. And how a legislator convinces himself he knows what is right.


message 6: by Madge UK (last edited Jul 21, 2018 03:52AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments Frances wrote: "I decided to do a bit of research on disestablishment, the political movement described in these chapters which proposes separating the church from the state, and imagine my surprise on finding tha..."

I have posted something on this topic Frances. I think Giles Fraser, the Guardian religious correspondent, is flying a kite in the above article because I haven't seen it discussed for years. The last time was at the height of Prince Charles' unpopularity over Diana, Camilla etc. While the Queen lives it is unlikely to surface, when she dies maybe. Charles, who is religious, has said he wants to be 'Defender of Faiths', not just Protestantism so that might prompt a change of some sort in the 1701 Act of Settlement which says the crown can only go to Protestants and Prime Ministers cannot be Catholic:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_o...

William and Harry are not religious so when William inherits would probably be a good time to disestablish.

There is still quite a bit of hostility between Protestants and Catholics in the UK, particularly in Ireland and Scotland which Trollope shows in Phineas Finn and Redux. Politically catholics are thought to be less patriotic because their first allegiance is to the Pope.


message 7: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
Apparently this is/was also true in the US when there was a similar concern about JFK's Catholicism-that his first allegiance might be to the Pope and not to the country.


message 8: by Phrodrick (new)

Phrodrick In fact there is a long US history of political ill will towards the Catholics.

Shortly before the American Civil War several groups coalesced into what would later become the Republican Party. Two of these groups were The Know Nothings Aka the Native American party and the Anti Papists

Before going to relatively more modern times, If you visited or have heard of Canal Street in New Orleans, it was never the location of a canal, but represents a natural portage from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain and from there to the Gulf of Mexico. Anyway New Orleans has more canals than Venice- so the story goes-, and many dug by Irish workers. The belief of the time was that it was cheaper to replace an Irishman than a slave.

Back to things Catholic,
The first Catholic to run for President was New York Gov. Al Smith “"the Happy Warrior of the political battlefield."”. It is believed that his loss (to Herbet Hoover ) was in part due to his religion. BTW a huge loss, 58 % to 40% and 40 states to 8. Smith did not carry his home state.
John Kennedy did win as a Catholic President, but he made a major speech to state that he would be taking no orders from the Pope.

In recent years many Catholic candidates and office holders have had to make similar statement, esp if they were pro-choice.


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments This what Trollope had to say about Phineas in his autobiography. Interesting comment on Laura.

“Lady Laura Standish is the best character in Phineas Finn and its sequel Phineas Redux,—of which I will speak here together. They are, in fact, but one novel though they were brought out at a considerable interval of time and in different form. The first was commenced in the St. Paul's Magazine in 1867, and the other was brought out in the Graphic in 1873. In this there was much bad arrangement, as I had no right to expect that novel readers would remember the characters of a story after an interval of six years, or that any little interest which might have been taken in the career of my hero could then have been renewed. I do not know that such interest was renewed. But I found that the sequel enjoyed the same popularity as the former part, and among the same class of readers.”

Excerpt From
Autobiography of Anthony Trollope
Anthony Trollope
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/auto...
This material may be protected by copyright.


message 10: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1436 comments Mod
I also saw Phineas as Trollope's male version of Eleanor Bold. Like Eleanor, Phineas seems to have been a favorite of his, and the spouse had to be killed off in order to give them another story line.

I also like Lady Laura and I'm interested to find out what Trollope has in store for her. If Trollope considered her the best character of the two books, surely she won't be stuck in Dresden for much longer.

In Phineas Finn, Phineas got his political positions due to luck (except maybe the Cork appointment at the end--i think he earned that one). Now, he has to work for success, but he has the skills to do so. In addition to his mostly natural people skills, he knows how to speak and persuade. He is still idealistic, but he has had a dose of realism. In that respect, I think this book will be more interesting.


message 11: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments I was amazed to find that people had been discussing disestablishment this long ago (not long in European terms, I know, but I'm American), given that it still hasn't happened.

I'm of mixed feelings about whether it should be done, I guess. as am atheist, I'm no fan of state religion; but I also recognise that many people earning their bread via the CofE would be left out in the cold, and that it's a good place for musicians to look for a post. :/

I was a bit alarmed at how quickly Mary was killed off. It's like the beginning of most fairy tales, where Mom has to die immediately in order for the story to start. Didn't Trollope refrain from relating the actual wedding in the prior book? He could just have easily said that Phineas hadn't gotten married after all.


message 12: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
But then Phineas might have married one of the other ladies who were pursuing him.


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments Trollope needed for Phineas to marry Mary so that his return to Ireland was believable and the reader was left with the impression that Phineas was an honorable man by the end of the novel. Honorable in his vote for tenant’s rights and also by marrying Mary after he had behaved so dishonorably towards her. Besides, as Phineas is such a ladies man, who would believe that he would return to Ireland without benefit of female companionship? Mary was an unfortunate plot victim. I think Trollope might have grieved more for her than Phineas.


message 14: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments Haha, yes, I'm having a hard time believing he grieved for her at all. ;) I was never convinced that he loved her.

Thanks for answering back with your explanations. It surely helps to hear them! :)


message 15: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments I don't think he had a chance with Violet Effingham, and he was so caught up in that idea that he couldn't even consider Mme Max. :/

But, like you said, Trollope had to get him back to Ireland somehow.


message 16: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
I always rather thought that Phineas was a “love the one you’re with” sort of man and that he truly loved Mary when he was in Ireland and hid from her the fact that he missed London. Wives dying was not so uncommon at the time (and I assumed it was in childbirth) but yes ultimately it was a plot device to get him back in the saga.


message 17: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments Yes, it was in childbirth; and I think you're right that it was pretty common. :(


Karen (karinlib) Sooo... I'm a bit behind on the reading. I just finished Eustace, and now have started Phineas Redux (I'm only on chapter 3). I was surprised to find out that he was away from London for only two years. I was expecting a much older Phineas.

To be honest, after reading the first three books, I still like the Barsetshire series better. I still think Doctor Thorne is my favorite book.


message 19: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
I agree, I think these later books drag on. It's a common issue with successful writers that the books get longer and longer. My favorite is still Barchester Towers because it is the funniest.


message 20: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
Karen, Doctor Thorne is my favourite too.


message 21: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1436 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I agree, I think these later books drag on. It's a common issue with successful writers that the books get longer and longer. My favorite is still Barchester Towers because it is the funniest."

Barchester Towers is my favorite too.


message 22: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments Aw man, maybe I should start collecting Barsetshire books from charity shops so I can read those! So far I only have picked up "Last Chronicle". :P


Karen (karinlib) I totally agree that Barchester Towers is very good. I think I just love the character of Doctor Thorne. So, if I rated Doctor Thorne 5 stars, all the other books in Barsetshire are 4.75 stars.


message 24: by Brian E (last edited Aug 27, 2018 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments I also just started too, Karen. The comparison of Pallisers to Barsetshire has inspired me to copy my September 2014 post setting up a discussion thread in a Goodreads Trollope Group I belong to, which is mainly inactive now:

"I was curious whether Goodread readers preferred the Barsetshire or Palliser series. As of today, both series were rated exactly the same - a 3.99 average (23.93/6). I had thought Pallisers would be higher rated, but actually Barsetshire was brought down by the Warden's low 3.71 rating. The other 11 novels ranged between 3.93 to 4.11. My guess is that The Warden's low rating can be attributed to the many readers who were assigned it and were not Trollope fans. It is a short novel and had over 5,000 ratings while the other Barsetshire novels have only 2,000 to 3,000 ratings.

While I find this statistical tie fascinating, I realize it will change. While I loved The Pallisers I have a softer spot for Barsetshire since it was my introduction to Trollope. Your first is always memorable. Please share your opinions."


message 25: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
I would agree at this point, although this is my second read through of Palliser and I read Barsetshire for the first time with this group. I find the politics in Palliser a bit dull, although perhaps it was of more interest at the time (or is of more interest to Brits).


message 26: by Karen (last edited Aug 27, 2018 12:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karen (karinlib) I had to read Barchester Towers for a British History course in College. At the time I had no idea that it was the 2nd book in a series. It wasn't until I downloaded Trollope's complete works to my Kindle that I realized how much Trollope had written. I found that I enjoyed Barchester Towers even more the second time, after I had read the Warden.


message 27: by Brian E (last edited Aug 28, 2018 08:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments Frances wrote: "I would agree at this point, although this is my second read through of Palliser and I read Barsetshire for the first time with this group. I find the politics in Palliser a bit dull, although perh..."

I agree that the politics of the Pallisers can at times be dull but I mainly enjoy it. However, I do remember liking the last 3 Pallisers better than the first 3 as more focus is on developing the Glencora/Planty Pal relationship and Finn rather than the stories of side characters like Alice V. and Lady Eustace. Oh, and especially Lucy Morris.


message 28: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1436 comments Mod
I've enjoyed the Finn novels, but was bored by The Eustace Diamonds. Didn't particularly enjoy Can You Forgive Her? either.


message 29: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
The Warden may not be the best place to start for a lot of people. Some of it is specific satire that doesn't speak to us today (the 3 boys of the archbishop are caricatures of famous churchmen, not actually children in the book, for instance.) And since Trollope kills off his hero between books, a reader could start with Barchester Towers and not miss much.

It's true of almost all series, whether classics, mysteries, romance, thriller, etc. that as the series goes on, the popular ratings get higher. I assume this is because the ones who persist are true fans. Anyone who was just ok with the first book or two probably doesn't continue.


message 30: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 281 comments I don't find the politics dull so much as a bit confusing. Even after living in England for two years, understanding all the practices and procedures is a bit foggy to me. I suspect I just need to read up on this subject a bit more.

CYFH has been my least favourite of the series so far. The rest I've really enjoyed. :)


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments I read the Barchester series first, several with an English literature professor which of course impacted my understanding enormously! I still had a hard time understanding all the Church of England hierarchy and accompanying issues, but enough to recognize Trollope’s observations and satire. I did love The Warden because Mr. Harding was one of my favorite characters in the series and I always empathized with his situation.

Although I also am an outsider as regards the English parliamentary system and there are challenges in trying to understand it, I am finding many startling similarities to current US politics in Phineas Redux and it’s my favorite of the Palliser books so far.

When I first began reading the Palliser series, I would also have chosen Barchester as my favorite, but right now I’d have to say they each have their own attractions both in theme and characters. Hopefully not a cop-out!


message 32: by Brian E (last edited Dec 14, 2018 07:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 754 comments Lori wrote: ".... Didn't particularly enjoy Can You Forgive Her? either."

Stephen King said it should be called 'Can You Possibly Finish It?' I prefer Punch Magazine's title of 'Can You Stand Her?' based on their irritation with Alice V. However, the Pet Shop Boys liked it enough to use its title for a 1993 song of theirs.
While Alice V. also irritated me and it's not a fave, I still enjoyed it.


message 33: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I am glad to be back with familiar characters, mainly because I like Phineas.
It is nice to see Violet and Chiltern in an affectionate marriage.
I prefer this book to The Eustace Diamonds, which I thought was way too long, among other things.


message 34: by Trev (last edited Dec 15, 2018 07:19AM) (new) - added it

Trev | 355 comments I much preferred Alice V. to both Lizzie Eustace and Phineas Finn. Both the latter characters were essentially fickle and feckless, demonstrating levels of selfishness which were truly astonishing. Phineas' treatment of Lady Laura (and most women for that matter) was appalling.


message 35: by Phrodrick (new)

Phrodrick Trev wrote: "I much preferred Alice V. to both Lizzie Eustace and Phineas Finn. Both the latter characters were essentially fickle and feckless, demonstrating levels of selfishness which were truly astonishing...."

I was quite prepared to challenge every word of this in re PF and women. Then I remembered he 'had' to marry his first wife. And then stalled as long as he could.
Otherwise he played by the rules and .. well yo have not gotten there yet.


message 36: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1935 comments Mod
Trev wrote: "I much preferred Alice V. to both Lizzie Eustace and Phineas Finn. Both the latter characters were essentially fickle and feckless, demonstrating levels of selfishness which were truly astonishing. Phineas' treatment of Lady Laura (and most women for that matter) was appalling.
"


I'm not sure what you objection to his treatment of LL is-he offered to marry her and she turned him down. She offered friendship and he accepted, and sought her help in wooing Violet. This was clumsy and obtuse, but I don't imagine that at this point LL had been overtly proclaiming her ongoing love for him. I see nothing wrong in his treatment of Violet Effingham. And while he flirted without making promises to Mary (which, again, is callous and fickle but probably par for the course), she opted to hold out hope that he would "come through" in the end, and he did-turning down Mme Max, who was personally attractive and wealthy enough to keep him in parliament, to marry Mary.

So, I feel very differently about PF than I do about LE, who I agree is fickle, feckless and thoroughly deceitful.


message 37: by Phrodrick (new)

Phrodrick Frances wrote: "Trev wrote: "I much preferred Alice V. to both Lizzie Eustace and Phineas Finn. Both the latter characters were essentially fickle and feckless, demonstrating levels of selfishness which were truly..."

Agreed,
Only you said it better than I could,


message 38: by Trev (new) - added it

Trev | 355 comments Phrodrick wrote: "Frances wrote: "Trev wrote: "I much preferred Alice V. to both Lizzie Eustace and Phineas Finn. Both the latter characters were essentially fickle and feckless, demonstrating levels of selfishness ..."

I think at one point PF envisaged having a double life, one in Ireland with Mary and the other in London with LL, VE or even Madame M. He was cowardly with LL, never honest enough and always giving her some hope whilst at the same time firing bullets at her by telling her who his latest love was. Did he really not get the message when LL told him on a number of occasions that he was so 'hard?' I think he never forgave her for rejecting him so kept her hanging by a thread. LL remained hopeful because he kept coming round accepting her embraces and returning them. He knew it was wrong but wasn't brave enough to make it clear he didn't love her any more. Those embraces reminded me of Lizzie treating her cousin as a 'brother' on the rocks by the sea shore. I agree Lizzie was much worse than Phineas but the 'love' that Phineas had on offer even though it was sincere, had been transplanted so often in a few short years that it must have had the shallowest roots imaginable. That love was certainly not worth LL ruining her life for.
I have not yet read books five and six so I may have to reconsider all this after completing them.


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