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Phineas Redux (Palliser, #4)
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Phineas Redux: July 22-28: Ch 9-16

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

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
Our second section appears to have a bit of everything. We open with a debate in the house, and thanks to Madge we have more information about disestablishment in the background section. Then we catch up with poor Mr Kennedy in his draughty castle, next we see Lady Laura and Lord Brantford in exile, we see more politicking as Phineas gains his seat, there is another rather amusing hunting scene and finally Phineas is reunited with ex-love interest #2, Madame Max Goesler.

What did you make of Lady Laura's confession to Phineas? Is she truly pledging disinterested, sisterly affection or is she reaching for something more, either in the present or in a possible future should her ailing husband die? Does Madame Max have a second chance? Might Miss Palliser be the dark horse in the race to be Mrs Finn the second? Who would you pick for his second wife?

What did you make of Mr Kennedy?

What do you think of Phineas this time around?

Please share your thoughts on this most interesting section.


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments With Kennedy, Trollope returns to themes of the wronged husband, obsession and madness which he explored in more detail in the earlier He Knew He Was Right . Both Kennedy and Louis Trevelyan (HKHWR) have deteriorated in mind and body- to madness- because of their obsession with a wife who they believe has behaved contrary to her wifely duty and has subsequently left her husband, dishonoring them both. While the specific circumstances differ, duty and obedience are paramount in the eyes of both men, as is the belief that the husband is the master in the marital relationship. Trollope meant for there to be some sympathy for Louis as he descends to delusional, obsessive madness and his accompanying physical decline. I can't find any sympathy for Kennedy, only for Laura who hopefully will find more happiness later in the novel.


message 3: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
I agree, Kennedy is not presented as a sympathetic character at any point-his rigidity, religious fervour and his previous attempts to completely control his wife all seem painted very negatively. I am assuming that Trollope is not supporting this need for control of a husband over his wife, and instead showing what unhappiness will ultimately spring from this. He did the same thing in reverse with the Bishop and his wife in the Barchester series, as I recall.


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments I think that Trollope did believe that a husband was the dominant voice in the household, the general Victorian view. As regards both Kennedy and Louis, he had created a dark picture of husbands who had veered out of the mainstream of marital relationship because of their disordered obsessive and sometimes delusional thinking.

From what I’ve read and learned in courses, the Victorian era saw a change in the roles of husband and wife. Although the husband was still the clear head of house, a softer, less domineering relationship between husband and wife was developing. I think Trollope subscribed to this view and did not consider himself a champion of women’s rights despite his depiction of strong women characters in so many of his novels. Many of those characters could demonstrate their defiance of submissiveness, their independence only to a certain point without suffering negative consequences. Mrs. Proudie fit this mold and I think was able to demonstrate a long and complete usurpation of her husband’s role as Bishop because of the satirical nature of their relationship. However, Trollope finally made sure she got her comeuppance.


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

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
It does look like Kennedy won't last long.

We got another humorous look at a hunt where the 2 horses refuse to behave as expected and the humans can't do anything but give up. It seems Phineas is angry because he doesn't look like a real man when he can't control his horse and Mme Max is the witness.


message 6: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
Linda-I agree with your point-I don't think Trollope believed in full equality by any stretch, but he clearly encouraged and seemed to like girls/women who were strong in their views/opinions and seemed to rather like the "power behind the throne" model such as is seen with Glencora and Plantagenet or the Grantleys in Barchester.

Robin-I also rather pitied poor Phineas in that scene, although perhaps it's a way to right the balance of power between Phineas and Mme Max-she might be feeling rather awkward having been rejected by him previously.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments Frances wrote: "Linda-I agree with your point-I don't think Trollope believed in full equality by any stretch, but he clearly encouraged and seemed to like girls/women who were strong in their views/opinions and s..."

Yes, I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how Glencora develops in this novel. I was so annoyed in CYFH when she seemed to lose her confidence and strength of character in the gambling hall and retreated to the position of a woman in need of rescue by her husband. However, in Eustace, she has seemed to establish a power base acknowledged in the community apart from Palliser who is closeted with his various governmental issues. Will she continue to cement her power or will she too face some line beyond which she, as a woman, can’t go without some negative consequences?

Has anyone ever seen discussion or have any ideas about hunting as symbolic of social or political power? When Trollope makes comments like a man who can’t control his horse will consider never embarrassing himself by hunting again, I think he has to be referring to issues beyond hunting.


message 8: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1822 comments Mod
I suspect that prowess at hunting would be similar to prowess at any modern sport or fitness activity-for male politicians to be seen as good at sports makes them appear more powerful in general, and the opposite can be true as well-many years ago in Canada, one of the contenders for Prime Minister was photographed awkwardly fumbling a football (American) shortly before an election (he lost) and it was later wondered if that might have cost him his victory.

I suspect that Phineas' pride would have been sorely damaged by his apparent haplessness at hunting-who knows if it would have any bearing on either Mme Max's affections or his success in politics later!


message 9: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2934 comments Trollope was a very keen huntsman and describes anything to do with foxhunting expertly. I think it might be an authorial criticism of Phineas that he is hapless at hunting and therefore at other things.


message 10: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 269 comments I think Lady Laura knows her time has passed, but she desires an open, affectionate friendship with the man she loves, and still wants to help him. I'm not even sure if she could accept advances from Phineas at this point even if it were legally and societal possible, much as she might like the idea.


message 11: by Phrodrick (new)

Phrodrick There being no mass media, 24 hour news cycle or blogosphere, we might do well to not over inflate the political significance of PFs spill.

In terms of the politics of the heart..
Remind me again please, who was with him and there for him ?

Could there be an element of foreshadowing?


message 12: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 269 comments Certainly these accidents can be very embarrassing, especially since society and politics all seem to occur in the same little circle of richies; but I agree that it likely wouldn't be a political disaster. ..just some loss of face.


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments Perhaps Phineas’s fall is a foreshadowing as well- of a different type of fall?
With the void of a 24/7 news cycle, I think gossip among these interconnected circles of people made up for it- spreading the latest “did you know’s” far and wide!


message 14: by Phrodrick (new)

Phrodrick In reviewing the chapters, the hunting mishaps is minor.
The glaringly obvious point spread across at least 3 of these chapters is how hard Lady Chiltern, a one time flame for PF is working to grease the skids for a PF Madam Goesler match.

As I was trying to hint
Madam G is beside PF at the time of the attempted leap. Her mount has the same problem and they see the incident through together.

My bet to any and all takers at 2 to 1 is that there is zero elective politics effect of this extremely minor mishap ( no broken bones no dead horse ) but as we now say in America a Yuge set of outcomes in the matter of domestic politics.

Trollope has been heavy handed with foreshadowing in the past, and esp with PF. Everything about having the two of them together on the hunt was carefully arranged for them, but this incident reads to me like the sign of something coming.


message 15: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments Phrodrick wrote: "In reviewing the chapters, the hunting mishaps is minor.
The glaringly obvious point spread across at least 3 of these chapters is how hard Lady Chiltern, a one time flame for PF is working to grea..."


Agreed that no real political repercussions from his hunting mishap. I was just thinking maybe a little symbolic foreshadowing as to what happens in the most recent chapters concerning his place in the Party.
Phineas and Madame Max would make an interesting couple. She definitely is back in his life whatever her role turns out to be.


Bonnie | 217 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I think Lady Laura knows her time has passed, but she desires an open, affectionate friendship with the man she loves, and still wants to help him. I'm not even sure if she could accept advances fr..."
I am glad you reminded me of that, I forgot they can't get together now due to Society.
I wish Kennedy would die off and they would get together bc I am getting sick of all this back and forth with those two


message 17: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2803 comments Mod
My impression of the fox hunting incident is that it could have been worse. Not that Trollope would injure a title character this early in a novel.
The fall did lead to a real breaking of the ice between Phineas and Madame Max.

Re the visit to Dresden- Laura may think that she just wants to be Phineas' friend, but......

Kennedy has become a caricature instead of a character. The fact that he didn't even bother to heat the house properly and provide a warm guestroom for Phineas does not bode well for his (Kennedy's) sanity.


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