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Phineas Redux (Palliser, #4)
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Phineas Redux July 29-Aug 4: Ch 17-24

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

Frances (francesab) | 1902 comments Mod
This section continues to follow several separate threads.

Mme Goesler, the Duke, Mr Maule, Sr and Phineas-on whom might her affections land once the Duke has passed away? What do you make of her relationship with the Duke, and what does it say about her?

Trollope paints a portrait of a certain type of aristocrat or gentleman who does nothing-simply lives off his income. We see this in The Duke of Omnium and in both Mr Maules. What do you think he is saying about this style of life? What by contrast is his portrayal of their working counterparts-such as Plantagenet P or Lord Chiltern?

Adelaide Palliser is becoming a more prominent character-what role might her relationship with Gerard Maule play in this novel? What about the interlude with Mr Spooner? Does Mr Spooner's proposal remind you of another proposal that is hinted at later in this section?

Finally-the Kennedy saga. Mr Kennedy does indeed seem to have gone mad. He also clearly has significant support from those who know a little about his situation, and most people seem to feel that Lady Laura should return to her husband. What did you think of the letter, and of Phineas' decision to try to intervene?

Please share your thoughts on this section.

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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1420 comments Mod
Ugh, what can such an intelligent woman as Adelaide Palliser see in Gerard Maule? Spooner was probably worse, but surely she could find a man who would be a more suitable companion for her! The elder Mr. Maule is much worse. He made the son look good. I don't think he stands a chance with Madame Max.

The situation with Mr. Kennedy does not look good. I've got an idea of what's about to happen from one of the back cover blurbs.

Mr. Low calling Mr. Slade "Slope" was pretty funny. I wonder if Trollope was taking a swing at Slade's newly professed morality.

message 3: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited Jul 28, 2018 06:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
The section on the newspaper could have been written yesterday, on the topic of "doubling down" when accused of hypocrisy and downplaying moral virtues.

It became Mr. Slide's duty to speak of men as heaven-born patriots whom he had designated a month or two since as bloated aristocrats and leeches fattened on the blood of the people. Of course remarks were made by his brethren of the press- remarks intended to be very unpleasant. One evening newspaper took the trouble to divide a column of its own into double columns, printing on one side . .remarks made by the People's Banner in September . . which were very harsh and on the other side remarks equally laudatory. Mr. Slide knew his business too well to allow himself to be harassed by any such small stratagem as that. He did not pause to defend himself but boldly attacked the meanness, the duplicity, the immorality, the grammar, the paper, the type and the wife of the editor of the evening newspaper. In the storm of wind in which he rowed it was unnecessary for him to defend his own conduct. . .The readers all thought that their editor had beaten his adversary out of the field.

Perhaps his great value was shown most clearly in his distinct appreciation of the low line of public virtue with which his readers would be satisfied. A highly-wrought moral strain would he knew well create either disgust or ridicule. . . "Mr. Gresham is as good as another man, no doubt; what we want to know ifs whether he's along with us."

message 4: by Lori, Moderator (last edited Jul 28, 2018 07:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1420 comments Mod
Oh yes, many of the bits on politics and journalism are quite timely!

By the way, Adelaide Palliser's elder sister sounds quite interesting.

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments What stands out to me in this section are the issues surrounding marriage, which we’ve come to know as a common theme for Trollope. Adelaide’s situation has echoes of Alice Vavasour and Glencora in CYFH - the choice between a man who can be a reliable provider, husband and father versus a man who may prove not to be these things but whom the woman loves. Each situation has its specific differences, but the setup is the same. Adelaide has actually rejected two possible suitors, Mr. Spooner and Count Bundi, in favor of Gerard Maule. What’s interesting for me is that Adelaide does recognize Gerard’s possible flaw as a husband in that he is a spendthrift with the income which he has and is content to be idle. How will he provide for a family? By hesitating, Adelaide reveals her emotional side has not totally trampled her rational side. Perhaps even more interesting is that Violet is in favor of Gerard. She had faced similar choices. Though she had loved Oswald a long time, she was also afraid he would not make a suitable husband. In addition, he was also seen as a bad choice by other people by virtue of his lifestyle. Happily, he seems to have reformed, found a calling in life as the keeper of the hounds and is a good husband and father.

Laura’s situation with Kennedy has more and more echoes of the Trevelyan marriage in He Knew He Was Right. The Victorian thinking about a wife’s duty to her husband and to remain in the marriage was very strong so it’s not surprising that people such as Slide and Mrs. Bunce should think Laura’s only honorable action would be to return to her husband. I can’t help but think that while the modern reader stands on the side of Laura and Phineas, who have done nothing wrong, but are the victims of Kennedy’s delusions, the Victorian readers probably were divided in their support. By the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, women could finally sue for divorce in court. However, they had to prove bigamy, incest, cruelty or desertion. Laura would not have any grounds so it’s only natural that people would side with Kennedy. However, if his madness proved dangerous to her- who knows?

Madame Max is an outlier as regards marriage and a woman’s role in society. She is financially independent and in control of her money so that she can be independent in her life choices as well. While previously she had decided that to marry the Duke of Omnium would bring social dilemmas for her, she obviously cares deeply for him and is committed to him as long as he lives. Maurice Maule is sleazy, I think Madame Max is too smart to be duped by him. Along with Glencora, Madame Max is so far one of my favorite characters in the series.

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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1420 comments Mod
Yes, I also thought of Alice's situation when reading about Adelaide. Alice loved Mr. Grey but feared that life with him would be, frankly, boring since he just stayed in the country and didn't do much, and she was ambitious and used to another life (I'm talking about before she decided to break up with him, since after that there were other issues). Gerard Moule is not a bad man, but I just can't imagine how an intelligent woman would want him as a companion, since he apparently has no opinions, no ambitions, and no hobbies aside from hunting. Just looking at temperaments, she and Phineas would be a better match, but there doesn't appear to be any attraction or chemistry between them at this point. And she's very young. It would have been interesting to see her do something on her own, since even if she wants to marry she has a lot of time. I wonder why Violet was saying Adelaide could write for the Times. Was Trollope contrasting her with journalists like Slide, perhaps implying she could do a better job? Or am I reading too much into it. I keep thinking of Laura Edmonds from Downton Abbey, but that was the 1920s. But there was a successful female journalist in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady, and that was probably around this time period or only a little after. I'll stop rambling!

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

Frances (francesab) | 1902 comments Mod
I do find it so interesting to see Trollope viewing marriage so often from the woman's point of view, particularly the potentially or actually horrible marriages. Even in describing the near-failure of Lady G and Palliser's marriage, the problems and the solution were very much seen from her POV rather than his. By contrast, we saw almost nothing of Phineas' marriage (which I assume was successful at least on a personal level).

LiLi | 280 comments I don't see how Madame Max or Miss Palliser could find either of their respective Maules appealing.

LiLi | 280 comments The descriptions of Slide are great. I'm noticing, too, that the names Trollope picks are getting sillier and sillier.

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

Frances (francesab) | 1902 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "I don't see how Madame Max or Miss Palliser could find either of their respective Maules appealing."

I suspect the younger Maule has a certain rakish charm that would have been attractive-remember, it was quite acceptable for gentlemen to have no occupation at the time, if anything being seen to work for a living was rather lowering.

message 11: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments Perhaps Maule would have been classed as a Dandy:

Brian E Reynolds | 747 comments Madge UK wrote: "Perhaps Maule would have been classed as a Dandy:"

So spoken by a 'dandizette," my new word for the day

message 13: by Brian E (last edited Sep 06, 2018 01:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 747 comments Frances wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "I don't see how Madame Max or Miss Palliser could find either of their respective Maules appealing."
I suspect the younger Maule has a certain rakish charm that would have been a..."

Yes, as with the views on marriage, we need to remember the attitudes of the time. Still, Planty Pal is of far higher rank than Maule and is far from idle. Finn too is a worker. If Maule is supposed to have rakish charm, like Burgo, Trollope has ineffectively portrayed it since I haven't seen any. I second Lori's opinion: "Ugh!"

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

LiLi | 280 comments I didn't mean that I thought he should have a job, but that he seems like an uninteresting companion for Miss Palliser. Here she is, smart and articulate enough that people say she writes for "The Times", yet he seems to have no intellectual interests at all. I suppose the hunting is something, but it still seems like a mismatch.

message 15: by Brian E (last edited Sep 06, 2018 09:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 747 comments Yes, I'm not surprised to see so many idle rich of that time period, but I am always surprised to see so many like Maule; idle poor, without estates, who won't work, yet don't really seem of so high a class or nobility.
Trollope creates a lot of them. I think he does create a better class of women than men, Even his bad women, like Lady Eustace and Mrs. Proudie, are pretty good at their roles.

message 16: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 280 comments I don't find it that surprising. If he gets enough money to spend his time how he wishes, why would he want to tie himself to a job?

Brian E Reynolds | 747 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I don't find it that surprising. If he gets enough money to spend his time how he wishes, why would he want to tie himself to a job?"

Well, that's because I often find things surprising that others find obvious. Some call that being clueless, but I claim it means I live a more exciting life than others since I'm always getting surprises.

message 18: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 280 comments It could simply be that our worldviews or life experiences are different enough that something that feels normal to me would be unusual to you. :)

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

Rosemarie | 2924 comments Mod
I can't see the Adelaide-Maule wedding taking place in the near future, since he has no idea how they are going to live, financially.

The scene in the hotel was frightening and Kennedy is crazy, dangerously so.

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