Synopses & Reviews
The novel is set against the background of the Reform Bill of 1867, and focuses on an Irish Member of the British House of Commons; in it Trollope explores the relations between the distinct elements of 'the United Kingdom'. Phineas has a personal chronicle which largely dominates the political calendar and it is noteworthy that Trollope wrote Phineas Finn at the same time as Gladstone's accession to power and the momentous consequences for Ireland that followed. Phineas Finn (1869) is the second of the Palliser novels, published between 1864 and 1880. As a group they provide us with the most extensive and telling exposé of British life during the period of its greatest prestige.
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Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. He wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day. In 1867 Trollope left his position in the British Post Office to run for Parliament as a Liberal candidate in 1868. After he lost, he concentrated entirely on his literary career. While continuing to produce novels rapidly, he also edited the St Paul's Magazine, which published several of his novels in serial form. His first major success came with The Warden (1855) - the first of six novels set in the fictional county of Barsetshire. The comic masterpiece Barchester Towers (1857) has probably become the best-known of these. Trollope's popularity and critical success diminished in his later years, but he continued to write prolifically, and some of his later novels have acquired a good reputation. In particular, critics generally acknowledge the sweeping satire The Way We Live Now (1875) as his masterpiece. In all, Trollope wrote forty-seven novels, as well as dozens of short stories and a few books on travel.