Phineas Finn

Phineas Finn

Book - 2011
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"To become a member of the British Parliament!...He almost thought that he could die happy"Phineas Finn, the handsome Irishman, is equally successful at scaling the political ladder and gaining the affection of influential women. As he makes his precarious way in parliament he discovers how far principles must be sacrificed to the common cause, and how essential money is to politicalprogress. Set during the turbulent passage of the second Reform Act of 1867, the novel paints a vivid picture of the compromises and tactics of daily political life. Loss of independence is felt just as keenly by Lady Laura and Violet Effingham, whose choice of marriage partner will determine theirfuture freedom as much as their happiness. With politics and the personal so closely entwined, Phineas faces an act of conscience that will have a profound effect on his life.The second novel in Trollope's Palliser series, Phineas Finn's engaging plot embraces matters as diverse as reform, the position of women, the Irish question, and the conflict between integrity and ambition.
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011
Edition: New ed.
ISBN: 9780199581436
Branch Call Number: FICTION TROLLOPE 2011
Characteristics: xxxv, 594 p. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Dentith, Simon


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Mar 29, 2011

Of Trollope's novels this is perhaps the one that Canadians should particularly read. That is because the title character, Phineas Finn, is an ambitious young Member of Parliament who during the course of the novel rises to the position of Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. As such it is his job in the Commons to represent the colonial policies of his boss, who is in the House of Lords during a period of crucial interest to Canadians from 1865 to 1868, the period of the Fenian Raids, Confederation, and the start of building the transcontinental railway. This is a novel, so specific pieces of legislation other than those critical to the plot: the 2nd Electoral Reform Act (which doubled the number of eligible electors and eliminated most "pocket boroughs"), and the first attempt to pass an Irish Tenant's Rights bill, are not discussed, but among those bills that Phineas Finn MP would have had to move through the Commons would have been the British North America Act, which created Canada.


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