Parliament Regained: Phineas Redux

  • John Halperin


“Parliamentary debates, Cabinet meetings, murders, trials, political infighting, private obsession, and public tyranny” are some of the things Phineas Redux is about. It is, especially in its first volume, undoubtedly the most political of Trollope’ s political novels — even more so than Phineas Finn, of which it is a continuation. From its opening sentence — “The circumstances of the general election of 18— will be well remembered by all those who take an interest in the political matters of the country” — until its conclusion, Phineas Redux is more singlemindedly concerened with politics, politics both real and imaginary, than any other novel Trollope wrote.1


Prime Minister Political Life Political World Conservative Party Parliamentary Debate 
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  1. 2.
    The Stebbinses, for example, say five years have elapsed between the two novels (p. 271); Winifred and James Gerould, in A Guide to Trollope (Princeton, 1948), say seven years have passed (see Booth, p. 242n). The current (1964) Oxford World’s Classics edition ofPhineas Redux proclaims 1874 as the date of its original appearance.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    See Blake, p. 503. Trollope’s “The Irish Church” appeared in the Fortnightly Review in August 1865;Google Scholar
  3. “The Irish Beneficed Clergyman,” first published in the Pall Mall Gazette on 23 January 1866, was also reprinted in Trollope’s Clergymen of the Church of England (London, 1866; repr. 1974). As the discussion in Chapter 4 (and notes) may suggest, there has been disagreement about Trollope’s position on some aspects of Victorian England’s Irish policies. Burn, p. 67, argues that Trollope saw no danger in the connection between church and state since he felt that the clergy had that connection “in their bones and could not be imagined as the leaders of a spiritual crusade, were they to be freed from it.” But this hypothesis is difficult to defend, I think, in view of Trollope’s election address and some of his other statements at Beverley (see Chapters 1 and 5). A more judicious position is taken by E. W. Wittig in “Trollope’s Irish Fiction,” Eire-Ireland, 9, No. 3 (Autumn 1974), 97–118.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    Trollope became particularly angry with Gladstone in the late seventies and early eighties over Liberal Irish policies. See, for example, P. D. Edwards, “Trollope to Gladstone: An Unpublished Letter,” N&Q (May 1968), 184–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Halperin 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Halperin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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