Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Phineas Redux

Phineas Redux is getting juicy now, nearly 300 pages in. I am struck by how relevant Trollope is -- really. Early on the novel is rough going, since it is mostly about internecine battles between two political parties (nothing like our political system). Oh, and there is a corrupt press, partisan in the extreme (Mr. Quintus Slide, editor of The People's Banner, has conveniently switched political allegiance). A mad, bad husband writes a libelous letter, the publication of which he hopes will force his estranged wife to return to him. The newspaper editor, Slide, claims a moral imperative (something like that of the esteemed National Enquirer) which necessitates public probing into the private lives of the privileged few. Trollope shows a compassionate awareness of the unfair tyranny of bad husbands over unhappy wives. In related subplots, the deliciously named Duke of Omnium is at death's door, his beloved Madame Max Goesler attends the Duke, and an unscrupulous suitor eyes Madame Max.


Scriptor Senex said...

Even for someone used to UK politics some of the bits of Trollope are hard going at times. As you say, it's well worth ploughing through some of the difficult bits for the beauty of his writing and the way in which he was before his time in some of his liberal views.

bibliophiliac said...

Now that I have finished the novel, I'm even more in love with Phineas Finn, and with Trollope. And I love the fact that Phineas marries Madame Goesler in the end!