Phineas Finn is an Irish M.P. climbing the political ladder, largely through the assistance of the women with whom he becomes romantically involved - his patron, Lady Laura Standish, who marries another; Violet Effingham, who weds a volatile nobleman; Madame Marie Max Goesler, a wealthy, sophisticated widow; and his patient sweetheart, Mary Flood-Jones. The questions he is forced to ask himself about honesty, independence, and parliamentary democracy are questions still asked today.
Phineas Finn is the second of Anthony Trollope's six Palliser novels. While each is a story within itself, together the volumes comprise a large, coherent composition that captures the fashions, slang, manners and politics of two decades. Beginning with this segment of the Palliser novels, Trollope painted an unrivaled portrait of Parliamentary political society in the high Victorian period. Trollope's understanding of the institutions of mid-Victorian England and the unobtrusive irony which informs his sympathetic vision of human fallibility is a hallmark of these stories.
Anthony Trollope (1815-82) is most famous for his portrait of the professional and landed classes of Victorian England, especially in his Palliser and Barsetshire novels. Brought up amidst debt and deprivation, Trollope inherited a writing ambition from his mother, and famously disciplined himself to wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and write 250 words every quarter of an hour. While carving out a successful career at the post office, he got his first novel published in 1847, and eventually achieved fame and fortune with forty-seven novels and some sixteen other books. His Autobiography is a satisfied and fascinating look at his life and his own character, as well as other famous literary figures and politics of the times.