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The Prime Minister

de Anthony Trollope

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: The Palliser Novels (5)

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1,0742213,778 (4.03)2 / 116
Despite a decreasing popularity throughout his career, Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) has become one of the most notable and respected English novelists of the Victorian Era. His penetrating novels on political, social and gender issues of his day have placed him among such nineteenth century literary icons as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Trollope penned 47 novels in his career, in addition to various short stories, travel books and biographies. A newfound interest in politics led to the publication of "The Prime Minister" in 1876, one of a group of novels sometimes called Trollope's parliamentary novels. This novel tells of the successes, troubles, and eventual failure of what the author calls the completed picture of a statesman, who should have "rank, and intellect, and parliamentary habits, by which to bind him to the service of his country . . . he should also have unblemished, unextinguishable, inexhaustible love of country" (from Trollope's Autobiography).… (més)
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Trollope, Anthony. The Prime Minister. 1876. Palliser No. 5. Project Gutenberg.
The Prime Minister is a novel written twenty or thirty years before its time. It tells the story of two marriages--one with what Trollope considers a too-busy political wife, and one with a tyrannical, dishonest bullying husband. It is a novel that cries out for some intense drama about sexual feelings and behavior, which Trollope’s audience and marketers could never accept. It needs, in a word, someone like E. M. Forster, who would be born three years after this novel was published. The novel is also marred by Trollope’s blatant anti-Semitism. Once again, though, I appreciate the subtle way in which Trollope depicts the precarious position of middle-class and even upper-class women. Without plenty of inherited money, there is no social safety net, and even with money, any woman in the public eye is in danger of having her reputation ruined by even well-intentioned acts of kindness that go wrong. Independence is something Trollope women can talk about and wish for, but it is always constrained and dangerous to attempt. ( )
  Tom-e | Mar 28, 2020 |
This is the fourth of the Palliser novels that I have read (I skipped over The Eustace Diamonds with no ill effect) and so far it's the best of the bunch. In it Anthony Trollope offers two intertwining tales: that of the government of the upright and dutiful Plantagenet Pallier, Duke of Omnium, and the courtship of Emily Wharton, the daughter of a rich barrister, by the slick speculator Ferdinand Lopez. While I started the novel to read the first tale, I soon found myself much more interested in the development of the latter, which was perhaps a little predictable but no less engrossing for it. Yet Trollope's depiction of politics is no less entertaining in this novel, largely because of his focus on the machinations of the duke's wife, Lady Glencora Palliser. Though well-meaning, Trollope sees her efforts as counter-productive, which certainly raised questions for me as to why she is regarded by so many as one of Trollope's greatest heroines. Independent and willful as she may be, she seems to be presented in this novel mainly as a cautionary note as to the folly of women participating in politics, as her actions create many of the problems her husband's government subsequently faces. Nevertheless, she is marvelous as a plot device, and is one of the greatest strengths of this enjoyable book. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
I didn’t mean to read ‘The Prime Minister’ quite so soon, or to rush through it quite so quickly, but I had to step back into Trollope’s world because there seemed to be so many old friends I wanted to see again, so many interesting new people to meet, so many intriguing things happening.

Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, was Prime Minister!

He headed a coalition government, and he had risen not so much as the result of his own charisma and ambition, more because there was no other candidate acceptable to all of the parties and willing to do the job. Now to rise to such a position is a great thing, but I feared for the new Prime Minister. He was too honest, too sensitive, and too unwilling to compromise his principles. Wonderful qualities in so many ways, but qualities you would want in a right-hand man, that would make you want to pick him for your team or hold him up as a role model; but not qualities that would make him a great leader of men.

The Duchess of Omnium – the erstwhile Lady Glencora Palliser – on the other hand was in her element. She would entertain, she would socialise, she would intrigue. She would play her part to the full, and she was in so many ways a far better politician that her husband. Never was it clearer that they loved each other but they would never quite understand each other.

It was lovely to watch them and to listen to them. And, maybe even better, were the conversations between the Duchess and her dearest friend Mrs Finn – the erstwhile Madame Max. That friendship is so well balanced and so well drawn.

The stories of the Duke and Duchess are set against – and entangled with – the stories of Ferdinand Lopez and Emily Wharton.

Ferdinand Lopez was a handsome adventurer of Portuguese-Jewish descent. It was clear from the start that he was to be the villain of the piece, and he plotted and schemed to acquire wealth and rise up through society. He was determined to secure the hand of Emily Wharton, the daughter of a wealthy and successful barrister. Mr Wharton was firmly set against the match, and determined that his daughter would only marry the son of an English gentleman. He favoured Emily’s childhood friend Arthur Fletcher, but Lopez had her heart.

The deadlock was broken when Lopez, apparently, saved the life of Emily’s brother, and her father reluctantly consented to the marriage.

It was then that Lopez’s campaign escalated. He used his wife to extract significant sums of money from his father-in-law to fund speculations, he exploited – and cheated his lower class business partner. He has some successes but he had more failures, and put more and more pressure on his wife to extract more funds from her father. His attempt to enter the House of Commons, to established him as an English gentleman, fails and Arthur Fletcher takes the seat. he blames everyone but himself.

That had consequence for the Duchess of Omnium – who had been charmed by Lopez and so gave him her support – and in turn for the Prime Minister, who could not, would not, allow his wife’s name – or his principles – to be compromised.

Mr Wharton realised that when he dismissed Lopez’s suit he had neglected to consider other things that would make him an unsuitable husband for his daughter. He did what he could, Emily knew that she had to accept the consequences of her decision; the arc of the relationship between father and daughter was one of my favourite things about this novel.

As Lopez made his determined rise and when he came tumbling down he did a great deal of damage. When both his business and his marriage collapsed around him he made the most dramatic of exits. The repercussions of his actions though would be felt for a long, long time.

His end was inevitable, but the gap that he left was huge, he was such a fascinating, charismatic character. It took the story a while to re-establish itself without him.

But there is a whole world in this story, and the world continues to turn. I loved watching so much going on, at Westminster, in the town, in the country. The scope of the story is vast, and the author’s command of it is magnificent.

There are themes that are horribly relevant today – the consequences of coalition government, and the role the fourth estate – represented here by Mr Quintus Slide …..

There are many things that can be said about this book. I have come to see that Trollope accepted society’s norms and believed that they would continue to hold sway; that he could draw a good villain but he clearly gave much more time to the great and the good; that he gave consideration to how a gentleman should live and behave, and of the consequences of their social position and above all of marriage for women ……

Above all this is a wonderfully rich human drama.

The world that Trollope has created in the Palliser novels and the people that live in it are so very, very real.

I find it easy to simply accept it for what it is, and I love spending time there. ( )
1 vota BeyondEdenRock | Oct 29, 2018 |
After finding Phineas Redux unreadable - I didn't make it to page 30 - I immediately started the next in the Palliser series, The Prime Minister, and I find it hard to put it down; I hate to have to have to stop reading and go to work. ( )
  ReadMeAnother | Aug 10, 2018 |
Again, I bought this to have a more portable copy of the book. I have not read the copies of this series I inherited because they are too bulky to carry conveniently. I recall my father saying that the prime minister lost power because he gave an honor (a KG?) to a man he felt deserved it (for his agricultural improvements?) instead of to someone with more political influence. ( )
  antiquary | Apr 11, 2017 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Trollope, Anthonyautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Amery, L. S.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Page, FrederickEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Skilton, DavidIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Skilton, DavidEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
West, TimothyNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Everett Wharton was a trouble to his father,—but not an agonizing trouble, as are some sons. His faults were not of a nature to rob his father's cup of all its sweetness and to bring his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. Old Wharton had never had to ask himself whether he should now, at length, let his son fall into the lowest abysses, or whether he should yet again struggle to put him on his legs, again forgive him, again pay his debts, again endeavour to forget dishonour, and place it all to the score of thoughtless youth. Had it been so, I think that, if not on the first or second fall, certainly on the third, the young man would have gone into the abyss; for Mr. Wharton was a stern man, and capable of coming to a clear conclusion on things that were nearest and even dearest to himself. But Everett Wharton had simply shown himself to be inefficient to earn his own bread. He had never declined even to do this,—but had simply been inefficient.
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Despite a decreasing popularity throughout his career, Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) has become one of the most notable and respected English novelists of the Victorian Era. His penetrating novels on political, social and gender issues of his day have placed him among such nineteenth century literary icons as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Trollope penned 47 novels in his career, in addition to various short stories, travel books and biographies. A newfound interest in politics led to the publication of "The Prime Minister" in 1876, one of a group of novels sometimes called Trollope's parliamentary novels. This novel tells of the successes, troubles, and eventual failure of what the author calls the completed picture of a statesman, who should have "rank, and intellect, and parliamentary habits, by which to bind him to the service of his country . . . he should also have unblemished, unextinguishable, inexhaustible love of country" (from Trollope's Autobiography).

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