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Hardcover The Prime Minister Book

ISBN: 0195208994

ISBN13: 9780195208993

The Prime Minister

(Book #5 in the Palliser Series)

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Book Overview

'though a great many men and not a few women knew Ferdinand Lopez very well, none of them knew whence he had come'Despite his mysterious antecedents, Ferdinand Lopez aspires to join the ranks of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Augean stables waiting for the cleaner

Before politicians are admitted to new offices, few of them would not announce that they want to clean the stables. In practice, things go differently. We see this all the time. Why do I read Trollope? Simply because he is there; or rather, more specifically, I found the Penguin edition of the `Prime Minister' in the `still to be read' section of my shelf. I took it on a trip. It is an amusing way to spend time. Who reads Trollope? People with lots of time, I would guess. People who are not in a rush, who enjoy the chuckle and the insight, and who find the mysteries of the English caste system and legal structure worth a few or more hours. And those who think that British politics are hilarious. `It is easy for most of us to stay away from stealing and picking, as long as the clear consequence is prison diet and garments. But when silks and satins come of it, the net result of honesty does not seem so secure.' Right, isn't it? Of course, this book is not about Gordon Brown; it is about Plantagenet Palliser of the Palliser clan, aka the Duke of Omnium, and of the novel series about the Pallisers. The Duke has made it to the position of prime minister, but not all aristocrats look at this achievement with much respect. It is more like a disturbance in a life. This is the 5th of 6 volumes, and I have no idea why I bought it, back in the 90s. Shouldn't I have started with number 1 of the series? It seems that is not strictly necessary for enjoyment. (The product page here says that this is the best of the six.) Trollope was a masterful observer of people from certain social strata. His knowledge did not, it seems, encompass the whole width of society, but stayed with `society'. That doesn't make him a snob; it just makes him honestly incomplete. Who can claim to be otherwise, honestly? `When one man is a peer and another a ploughman, one doesn't find fault with the ploughman, but one also doesn't invite him to dinner.' If I have to find a fault with Trollope, it is his explicitness. He explains everything to us. That makes things easier, but also takes away the freedom of interpretation. It makes the book comfortable but one-dimensional. No space for post-modernist disagreements. On the positive side: he uses no coincidences, whether tragic or lucky. His plot relies on psychology and life experience. Trollope is possibly the least romantic of all Victorians. (Admittedly my basis for generalization is not broad.) The plot has a love story and a political story, interwoven: we start with a young would-be parvenu of questionable ancestry who tries to marry the daughter of a proper gentleman. Since the young man's father was Portuguese instead of English, and since the young man works for a living (in the City, how unrespectable!), he is easily dismissible (isn't it likely that he is Jewish on top of it?). This father wants to see his daughter married into a proper family. Trollope takes care to make us agree. The young man is not to be trusted

The Prime Minister: The fifth and penultimate Palliser novel by Trollope is a foray into high level

Anthony Trollope's Palliser series about politicians is second only in popularity to his earlier Barsetshire novels dealing with the clergy. "The Prime Minister" is a long but engaging novel written in 1874. The book holds up well over time and is worthy of rereading. The major players on the stage of this 700 page three decker are: a. Plantagent Palliser the sober, stolid and dull man of honor is elected Prime Minister of Great Britain in a coalition government. This government holds office for three years. Palliser does a good but unspectacular job. He is a taciturn, withdrawn man leading one to wonder why he ever entered the hurly-burly mudslinging of politics. His premiership is shaken by the allegation from the crude news maven the reprehensible Mr. Slide that Palliser paid the election fees of Ferdinand Lopez in the Silverbridge election. It is discovered that the evil Lopez was a favorite of Lady Glencora the Duke's impetuous wife. b. Glencora Palliser: Glencora believes the key to a good premiership for her husband is to wine and dine parliamentarians. She spends a fortune doing this putting up with such dreadfuls as Sir Timothy Beeswax. She is comforted by her good friend Mrs. Marie Finn who is married to Phineas Finn a member of Parliament from Ireland. Despite all of her faults we come to love Lady Glencora for her exuberance and liveliness in a novel which could all to quickly turn to dull staidness. In addition to the political plot which some American readers may find a bore there is a juicy and tragic love story featuring: a. Emily Wharton. She rejects her longtime lover Arthur Fletcher who comes from an old Hertfordshire family she has known since her youth. She is sheltered by her John Bull/Archie Bunker father old barrister Mr. Abel Wharton. Emily gives up a good life to become the wife of the bounder Mr. Ferdinand Lopez. b. Ferdinand Lopez is the father of a Portuguese father and a British mother. He is handsome; well educated and speaks several languages. He is also one of the most odious of all of Trollope's villians!!!! Lopez weds Emily believing she will inherit a large fortune; he lives at her father's home; he borrows large sums of money from the Wharton father and Lady Glencora Palliser. He is defeated in his campaign for the Silverbridge seat in Parliament by Emily's former flame the honorable Arthur Fletcher! Lopez rudely talks to his wife Emily, uses her to wheedle money out of her father and even seeks an affair with the notorious Lady Eustace! His wild dream of running a mine in Guatemala comes a cropper; he commits suicide by falling in front of a train! This is a plot device allowing Emily to be free for the arms of her true lover Arthur Fletcher. The novel ends with Arthur and Emily pledged to one another to become a wedded couple in a year's time. "The Prime Minister" is one of the finest political novels in the English language. The love story of Emily and Arthur is touching. We cry and laugh and think

Not for the uninitated

A reader of the Palliser novels will find THE PRIME MINISTER supremely satisfying, a splendid reward for the intermittent longueurs and annoyances of the previous four books. It's a little like climbing a mountain: only when you get to the top can you see where you are and be sure it was worth the trouble to get there. Trollope is working on a very broad canvas, and here we finally see the fruition of the Pallisers' marriage and of Plantagenet's political toils, if not ambitions, all rendered with sensitivity and truthfulness.But this, the chief interest of the novel for me, is doomed to feel weirdly flat and over-detailed to a reader who comes to THE PRIME MINISTER cold. Phineas and Marie, Lord Cantrip, Mr Monk, Gatherum and the Duke of St Bungay will seem only ciphers to readers knowing nothing of their histories, and they may even think the Pallisers themselves unworthy of the attention devoted to them. For them the chief interest of the novel will be the Lopez-Wharton plot, which has plenty of dazzle and drive to sustain it -- but when Lopez is dispatched they may find themselves frustrated and at sea, with a book in their hands that is no longer the book they thought they were reading. Emily Lopez thereafter is not good company, perhaps not a false creation so much as one we see about 30 pages too much of.The technical presentation of the novel is very fine. Trollope loves characters and situations, those are where his genius is most on display, and sometimes seems to regard plot as a necessary evil. Too often, elsewhere, he commits himself to subplots that canot really engage his interest, seemingly for no better reason than that is how novel-writing was supposed to be done. But here there are only two plots, with the marvelous Ferdinand Lopez serving as the hinge between them. (Trollope may have taught himself to do this in THE WAY WE LIVE NOW, where Felix Carbury serves a similar purpose. But in that book Trollope still felt obliged to rely on the uninspired subplot of Paul and Henrietta's romance.) The simplicity of the structure allows Trollope to do what he does best -- planning, rather than plotting, vivid scenes of intensity and character collision. The incidents of THE PRIME MINISTER are planned with a wonderful intelligence.(My edition of the Palliser novels is not the Penguin but the Oxford World's Classics one, and I don't have a word to say in its favor. The notes are annoyingly overlong and too numerous; and the editors' introductions, with the exception of that to PHINEAS REDUX, are dumbfoundingly irrelevant, seeming not to have even the simplest grasp of the virtues and appeal of the work being introduced. They're like reading a disquisition by Plantagenet Palliser himself on the merits of decimal coinage.)

Another book to read and cherish

Anthony Trollope has created yet another book full of twisted plots and fatal loves. Another book to read and cherish.

Parliamentary Politics and a Despicable Villain!

When Plantagenet Palliser (Duke of Omnium) is named Prime Minister, his wife, the Duchess Glencora, is delighted. Immediately she plunges into politics herself, giving huge parties intended to support the Duke, who is completely honorable, but unfortunately detached and reserved, seeming at times icy to those whose political backing is needed. Glencora, one of Trollope's most delightful creations, has a sparkling personality, but is occasionally too outspoken and is sometimes misunderstood. Eventually her well-intended machinations result in embarrassment for the Duke's ministry.In the other main plot, Emily Wharton ignores the advice of her father and almost all her friends when she falls in love with Ferdinand Lopez, about whom very little is known except that he seems to be a wealthy gentleman. Finally she persuades her father to give his permission for her marriage. Very quickly she discovers that she has made a horrendous mistake, and her life becomes a living h! ell. Only one of her old friends remains true--Arthur Fletcher, who vows that he will always love no one but her.Anyone who is interested in Victorian history and British politics will find the novel a pure delight. Others may find it slow going and mystifying in spots, although no such knowledge or interest is needed for the Emily-Lopez plot. Lopez is one of the most despicable villains in all of Trollope's fiction, ranking with George Vavasor of "Can You Forgive Her?" Emily, on the other hand, sometimes becomes tiresome in her queer, fastidious obstinacy.The character of Plantagenet Palliser is finely drawn. He is a man who is scrupulously honest, too much so for partisan politics. He is a natural leader and yet a thin-skinned, conscientious man who takes any criticism to heart. He loves his vivacious wife, who teases him mercilessly when she wishes to upset him. The match seems very odd, and their marriage began under inauspicious circumstances, and yet she,! in her way, admires and adores her husband."The Pr! ime Minister" is an outstanding work by one of literature's greatest novelists, mainly because of his brilliant handling of character. No one does it better.
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