Phineas Finn: The Irish Member

This book, the second of Trollope's Palliser series of political novels, was published serially from October 1867 to May 1869. The novel concerns the Parliamentary career of the impoverished but intelligent Phineas Finn, an adaptable and attractive Irish barrister who comes to London in order to take up his family seat in Parliament and find a suitably rich and well-connected wife. Amidst radical political agitation, his story reveals the artificiality and glamour of politics, and the inevitable compromises of the party system. Finn becomes romantically involved with several women including the incredibly intelligent Lady Laura Standish, who is the only character capable of resisting the absurd political game that eventually causes Finn to resign.

Trollope based some of the Parliamentary characters that appear in the novel on their real-life counterparts, such as Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, and John Bright and his keen eye and sharp writing style deal with them mercilessly. Trollope portrays the fine balance between the demands of public and private life effortlessly, demonstrate the entanglment of political ambitions and the experiences of love with consumate ease.