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The Prime Minister

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

The Prime Minister is the fifth in Trollope’s series of six Palliser novels. With Phineas’ difficulties resolved, Trollope introduces new characters. A respectable young girl forsakes the man her family had always intended her to marry when she falls in love with a man of foreign extraction and an unknown family. He has a gentleman’s education and manners, but his family background and financial means are mysterious. Is he really a gentleman? Meanwhile, Plantagenet Palliser becomes Prime Minister of a shaky coalition government, and Glencora and Madame Goessler are busy with the ensuing social obligations.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I see it all," said the elder brother. "I think I know all about it. But running away is not the thing. One may be pretty nearly sure that one is right when one says that a man shouldn't run away from anything."

"The thing is to be happy if you can," said Arthur.

"No;—that is not the thing. I'm not much of a philosopher, but as far as I can see there are two philosophies in the world. The one is to make one's self happy, and the other is to make other people happy. The latter answers the best."

"I can't add to her happiness by hanging about London."

"That's a quibble. It isn't her happiness we are talking about,—nor yet your hanging about London. Gird yourself up and go on with what you've got to do. Put your work before your feelings. What does a poor man do, who goes out hedging and ditching with a dead child lying in his house? If you get a blow in the face, return it if it ought to be returned, but never complain of the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Lady Glen (Duchess of Omnium to you) is an early Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in Trollope's penultimate Palliser, trying to build a Camelot around her glorious husband's government. She hosts a different glitzy society dinner every evening at their charming Carlton Terrace home, filling it with bea...more

This is the fifth novel in the Palliser series. It was a favorite of Tolstoy, and readers may notice the similarity of an incident in The Prime Minister to what is perhaps the most famous incident in Tolstoy's fiction. (It appears that each man wrote his relevant passage before the other's passag...more

I started my odyssey through Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series of political novels in early 2011, beginning with Can You Forgive Her? I said at the outset of my review of this book that the year was to be my Trollope period, an author I had hitherto overlooked. Well, I only made it as far as Phi...more

Classic Trollope; more than one plot line running, a good villian, some interesting reflections on the Victorian parliamentary scene with a few identifiable caricatures (spot Disraeli anyone?), plenty of moves from town to country, a sprinkle of impossibly good characters and plenty of old favour...more

When the characters' xenophobia is justified by the events of the plot, it simply means that the author was more insular and xenophobic than his characters. Even though I suspect this fitted with the expectations of the target audience. And it's a pity, because the other major plot thread, which...more

Trollope always gives us more than one story - sometimes several stories. In this there are two stories that do loosely touch each other. I'm not sure either couldn't have been told without the other, and having them together made this quite long (it is the length only that has me shorting it a s...more

In all the political focus of the Palliser novels, it often seems forgotten they are as much as detailed examination of women in Victorian marriages as they are of men in the British parliament. Trollope is one of the few Victorian authors that really examines marriage. Like all his contemporarie...more

The fifth book in The Palliser series. When I started this I thought it was going to be the best book to date but the story fell away at the end. The main character Ferdinand Lopez is a wonderful villain. He's immoral, manipulative but in some instances oddly vulnerable. This is the only book in...more

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.


This book centres on the Duke of Omnium as he leads a coalition goverment.
Also the plight of Emily Wharton whom Arthur Fletcher loves but she marries Ferdinand Lopez who is a speculator.
The two intertwining stories go from town to country where some old friends from previous novels make an appear...more

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