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Literature / Palliser

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The Palliser novels (also called the Parliamentary novels) are six novels by Anthony Trollope revolving around the doings of politicians and other influential figures, in particular Plantagenet Palliser and Phineas Finn.

  • Can You Forgive Her? (1864)
  • Phineas Finn (1869)
  • The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
  • Phineas Redux (1874)
  • The Prime Minister (1876)
  • The Duke's Children (1879)

In the 1970s, the novels were adapted by The BBC as a 26-episode prestige Costume Drama under the title The Pallisers.

These novels contain examples of:

  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Dolly Longstaff appears in the last novel of the book series, and the first episode of the television series.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In Can You Forgive Her?, Lady Glencora falls in love with ne'er-do-well Burgo Fitzgerald, leading her guardians to arrange a marriage between her and stodgy Plantagenet Palliser.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Burgo Fitzgerald in Can You Forgive Her?.
  • Celebrity Paradox: There are characters clearly based on real people like Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, but on at least one occasion, the real people were referenced.
  • Character Overlap / Crossover: The Beargarden Club and its members Adolphus "Dolly" Longestaffe (now spelled "Longstaff") and Lord Nidderdale from The Way We Live Now appear in The Duke's Children.
  • Disposable Love Interest: The wife of the protagonist of Phineas Finn has died in childbirth by the beginning of the sequel, Phineas Redux.
  • Doorstopper: All six novels are well over 600 pages in most editions, with the longest, Can You Forgive Her?, topping 800 pages in some editions (leading Stephen King, in On Writing, to derisively nickname the book Can You Finish It?).
  • Grande Dame: Glencora's aunts, the Countess of Midlothian and the Marchioness of Auld Reekie.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Phineas Finn, from Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux.
  • Meaningful Name: Plantagenet Palliser.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The novels include politicians modeled on Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Several tries, at least, including Plantagenet Palliser's nay-saying about the marriages of two of his children in The Duke's Children. A successful Veto resulted in the most fascinating marriage in Trollope's oeuvre, that of Palliser and Lady Glencora.
  • Spinoff: Plantagent Palliser appeared as a minor character in The Chronicles of Barsetshire (specifically in The Small House at Allington) before being featured in Can You Forgive Her? and instituting a series of his own.
  • Villainous Crush: Burgo Fitzgerald for Glencora M'Cluskie and George for Alice Vavasor in Can You Forgive Her?.
  • Wrong Guy First:
    • In Can You Forgive Her?, two women go through this. Glencora loves the abominable Burgo, but ends up marrying the solid Plantagenet. Alice initially loves her cousin George, but after he goes through a wild period breaks it off and becomes engaged to bland but respectful John Grey.
    • In The Prime Minister, Emily Wharton marries Ferdinand Lopez, who only wants her for her money. After his death, she marries the man who truly loves her, Arthur Fletcher.

Alternative Title(s): Can You Forgive Her, Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux