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New York Reading Group: Phineas Finn

September 12, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - December 12, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Center for Fiction in New York will host a reading group of Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Finn, led by scholar and Trollope Society director N. John “Jack” Hall.

The group will meet four times, on the second Tuesday of the month from September through December 2017, from 6 – 7:30 pm on Sept. 12, Oct.10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12. The cost to attend is $140 (non-members register here), or $120 for members of the Center for Fiction or The Trollope Society (members register here).

About Phineas Finn

These are particularly political times in the U.S. and elsewhere. Such also were the late 1860s in Great Britain, the time of the Second Reform Bill. And so it is fitting that we read Trollope’s Phineas Finn at this time—because while engrossing us in fascinating love romances, Trollope has much to teach us about how politics worked in Victorian England and, as it happens, how they work in our own day. (He wrote the book to reflect the heated and drawn-out House of Commons debates over the bill that would more than double the numbers of electors of Parliament, redistribute many seats, and abolish most of the “pocket boroughs” in the land.)

Rightly has this novel been proclaimed simply the best “political” novel of the 19th Century. Former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan claimed that Trollope “got it just right”—with his emphasis on the question of loyalty to party vs personal conviction and in stressing the private lives of political operatives, most especially the influence of the wives of politicians—with their dinners and garden parties and country weekends where the great issues of the day were discussed, schemed, and often determined. The novel sparkles with at least four of the liveliest and cleverest women in all of English fiction. It’s all here—romance, politics, suspense, comedy, a touch of the tragic.

Recommended Edition

Recommended edition: Oxford University Press World’s Classics, ed. Jacques Berthoud. Participants are encouraged to read the first 19 chapters prior to the first meeting.

About N. John Hall

“Jack” is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus, BCC and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has been twice the director of NEH Summer Seminars for College Teachers and twice a Guggenheim Fellow. His many publications and editions include The Trollope Critics (ed); Trollope and His Illustrators; the two-volume Letters of Anthony Trollope, and Trollope: A Biography. This last earned Hall a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review and occasioned the (London) Times calling him “arguably the world’s leading authority on Anthony Trollope.”

Registration is via the Center for Fiction:

Center for Fiction & Trollope Society Members: $125 * (Join The Trollope Society: $75)

Non-Members: $140


September 12, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
December 12, 2017 @ 8:00 pm


Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street
New York, NY United States


Center for Fiction