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2013 Annual Lecture

October 8, 2013 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm

Nicholas BirnsPhineas Finn and the Bildungsromanwas the title of our 2013 Annual lecture, by  Prof. Nicholas Birns, The New School.

Professor Birns, who was so captivating this past February in discussing La Vendee at our Mid-Winter Reception, agreed to return as the Annual Lecture speaker. His subject included both Phineas books — Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux — as well as cameo appearances in the last two Palliser books.

As Prof. Birns puts it: “One can ask: how and why did Trollope split the Phineas story into two books, with the second book also finishing the Lizzie Eustace story? What does it mean formally for the Bildungsroman to be spliced into a roman-fleuve like the Palliser series? The Bildungsroman changes when it is set in a complex, modernizing mid-Victorian society — as opposed to some thing like David Copperfield, written in the Victorian era but really set in the earlier era of Dickens’ childhood, in a simpler and less diversified milieu. Is Trollope’ s portrait of an Irish Catholic becoming socially acceptable in British society accurate or as it a kind of fairy tale, somewhat like Branson in Downton Abbey? Why is Phineas one of Trollope’s most appealing characters? Did Trollope see himself in Phineas, despite the manifest differences? (Most Bildungsromans are about characters roughly based on the author). We also talked about other instances of the Bildungsroman in Trollope: The Claverinqs, the entire idea of the “hobbledehoy”, and instances of the Trollope’s female Bildungroman (Lady Anna? Can You Forgive Her?)”

Refreshments were served.


October 8, 2013
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Event Category:


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