A Special Address by Melanie Kirkpatrick
We are delighted that Melanie Kirkpatrick, former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, joined us at our 2015 Annual Dinner. Kirkpatrick reported on the proceedings of the U.K. Trollope Society’s bicentenary dinner held in London at The Athenaeum on Anthony Trollope’s birthday, April 24, 2015. Kirkpatrick recently wrote an outstanding assessment of the new edition of The Duke’s Children for The Wall Street Journal entitled “A Bigger, Better Trollope.”
Keynote Address by John Wirenius, “‘I Run After Units’: Returning to Trollope Country”
The title of the address that our speaker, John Wirenius, prepared for our Annual Dinner comes from Lady Glencora’s admonition to her husband in Phineas Redux: “We must go after our nature, Plantagenet. Your nature is decimals. I run after units.” Wirenius’s experiences in his early career as a public defender, and in recognizing his own call to the Church, were informed, he says, by Trollope’s compassion for flawed humanity. This empathy extends to characters others would relegate to the category of simple villains, but as Trollope observed in He Knew He Was Right, “The good and the bad mix themselves so thoroughly in our thoughts, even in our aspirations, that we must look for excellence rather in overcoming evil than in freeing ourselves from its influence.” With this view firmly in mind, Wirenius has continued the story of Phineas Finn, his wife Marie, and their friends (and enemies) in Phineas at Bay (2014). Wirenius picks up twenty years after Phineas’s acquittal for murder, deftly weaving a tale that involves a number of favorite characters from the Trollope canon with elements of romance, political intrigue, and labor strife.
The dinner was held on May 18, 2015 at The Knickerbocker Club, 807 Fifth Avenue at 62nd Street, New York, NY. The reception began at 6:45 p.m., with dinner following at 7:30 p.m. Black tie.
John Wirenius is a lawyer and will be ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in May 2015. He is the author of a series of scholarly articles on freedom of speech, legal history, and, most recently, of theology and the intersection of law and religion. His love for Anthony Trollope’s writing dates back to his first year of college, where, as an English major, he stumbled on first the Barsetshire and then the Palliser novels. Phineas at Bay is his second book, and first novel.