Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels and anti-Irish prejudice

Lonergan, Patrick
Lonergan, P. (2007). Anthony Trollope's Palliser Novels and Anti-Irish Prejudice. New Hibernia Review 11(2), 116-129. doi:10.1353/nhr.2007.0030.
It is by now taken as axiomatic that representations of Irish characters in Victorian literature were generally negative. However, as Roy Foster shows, they were not universally so; we find one example of a positive treatment of Ireland and the Irish in Victorian writing in Anthony Trollope's "Palliser series" of six political novels, which appeared between 1864 and 1880. In addition to having an Irishman as the hero of its second and fourth titles, Phineas Finn (1869) and Phineas Redux (1873), the series also anatomizes one of the most important periods in Irish political history, stretching roughly from Disestablishment in 1869 to the founding of the Land League in 1879. The most significant aspect of the Palliser series, though, may be its careful analysis of anti-Irish prejudice and stereotyping, carried out as part of the six books' consideration of prejudicial representations of those who do not conform to Victorian norms. The theme of prejudice dominates the Palliser series. Having lived in Ireland from 1841 to 1859—and having published three books on Irish themes before he began the Palliser novels, Trollope was well aware of how the Irish suffered such prejudice. The Palliser series can thus be seen as an attempt to challenge Irish stereotypes in general, while offering a distinctive treatment of two of the most common images of Irishness: the Stage Irishman and the presentation of Ireland as a feminized victim.
Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland