Phineas Finn, the Irish Member Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Phineas Finn

Phineas Finn (FIHN-ee-uhs), a personable young Irishman with political aspirations. Elected to Parliament, he goes to London, where he makes a number of influential friends and becomes enamored, in turn, of Lady Laura Standish, Violet Effingham, and Madame Marie Max Goesler. Material and political advancement point to a promising career until passage of the Irish Reform Bill abolishes his borough. His parliamentary career over, he returns to Ireland and marries his Irish sweetheart, Mary Flood Jones.

Mary Flood Jones

Mary Flood Jones, a pretty Irish girl in love with Phineas Finn, whom she marries when he returns to Ireland at the end of his parliamentary career.

Lady Laura Standish

Lady Laura Standish, Lord Brentford’s daughter, who is in love with Phineas Finn. She marries Mr. Kennedy after she exhausts her fortune on her profligate brother, Lord Chiltern.

Lord Brentford

Lord Brentford, a prominent Whig.

Mr. Kennedy

Mr. Kennedy, a wealthy member of Parliament who marries Lady Laura Standish.

Lord Chiltern

Lord Chiltern, the profligate son of Lord Brentford and a friend of Phineas Finn. He is in love with Violet Effingham, whose hand he wins as Phineas’ rival.

Violet Effingham

Violet Effingham, courted by Phineas Finn but in love with Lord Chiltern, whom she finally accepts.

Madame Marie Max Goesler

Madame Marie Max Goesler, a wealthy young widow who offers her hand and fortune to Phineas Finn, who is already engaged to Mary Flood Jones.

The Duke of Omnium

The Duke of Omnium, the elderly suitor of Madame Goesler.

Phineas Finn, the Irish Member Bibliography (Great Characters in Literature)

Halperin, John. Trollope and Politics: A Study of the Pallisers and Others. London: Macmillan, 1977. Views Trollope’s political novels as a direct reflection of political activities of the day.

McMaster, Juliet. Trollope’s Palliser Novels: Theme and Pattern. London: Macmillan, 1978. A consideration of Trollope’s political novels from an aesthetic, nonpolitical point of view.

Pollard, Arthur. Trollope’s Political Novels. Hull, England: University of Hull, 1968. Argues that the effectiveness of Trollope’s political novels derives from the author’s own engagement in politics.

Sadleir, Michael. Trollope: A Commentary. 3d ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1961. A helpful biography on Trollope that focuses on the events of the author’s life and political career as reflected in his novels.

Trollope, Anthony. Phineas Finn: The Irish Member. Edited with an introduction by Jacques Berthoud. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Includes a good introduction to Phineas Finn, which elucidates the novel’s political and cultural background.