In the first of his six Palliser novels, Trollope deftly explores
the tensions in Victorian society between reform and tradition, and
the interplay between money, power, and politics. Dinah Birch's
lively introduction discusses the relationships at the heart of the
novel and shows how issues of gender, social and economic change,
and politics clarify the novel's place in contemporary life. The
edition reflects recent critical revaluations of Trollope's
significance as a major novelist, including the influence of the
new economic criticism, and new interests in Victorian liberalism.
The book includes an updated critical bibliography and explanatory
notes that elucidate cultural, literary, and political allusions.