Review of "The Duke’s Children" by Anthony Trollope

With the end of this book, I end the entire Palliser Novel series.  This one wasn't my favorite.  I thought the love stories were much flatter than those of the other novels.  Nevertheless, I'm sad to see it end.

Since the novels revolve around politics, I'll end with a little on that.  It appears that the futility of conservatism against liberalism was evident in Trollope's day (first paragraph is from a letter to the Duke from his son):

He says that, if there were no Conservatives, such Liberals as you and Mr. Monk would be destroyed by the Jacobins. There is something in that. Whether a man is a Conservative or not himself, I suppose there ought to be Conservatives.
The Duke as he read this made a memorandum in his own mind that he would explain to his son that every carriage should have a drag to its wheels, but that an ambitious soul would choose to be the coachman rather than the drag.

Yet perhaps we also see a paradox of liberalism.  The Duke – who was a Liberal Prime Minister – sees his children grow up to be somewhat disappointing.  None of them have any sense of duty – the sons also seem borderline worthless.  He sees his ideals dying and yet the death of these ideals is a logical consequence of his political views.  Uniquely among the 7 Trollope novels I've now read, children seem to end up happy after marrying against the advice of their father.

I'm not sure what it all means – besides that Trollope, a Liberal, had a much more nuanced view of politics than the average intellectual of our day – but I'll present it for thought.

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