Quintus Slide's One-Man Show:

Newspapers and Publicity in Anthony Trollope's Palliser Novels

Dr. Jessica Valdez
Shanghai New York University


Date:        June 3, 2014 (Tuesday)
Time:        11:00 am
Venue:     Seminar Room (Rm. 745, Run Run Shaw Tower),

                 Centennial Campus, HKU

*All are welcome. No registration is required.



In her book, Living Liberalism: Practical Citizenship in Mid-Victorian England,Elaine Hadley argues that liberalism replaced a collaborative public sphere with an idealized private space of deliberation (49). Because the public sphere was no longer an idealized Habermasian space of open discussion, Hadley believes that characters like Anthony Trollope’s Plantagenet Palliser demonstrate a “lived liberalism” through moral reflection. However, in this paper, I argue that novelists like Trollope perceived the private deliberative realm to be under siege by the newspaper and a rising culture of publicity. In Trollope’s Palliser novels, the newspaper empties out the private realm and distorts the presentation of the deliberative process in order to sensationalize and sell newspapers. Both ideal liberal subjects Phineas Finn and Plantagenet Palliser are set against the newspaperman, Quintus Slide; in doing so, Trollope establishes the newspaper as an anathema to liberal living and the novelistic form as he envisions it. I conclude by offering a counterpoint to Trollope in a real-life version of Quintus Slide: working-class author and editor George W. M. Reynolds. Reynolds destabilizes boundaries between the public and private as well as the novel and newspaper as part of his radical program.




Last updated: 12 December 2014