First published in serial form in the Graphic (1881-2), Marion Fay is half tragedy, half romantic burlesque, and at the same time is one of Trollope's most detailed scrutinies of the workings of the English class system. The novel contrasts two love affairs, each involving an aristocrat and a commoner. The subversive Lord Hampstead's plunge into middle-class society in his passionate pursuit of Marion Fay, a Quaker and daughter of a City clerk, is balanced by the testing of his radical friend George Roden, a clerk in the General Post Office, whose bizarre experiences among the aristocracy during his courtship of Hampstead's sister Lady Frances Trafford, are employed to satirize the concept of rank. Trollope vividly evokes the dull working lives, plain homes, blank streets, and limited horizons of the dwellers in Paradise Row, using them as an ironic choric commentary on the unattainable world of rank, wealth, and freedom, symbolized by life in the great country houses. This edition is based on the first three-volume edition of 1882.
This book is intended for general readers, undergraduate and postgraduate students of English Literature, the nineteenth century novel, nineteenth century British history.