In Four Volumes. London: Chapman & Hall, 1876. Original reddish-brown cloth decorated in gilt.
First Edition in book form. This is the tale describing "the triumph, the troubles, and the failure of my Prime Minister" [Trollope's Autobiography]. Its major theme is "a study of two divergent temperaments: the Duchess striving to make her husband the greatest figure of his time, and he conscious only of his duties and responsibilities" [Gerould]. The Palliser family and Phineas Finn also figure into the plot.~During the decade following Dickens's death (1870), the vogue of serial parts went into a rapid decline. In an effort to revive the idea, publishers tried out the concept of issuing a novel in eight five-shilling parts, unillustrated; only a handful of novels came out in this fashion before it was deemed a miserable failure. Included were George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH (1872) and DANIEL DERONDA (1876) -- plus Trollope's THE PRIME MINISTER. Thus the sheets were first issued in eight wrappered parts, but with every two volumes continuously-paginated for this four-volume book edition.~As Sadleir points out, leaves were printed on two thicknesses of paper: "Parts and volumes exist, sometimes uniform in paper-quality and sometimes mixed. No evidence of issue is provided by such varieties; the paper was obviously supplied in mixed qualities to the printer." In this set, the first three volumes appear to be on the heavier paper, and the fourth on the lighter paper.~This is a bright, attractive set, very good to near-fine. The volumes have slightly darkened spines which have very minor wear at the ends, but otherwise all volumes' wear is limited to a few small cover marks or spots; all eight endpapers are original and intact (and bear the same 1884 signature). This set has not been re-cased or re-backed or otherwise "improved." Although THE PRIME MINISTER is not one of Trollope's scarcest titles, we seldom see all four volumes in such desirable condition. Sadleir (TROLLOPE) 45. Item #11401