Anthony Trollope -- Barsetshire Chronicles, Palliser Novels, and more

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
9,077
The 29 March 1974 issue of the Times Literary Supplement contains (p. 341) a letter from William barker, Department of English, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Prof. Barker writes, "Sir, -- Good things seem to be coming out of the present troubles. Trollope's novels are becoming more and more available. / Is it too much to hope that the current interest in Trollope will lead a publishing house at last to make all of his work available? Perhaps the edition begun by Michael Sadleir and Frederick Page could now be completed."

Happily, everything or just about everything by Trollope is available. He's in Penguin Classics and Oxford World Classics for those who, like me, enjoy books, and I suppose everything is available on Project Gutenberg, etc. Just yesterday, by the way, I saw that the Folio Society is releasing a restored version of one of Trollope's Palliser (or Parliamentary) novels:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...41632/The-exhumation-of-Anthony-Trollope.html

This author was abundantly productive in his own time, and I'm glad that his work is abundantly available now. I generally find it better "escape" reading than a lot of sf and fantasy. And he reaches some pretty impressive heights at times. I am finishing his Orley Farm, which has had a buildup of some 700 pages or so to the trail of Lady Mason. Trollope's accomplishment seems commensurate with that "buildup" -- though I am being a bit misleading, because this is not a novel that is "about a trial" and with a very lengthy prologue. It's a novel about people and a fairly particular time and place. I imagine that the people, time, and place are -- though inventions -- rather reflective of the milieu in which Trollope and his first readers lived.

Here then is a place for Chronsfolk to go who would like to talk about this contemporary (1815-1882) of Dickens. In the next posting, I provide Michael Sadleir's list of recommended Trollope novels, i.e. those that received, in his commentary, one or more asterisks.
 
Last edited:
TROLLOPE NOVELS RECOMMENDED BY MICHAEL SADLEIR in his Trollope: A Commentary (Third Edition, 1945)

Sadleir marked novels that he recommended with one asterisk, a few with two or even three asterisks. I haven't listed the novels that Sadleir didn't mark with an asterisk. These include one additional Barchester book, The Warden (1855), which inaugurated that series, and one Palliser/Parliamentary/Political novel, Can You Forgive Her? (1864), the first book in that series.

I.Chronicles of Barsetshire
*Barchester Towers (1857)
***Doctor Thorne (1858)
*Framley Parsonage (1861)
*The Small House at Allington (1864)
**The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)

II.The Political Novels
**Phineas Finn (1869)
**The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
**Phineas Redux (1876)
*The Prime Minister (1876)
*The Duke’s Children (1880)

III.Novels of Manners, Convention, and Social Dilemma
*Orley Farm (1862)
***The Belton Estate (1866)
***The Claverings (1867)
**The Vicar of Bullhampton (1870)
*Ralph the Heir (1871)
**Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871)
*The American Senator (1877)
**Is He Popenjoy? (1878)
*Ayala’s Angel (1881)

IV.Social Satires
*Rachel Ray (1863)
***The Way We Live Now (1875)
**Mr. Scarboorough’s Family (1883)

V.Irish Novels
*The Macdermotts of Ballycloran (1847)

VI.Australian Novels
*John Caldigate (1879)

VII.Historical and Romantic Novels
*Nina Balatka (1867)
*Linda Tressel (1868)

VIII.Psychological Analyses and Stories of Single Incident
**He Knew He Was Right (1869)
*Cousin Henry (1879)
***Dr. Wortle’s School (1881)
 
There was a fantastic BBC adaptation of the first 2 books of the Barchester Chronicles about 30 years ago, with Alan Rickman as the odious Mr Slope. It is available on DVD. Highly recommended.
 
I've read about a dozen of Trollope's novels, and assure those who've enjoyed such adaptations as these, that you may find him worth reading. His pace is leisurely, which is actually one reason he's worth reading by us living in the time we do.

When I decided to introduce Trollope to the reading group I used to host, we read Doctor Thorne, which might be recommended as a first AT to read.

By the way, we also read Anthony's mother's Domestic Manners of the Americans -- that was a good 'un too!
 
I dunno, Dr Thorne is one of my least favourite Trollope. I think it needs an edit. The Warden and the Towers much better?

The Way We Live Now: So topical about the Sub Prime lending led 2008 crash ...

The Eustace Diamonds: Hilarious. BBC R4 repeated it last year I think.
 
There was a fantastic BBC adaptation of the first 2 books of the Barchester Chronicles about 30 years ago, with Alan Rickman as the odious Mr Slope. It is available on DVD. Highly recommended.
I saw that same series when I was young. I remember it well because the entire family used to look forward to seeing it on TV. It was one of my viewing highlights as a teenager. It was based on the first 2 books The Warden and Barchester Towers. The character who struck in my mind the most to this day was Mr Harding played by Donald Pleasance (his daughter played a role as well) and that might have been because Pleasance was playing the role as much as anything else. Nigel Hawthorne played Archdeacon Grantly and Geraldine McEwan played Mrs Proudie and Clive Swift played Bishop Proudie. I vaguely recall Rickman playing Slope as you now mention it and Susan Hampshire playing Signora Naroni. Quite a cast.

Anyway I have NEVER read anything by Trollope. I knew about Barchester and the author, probably from that series but for whatever reason did not take up on it at the time. I recently bought a penguin edition of book 1 The Warden. I am yet to read it.

Interesting to note the 'correct' (I assume) name of Barsetshire. I have only ever known it/seen it as Barchester.
 
Have read the Barsetshire Chronicles (and you're right, I always think of them as "Barchester", too), but my favorites were the political novels, especially the two Phineas Finns- some of the greatest (and funniest) political writing ever.
 
Have read the Barsetshire Chronicles (and you're right, I always think of them as "Barchester", too), but my favorites were the political novels, especially the two Phineas Finns- some of the greatest (and funniest) political writing ever.
I have copies of The Warden and now Barchetser Towers. Doctor Thorne was never released to my knowledge in the Penguin Black Classic series which is annoying although there is a penguin release. From what I have read the final installment The Last Chronicles of Barchetser seems to be the best regarded in the series.

I recently re-watched the BBC series from the 1980s based on the first 2 books The Warden and Barchester Towers. It has lost none of its appeal. Thoroughly recommended if you can get hold of a copy!
 
I've only ever read The Warden, about six years ago. I remember that I enjoyed it but can't remember any specifics about it.

It might be time for me to read another Trollope novel.
 
TROLLOPE NOVELS RECOMMENDED BY MICHAEL SADLEIR in his Trollope: A Commentary (Third Edition, 1945)

Sadleir marked novels that he recommended with one asterisk, a few with two or even three asterisks. I haven't listed the novels that Sadleir didn't mark with an asterisk. These include one additional Barchester book, The Warden (1855), which inaugurated that series, and one Palliser/Parliamentary/Political novel, Can You Forgive Her? (1864), the first book in that series.

I.Chronicles of Barsetshire
*Barchester Towers (1857)
***Doctor Thorne (1858)
*Framley Parsonage (1861)
*The Small House at Allington (1864)
**The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)

II.The Political Novels
**Phineas Finn (1869)
**The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
**Phineas Redux (1876)
*The Prime Minister (1876)
*The Duke’s Children (1880)

III.Novels of Manners, Convention, and Social Dilemma
*Orley Farm (1862)
***The Belton Estate (1866)
***The Claverings (1867)
**The Vicar of Bullhampton (1870)
*Ralph the Heir (1871)
**Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871)
*The American Senator (1877)
**Is He Popenjoy? (1878)
*Ayala’s Angel (1881)

IV.Social Satires
*Rachel Ray (1863)
***The Way We Live Now (1875)
**Mr. Scarboorough’s Family (1883)

V.Irish Novels
*The Macdermotts of Ballycloran (1847)

VI.Australian Novels
*John Caldigate (1879)

VII.Historical and Romantic Novels
*Nina Balatka (1867)
*Linda Tressel (1868)

VIII.Psychological Analyses and Stories of Single Incident
**He Knew He Was Right (1869)
*Cousin Henry (1879)
***Dr. Wortle’s School (1881)

The Trollope novel I just finished, Miss Mackenzie (1865), didn't make Sadleir's list--he didn't give it even one star. It wouldn't be my recommendation for someone's first novel by Trollope unless one had a special interest in Victorian fiction about women who have passed prime marrying age (Miss Mackenzie is in the second half of the thirties) or in exposes of religious hypocrisy. I think Dr. Thorne, for example, would be a better choice. But for confirmed Trollopians, Miss Mackenzie will be worth reading.

It's long been my belief that a skilled 19th-century novelist could convey sexuality without requiring the literary license to which we're accustomed today. (This was also the view of Isaac Bashevis Singer, memorably expressed in a Dick Cavett interview around 1980, in which Singer cited Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.) In Chapter 9 of Trollope's novel, Miss Mackenzie has had an offer of marriage from a widower of about 50. She doesn't accept it, but she has been stirred.


…she got up and looked at herself in the mirror. She moved up

her hair from off her ears, knowing where she would find a few that

were grey, and shaking her head, as though owning to herself that

she was old; but as her fingers ran almost involuntarily across her

locks, her touch told her that they were soft and silken; and she

looked into her own eyes, and saw that they were bright; and her hand

touched the outline of her cheek, and she knew that something of the

fresh bloom of youth was still there; and her lips parted, and there

were her white teeth; and there came a smile and a dimple, and a

slight purpose of laughter in her eye, and then a tear. She pulled

her scarf tighter across her bosom, feeling her own form, and then

she leaned forward and kissed herself in the glass.
 
TROLLOPE NOVELS RECOMMENDED BY MICHAEL SADLEIR in his Trollope: A Commentary (Third Edition, 1945)

Sadleir marked novels that he recommended with one asterisk, a few with two or even three asterisks. I haven't listed the novels that Sadleir didn't mark with an asterisk. These include one additional Barchester book, The Warden (1855), which inaugurated that series, and one Palliser/Parliamentary/Political novel, Can You Forgive Her? (1864), the first book in that series.

I.Chronicles of Barsetshire
*Barchester Towers (1857)
***Doctor Thorne (1858)
*Framley Parsonage (1861)
*The Small House at Allington (1864)
**The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)

II.The Political Novels
**Phineas Finn (1869)
**The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
**Phineas Redux (1876)
*The Prime Minister (1876)
*The Duke’s Children (1880)

III.Novels of Manners, Convention, and Social Dilemma
*Orley Farm (1862)
***The Belton Estate (1866)
***The Claverings (1867)
**The Vicar of Bullhampton (1870)
*Ralph the Heir (1871)
**Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871)
*The American Senator (1877)
**Is He Popenjoy? (1878)
*Ayala’s Angel (1881)

IV.Social Satires
*Rachel Ray (1863)
***The Way We Live Now (1875)
**Mr. Scarboorough’s Family (1883)

V.Irish Novels
*The Macdermotts of Ballycloran (1847)

VI.Australian Novels
*John Caldigate (1879)

VII.Historical and Romantic Novels
*Nina Balatka (1867)
*Linda Tressel (1868)

VIII.Psychological Analyses and Stories of Single Incident
**He Knew He Was Right (1869)
*Cousin Henry (1879)
***Dr. Wortle’s School (1881)

Now embarked upon Cousin Henry, to which Sadleir assigns a relatively restrained single asterisk.
51fK8IGhkaL._SL500_SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
6841988.jpg
 
I'm not past the halfway point in The Way We Live Now, which I have been enjoying even more than I thought I might. Anyone else here read it?

I'm struck by how often Trollope uses forms of the word escape or the idea of escaping. People constantly find themselves in situations from which they want to get away. A suitor wants to get away from the presence of the woman he's expected to win. A young woman flees to London to get away from the tyrannical grandfather who pulls her hair and demands that she marry the fellow he has chosen for her. A London heiress sneaks away to Liverpool to make a voyage to America with the young man with whom she expects to elope. A business associate yields to the urge to escape from the presence of an increasingly arrogant plutocrat.

I'm also struck by Trollope's attention to the double standard whereby the misconduct of men is condoned but women are expected to do what's right.

Also Trollope shows up people looking to what others are doing as the touchstone for how to make choices with ethical significance.

These remarks make the book sound perhaps rather earnest. In fact it moves right along although it's very long, probably Trollope's longest.
 
Last edited:
John Caldigate isn't one of Trollope's best-known novels, but it must be one of his best -- anyway I have found it a real page-turner.

One reads today of people whose college plans are ruined because someone brought to light an offensive remark posted on social media during high school days, etc. That came to mind in connection with this novel.

John Caldigate has returned to England after making a fortune in Australia. He marries the young woman whom he hardly knew but fell in love with at first sight and he loves him. He has told her of his time there living with a woman he met on the voyage out. Though she has grown up in a household dominated by a grim, proud, devout mother, she is untroubled by that. In general in this novel the double standard is pervasive: a young man is likely to have sexual relations before marriage but that's the way things are, while, of course, for a young woman to be known to have engaged in sexual relations without being married to her lover would be ruinous. There are two ways of looking at this arrangement, that the woman was entitled to the same freedom as the man (the view prevalent now for many years), or that the man had no more business having extramarital sexual relations than a woman did (the Christian view). I suppose that the novel reflects a pretty common late Victorian arrangement (the double standard).

But what brings great trouble is that the Australian woman appears in England and claims that she and Caldigate were married, and she possesses what appears to be proof thereof. Caldigate is tried and sent to prison for bigamy.

There's a lot more to the plot than this, but that'll give you an idea of the scenario. To my mind it's proving to be an excellent novel (I should finish it in a day or two). Among other elements of interest are the Australian scenes (Trollope had made the voyage), the inside knowledge of the post office (Trollope's job), and the relations between Caldigate's English wife and her mother. At one point Mrs. Caldigate is literally imprisoned in her mother's home and her mother watches her all through the night. Whew!

Recommended if you can leave your presentism at the novel's doorway. if you can't, you will find the young wife's loyalty to her husband unbearable rather than admirable.
 
Much enjoyed John Caldigate, so much so that I expect to start another Trollope soon, perhaps either The Belton Estate or Ayala's Angel.
1610593037249.png
1610593072387.png
 
I’d like to read more Trollope, despite the religious themes in many of the books, as I enjoyed The Warden very much. However, I think life may be too short for me to add another author to the list. It would be helpful if we all lived about 200 years; the span we’re given doesn’t seem to accomodate all the good literature at our disposal.
 
Bick, if you liked The Warden that much, you might want to try one of Trollope’s more “major” novels someday. From the Barsetshire group, Dr. Thorne might be a very good choice.
 
Bick, if you liked The Warden that much, you might want to try one of Trollope’s more “major” novels someday. From the Barsetshire group, Dr. Thorne might be a very good choice.
Thanks Extollager. If I can ever get around to Trollope, I’ll perhaps prioritise Dr Thorne.
(Scott, Dickens, Hawthorne are currently ahead on my mental TBR list).
 

Similar threads


Back
Top