Archive for Big Readers A place for discussing books and all things bookish.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors.

Anthony Trollope.

I know that there are a number of Trollope enthusiasts out there.  Please can anyone recommend a Trollope novel for my book club to read that is not too long?  (Other than The Warden, which most have already read).

Also, while googling, I spotted an article which says that Andrew Davies is working on a new adaptation of The Pallisers which is due to be screened in 2009.  Does anyone else know anything about this?  I am in two minds about it.  I love the old BBC series so much that I am reluctant to see other actors in the main roles.

Hi Sandra, I recently read The Way we Live Now which I would recommend. It is quite long, I suppose, but is very topical as it is about people overspending and it leading to difficulties. I thought some of the people in it were fantastically well drawn and the Oil of Lebanon heiress, who appears in the Barchester novels too, is introduced in it. There is nothing new under the sun dontknow

Sandra. There are two novels of less than 300 pages each - Cousin Henry and Dr.Wortle's School. I haven't read any Trollope but have heard fine radio adaptations years ago. He also wrote two volumes of short stories if the book club wants to consider them.

Anthony Trollope

From:   Chibiabos83                                     Sent: 9/10/2008 5:59 AM
I've just finished Barchester Towers and feel ever so slightly bereft. I loved this book beyond the bounds of reason. It's no wonder the love that these books clearly inspire in their readers, given the enchanting world their characters inhabit.
As a narrator Trollope is such convivial company that every page is a delight to read. I can think of few writers from history I would rather spend time with. His playful confidence in the reader on the occasions where he breaks the fourth wall is delicious. I wanted to hug myself at the point where Trollope lets the reader into the knowledge that, although the characters in the book are ignorant of the fact, there is nothing to prevent us from being told that Eleanor will marry neither Obadiah Slope nor Bertie Stanhope in the course of the book, both of whom have been courting her despite the unthinkableness of either of them becoming her husband. It makes the journey towards the final resolution so much fun, such an enjoyable game.

Some other thoughts: perhaps my enjoyment of the book was aided by my first-hand familiarity with petty church politics and my sympathy to Grantly, Harding et al., whose views are similar to my own (high church, pro-intoning and the like); Slope is a marvellous creation, manipulative, odious and unctuous, a superb villain by any standards; as in The Warden, the relationship between Grantly and Harding is fascinating, two men of such similar views and dissimilar temperaments who complement each other perfectly; and though I'm not much of a one for passages descriptive of places, I thought the depiction of Ullathorne Court was enchanting.
Simply the most tremendous fun, and I feel lucky to have discovered a writer so close to my own heart.

From:   Evie_again                                       Sent: 9/10/2008 6:06 AM
I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much, Chib! I agree, it is wonderful, as much as anything because of the conviviality of Trollope himself - such a delight to spend time with him! And as you say, such marvellous characters. I *love* the Archdeacon (quite brilliantly brought to life by Nigel Hawthorne in the TV adaptation, and I can only picture him in that way now!). Wonderfully shrewd, acerbic observations about the church, the press, and various aspects of human behaviour, but all told with such charm and warmth - wonderful stuff.

From:   HeHireDramaticJet                               Sent: 9/10/2008 6:54 AM
I have heard it said before that he is excellent company - and the companionship of the author is a very good reason, I think, to read books. That's one of the reasons I enjoy Somerset Maugham so much: he may not have been an author of the first rank, but, in works such as Cakes and Ale, say, he is superb company!

From:   Ann_M5                                              Sent: 5/14/2008 2:07 PM
I've just finished Barchester Towers, and very enjoyable I found it. I like the way Trollope comments on his writing as he goes along as well as telling the story. There is a charming bit near the end when he suddenly starts writing about how difficult it is to finish a book such as this in a really exciting way.
I'm looking forward to moving on to Dr Thorne in the not too distant future.

I have recently read Dr Thorne and think it would be quite suitable for people, especially if they have already read The Warden.  It can stand alone from the series, though Barchester Towers itself would be fine too.

Trollope came to Australia and NZ and wrote interestingly and often quite presciently about them - his non-fiction might be worth a try.

In a site I looked at I was interested to see the writer say most people come to Trollope independently of study.  Certainly although I did a four-year university course, the last two years of which were solely dedicated to English, I never came across him there.  (We read Dickens, Austen, Feilding, Thackeray, Defoe, Richardson, Gaskell, the Brontes, but no Trollope.  I wonder why?  No American literature either (though that may have been my choice of options).  

I have only read Anthony Trollope in the last three or four years and have loved him.  

Cheers, Caro.

From: KiwiCaro1                                          Sent: 2/16/2008 7:44 PM
Uncertain of actual title now but something like Trollope's Travels in New Zealand.  Edited by AH Reed this was very interesting to a NZer - might have limited appeal to others.  He was here in 1872 in winter and travelled from the south up, with comments on the political situation (NZ was at the time putting in a lot of infrastructure and borrowing for that, which he did not quite approve of).  
Also reading oddly now are remarks on the Maoris 'melting' (ie about to disappear altogether - something Trollope and others saw as inevitable and that would help NZ become more viable).

From: maidens-blush                                   Sent: 11/20/2008 11:02 AM
I've just finished reading Orley Farm, by Anthony Trollope.  It has to do with a law suit brought against a woman who forged her dying husband's will so that the Farm would be left to their son rather than her husband's eldest son by a previous marriage.  But there are many other sub-plots and intrigues as well. It gave me pause to think about the concepts of law and justice more deeply than I ever have done before.  

There are some charming characters in the novel, as well as charming names such as Sir Peregrine Orme. And some decidely uncharming characters too.  There was much in it that reminded me of Dickens, but I always prefer Trollope: I think he is more high-minded and more deeply thoughtful.  But I find him irritating, and over-sentimental often, so I was quite surprised that I finished the whole book!

Message 1 - posted by Caro                             (U1691443) , Jun 18, 2007
I am reading Can you Forgive Her? the first of Trollope’s Palliser novels. I am under the impression that Trollope is considered a tier below the first-ranked 19th century novelists like Dickens, Austen and Thackeray, but I am not altogether sure why. I really like him and very much enjoyed the two Barchester novels I read a couple of years ago. I am uncertain why these were not studied when I was at university, where we did those mentioned as well as Fielding, Swift, Richardson, etc. (but not Sterne).
I find his understanding of people, both men and women, quite remarkable; it seems to me he knows just what makes them tick and how they feel and act. There is a certain rather cynical view of their motives at times but he still portrays his main characters with a sympathy and knowledge that I find really good.
And there is a story to enjoy and keep you reading, and he has a lovely style which I like. The 19th century style of the author talking as the narrator always appeals to me and puts a slight, and to me, attractive distance between the characters in the book and the reader. I also like the odd idea about human relations which he throws in and which takes me a little by surprise so I have something new to think about and consider. Nothing large usually, but just a little insight. The realisation obvious in his writing that women’s lives can be a little empty without the need to work or the ability to take part in politics is quite strong and sympathetically spoken of.

Just finished Anthony Trollope's not very well-known 'The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson' (1862). It's a comedy set in the world of retail shopping.  And set rather lower down the social scale than is usual with this writer.
The three eponymous heroes go into business without really knowing much about it, or about finance.  They open a clothing emporium in Bishopsgate and at first everything goes well, until personal animosity, and a certain amount of financial skullduggery cause the firm to collapse.  Alongside the story of the shop, which is called 'Nine Times Nine' because it's situated at number 81, there is an underlying 'romantic' story about Robinson's relationship with Brown's flighty daughter, Maryanne, and her flirtations with the butcher William Brisket.
The story is told by Robinson, but in the third person, so he is not a realiable narrator, always showing himself in a noble/sympathetic light. There is only a small cast of characters.  It's often quite funny, and a liberal use of what I suspect are Victorian colloquialisms, but sometimes Trollope will intrude himself. Especially at the beginning where his thoughts on Commerce get the novel off to a rather slow start. And Trollope, being Trollope, can't resist bringing politics in occasionally. Robinson belongs to a Debating Society and there are a couple of, rather irrelevant, chapters taking place at their meetings. It seemed to me that AT was lampooning the Parliament of his day.  One of the characters is called Pancabinet.
There is a lot in the book (170 pages) about how a Victorian emporium operated, and a great deal about Advertising Schemes, dreamed up by Robinson.  This is all very interesting and entertaining.  One realises that the Victorians were ahead of us in barmy advertising ploys.  And there's quite a lot about the morality behind such schemes. There's a particularly entertaining high-comedy chapter about a fiery Irish widow who insists on purchasing an item from the window that the shop would rather she didn't because it's been underpriced.
In these days where businesses are collapsing all over the place, this novel seemed particularly poignant,
I read it in a very nice Folio Society copy, with attractive drawings, in their complete Trollope Edition - about 50 volumes altogether - issued over about ten years I remember. Otherwise it seems to be out-of-print except in a Large Print edition.  
Michael H.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors.
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum