His political novels are greatly admired, but there is something in the criticism that they show the political world with politics left out. Indeed Trollope was not very familiar with politics, and did not greatly enjoy what he saw of it—particularly as Liberal candidate for the corrupt borough of Beverley in Nor is it easy to retain patience with Trollope's favourite character, the duke of Omnium, a languid Whig.
Trollope's life was uneventful—that of a hard-working Post Office official, whose claim to fame was the introduction of pillar boxes in the s. Trollope, Anthony —82 English novelist. He spent most of his life working for the Post Office and was responsible for the introduction of the pillar-box. Trollope's reputation as a writer is founded chiefly on a series of six novels, chronicling rural Victorian life in the imaginary county of Barsetshire.
His refreshingly modest and workman-like approach to his craft is documented in the posthumously published Autobiography Anthony Trollope was one of the most prolific English writers of the nineteenth century, writing some forty-seven novels and many further volumes of travels, sketches, criticism, and short fiction. Although most critics consider him a major Victorian novelist, the precise nature of his achievement has often proved elusive. In spite of conflicting interpretations, commentators tend to agree that his realistic characterizations form the basis of his importance and appeal.
A Poor Victorian Trollope lived nearly all of his adult life during a time known as the Victorian era. This era was named after Queen Victoria, who ruled England and its territories, including Ireland. Queen Victoria sat on the throne longer than any other British monarch, from until This period saw significant changes for both Britain and Europe as a whole, with advances in industrialization leading much of the population to jobs in factories instead of on farms as in the past. The era was also marked by a preoccupation with proper behavior in society and domestic life, common themes found in Trollope's works.
Anthony Trollope was born on April 24, , in London. His father, Thomas Trollope, failed at law and farming before going bankrupt, and his mother, Frances, began what eventually became a lucrative writing career to support the family. Trollope's early years were marked by poverty and humiliation; he was under constant ridicule by his wealthier classmates at Harrow and Winchester. At the age of nineteen he found work as a junior clerk at the post office and seven years later was transferred to Ireland. The Barsetshire Series Trollope's move to Ireland inaugurated a period of change: For the first time in his life he was successful in work, love, friendship, and financial matters.
Trollope began writing, though his first novel, The Macdermots of Ballycloran , received little critical attention. In the early s Trollope's post office work absorbed all his energies. He was assigned to work out the routes for rural deliveries, first in a district in Ireland and then in a number of counties in England, particularly in the west. He did his work with zeal, riding over all the routes himself, determined to make it possible that a letter could be delivered to every remote residence in his district.
It was while visiting the close of Salisbury Cathedral that he conceived the story of The Warden , the first in the series of novels about his invented county of Barsetshire that was to make him famous. The Warden , Trollope's fourth novel, was a moderate success. The story was followed by Barchester Towers , the second novel in the series, which marked the public's recognition of a new major novelist.
Many readers still regard it as the apogee of Trollope's achievement. Each of these novels is distinctive, with its own plot, new major characters, and a few recurring characters. All were set in the quiet cathedral city of Barchester with its surrounding town, villages, and ancestral estates of Barsetshire. Framley Parsonage , the fourth novel in the Barsetshire series, was Trollope's first work to appear in serial form, a method of magazine publication that promised a wide readership and greater critical response. The Palliser Series Before he had written his last chronicle of Barset, Trollope had already launched into the first of a new series of interconnected novels, the Palliser, or political, novels.
Young Plantagenet Palliser, a dedicated politician and the heir to the duke of Omnium, was first introduced as a minor character in The Small House at Allington in the Barset series. Where the clergy are the focus of interest in the Barset novels, politicians and their business are the concern of the Palliser novels; and the major scene of action shifts from the quiet though sufficiently busy rural county of Barsetshire to the more hectic bustle of the metropolis.
Like the Barset novels, the Palliser novels all have separate plots and are complete in themselves, but characters introduced in one novel are apt to recur in subsequent ones. Political Life Having returned to England in , the pattern of Trollope's life seems to have changed in the late s. He left the post office, worked as an editor, and attempted to pursue a career in politics. In , he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in Parliament. He continued to be busy, but he was perhaps less cheerful.
Declining Popularity The s witnessed a decline in Trollope's popularity as his writing style and focus changed. Although they often include subjects similar to those in his earlier works, Trollope's later novels are more cynical and pessimistic in tone: He Knew He Was Right examines marriage and finds jealousy and corruption; The Way We Live Now studies society and uncovers financial and moral corruption.
Critics objected to what they considered the sordid realism of these works, charging that Trollope ignored the novelist's responsibility of providing solutions to the social problems he depicted. In addition, because he was so prolific, Trollope was accused of commercialism. Posthumous Self-Effacement During the s, Trollope began to travel extensively and write travel Books. He also found time to write literary criticism. Yet as he aged, he encountered trouble with asthma, deafness, and other ailments. During a friendly evening with his old friends, Trollope had a stroke.
He lingered a few weeks, but died on December 6, Trollope's prudent habit of keeping a manuscript or two on hand meant that the novels kept coming for a while, including Mr. Scarborough's Family and The Landleaguers , which he had not lived to finish, yet was published incomplete. His major posthumous publication, however, was An Autobiography , an engagingly frank account of his professional life and working habits that has continued to shock and delight his readers in almost equal measure.
Critics continue to dispute the nature of Trollope's achievement, and there is no general agreement on his rank among writers of fiction. Yet commentators universally applaud the quality of his characterizations. Many believe that Trollope was able to paint characters of such consistency, veracity, and depth because of his profound insight into and sympathy for his creations. He is evidently always more or less in love with her.
There are several comparable features in Trollope's two major series, the Barset and the Palliser novels. A major character in each is a dominating woman who competes with her husband for power and then dies suddenly toward the end of the series.
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A noticeable change is in the presentation of the other female characters. Proudie but also breaks the standard Trollope code by abandoning her first love and devoting herself to a second. Its characters are numerous and diverse, and its world is composed of several plots and different settings. Although he wrote a number of relatively short novels in which a classic unity of action is clearly preserved, his greatest works are those in which the main plot is amplified by subplots and the themes are enlarged and qualified.
There may be subsidiary plots, which shall all tend to the elucidation of the main story, and which will take their places as part of one and the same work. Trollope's enormous productivity has had much to do with a patronizing dismissal of his work by some critics and a rather apologetic attitude adopted even by his admirers. Trollope a partiality of which we have yet been somewhat ashamed. Even his major biographer, Michael Sadleir, writing in , and his next major critic, Bradford A. Booth, have been tentative and cautious in their praise and have partly adopted the stance of apologists.
His unambiguous style has not invited critical interpretation. Compared with George Eliot or George Meredith he has seemed lowbrow, and compared with Charles Dickens and Hardy his unemphatic social commentary has seemed mild. She was a lifelong advocate for nursing and patient care. Fyodor Dostoyevsky — : One of the premier Russian novelists of the nineteenth century, Dostoyevsky focused on troubled psyches and is considered by many to be the father of existentialism.
William Gladstone — : A lion of Victorian politics, Gladstone was Liberal prime minister on four occasions, repeatedly butting heads with both Queen Victoria and his Conservative rival, Benjamin Disraeli. Cetshwayo — : The last king of the Zulu nation, from to , Cetshwayo was the grandnephew of the legendary king Shaka. Alexander II — : From his ascension to the throne as leader of the Russian Empire in to his assassination in , Alexander II led a program of systematic reforms, most notably the emancipation of the peasant class of serfs.
Some critics, including several of his original reviewers, have found fault with Trollope's subsidiary plots and have wished them away. Recent criticism, however, has shown Trollope's impressive art in the orchestration of plot with subplot. Trollope, in fact, made himself a great master of the contrapuntal novel long before anyone had thought of the term. The Barset Series The Barsetshire series elicited several comments that were repeated throughout Trollope's lifetime. Above all, critics warmed to his characters and praised both Trollope's lively, readable style and his humorous portrayal of everyday life.
They also noted his fidelity to the English character, particularly in his portraits of young girls, although some critics noted that he overused the plot scheme of a heroine vacillating between two suitors. Trollope's early critics attributed a number of his faults, including careless construction, grammatical errors, and insubstantial story lines, to the fact that Trollope wrote quickly, and they blamed the exigencies of serial publication for his overly episodic and fragmentary plots.
In addition, many commentators found Trollope's technique of allowing the narrator to constantly comment on the action and characters to be irrelevant and distracting. Legacy If it has taken time for critics to claim a place for Trollope among the greatest novelists, the readers have kept buying and reading his Books.
Snow's phrase. He lost some readers during his lifetime and some more after his death; but after the s reprints of his many novels have proved sound investments for many publishers. During the two world wars, Trollope and Barset were in enormous demand. In the s his second series was adapted by the BBC as a highly successful television serial, The Pallisers. And increasingly in the two decades before the centenary of his death, the critics have ceased to be apologists.
Trollope has been recognized as a major novelist. Trollope made a name for himself with the tales of the residents of an invented county that held recognizable elements from real locations despite its being fictional. Other works featuring famous fictional settings that bear a strong resemblance to real places include:.
This pulp horror writer used Arkham County, a prototypical New England locale, as a setting for many of his stories. This, one of his best-known short stories, prominently features two of Arkham County's most famous locales: Miskatonic University and the town of Dunwich. Far from the Madding Crowd , a novel by Thomas Hardy. Hardy wrote a series of stories and poems set in the semifictional Wessex County; this was his fourth such story and first major success.
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Gulliver's Travels , a novel by Jonathan Swift. In this would-be travelogue, the locations visited by Gulliver—Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and so forth—are allegorical countries, each representing a different aspect of human nature. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Ira B.
Fredeman, University of British Columbia. Detroit: Gale Group, William B. Thesing, University of South Carolina.
John R. Greenfield, McKendree College. Halperin, John.
New York : Macmillan, Trollope Centenary Essays. New York : St. Martin's, Herbert, Christopher. Trollope and Comic Pleasure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Kendrick, Walter M. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, McMaster, Juliet. Trollope's Palliser Novels: Theme and Pattern. New York: Macmillan, Morse, Deborah Denenholz. Women in Trollope's Palliser Novels.
Ann Arbor , Mich. Nardin, Jane. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, Super, Robert H. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, Nationality: English. Born: London, 24 April ; son of the writer Frances Trollope. Family: Married Rose Heseltine in ; two sons. Career: Classical usher at a school in Brussels, ; worked for the British Post Office , surveyor's clerk, later deputy surveyor, in Bangher, Clonmel, and Belfast, Northern Ireland , ; chief surveyor, Dublin, ; chief surveyor of the Eastern District, London, ; suggested the use of letter boxes; made official visits to Egypt, , the West Indies , , and the U.
Paul 's Magazine, ; Liberal parliamentary candidate for Beverley, ; traveled in Australia and New Zealand , , Australia, , and South Africa , Died: 6 December An Old Man 's Love. The West Indies and the Spanish Main. North America. Clergymen of the Church of England.
The Small House at Allington
Australia and New Zealand. South Africa. An Autobiography, edited by H. Lyons, Bareham; Trollope and His Illustrators by N. Super; The Trollope Critics edited by N. Anthony Trollope is not regarded as a great short story writer, and since he wrote 47 substantial novels his output of shorter fiction is often ignored. He did, however, produce 42 short stories that have usefully been divided, in an edition of his works, into five categories. The first category is called "Editors and Writers. Paul 's Magazine.
This gave rise to eight stories, of which "The Spotted Dog" is the longest, best, and best known, concerning the struggles of authorship and the trials of editorship. A persuasive account is given, in the Grub Street mode, of those who turn to their pens as a last resort in a financially desperate situation and of the difficulties an editor faces in trying to get rid of such importunate people. The second category, which also numbers eight items, is that of Christmas stories. The happy ending required evidently went somewhat against the grain in his best fiction Trollope sees life as too complex for simple resolutions , but in these tales of hitches in young love being smoothed out by goodwill and Christmas cheer, he manages to put forward his most optimistic side.
Again, typically for Trollope whose forte was the extended narrative, the longest story is the best: "Two Heroines of Plumplington" is a simple tale of paternal objection to the suitors of two young women; love triumphs in the end quite predictably, so we are forced to see that the interest in the story centers around character portrayal and handling of dramatic scene rather than around the plot. In the third category are the ten stories based on Trollope's extensive travels round the world.
In these we see a grimmer world than in the English Christmas scenes but also a world of immense vigor and some comic potential. Whether in the Middle East , Jamaica, or Belgium, Trollope's English abroad are empire-builders and tourists of the middling sort whose exploits are more likely to concern marriage, meals, and getting value for money out of the natives than anything more elevated or political.
As with the stories of editors and writers we have here a strong strain of pleasant autobiography, but there is also a bleaker dimension, for the mid-Victorian travelers and colonialists risked their lives to a degree almost unimaginable in the late twentieth century. The fourth category comprises eight stories about travel and foreigners, less about Empire and tourism than about the quirks and coincidences of daily life.
Mostly set in Europe, they foreshadow some of E. Forster's preoccupations with the meaning of the English experience of the continent. Confrontations between the different cultures inevitably generate tensions that make worse the small but infuriating problems that beset Trollopian characters. The eight stories in the fifth category called "Courtship and Marriage" are closer to Trollope's more usual territory; as in his novels he is concerned here with the whole complex social and personal comedy of human pairing.
Trollope's stories are always entertaining if sometimes slightly predictable. They do not conform to our usual expectations of the genre, however, in that they are not neat or pithy or cryptic or rounded off with a piquant twist, Trollope being incapable of writing except at length. Instead they are somewhat inconclusive slices of life wrapped up rather faster than the author would evidently have liked. But Trollope's greatest strength was his ability to bring characters together and allow us to watch them interacting. This he does in every story he wrote, immediately and vigorously.
These stories offer unusually frank insights into aspects of Victorian society; most of them were written in the s, and they could usefully be set alongside the paintings of the period. We find sentimentality in them "Mary Gresley" and a certain preoccupation with Christian themes charity in "The Widow's Mite" , but for the most part they help to make the Victorians more normal to us. John Butler. Can You Forgive Her? The characters in this series develop as they do in the Barsetshire novels, especially Plantagenet Palliser, who is seen as a young man in the first novel and as a widower in the last.
This novel is a scathing satire of England in the s, greedy for money while on the edge of moral bankruptcy. This novel seems to reveal a Trollope different from the author of the Barsetshire stories. The author, however, is the man he always was; his story is now about a different England. Trollope was a methodical writer. He began writing as early as in the morning and before breakfast entered in a diary kept for each of his novels, beginning with Barchester Towers, the number of pages he had written.
He wrote aboard ship or on a train. When he finished a novel, he turned it over to his publisher and promptly began another. His method of working made him liable to the charge of being a mechanical rather than a methodical writer. However, his steady output was the result of pondering the characters and situations of a projected book while traveling or during intervals in his business day.
Trollope's Autobiography, written in but not published until , the year after his death, revealed his method of writing and caused a decline in his reputation. Only in the 20th century was his reputation restored. The Autobiography presents an older and sadder man—but not an essentially different one—than the Trollope who commented upon his characters in the Barsetshire novels. After resigning from the Post Office, Trollope traveled for pleasure. He continued to write during each journey.
He suffered a stroke and after a short illness died on Dec. Trollope's Autobiography ; many subsequent editions is a valuable self-portrait but an underestimation of his abilities. Michael Sadleir, Trollope: A Commentary , undoubtedly the best biography, presents him as a healthy, normal man content with the life around him and happy to create the illusion of it in his books. The best critical study is Bradford A. Walter E. Houghton, The Victorian Frame of Mind, , is an excellent presentation of historical background.
Anthony Trollope Facts