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Thread: The Warden & Barchester Towers

  1. #1
    Registered User CourtnyG's Avatar
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    Oct 2006

    The Warden & Barchester Towers

    I recently read The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. I really enjoyed both novels. The Warden was much shorter. It focused more heavily on Mr. Harding who I found to be rather boring. I thought Trollope did a wonderful job of showing us the internal struggle the warden went through. We were introduced to the Grantly children in a very creative way. I liked how the sisters are so very different, and how Mrs. Grantly behaved. I didn't exactly like the way Eleanor's struggle with her feelings for Mr. Bold played out, which wouldn't be a big deal, but it almost felt like that relationship was the purpose of the novel. It felt like the events occured just to give Eleanor and Mr. Bold a problem to work though. If that was the purpose of the novel it didn't continue into Barchester Towers. Throughout the novel I couldn't decide who I felt worse for. Mr. Harding for being such a good man trying to make it through a bad situation, or Mr. Grantly for being such a strong man trying to work though his weak father-in-law. I could understand both men's situation and feeling, and felt badly for them being constantly dissappointed with each other, constantly being shot in the foot by each other.

    Overall I preferred Barchester Towers. It was a much meatier story with more characters and plot twists. The Warden felt like a short story in comparison (or possibly the preface or first few chapters for Barchester Towers). I still didn't find Eleanor all that likeable, even though it felt like she was the main point of the novel (at least the second half of the novel). I loved the family from Italy. They added a lot of interest to the last half of the novel. I liked Mr. Arabin right away, and immediately saw where his part of the story was headed. The best part of the novel was the war between Mrs. Proudie and Mr. Slope. I couldn't decide which to pull for as I found them both equally dislikeable (as a woman I eventually found myself pulling for Mrs. Proudie). The war between the two was played out beautifully. There were numerous times throughout the novel where the side with the upper hand would change, and I would have to reevaluate who I wanted to win and their likelihood of winning.

    I started Doctor Thorne, but when I noticed that the two plots weren't directly linked I decided to put it down and take a little break from Trollope for the time being. I look forward to starting Doctor Thorne again. The first few chapters have me convinced that it will be even better than The Warden and Barchester Towers. Dr. Thorne seems a bit pompous, but I'm already attached to Mary Thorne and she was just introduced in the last chapter I read.


  2. #2
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    May 2009
    Alamos, Sonora, Mexico
    It seems Barchester Towers is the best known novel in the Barsetshire Chronicles series. Of this series it is my favorite, particularly because of the way the characters come right out of the page. (This does not mean they are not of equal richness in the other novels. Trollope always provides this true-to-lifeness.) The character I liked most was la Signiora Neroni, and I was disappointed she did not reappear in the other novels of this series. The best pages of the novel are where she uncovers Mr. Slope's duplicity by her incredibly incisive dialogue with him in a party setting. She is able to do this without using vituperative language, and with due respect to his office as chaplain to the bishop of Barchester. She leaves him devastated, and he really deserved it. Her dialogue is so outstanding that I think it very difficult to run across people like this in real life. Maybe this is why I like to escape reality sometimes by going into Trollope's novels? Even though I'll defend the opinion that these are real people he portrays for us, la Signiora Neroni is more than life-size, in the sense that you would crave to meet her and have an afternoon conversation with her, any time. I have met some persons like her, but few and far between. When I was in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, one of the volunteers, a woman, was amazingly interesting to listen to when she, seated at a lakeside, talked about the history of philosophy! Such persons are jewels along the path of life. We need to read the great classics of world literature, especially nowadays, because they give us a glimpse of what we really are meant to be: full-blown persons. Rene Descartes said that "nations can be judged as civilized in the degree to which their citizens are capable of philosophizing." Actually, novels are a form of philosophy in the sense that they, rising up between poetry and the study of pure being, excite wonder in us. Goethe said that the highest state attainable by human beings is wonder. This is the key to human fulfillment.

  3. #3
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    May 2008
    I love Trollope, one of the greatest of the 19th century novelists. It's been some time since I read The Warden and Barchester Chronicles, but I remember loving them, and laughing a lot at the machinations of Slope and Mrs Proudie. I've read some of his other books, and am attempting to collect them all. I recently bought the BBC dvds of He Knew He Was Right, The Way We Live Now, and The Barchester Chronicles. I can't wait to watch them again, particularly BC as it's been so long since I saw it, and it stars a young Alan Rickman.......lovely.

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