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Thread: Which Trollope book?

  1. #1
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Which Trollope book?

    If you could only read one Trollope book, which would be the one to pick?
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    If you could only read one Trollope book, which would be the one to pick?
    I suspect that Trollope is one of those authors who,once started, pull in dedicated followers who avidly throw themselves into the Barchester and Palliser novels for years on end. I have read only one and that was The Warden which I recently re-read for its message of 'leave well alone' or in modern parlance: 'If it works don't fix it'.
    I remember watching and enjoying the television production some years ago of He Knew He Was Right: it was very well done.
    It seems to me that anyone interested in Victoriana would benefit from reading Trollope, given his acute observation of life in those times.
    A very different writer to Dickens but also one who complements Dickens' somewhat picaresque view of the Victorians .
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    If you want a good stand alone Trollope, you could always try The Way We Live Now. It's a bit harder edged than some his earlier novels, which in my opinion is a good thing (I'm not a big Trollope fan). Although Emil is correct that Trollope is a different sort of writer than Dickens, The Way We Live Now resembles some of the less sentimental parts of Little Dorrit in some ways. On the other hand, if you want the "real Trollope" you should just start wandering through the Palliser books. Some people get quite addicted to them. Not me, though.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 01-10-2015 at 05:33 PM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

  4. #4
    I like this novel called The Claverings. But if you want to go through the Warden, which isn't bad, if uneven, you'll be delighted at Barchester Towers. Then its up to you whether you want to keep reading in that series.

    But one thing you don't want to overlook is his short stories. I have a volume of late Trollope short stories and have so far read Father Giles of Ballymoy and The Turkish Bath, both really charming and excellent short stories, that I almost have a stronger feeling for than any novels I've read.

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    My favorite Trollope is "Last Chronicle of Barset". Of course it wouldn't be as good if one hasn't read the five prior books in the series. I like authorial asides, where the author sets aside his duties as a narrator, and speaks directly to the reader. The end of "Last Chronicle" contains an excellent example (with no spoilers):

    But to me Barset has been a real county, and its city a real city, and the spires and towers have been before my eyes, and the voices of the people are known to my ears, and the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps. To them all I now say farewell. That I have been induced to wander among them too long by my love for old friendships, and by the sweetness of old faces, is a fault for which I may perhaps be more readily forgiven, when I repeat, with solemnity of assurance, that promise made in my title, that this shall be the last chronicle of Barset.
    My favorite scene in the novel is when Septimus Harding (my favorite character), now an old man, sneaks up to the attic when nobody is in the house and takes his cello out of its case. He is too feeble to play it, but he strokes the wood of his beloved instrument and remembers how much it meant to him. I am choking up just thinking about the scene. Pure genius.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I'm going through the Chronicles of Barset now (am still at Doctor Thorne due to a problem with my eyes). Addicted is a big word, though Barset has a sweet thing about it. So far, I think Barchester Towers was by far the funniest of the three, although I'm told that The Small House at Allington is hilarious with a very nervous woman spending the time on her sofa.
    The Warden was a good start, but I think it was like the first episode of a sitcom: you introduce the characters, the setting and then you get going. The story was developed into more petty Victorian intrigue in Barchester Towers. Not only with the press, but political games in the church. Men of God, indeed... Who will blink first, the deacon or the bishop, the Low Church or the High Church?

    Dickens is different, though. He writes about people (sometimes poor) trying to survive in a bustling city environment. Trollope writes more like Austen about quiet provincial places with middle class people who pass their lives playing their little games. Or that's the impression I get from the three books I've read anyway. There is a kind of quiet gentle atmosphere I like about it. But that's me.
    It makes you understand that era in a less black and white way too. Eliot and Hardy are depressing and they highlight the terrible effects of what the Victorians believed, but our times will once be perceived as terrible too, though we don't notice it. Trollope gives you an insight into the small everyday woes and habits of people.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Anthony Trollope is 200 years old in a few days time (He was born 24th April 2014). I gave Dickens a go when he was 200, so maybe this is the year to read some Trollope. He still has his admirers, judging by this.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I read that one as well. Maybe you'll find one you like. Barchester Towers is a sequel to The Warden, though, so keep that in mind. Doctor Thorne and Framley Parsonage where I'm at now reference some of the characters, but they essentially reference a different part of the county of Barsetshire, although the end of FP is maybe a spoiler if you haven't read Doctor Thorne...

    I'm now reading Framley Parsonage, entering the murky waters of monetary intrigue/swindling and a bit of political/societal shenanigans with a poor innocent parson caught in the middle of it (frankly down to his own stupidity or naïveté). This in unison with a subplot of motherly intrigue and how to catch a son who will not be caught if his life depended on it . As Trollope said, that story is awfully English: hunting, parsons and a little bit of love-making. So quaint.
    For the first time I'm actually contemplating reading the other two books until the end of the series. I just want to know what happens at the end.

    Although as he loved referencing current matters and caricatures of well-known people (including prime ministers and bishops), I think footnotes are not to be sniffed at.
    I'm keeping a lid on my enthusiasm to read The Prime Minister. With all this electioneering, campaigning, these manifestos and things, it's hard not to download it from Gutenberg...

    Being a middle class public/grammar school boy (I forget which), he also got Latin and Greek rammed down his throat and loved referencing that as well. This great website explains all the obvious and not-so-obvious jokes he hid in the plot and text. Written by people who know about the stuff I just found out as well. Shame I relied on the Penguin footnotes for Doctor Thorne, I'll have to read through the notes on Trollope's Apollo later.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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