Monday, July 25, 2016

Some thoughts on Trollope

The Inn is rather fond of Anthony Trollope.  The top two shelves are all by Trollope or about Trollope.  Hence the following.

Trollope is perhaps that most adult of English novelists; he speaks better to us when we have “put away childish things.” In part, that’s because Barchester is obsessed with the persistent, corrosive theme of money: Who’s got it and who hasn’t, whether it’s “old” or “new,” deserved or undeserved, and the precarious existence and temptations of those who do not have enough. “Of all novelists in any country,” the poet W.H. Auden observed, “Trollope best understands the role of money.” 
Trollope is lethal in showing us the resulting contest between decency and pettiness in human nature. Pridefulness, status anxiety, the willingness to think the best or worst of your neighbor, seething jealousies and the vaulted ambition of mediocrities: all these elements of the human condition are brilliantly laid out for us. And while so many good men are suffocated by doubt and paralyzed about taking action, it is often the women characters to whom Trollope gives agency. In both novels it is not the Warden but his daughter, Eleanor Harding, whose strength of character forces events into a different, more satisfactory pattern.
More here.