Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Classics Challenge January Prompt: Anthony Trollope

As a participant in the Classics Challenge hosted by November's Autumn, I'm posting a monthly prompt.  This month's assignment:  The Author.

Featured author:  Anthony Trollope.   British, born 24 April 1815, died 6 December 1882.

Some background:  Born in London, son of a failed barrister.  However, his mother, Frances, became a successful writer.  After his father's legal practice failed in 1834, Trollope Senior and fled to Bruges, Belgium to avoid being jailed for debt.  The whole family moved with him to Belgium and were supported by Mrs. Trollope's income as a writer.  Young Anthony accepted a clerkship in the British post office and returned in the fall of that year.  He had a reputation as being unpunctual and insubordinate.  One incident in particular is interesting -- a debt of 12 pounds to a tailor was turned over to a moneylender and eventually grew to 200 pounds.  (This incident, along with many other from his life, would appear eventually in his fiction.)

At first Trollope hated working for the post office, but stuck with it, and eventually was promoted to postal inspector in Ireland.  This involved a lot of train travel and he spent his time on trains writing.  According to Wikipedia, he occasionally dipped into the Lost Letter Box for ideas for his novels.  He also invented the British postal box:

I could write a very long post about Trollope's life, and I hope to read more about hin, including his autobiography which sounds fascinating.  Trollope was extremely well-traveled, and visited Europe, the Middle East, the U.S., Australia, and South Africa, among other places.  Everywhere he went, he wrote, eventually publishing 47 novels, plus numerous short stories and other writings.  He's most famous for his two series: The Chronicles of Barset, the story of life in the provincial county of Barchestershire; and The Pallisers Novels, a series of political novels about Parliament.   He also wrote many stand-alone novels, including The Way We Live Now, which many consider to be his finest work. 

I've only read four of Trollope's works so far and I really enjoyed them.  I was waffling between Trollope and Dickens for my next big fat Victorian read and I'm pretty sure Trollope is going to come out the winner.

Who else is a fan of Trollope?  Which are your favorite novels so far?


  1. I love Trollope. Barchester Towers, The Eustace Diamonds, and his autobiography are my particular favorites. Have you decided which Trollope is next on your list?

    Susan E.

  2. Barchester Towers and the Last Chronicle of Barset are my favourites so far. Which are you planning on reading? I've just done with Rachel Ray which was interesting. I enjoyed it but don't think it's destined to be a favourite.

  3. Count me in with the Trollope fans. I love The Last Chronicle of Barset, He Knew He Was Right, the two Phineas novels, and Is He Popenjoy? I also enjoyed his autobiography very much, particularly his evaluation of his fellow writers (he & I agree about Dickens :)

  4. I adore Trollope even though I have only read four so far -- the first 4 of the Barchester series. I just love his people.

  5. Still no Trollope for me, but I loved reading a bit about his life - it definitely made me more determined to read him one day. I love that he worked for the post office. There is just something so ordinary about that!

  6. Anonymous -- I'm halfway through the Barchester series so I think Framley Parsonage will be next. But I'm very tempted by Rachel Ray!

    Desperate Reader -- I loved Barchester Towers, but I keep hearing great things about Framley Parsonage and The Last Chronicle so I'm really looking forward to both of them.

    LIsa May -- If you haven't read it, I highly recommend The Way We Live Now. It was simply brilliant. Great BBC adaptation as well.

    AJ -- I love his people too. I loved Miss Dunstable in Doctor Thorne.

    Anbolyn -- I really want to read his autobiography. Apparently it annoyed a lot of people, so I want to see what all the fuss was about.

  7. I think I might be becoming a Trollope fan. I'm reading my first one at the moment, 'Can You Forgive Her?' and I'm really enjoying it.

  8. Joanne -- I really want to read all the Pallisers novels as well. I started reading that one a couple of years ago but got distracted. I do hope to finish it someday!

  9. I haven't read anything by him. Amazing that his mother was able to support the family as a writer. I'm sure it was difficult for women to succeed in those days.

  10. I'm halfway through the Palliser series and loving it but I also loved the Barchester Chronicles. I'd go for Trollope before Dickens any day. I was a wee bit downcast when I saw the huge list of all his books though. I'll be at it for some time!

  11. I'm currently working my way through the Barchester series and still have two more to read. So far my favourite is Barchester Towers but I've enjoyed all of them - I really love his writing style. I'm looking forward to reading the Palliser series eventually too. Can You Forgive Her? has been waiting on my shelf for years!

  12. The only Trollope I've read is The Small House at Allington, but I did enjoy it and hope to read more of his books eventually (not this year, between my Classics Challenge and my Dickens challenge I'm nineteenth-centuried out!)

  13. I like Trollope very much. I think TWWLN & the Phineas Finn novels are my favourites although I have a lot more to read. His Autobiography is also excellent.

  14. Cozy in Texas -- She must have been a gutsy woman! There's a character in The Way We Live Now who is supporting her family with her writing and I'm pretty sure it must be based on his mother.

    Katrina -- I know what you mean, I have more than 40 left to read. Luckily, some of them are fairly short. And I've just started another Dickens and I'm really tempted to give it up for Trollope, his style is starting to grate on me.

    Helen -- I think that's my favorite also, though I loved Dr. Thorne. I've heard good things about Framley Parsonage and the Last Chronicle so I'm excited about reading them. And I think I have TEN unread Trollopes on the bookshelf!

    Tracy -- I included only one Trollope on my Classics Challenge and I think that was a mistake! I don't think I'm locked into any particular titles, so I can change if I want to.

    Lyn -- I have both the Phineas novels on the TBR shelf!! They'll have to wait until I finish the Barsetshire novels though. I do want to read the autobiography also.

  15. I've read three Trollopes from the Palliser series and they haven't been my favorites and yet I can't wait to read more! I just finished a big Dickens. I may read a big Eliot (Adam Bede) and then I'll tackle the next Trollope (although Phineas Redux is the largest of the series! I'm scared!).


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