Anthony Trollope a Critical Study

Anthony Trollope a Critical Study

Anthony Trollope a Critical Study

Anthony Trollope a Critical Study

Excerpt

One Tuesday morning in the summer of 1943, I took a book out of the school library at Winchester to read during an hour devoted to the study of science. Much as I now deplore my bad manners in reading when I should have been hearing about hydrostatics, I cannot altogether regret my action. For it provided me with my first encounter with Trollope. The book was The Warden, and it was the first volume in a finely-bound set of the six Barsetshire novels. Inside in Trollope's own handwriting were the words "From the author -- a Wykehamist -- to Winchester College." When I later came to read the Autobiography I realised how much was here left unsaid. It must have been a satisfaction to Trollope, remembering the uniform failure of his scbooldays, to present himself at last before his old school as a writer of undisputed success. He had not apparently presented any of his books to Winchester until he could present a set that was a monument of his popularity.

To this day the Barsetshire series is far more widely known than any of his other writings. Though I have drawn freely upon them in the first part of this book, none of the separate studies in Part II deals with a Barsetshire novel. Some people may feel that the centre of gravity has been misplaced. If so, it has been done deliberately. For it is part of my thesis that Trollope is a gloomier, more introspective, more satirical, and more profound writer than he is usually credited with being; and further, the Barsetshire series, fine as it is, is not fully characteristic of his genius. Again, this series, so rich in incident and character, is simple in conception. It demands less explanation and analysis than most of his other works.

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