In this spirit we Americans and Englishmen go on writing books about each other, sometimes with bitterness enough, but generally with good final results.
The American Senator
IN his Autobiography ( 1883) Trollope notes that The American Senator ( 1876-7) was given its title 'very much in opposition to my publisher'. Bentley feared it was misleading, and in most of his advertisements inserted immediately after the title the disclaimer, "'The Scene of which Story is laid in England'". Trollope began the concluding chapter by remarking that the novel 'might perhaps have been better called "The Chronicle of a Winter at Dillsborough'" (p. 552). But he had written to Bentley on 7 December 1875: 'I find that I cannot change the name,--which indeed, (The American Senator) I feel to be in itself a good name. I am sure that nobody can give a name to a novel but its author.' (See The Letters of Anthony Trollope, 2 vols., ed. N. John Hall [ Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1983], II:673.)
The Autobiography also expresses Trollope's astonishment that the reviewers should have preferred The American Senator and Is He Popenjoy? ( 1877-8) to The Prime Minister ( 1875-6); he declares here that both novels 'are very inferior to The Prime Minister'. In fact reviewers of The American Senator were far from pleased with it--though Trollope was right in thinking that The Prime Minister was treated more harshly, and with less reason, in the Press.
The novelist says a good deal more in a letter to his indefatigable correspondent Mary Holmes ( 27 December 1876; see Letters, II:701-2). He characterizes 'the Senator from Mickewa' as 'a thoroughly honest man wishing to do good, and . . . not himself half so absurd as things which he criticizes'. Having forgotten, fourteen months after completing the book, the name of his parson Mainwaring, Trollope refers to him here as 'parson Mauleverer'--and