Last night I discussed Small House at Allington with other members of the Trollope Society at the Center for Fiction.  An outside reader might ask “who is Trollope.”  Or alternatively “why Trollope.” Trollope is a bit of a snobby taste because of the upperclass world he depicts and beause he’s not Dickens.

Trollope inspires many stories of the first time I read Trollope…I can’t remember why I picked up a Trollope novel or the first one I read.  But I know why I like him. I like him because his style is as smooth as a vanilla milk shake.  He is good at representing the mixed nature of people. One of my favorite scenes is at the beginning of Barchester Towers. The Bishop of Barchester is dying; the Archdeacon who is his son badly wants to be bishop. His appointment depends on the time of his father’s death because the government is about to change.  He is at his fsther’s bedside wishing for him to die sooner rather than later when he catches himself in his ambition and reminds himself of his love for his father. We are all there -somewhere between good and bad.

Another reason why I like Trollope is that he has incredible insight into the mind of women. Take Lady Mason in Orley Farm (yes take Lady Mason in Orley Farm) I can’t imagine how he developed that sensitivity perhaps from befriending women like George Eliot.

Finally, there is the Trollope paradox. He is dissed as a literary plebe because he stated that he wrote for a living so many words a day but his fans as someone I know once said are the crustily effete.

 

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