A Walk in the Wood; Hunting a Bloodsport and a World where no one reads (Why the Animus Against the Erudite, Scientist or Reader); Digging out the fox and other queries; Arabella, Trollope's niece, our contemporary; A New Zealander, Satiric Naif; AT's depiction of Americans; The Lady and the Fox; Dillsborough, Where Is It?; Five Reviews and a Shocker; Charles Reade; Mostly on Trollope's Reputation, the Senator, and Trollope's Americans

To Trollope-l

March 13, 1999

Re: The American Senator, Chs 4-13: A Walk in the Wood

I'd like to bring up a few different points.

Reginald is interesting: he doesn't ride, shoot, hunt, and is not into politics or glamour. My God, what does he do? He reads. Worse yet, he has an enormous library, and Rumor hath it he is

"engaged in some stupendous literary work, and the men and women generally looked upon him as a disagreeable marvel of learning. Dillsborough of itself was not bookish, and would have regarded any one known to have written an article in a magazine almost as phenomenon" (Oxford The American Senator ed JHalperin, Ch 5, p. 31).

That's the general tone of the book thus far. We have been ignoring the tone of the narrator. The phrase quietly mocking is too strong; it's rather a continual deflating undercurrent, a sceptical realism turning into a joke. At the same time the character are real. We feel for Reginald; he doesn't fit in. We feel for Mr Masters who is made uncomfortable by his position, his wife, his need for money, his beliefs. Here's a suggestion for a theme: those who don't quite fit in. We are told Reginald is a lonely man (p. 32)

Larry Twentyman reminds me of Will Belton from The Belton Estate. He too is lonely, but not alone. The yearning of his heart and his openly affectionate nature are touching.

We have been talking about names. Did others notice that Larry is hurt and insulted because "some of the sporting men and others in the neighbourhood, who decidedly were not gentlemen called him 'Larry'. Larry Twentyman is delighted when "young Hampton of Hampton," "Mainwaring," and "Botsey" call him Larry and he can call them by their first or second names with no prefix, but he does not like to be called Larry by people he considers somewhat beneath him (p. 7).

Some of these sorts of nuances make up the scene at the Dillsborough Club (Ch 4).

Did not the opening chapters of The Belton Estate come in pairs with said the cousins were in love or not in love. Then too the walk in the wood and sense of place reminded me or Rachel Ray's walks with Luke Rowan.

The scenes (Chs 5-7) walking through the wood shows Mary caught between the two men, her nature against theirs, her attempts to obey social convention against their more immediate male jealousies and resenments, how class interplays with everything. We have a younger sister for Mary: one Kate. The scene between Mary and Reginald is delicately, the scene between Mary and Larry tenderly done.

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

March 12, 1999

Re: The American Senator, Chs 8-13: Hunting a Bloodsport and a World where no one reads

Earlier today Sigmund Eisner wrote:

Ellen, I think I agree with you about fox hunting, especially as it occurred durng the 18th and 19th centuries in England. It is presented to us as a romantically choreographed adventure, but we are still aware of the seamy side of it. I have never witnessed a fox hunt, although I have ridden horses in my day. But I have witnessed a bullfight in Mexico, and although bullfighting is a national sport in Mexico, Spain, and other Spanish-curltured societies, and although it too is romantically choreographed, it still turned me off. That is, it offends my sensibilities, which themselves are a result of the culture I was brought up in. I am neither a 19th-century Briton nor a 20th-century Mexican or Spaniard.

However, this should be said. We cannot fault Trollope for writing well about hunting nor Hemingway for writng well about bullfighting. If either Trollope or Hemingway wrote badly, we could fault them for poor writing. But they never do. The subject matter of a good writer should not be confused with the writer's skill. I didn't like Milton's politics, but I admired Paradise Lost. The American Senator and The Sun Also Rises are excellent novels. And that's all that matters.


I'm not sure that we can judge novels in a vaccuum in this way. Most people couldn't care less about quality and depth of artistry. Novels function socially in the world. They are social acts.

However, what I think I was trying to do was widen our perspective on hunting. It's more than a social class act.

As many of us have not gone fox-hunting, I am not surprised that we have been talking about it sheerly in terms of class, status and money, a farming landowner versus aristocratic landlord issue. Gene brought out the pastoral and exhilarating thrill of the sport, simply how people might enjoy themselves and escape from their daily commercial or private existences this way.

So I wanted to bring out the violence, the sensual physical reality of it and the sex -- as I have at least imagined and read about it. I recalled that in Can You Forgive Her? and other novels by Trollope and other Victorians, and later in The American Senator various connections between sex and hunting are exploited to create parallel episodes in love stories and hunting episodes. We should look at Arabella's desperate hunting down of Lord Rufford and other men as the equivalent of their digging foxes out of their holes or lair.

The world of The American Senator is a rough and unidealised one. One element that strikes me this time, possibly because I have been thinking about it as characteristic of all the Pallisers, is how all but one of the characters lack any intellectual life whatsoever. Plantagenet reads blue books (as does Phineas), but beyond this and Lizzie's pretenses at poetry, who reads? who writes? All day long the women sit reading novels or visit one another; in the evenings they go out hunting husbands or gossip or networking. The men hunt or drink or play cards. Reginald Morton is considered very strange because he likes to read. Maybe this is one of the reasons Henry James found Trollope's fiction so vulgar. Most of Trollope's characters are people who would have a hard time finding their way to the library (if there is one) in their own house. Exceptions are Sir Thomas Underdowne (who will never sit down to write his life of Bacon), Arabin (a theological man), and perhaps one or two others I can't think of right now. James has artists, musicians, writers, people who lead an examined life in a far wider way than Trollope's characters who are simply content to examine the contents of their own minds with respect to their private lives or ups and downs in politics.

Why does he do this? Does he think it realer? He lived in a world of sophisticated literary, artistic and intellectual people himself. I believe in her Wives and Daughters Mrs Gaskell has a character who writes learned geological papers and goes off, Darwin-like, on a voyage to explore the earth and other kinds of peoples.

Comments anyone?

Ellen Moody

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Digging out the fox and other queries

From: Frazer Wright

On 13/3/99, John Mize wrote:

In Surtees' fox-hunting novels, not wanting to dig a fox out of his hole is a moral litmus test. Facey Romford, the hero of Mr. Facey Romford's Hounds, is something of a con man and a scoundrel, but he has his own moral code and his own limits. One of the things he does not do is dig a fox out of a hole. If the hounds can't catch the fox above-ground, as far as he's concerned, the fox has won that round and he will try again later. He has contempt for the man who would take unfair advantage and dig the fox out. Is this one of Facey's idisyncracies or was there something of a debate as to whether digging a fox out was sporting or not?

John: this debate has simmered (and occasionally raged) for more than a hundred years. Surtees was, I think, putting his own views in Facey's head. In the 1890s, the leading writer on fox hunt, Brooksby (I am researching a biography of him!) took the same view: that it was ungentlemanly and unsporting. More recently, the League Against Cruel Sports seemed (although they have had a few purges and such of late) to think that this was the worst aspect of fox hunting and many of today's hunters feel that if this was outlawed, then hunting would be marginally more acceptable to some anti-hunting people.

I am not, incidentally a fox hunter: just interested in the history and customs. Ellen wrote:

in America the fox is no longer torn to bits, but in England in Trollope's time it was.

In Britain, the fox is the prize of the hounds - if they catch it, they eat most of it. But modern hunts are said to be somewhat inefficient, compared with the Victorian era. Now, they probably catch just 40 per cent of the foxes they flush. No fun for those caught, I agree. Yes, it is a blood sport, so list MUST come into it.

Gene Stratton wrote:

I assume that when Runciman says a fellow like Goarly should be "put down," he's talking about putting him in his place, not killed as injured domestic animals are put down -- but maybe I'm wrong.

Gene - My view is that Runciman meant killed. Among fox hunting fanatics, the killing of a fox, vulpicide, was a crime that approached treason or murder of a human. And the Victorians were not squeamish about using the death penalty for offences which, today, might not even earn imprisonment.

The definition that "a squire is a country gentleman who lives on his own property" seems too loose and would make for too many squires.

Right. A squire had to be of the gentry - i.e. the son of at least a Knight or Baronet, as well as owning land. In real terms the squire was the accepted head of the community. Businessmen can now become squires; it was far more difficult then, when the rank of every person was not only generally known, but constantly evaluated.

One final query from me. Have we had enough clues yet to discover which state the Senator was from and what his party was? American politics are, to me, as mysterious as the rules of fox hunting are to many of you (and just as distasteful, judging by recent events.)

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling, 1923.

Frazer Wright, Journalist/writer, Hoyland Nether, South Yorkshire, England.

March 15, 1999

Re: The American Senator, Chs 8-13: Arabella, Trollope's niece, our contemporary

The kinds of scenes in which Trollope dramatises people from the point of view of their social behavior are peculiarly modern. In Chapters 11-12, Trollope continually presents before us the reality of boredom, irritation, discomfort, one-upping and avoidance that are the hidden undercurrents of social gatherings. I remember his chapter on the New Zealander called "Society" in which he argues how most people never ask themselves what would really make them happy, what they would really enjoy, but simply go through a round of socialising that shows they can't think of anything else to do with themselves. Each of the characters at the dinner table of Bragton is beyond fellowship. The Senator's remarks make things worse, but he does not cause the situation.

Why modern? Because there is no sense in the text that any of this is meaningful or driving towards some goal, or even that there is much to choose between the respective viewpoints of the participants.

The frame is also appropriate to the presentation Arabella Trefoil. Somehow the word Trefoil makes me think of the thin gold wrapping people put on Christmas presents. The kind that always seems to me to smack of the meretriciousness of the ritual regarded as a potlatch. The malls and stores benefit, and one's credit card bill goes up for the next three months as one desperately tries to pay it off. She too lives in a meaningless world, a ceaseless round of work. It's money which has undone Arabella.

Did people notice how little authorial comment there is? Arabella is also simply allowed to speak. We are allowed little access into her mind. She is apparently the huge Juno type that was so admired in Victorian middle class circles, blond, deep blue eyes. She is desperate, hollow. One ironic moral inference from her relationship with her mother is that lies are important. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. People live by half-lies and pleasant half-delusions.

Trollope does seem to pity her. He calls her "one of the most unhappy persons in England" (Oxford The American Senator p. 80). She tries to cling to truth-telling as a version of self-respect. How weary she is. Victoria Glendinning suggests that the life of Trollope's brother's one daughter by his first wife, Bice, recalls Arabella. Bice too was kept without funds; she too was driven to look for a rich husband; she was unwanted person after her father remarried. It's not that Arabella is Bice, but that what Trollope saw happening to Bice lead in part to the conception of Arabella's driven existence. For there is sympathy as well as revulsion. In Lizzie Eustace, we had only revulsion because Lizzie (to use Hamlet's phrase about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) made love to her employment. Arabella loathes hers.

John Morton is mocked continually as the Paragon. He is a figure who thinks, lives, feels cant. He has engaged himself without any depth of feeling. Yet Trollope leaves a modicum of respect here. Morton does the right thing; is courteous, means well, has engaged himself and is only protecting his property from the hawk-like Lady Augusta.

People all at sea, few comforting one another, few having any sense of trying to get beyond the moment. Trollope gives us this sense as we read at the same time as he makes so vivid and believable their sense of themselves as they are rooted in the immediate.

Qere the first Mrs Masters to have been simply divorced by Mr, and the present Mrs Masters been a second wife, that marriage would feel very contemporary. The woman measures her husband by how far she can bill others for each hour he exists. Our world today seems made up of people ceaselessly on the make lest they be thrown overboard (fired). She is uncomfortble with the daughter of the first marriage. She needles her husband.

The sharp sense of class conflict over the hunt is modern too.

Ellen Moody

Re: The American Senator: A New Zealander; Satiric Naif; AT's depiction of Americans

The idea of Trollope's New Zealander is that someone from another society comes to London and sees it with foreign fresh ideas. It has a long tradition of satire behind it: the naif sees more clearly than the corrupt. One thinks of the young boy in the Emperor's New Clothes, Swift's Gulliver, Goldsmith's Citizen of the World.

The name would seem to call attention to his foreignness deliberately. I suggest other satirical central devices of this kind are given funny names. Thank you to Teresa and Frazer for giving us a sense of the hunt. Reading about it is not the same as living it. So Trollope expects to know how exhilarating and vivid and enjoyable is a hunt.

On the other hand, many of Gotobed's criticism are precisely those I know Trollope shared. From his earliest Barsetshire books he is presenting examples of the appalling exploitation of curates. The tragic case is that of the Rev Mr Crawley. While Trollope sympathises with Mr Harding, he is exposing the corruption of a system of patronage which cares not at all whether people come to church, are succoured, whether its high-salaried people do their job conscientiously. Story after story exposes the abuse: The Claverings has Mr Saul, and like Crawley he is not a figure of fun.

Gotobed is making others uncomfortable and not helping the exploited and egregiously underpaid. I think we are supposed not to laugh merrily but feel that grimace on our faces as we read of Twentyman's mortification when his mother is accused of poisoning the foxes. She does own turkeys; foxes kill them. Often such speeches' as Gotobed's at table get nowhere in the immediate; progressives profess to believe things will get better in the long run if you protest in some way. Maybe there's a value in stirring things up.

I wonder also if another reason the Senator seems unreal is Trollope never became good at presenting Americans. He doesn't get inside them; they seem foreign to him. Generally speaking I don't find Trollope's Americans believable. Isabel Boncassen I've never met; she seems a storybook princess from a book. Her father is a barrage of political beliefs that are "not English." If The Portrait of a Lady had been written first, I'd say Trollope is copying James. It's vice versa. Caroline and her father in HKHWR are also to me unreal; shallow depictions from the outside. Since they are minor it doesn't matter; it matters in an eponymous hero.

Comments anyone?

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] The lady and the Fox

March 15, 1999

From: mmccarthy@oup.co.uk (Marcella McCarthy)

I'm about to sign off the group (sob!) but confess to have already raced my way through The American Senator (my excuse being that I have to give my copy back to the OUP library whence it came). It's even better than I remember it. The character of Arabella Trefoil is subtly drawn; she is no Lizzie Eustace, despite her scheming.

I was very interested to see how Trollope seems to be playing with caricature in the characterization of the senator, and yet gives him a lot of sympathetic lines--at least to our modern ears. At the end of the book he becomes even clearer about how he feels the senator may be wrong, but throughout there is an interesting respect for someone who finds so much to criticize in English customs. At one level Trollope can absolutely sympathise with someone not understanding why Foxhunting is a pleasureable sport, and he makes some play of the apparent "uselessness" of this activity. Yes, of course he is saying that not all human activity is productive of immediate and obvious profit, but I think that he is also making a serious point about the gentry who find in such a sport their primary amusement. But if I enlarge on this I shall give things away, so I won't.

Some points: about the inheritance anomaly which Gene brings up. I understood this, on first reading, as meaning that although John's grandfather had died and he was the nominal owner of the property, that he did not actually have the rents in his own hands until he came of age (because of his grandmother's guardianship) and so did not really inherit until then. Looking at it again, it strikes me that it may be a problem in the syntax. It would be possible to read "had been an absentee since he came of age -- soon after which time he inherited the property" as meaning that "[John Morton] had been an absentee since he came of age--indeed that he had been an absentee since soon after the time that he had inherited the property". This slightly irregular use of syntax is not impossible in Trollope, and it does have the merit that it fits the facts of the case, in that it looks as though John Morton had never returned to Bragton while his great-aunt was living there. I think that Lady Ushant remained on the property because as the daughter of the late owner it would have been hard to evict her unless it could be proved that the property was needed for the real owner to live in--I believe that this sort of informal "life interest" was not uncommon, nor in a closer family would it have been remarkable. But I suspect that Lady Ushant would have been very scrupulous about supporting herself from her own income. I can't imagine the grandmother Morton letting that go.

I thought on first reading (again) that "put down" meant to be put in one's place--of course a lowly one, and imagined that my resonance of "killing" was a modernism Trollope didn't intend. I'm interested to discover that the sense of kill is present from a.1525, much earlier than I had thought, so perhaps there is a certain play on words here? Of course, the two senses are entangled, given that the first arose from knightly competition, when to be put down physically might also have meant to be killed.

Oh, and I asked about foxes and ferrets and one who knows told me that a ferret wouldn't tackle a fox, unless it was a cub, because a fox is bigger, stronger, and bites back. Ferrets are quite small creatures, albeit vicious fighters, and were (and still are, for all I know to the contrary) used for rabbitting. You block up the holes in a warren except for two. One, you net, the other you send a ferret through. You then wait for the rabbits to run into the net in an attempt to escape the ferret--assuming you blocked all the other exits.

The same source tells me that it is not considerd sporting at all to dig a fox out. The only people who did this were farmers who really wanted the fox dead, not hunters whose primary motive was sport. But then my source also admits that there are people who do it, though they are disapproved of by "serious hunters", so this may be subject to local variation. The expression "gone to earth" implies escape, albeit temporary, from the attentions of the hunters. Wasn't there a special bugle call that the huntsman used to indicate that the fox was gone to earth?

As regards the definition of a gentleman, the OED has it as "A man of gentle birth, or having the same heraldic status as those of gentle birth; properly, one who is entitled to bear arms, though not ranking among the nobility". I suppose that this is at the root of all those nouveau riche landowners and tradesmen in Trollope. A gentleman is something other--even poor Larry Twentyman, though a man of property, is not, and cannot, be a gentleman in this sense, though there is a strong implication that he can become almost one. Interesting that the woman he seeks is not an out-and-out gentlewoman, but rather one on the fringes--the attorney's daughter ennobled by her upbringing, and by the status of her dead mother.

Finally, Ellen notes about the hunting scenes:

There are many perspectives we can take on this hunting material. Let us keep them all in mind: the class and money faultline; the pastoral and exhilarating escape; the camaraderie; the violence; the bloodlust; the sex; and the metaphoric uses to which hunting lends itself.

This, as well as the other things she says (thank you, Ellen, as always a treat!) reminds me of the Middle English poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" where a series of hunting scenes are paralleled to a series of sexual temptation scenes. The final hunt, after the deer hunt and the boar hunt, is the fox hunt, and it is when Sir Bercilak catches the famously wily fox that his guest, sir Gawain, is caught in the lady's toils. I wonder is this the earliest example of a fox-hunt portrayed in literature as a noble sport, as an example of winter entertainment? And the lady as an early Arabella Trefoil? I wonder if Trollope read the Gawain-poet? (!)

Sorry to cram all this on one e-mail. I am going to find it hard to tear myself away from this discussion tomorrow.


March 18, 1999

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Dillsborough, Where Is It?

From: Gene Stratton

The question arose as to where was Dillsborough, with several possibilities suggested. I often read ahead when I get interested in a story, and doing so last night I came across clues that Trollope gives us in Chapter 27. Not to give away any of the action, I'll just mention that there was a train ride between Dillsborough and Cheltenham in two parts. The first part was 30 miles to Hinxton Junction, where there was a change of trains, and the second part was another 30 miles to Cheltenham. Since most trains do not travel as the crow flies, especially when there is a need to change trains, we might reasonably figure that Dillsborough is roughly 55 miles from Cheltenham.

Going west this distance from Cheltenham would take us to Wales, and it's doubtful that the story took place there. Going north would take us to the industrial area of the Midlands, so that too would be doubtful. The most likely areas would be in remote parts of Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, or Avon. Now if we could find out an approximate distance or time to get to London, we might nail it down.

It would be pleasant to think of Dillsborough being in Wiltshire, not far from Salisbury, which in effect would put it in good old Barsetshire country. But I think it was Sig who suggested that it would be in the hunt country which included Northamptonshire (I've lost all my computer files, so cannot check) and that would seem the best bet at present. If so, then Hinxton Junction could be Banbury. I was obviously wrong when I said it would be near Cheltenham -- in England 55 miles is a good distance.

Gene Stratton

My suspicion was always Northamptonshire, which I know slightly, and the distances suggested ( I haven't reached that chapter yet!) indicate that it could be. Towcester in the centre of that county, which would be twenty five or so miles from Banbury, sound likely: it is a very ordinary town, if very old, with (and here I am relying on memory) a rail link on the old Stratford on Avon and Midland Junction Railway. A little further away, Wellingborough might be a prototype, although this would perhaps have been more industrialised than clues so far in the book suggest.

But then, if anyone else wants to dig out dividers, Wiltshire is still a possibility, even if the countryside there is more attractive than that Trollope (so far) seems to bestow on Dillsborough.

in England 55 miles is a good distance.

In the England of the 1870s, it was a greater distance than some people travelled in a lifetime in a single journey! A rail journey of fifty or sixty miles would have been a costly and certainly memorable experience for them!

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Five Reviews and a Shocker; Charles Reade

From Gene Stratton

Donald Smalley's book of contemporary reviews of Trollope's works has a fair number of them on The American Senator. It is interesting, enlightening, and in one case puzzling to read these comments. Most of the reviews do not like the senator himself. "The Senator might be cut out of the book almost without affecting the story," wrote the Athenaeum. The Saturday Review called the book "Unquestionably pleasant reading, but we must own that we should have liked it quite as well if the part of the Senator had been left out." The Times said, "The Senator himself is an excrescence on the work to which he gives his name, and has nothing to do with the actual double story" -- still, the Times concluded, "altogether a perusal of the book leaves very pleasant impressions behind."

Does anyone care for the senator? I guess it's the old story of each of us taking a stand from where we sit, or whose ox is being gored. Across the Atlantic, the Nation (New York) stated that the part played by the senator is the most elaborately written, and, fair or unfair in its satire, the most plesant to read." However, see below for more from the Nation

In spite of some English reviewers' liking the book, the overall impression is not high. The Examiner wrote, "Mr. Trollope has not yet recovered from the attack of misanthropy from which he suffered when he wrote The Way We Live Now. He seems still to keep a special inkstand supplied with gall when describing fashionable society.'"

The Spectator had this to say, "Trollope rarely writes a bad book, and almost as rarely now writes one which may be called distinctly good."

There is much more to be said in these reviews concerning the two "love" stories, and they are generally accepted as worth reading about in the light of the above comments, but I won't ramble on here about them. Smalley's book, for anyone not acquainted with it, is a worthy addition to the Trollope student's library.

But going back to the American periodical, Nation, here is the shocker: "The style of these chapters strongly confirms the hint which has reached us from England that Mr. Trollope is beginning to 'let out' portions of his novels to less renowned assistants." !!!!!

This is a case where Ginger (the more advanced Trollope student in the family)and I are decidedly from Missouri. We've never heard elsewhere of the slightest hint that Trollope did not write every word of his works. We're naturally curious as to whether anyone else has. I suppose every successful writer, especially one known for a multitude of published books, will generate the jealousy of one or more contemporaries (or even of some writers in the future who search for and/or invent anything sensational which they can publish to give a splash of publicity to their own lesser names). So I don't necessarily doubt that the Nation might have heard something to this effect. But as to any truth in it, it is most difficult even to entertain the idea that Trollope as he aged might have used other writers to do anonymously part of his work, all the more so in consideration of the astounding number of scholarly books which have investigated and minutely examined this prolific writers's total output.

Of peripheral interst, Ginger reminds me of the "Shilly-Shally" incident. Around 1872 (just a few years before Trollope wrote The American Senator) when Trollope was in Australia, Charles Reade based his play Shilly-Shally on Trollope's book, Ralph the Heir, and credited the authorship jointly to Trollope and himself. When Trollope eventually found out, he was furious, and much acrimony ensued between the two Garrick Club members and erstwhile friends. In a letter to George Smith, Trollope wrote, "I cannot understand how any author can act in such a way." And in his Autobiography (written after The American Senator) Trollope said, "Of all the writers of my day (Reade) has seemed to me to understand literary honesty the least." Trollope's skill might have been falling off with age and disillusionment, and his Autobiography might have been something less than candid, but we think his literary honesty, in the sense that we generally understand, remained unimpaired.

Gene Stratton

Re: The American Senator: Mostly on Trollope's Reputation, the Senator, and Trollope's Americans

Thank you Gene for the comments from the reviews. There are some interesting critical essays in our time on The American Senator too. Sig might like to know that his old friend, Ruth ap Roberts takes something of my view of Gotobed; that is, that he is a kind of satirical device. I need to reread The New Zealander; I remembered the figure as something like Goldsmith's Citizen of the World or Montesquieu's Persian Citizen, at least in the opening chapters. Now I find the later ones do not have a satirical figure we are partly to reject as naive; they are rather written by the wise ironical narrator of the novels.

A book that attracts attention is probably intriguing. As Teresa commented (I believe it was Teresa), it is hard to tell where Trollope stands with respect to his Senator. The man is a boor, an oaf, not tactful, but the sentiments he spouts are similar to those of Trollope on clergyman's incomes. I too got the book Joan but have not had time to read it. I hope to before we finish this group read.

To the reviews: Trollope's reputation had begun to plunge towards the end of the 1870s. Bitter dark books have never gone over well with the public. The Way We Live Now was not liked; nor The Prime Minister. According to Halperin, The American Senator actually helped Trollope's reputation rise again; it sold well whatever the reviewers said. The Duke's Children (two books later) with its theme of reconciliation was liked.

On the shocker:

"The style of these chapters strongly confirms the hint which has reached us from England that Mr. Trollope is beginning to 'let out' portions of his novels to less renowned assistants." !!!!!

After a full year reading the major criticism of this and last century and all but one of the biographies, I have never heard this one. Of course my eyes may have strayed over some paragraph or glazed at some footnote, but no. What happened later in Trollope's life (not by The American Senator) was he began to dictate his books. Florence, his niece, was basically not allowed to make any comments or suggestions while she took his thoughts down. I am tempted to quote Fay Weldon on critics and reviewers: "They'll say anything you know."

The example of Trollope's response to Reade is appropriate. Trollope prided himself on his "honest workmanship." He was against anonymity, and took responsibility for everything in the books his publisher would let him take responsiblity for. I see the comment as a low dig, a sarcasm.

Finally, once again to Sig: I just don't get a sense that most of Trollope's Americans are people I know. I can't recognize the pair in HKHWR. Isabel Boncassen doesn't seem real; she's a character in a novel. I have amended this for Ophelia Gledd: she's real, she's Kate Field. Gotobed seems to me a caricature as yet. Of course this may be a class problem. I'm not from the American elite. But Howells' portrait of middling and upper class women are recognisable to me as American women. However, let's read on. I don't remember this book very well and should reread The New Zealander.

Cheers everyone,

Contact Ellen Moody.
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