Pretty pretty book and Trollope's obsessions; Almost An Angel of Light?; The Heroine's Name; The first six chapters of AA; Reginald Dosett; A Somewhat Sombre & Schematic Opening; What is Impoverishment?; Lucy's Self-Restraint; Quirky Perversities in Psychological Make-Up; Trollope and Austen; How Are We to React to the Swopping?

Gentle reader, the first and last of the postings on this document were written by me about a year and one half before the general group read.

To Trollope-l

September 2, 1999

Re: Ayala's Angel, Pretty pretty book and Trollope's obsessions

Well one of my many (too many) splurges on books on the Net came today: the Folio Society edition of Ayala's Angel. What a pretty pretty book. It's light aqua blue book on the cover, a darker aqua blue for the binding. Somehow these colours seem right. Last week's splurge on the Folio Society edition of John Caldigate presented me with a creamy-yellowy light brown cover, with a dark brown for the binding. John Caldigate is a grimmer, less gay, less dreamy and frivolous book. What's in a colour? Why associations.

In case anyone thinks I am extravagant, I bought but 2 out of 20 Folio Society editions for sale (at, as I said, $20 a piece).

I was interested to see the illustrations, and as with those by Francis Mosley for John Caldigate, it strikes me that Robert Geary has chosen different kinds of scenes to illustrate than we find in the original illustrations to Trollope's novels. Mosley had a number of scenes from the rough life in Australia; we had the shipboard romance, Mrs Smith, and another of the sea. The town to which John Caldigate returned was not prettied up: it looked like a 19th century darkish village. Precious little romance, and less dream or idyllicism. Not much humour either, but then that doesn't fit the book.

Robert Greary has a number of comic illustrations. Jonathan Stubbs is homely, and we get him all wet and covered with mud at one point. There are lots of scenes of London: the Dosett house, the Tringle, the little bijou in which the Dormer girls grew up, the park. All three girls (Lucy, Ayala, and Imogen) are very pretty. Yet it's not idyllic, more elegant. Shades of Tissot in engravings -- except I'm not one of those who think Tissot really captures the pictures Trollope had in mind -- he captures an elegance we like to attribute to Trollope's people. His characters are far sloppier, more awkward, and the ladies much fatter. Still I love Tissot's paintings, and these illustrations please, are charming. The final illustration shows us a nude male statue (with the leaf in the suitable place). The caption: '"Bacchus might just as well be broken up and carted away in the dust-cart"'.

And there are lots of illustrations in both books. If I were young, I would have read and reread these books just for the pictures. And probably outlined them in pen (which was what I liked to do with engravings when I was young).

As to Trollope's text -- his Ayala, I have progressed further. Donada Peters reads wonderfully well. She's perfect for this book. I do find what I would call one of Trollope's obsessions as an artist himself dominating the book. It is that one cannot give up everything for art; one cannot live in the dream world of art unless one makes money by it. All the talk about these painters is Trollope talking about writing novels too. In fact in one place he compares his mornings writing with Edgar Dormer's mornings among his fellow artists. Dormer had much rich talk, much art feeling, but maybe he didn't get a whole lot of painting done each morning; Trollope would enjoy talking to fellow novelists all morning, but the tally of pages would go down. Perhaps some readers -- especially at the time when the art for art's sake movement was taking off -- would find Trollope's incessant talk about money, about things, how Ayala has lovely things, and Lucy doesn't -- too materialistic, even at moments vulgar (as the 19th century would use the word). In this book Trollope shows a finer understanding of the motives of a Skimpole and produces an intelligent adult critique of why one doesn't, let alone can't live that way. Dormer talks of how he lives for art first, but then he sits down to expensive coffee and rolls and his daughters love to go to the theatre and take in novels from Mudie's as they do the air.

Comments anyone, on Ayala's Angel. How I am enjoying it -- despite the real and considerable grimness in the realistic portraiture of the straitened lives lived by the Dosetts, the ennui and lack of imagination in the lives of the Tringle (plush though everything is). Sir Thomas is happiest in Lombard Street -- how people don't like to admit where they are really happiest. There's his satisfaction because he likes to have and give things. Not to say that the Isadore Hamer's of the world are wrong. They provide what people like Sir Thomas spend so much to see and to own -- in the sense of intimations of beauty.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

January 12, 2001

Re: Almost An Angel of Light?

In the introduction to the Oxford edition, Julian Thompson tells us that Trollope had originally thought to call this novel, An Angel of Light. To my ears that's just about as bad as Is He Popenjoy? though in a different way. It is such a cloying fatuous phrase. I had never come across it before I read Orley Farm where there is a chapter so entitled, and a male so regarded by a naive super-sheltered working class young girl. Perhaps others can testify to where they have come across the phrase elsewhere? Has anyone ever heard it used? seriously? or ironically?

At any rate, I have this morning found another citation: in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice after Mr Wickham is exposed as a sordid, selfish, shallow man, a deadbeat, someone willing carelessly to run off for a liaison with the Bennets' youngest daughter (as why not have a little sex on the side if she's willing, nay eager?), we are told that when Wickham first came to Meryton he had been regarded as 'an angel of light' (Oxford 3:6, p. 294).

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

Re: Joining in on Ayala's Angel

January 12, 2001

This is to welcome Nigel to our group. I'm sure it'll work fine: we are a band of Trollopians and Victorianists who have very different kinds of jobs, backgrounds, and live across the globe. My father also liked Trollope very much. Maybe we should have a poll on how many of us had fathers who read Trollope. I know Margaret Drabble's father loved Trollope. Does anyone else have a parent who read Trollope before him or her?

It will be interesting to hear what Notting Hill looked like in the 1970s. Many of us are not native Londoners; some have probably visited it at most but a couple of times, if that, and maybe not for very long. Ayala is like the two Phineas books rooted in London life: in its streets, in the class atmosphere and symbolism of its different regions. These are important: the houses in the novels become something like symbols in a landscape. The 20th century illustrations of my Folio Society edition -- how I envy Lisa with all her Folio Society editions -- has many depictions of London.

I will be posting our first weekly calendar tomorrow. I look forward to this read. I'm in the mood for this book the way I was for Rachel Ray. As with Is He Popenjoy? I have only read it through on my own once before. I did once listen to it read aloud with sparkling wit and depths of emotion by Donada Peters. I can't recommend that unabridged audiocassette (Books-on-Tape) too highly.

I also once did a skim read (as I did with Is He Popenjoy?) reading just the letters, both dropped in and interwoven. One link between The American Senator and Ayala has been mentioned: a number of the characters from the earlier novel re-appear, and we hear of the landscape of Dillsborough. Another link is a genuinely interesting frequent use of letters. Is He Popenjoy? used letters at a couple of key moments; it was letter which informed Lady George of Lord George Germaine's affair with Adelaide; the novel ended with an ironically juxtaposed series of letters with us overhearing Mary's response to these. However, these are not uncommon uses of letters in Trollope's novels, and Is He Popenjoy? is not remarkable for letters. The American Senator and Ayala are more individual; some of the letter texts themselves very striking.

Anyway this is not a novel I know all that well so I look forward to a voyage of discovery through reading slowly and talking (or, to be more accurate, writing to one another in conversational-style) about what we read.

Cheers to all
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

January 12, 2001

Re: Joining in on Ayala's Angel and What Our Parents Read

[I wrote this in response to a resentful posting] My father loved to read, and read good books. Perhaps his taste for 19th century novels was not common (he is dead so I talk in the past), but as far as I could tell when growing up it was not uncommon. As I wrote in the introduction to my book, one of the walls in the NYC apartments I grew up in was always covered with a bookcase about 1/2 of which was filled with old-fashioned sets of Victorian novelists. These were not aimed at scholars; they were for ordinary common readers. Inexpensively, though uniformly covered, they tended to avoid the more 'controversial' (sexy, adult, complicated) Victorian novels: Silas Marner, not Daniel Deronda. They tended to include lots of adventures and history novels: each set always had a volume of Robert Louis Stevenson, and we had three copies of The Cloister and the Hearth. The 1930s were 'do-gooding' years, and such sets went along with the progressive politics and aspirations of the era.

We talked about this on VictorianFiction (another egroup list) and there too I said that reading in my family was not regarded as daft: it was a 'good sign'. It signalled that perhaps you would grow up to go to college and make money. Intelligence was also valued for its own sake. Most of my aunts (or uncles -- I don't know who was responsible for this) belonged to Book of the Month Clubs. Middlebrow interesting books. One uncle was a great fan of the History Book of the Month Club (that wasn't its name, but that was the purview). My mother always belonged to a Book of the Month Club; however, I do recall that when I was young the 'free' book was often a set of so-called 'classics', be it history or earlier thick novels.

This is not quite on this thread but I can't help but remark in response to something Jill Spriggs and I talked about off-list recently. She talked about the kinds of books assigned in English departments in colleges nowadays: cultural studies kind of books, theoretical, pc, women's studies. My mother takes courses at night in Queens College (she lives in NYC). -- an adult studies program, for entertainment and in order to meet people. She also likes to volunteer in community theatre. She told me that nowadays in her courses at most she gets 2 or 3 'reading' books in a course. There will be the theoretical book, the sociological book (on whatever era or theme of the course it is), the books of 'approaches' and then maybe one novel, one play, and a book of poems. Most of the term she's not reading what we used to call literature. I have met people with Ph.Ds in the humanities or literature who tell me they don't like to read. No wonder.

I did say my younger daughter read Ayala's Angel last summer when she was 15 and loved it. I sometimes see her taking it down from the shelf to reread bits. Its brightness appealed -- probably the romances in it too.

Trollope is not a 'household word' or name in the US. If you say "Jane Austen" many US people will recognise the name as that of an early novelist, even if they've not read any of her novels and have no idea what they are about. I notice 'Trollope' doesn't get the same response. Where I teach, some of my colleagues 'confess' to reading Trollope: his stock is going up, but he's still not an 'in' author except among Victorianists (where he is beginning to be more and more respected). Now in England when my husband and I passed through the passport desks when I was going to the Trollope Society to give my "Partly Told in Letters" lecture, and the English official asked me what I was doing in England, and I said I was giving a lecture on Trollope, he did recognise the name. He responded with a look of recognition and the title Barchester Towers. And he smiled. He was not an intellectual.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] new to group I

'm fairly new to the Internet, and as I have Ellen's book (from the Trollope Society), one of the first things I did was join your group. Now I look forward each day to reading Trollopian messages. It is so nice to be in touch with people who have similar interests - as someone said earlier today, it's not always easy in life to meet such friends!

Ayala's Angel - another comment on her name -- how do you pronounce it? With the first A as in hay and the second a long a, as in ha!? Also, where did he get the name from? It seems very unusual to me; he certainly made up a lot of names, some of them, as I think Victoria Glendinning says, rather silly. Dickens did the same.

I haven't read Ayala's Angel before and am enjoying it very much, especially Ayala's character - e.g. the scene when she orders Augusta to go upstairs and fetch something for her. Also the depiction of the somewhat impoverished middle classes is interesting.

One thing that I feel comes across strongly so far in the book is Anthony's own voice - almost literally, you can just about hear him speaking; I love the passage in chapter IV about the raging lions. What a lovely man he was!

Cheers
Elizabeth

Date: 11 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: The Heroine's Name

Elizabeth wrote:

Ayala's Angel -- a comment on her name -- how do you pronounce it?'

'As the only edition of the book I was able to obtain is the Books on Tape recording read by Donada Peters, I can answer this one:

eye-ah-la, with the stress on the second syllable.'

Kathy

Just to say welcome to Elizabeth. The narrator certainly does feel like he is Anthony Trollope. The particularity -- or strict realism -- of the description of the places in London adds to this, don't you think?

Ellen

Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] The first six chapters of AA.

To me the great interest in novels is the characters. By the end of Chapter VI of AA we have met the two sisters and the people who surround them. We immediately see superficial similarities with the Dashwood sisters in Sense and Sensibility. That is, one is a romantic dreamer while the other is practical. But Austen surrounds her girls with Austen characters such as Mrs. Jennings who chats in the manner of Miss Bates and the wicked Willoughby who is not unlike Wickham. It interests me that both Austen and Trollope are realists, yet both of them invent heroines such as Ayala and Marianne who are anything but realistic. Of course both are writing a story in which the romantic heroine gets her comeuppance. Both writers are telling us that things are seldom what they seem. Austen does this in just about every novel. Here Trollope, however, is departing from Trollope's usual ways to give us a persistently romantic heroine. This direction by Trollope eventually leads, I think, to a weakness in the novel. But we can talk about that later.

Sig

Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] The first six chapters of AA.

Hello all

Sig mentioned the similarities between the sisters in Ayala's Angel and the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility. I was also reminded of the plot of Mansfield Park, with one sister being chosen fairly arbitrarily to go and live with the rich relations - although the romantic and immature Ayala is nothing like quiet, self-effacing Fanny. There are probably more similarities between Fanny and Lucy. There are also shades of Mansfield Park in the way in which one relative kindly volunteers another to take in one of the daughters, though here it is the rich Tringles who decide that the relatively poor Dosetts can afford to provide for Lucy, whereas in MP it is "poor" Aunt Norris who lumbers the rich Bertrams.

Unlike spiteful Aunt Norris, Aunt Dosett seems to mean well - but she has a similarly depressing effect on poor Lucy, lecturing her about how she shouldn't envy others their good fortune, and trying to force her to spend all day doing needlework, like George's dreaded sisters in Is He Popenjoy? Interesting that Lucy is a keen reader and trying to concentrate on Idylls of the King when she is treated to a little pep talk about how she should really be hemming sheets rather than wasting her time on literature and art - which are the things she has been taught to value by her parents. However, part of the strength of this whole passage is the way in which Trollope sees both the aunt and niece's points of view. We can understand why Lucy is bitter about her lot - but, equally, we can see why the aunt, struggling to cope with another member of the household and all the extra expense, feels resentful at the lack of gratitude.

I'm really enjoying this book so far.

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: Re: [trollope-l] The first six chapters of AA.

Judy wrote about similarities between Ayala's Angel and Mansfield Park, with one daughter adopted into a wealthy family. This is probably stating the obvious, but I'm irresistibly reminded of the Austen family: I've often wondered how Edward's brothers and sisters really felt about his adoption by the Knights.

I'm really enjoying the book too, and being a member of the group. Thanks for the welcome.

Yours
Elizabeth.

Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Reginald Dosett

Like Nigel, I am also puzzled by the Dosett money problems. We know that his income from his position at the Admiralty was £900 pa. In Framley Parsonage, written in 1859, Trollope writes about 'us second class gentry with our eight hundred a year - there or thereabouts', (FP Ch. XVII) with the implication that thus was an adequate, while not a large, income. At that stage Trollope was probably receiving less than that from the Post Office. We are not told the amount of money that Reginald owed, or whether he had to pay interest on that sum as well as the life assurance premium to ensure that the lender would be repaid. We also do not know whether he rented the house in Kingsbury Crescent, or owned it, but if he rented it his rent was likely to be of the order of £100 pa, so that after that and the assurance premium he would be left with £625, from which to pay the interest, the wages of their two servants (who accounted for the larger part of the meat bill), and the general costs of living for the family. They may have had to watch the pounds, but they were hardly pushed for the pennies. Comparing the Dosett finances with those of Mr. Crawley, whose income was £130 a year, and whose expenditure was probably in the region of £160, the Dosetts were very comfortably off.

Then what was Reginald's position at the Admiralty? He is described as a clerk, with brother clerks, but there is no indication that he carried out similar functions to those of Trollope, who was a surveyor in charge of a substantial area of England when he earned £900 pa, and who would certainly not have described himself as a 'clerk'.

We are told that Reginald always walked home, usually taking an hour and a quarter. Since the distance from Somerset House to Notting Hill through the parks is between four and five miles, this indicated brisk walking, which would particularly be needed if it was raining or snowing, and his umbrella 'was never violated by use'. The journey by what is now the Circle Line from Temple station to Notting Hill Gate could hardly have taken more than fifteen minutes, and his financial position must have been particularly bad if he was prepared to risk his 'decent apparel' and shoes for the pleasure of tramping across the parks in bad weather.

None of this is particularly important to the plot of AA, but does indicate that Trollope had probably not worked out the details credibly. If Reginald had been paid £350 or £400 pa, it would have all made more sense.

Incidentally, if Ayala and Lucy inherited the property in 'Kingsbury Crescent', as is likely, and their great-grandchildren still own it, it is probably now worth about £1m.!

Regards, Howard

To Trollope-l

January 16, 2001

Re: Ayala's Angel, Chs 1-6: A Somewhat Sombre & Schematic Opening (I)

This is not exactly sheerly "light, bright and sparkling," is it? Nor is there an overabundance of gaiety and romance in this book's opening chapters. In one of the essays in Christopher Herbert's Trollope and Comic Pleasure, Herbert opens with a summary of the first chapters of Ayala which it's hard to better:

"The world of this novel seems a densely realistic one, consisting as it does chiefly of a complex structure of family and socio-economic relationships . . . The mood [is] the reverse of gay effervescence . . . Egbert Dormer has died of grief after the death of his wife, and, thanks to his improvident ways, has left two daughters, Lucy and Ayala 'utterly penniless upon the world'. The story's first movement focuses on the painful adjustment that Lucy, the elder daughter, has to undergo when she's taken in by her improverished aunt and uncle, the Dosetts . . . this is a world of relentless material and psychological pressures . . .

I agree with Howard that the Dosetts may seem overdesperate for a pair of people on £900, even considering the unspecified debt he's paying off and the insurance to provide for his wife after he dies, but the point here is probably that they lack imagination: they are a fearful pair, over-prudent. If Mrs Dosett doesn't subscribe to Mudie's, it's partly that she never seems to have an ounce of dream or aspiration or interest beyond her daily desperate round. There are really people like this. Lucy's boredom is not just that she's with an older woman, but an older woman who has no interests in life, no inner life herself. They are deliberately contrasted to the Dormers who had an overabundance of daring, nerve, imagination about whom we can say there's a problem too: Trollope never gives us any sense of what the wonderful conversations were, what it was about art that so inspired the father, filled the minds and hearts of the people inside the house so that the luxuries became the outward manifestation of an inward joy de vivre. It leaves a curious vaccuum in the book: Henry James's Roderick Hudson gives the reader what the world of art was about concretely. The presentation of the Dormers is too frothy, finally thin, and it's no good saying Trollope didn't know about these things because he is portraying the Millais world he knew well, and he himself loved pictures, was, as N. John Hall says, something of a connoisseur.

One can say too that Trollope doesn't go sufficiently into the details of the fabulous wealth of the Tringles. They too are dull inside when it comes to anything beyond material luxuries, the round of social hierarchies. Trollope has fun mocking some of this: Mr Traffic with his speeches on Supply and Demand; Mr Tringle among his millions; Augusta, the woman who's marrying, and doesn't care what it is that she is marrying except he be rich and apparently admired by others (he's in the papers). It's all sketched in lightly -- perhaps again much froth with a vacuity at the center.

Sig has now twice suggested he has reservations about the novel. So do I, though I try to write in a spirit which will convey the experience of the book in sympathy with it.

Perhaps one problem with this opening is it is too schematic. The romantic heroine with her champagne name -- there is something too childlike about her. Thus far Lucy seems more believable: they are a kind of Elinor Dashwood (Lucy would be on this part of a dichotomy) and Marianne (=Ayala). I do find Lucy believable: the opposition is also between an older woman, worn down by life who doesn't seem to remember a young woman needs to meet young men, to be with people her own age, partly again because she lacks imagination. The moment with young Hamel in the park, her walks, her seeking him, are all touching. It's not in-depth; that's true. It lacks detailed nuance. Ayala one of Trollope's late novels (it comes much after Popenjoy; Caldigate is but one novel which comes inbetween them). In these late books Trollope doesn't go into details, but like Shakespeare in the late plays, refers to a characterisation rather than building it slowly; he uses allegorical resonances, and expects us to pick it all up quickly since we've gone over this kind of thing before. He's impatient: his strokes are broad, and he uses archetypes to get his meaning across.

On the other hand, it is thickly observed -- and many details are accurate and persuasive. The psychological perspective is that of the older man -- as it was in Is He Popenjoy?. At one point the narrator says to us, '"If it rained '64 Leoville' -- which I regard as the most divine of nectars -- I feel sure that I would never raise it to my lips" (Folio Society Ayala, Ch 5, p. 33). I also found myself recognizing types I've come across. The man who deprives himself of little pleasures, or metes them out so in such a niggardly fashion, they become a penance as while drinking he remembers he must only drink one ounce. There are such tight people. Mr Tringle is the man to whom money is so abundant that money is no longer the point, who is not very good in psychological relationships; they embarrass him. Ayala is a spoiled brat -- and will get her comeuppance. Augusta's behavior given her lack of talents and drive to have this husband is believable. The catty quarrel over who will tell who to fetch something reminds me of behavior I've seen in offices. Traffic's name is absurd, but the type of male is real enough. Poor Augusta. Thick-skinned, insenstive, and he'll work that insensitivity to his favor throughout. He's already started with it. The depiction of London, the houses, the park, is resonant, very picturesque. (My husband tells me that Notting Hill is in the year 2001 very expensive.)

There is also gaiety: it's in the tone of the narrator, the pizzazz of the style. He writes at a distance, summing it up as he goes along. The aphorisms are delightful, satiric yet accepting. There's a tongue-in-cheek quality to a number of the scenes and characters in the rich man's house. The dialogue is everywhere real, perfect. This is a man who can write naturalistic dialogue: "'Oh, Augusta, what a spiteful creature you are" (Ch 5, p.39), "I don't believe a bit of it" (Ch 6, p. 47), some of the sudden outbursts very funny in their unconscious self-revelation, "She is a viper" (ch 6, p. 47).

So I have reservations and there are problems in the book, but the opposition between life as lived by the imaginative and the dangers therein is well put.

Another facet of this opening sequence which will be developed is the indifference of the two sets of siblings (Mr Dosett and Emmeline Lady Tringle) and their whole families to these two orphans. The girls are simply not people to them. Each character in the book lives in his or her own egoistic universe -- only Lucy shows any ability to look outside herself. While Trollope does what he can to show that the two sets of new parents mean well, they only mean well within limits. Why not let the two girls be together? I am not being super- sentimental and 20th century here, for this was brought up by the reviewers at the time. I can't find the referenced article now, but remember it. People dying young and leaving their children to their relatives was a common happening in this period. What difference would it make to the millions were Lucy to be put into the Tringle family? Trollope makes it clear Emmeline gets to choose not because she has a good heart and perceptive mind, but because she's the rich man's wife. And she chooses based on which girl appears to her the prettiest ornament for her house. He also makes it clear that the girls are there on sufferance. It's told with great verve so we don't feel the coldness and injustice of it, but I recall reviewers at the time thought that this was one of Trollope's more serious points.

However, it's early days as yet. Tom Tringle has yet to appear fully before us. We have yet to see the "angel" of the book who is one of my favorite of Trollope's younger males.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

: Re: Ayala's Angel, Chs 1-6: A Somewhat Sombre & Schematic Opening (II)

Thinking about my last paragraph on the separation of the sisters and swapping, the answer would be, If Trollope didn't separate them, and create characters who would so behave as to swap them, there wouldn't be any novel. It's the hinge upon which the novel is built. This is artificial. Thus Sig's point is made again. Trollope is doing what he needs to do to provide a story for yet another cast of characters and an accompanying set of themes and landscapes.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

January 12, 2001

Re: Ayala's Angel, Chs 1-6: What is Impoverishment?

We have had a few more fascinating and moving autobiographies. Perhaps we can turn this thread back into the novel at hand: one theme in this book just happens to be (this is pure serendipity) an opposition between the world of the imagination, personal individual fulfillment and enrichment through that, and the terrible demands of everyday life, terrible as they are predicated on money and shaped by the egos, pride, vanities of other people. One reason for the pleasantness of the book is probably that those who have lived lives of desperation, fearful, driven, finding just an hour or so day's walk in a lovely park as solace are not angry nor resentful of the deep pleasures those who have taken a chance have known. The Dosetts do not take out on Lucy what her parents were; they do not jeer at her, they do not try to crush her spirit through references to what her parents had -- and the Dosetts have given up, though it does seem to be true that Mrs Dosett has nothing in her but daily occupations. She seems never to have been developed to have any interests at all: this is true of many Trollope heroines, and though it may be a result of the nature of these love plots which show women only as they are trying to marry, I can name numbers of novels where the women are given genuine interests in life beyond the mundane getting through. At any rate, the Dosetts do not resent the pleasures of others; they are not threatened by them. Yet Dosett is a man beaten down by life. He is a kind soul because of his silence. I am always aware of how important silences are in books.

The same goes for the Tringles, especially the males. The women do not after all reproach Ayala for the pleasures she once had -- on the basis she didn't have a right to them, because, forsooth, she didn't earn them, and more to the point, her father didn't make 'ends meet. Most of the time, the Tringles are not petty; they are not small; they are not mean except when Ayala tries to step on them -- and pettily, smally. Ayala is cruel to Augusta -- with a child's cruelty, as she doesn't begin to understand what we see motivating Augusta here.

This theme of pleasure, of what constitutes pleasure, and how it is crushed, destroyed, becomes a desperate matter of a gin and water rather than a single bottle of port is only begun here. The two heroines are teenagers, and it is through their eyes we are seeing the adults as yet. It is when the hero, the Marchesa, and the other characters who seems to have thought about such matters emerge on stage that we get a considered mature reconciliation between the deep needs of individuals and society's demands in the context of the egoism of human nature. The latter in these chapter is dramatised in the clashes between Emmeline, Lady Tringle and Augusta with Ayala: they are jealous of her looks, of how other people want her around as an ornament. We will learn this valuing of other people as ornaments has its price. Augusta is, as the book develops her story, choosing a life of impoverishment not from the point of view of money, and not just from the point of view of human fullfillment but also from an understanding of what is integrity. Ayala as yet sees Tom as standing 'confirmed in full stupidity' (to use John Dryden's brilliant phrase for Shadwell in what was once a well-known satire), but as we shall see, 'stupidity' needs careful definition. It has little to do with passing IQ tests. Tom is not stupid; however, he does not carry any of the false outer accoutrements of glamour (which the Kensington bijou) had. The life of the imagination is not to be limited to the arts or who looks good in a luxurious suit. The stupid person of the book is Traffic -- and yet, irony of ironies, and true to life, like Mr Collins of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, he gets along; he remains on top, oblivious to others: his great strength: he is singularly unimpressed with other people's feelings. It is also his impoverishment, for he cannot move outside of himself even a little.

The book has resonances and relevances to our society I hadn't thought about since this thread. In previous attempts to create chat, I asked for people's -- listmembers -- favorite books. Now I mentioned fathers. It made a terrific difference I hadn't foreseen. I read and often repeat the idea that ours is a patriarchical society. Myself I don't quite feel since I don't much care deeply about things outside my mind; at least I cannot get excited about assertions about parents. One breaks away. In our book, Ayala's Angel we have a definite patriarchy and it is very strong. The men are in charge: Reginald Dosett shapes his wife's life; Thomas Tringle is the Big Man whom Emmeline doesn't cross -- as we shall see. What the men did, what money they made, what are their values circumscribe the women. Who they marry control the women's physical lives and possibilities. In this connection we have in our thread seen that the usual assertion about US society that money is the measure of people, that we tend to judge another by how much money he or she has made, how many luxurious goods he or she has (house, car, fancy gadgets in house like a computer -- books usually don't count here because most of the time they are not worth money) -- this measurement is in part a strongly defensive one. It doesn't tell the whole truth about how people really perceive the way they gain respect from others. Thomas Tringle is blithely above this: and this is his strength.

I never mentioned Alice Ellis Thomas's introduction to Ayala: she talks about just these issues: among other of her comments is how people take pleasure in their comforts because they know others don't have them. It's the comparison they love. As she then wisely adds: "This is not a sentiment which finds general approval today". Yes, few openly admit to this, at least not in print. But Tringles' rich family take pleasure in their riches because others don't have them. And poor Aunt Margaret wisely stays away from them.

But I am getting ahead of what we have in the book thus far. We have yet to meet and hear what Jonathan Stubbs has to say about all this, and it's worth watching where he lives, what his house is like, what he says to others and how he copes with his attraction to the deeply imaginative, to solitude, to relationships predicated on individual congeniality, and the society he finds himself in and the easily, desperately hurt people (young Tom), many of them trying to get on sheerly through money, holding onto it as a kind of talisman or celebrating themselves (the Marchesa) against it.

This thread has shown us what we have in this book is not merely fairy tale but, as always with Trollope, about us in our social relationships and in our solitude.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

January 15, 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] AA: Lucy's Self-restraint

Lucy and Ayala make a contrast with each other in the way in which each responds to adversity. Lucy is stoic. Although she is unhappy in her new life, she determines to say nothing of her unhappiness to Ayala. After an initial flare up with her aunt, she seems to settle down, for the time being anyway, to the hated -- the penetential -- needlework. Fate has dealt her a nasty blow, especially in comparison with her sister, and as a result she may be deprived of the chance to live the comfortable life she no doubt expected to live. Certainly her marriage prospects, given her new circumstances, were much poorer than before. Thus when she glimpses Isadore Hamel, her one possible suitor from the old days, in the Kensington Gardens, she must have every motivation to make herself known to him, but instead of hailing him she lets him slip away. Why? Later, when she finally does meet him, again in the Kensington Gardens, she is restrained from giving him more than a mumbled greeting. Why? She immediately resolves not to walk there again for fear it might appear that she was doing so with the hope of meeting him again. Such an appearance would be totally unacceptable. Why? Is she just observing the accepted social proprieties of the day or is she held back by some quirky perversity in her psychological make-up?

Ayala, of course, is a different story. Her circumstances are adverse in an entirely different way, but she doesnít let people or events roll over her. She speaks her mind quite clearly. She tells Augusta that she is a spiteful creature. She is completely unambiguous with Tom when he makes his amorous advances. She is not stoic at all. However, one senses that for all of her charm and attraction she lacks a certain insight. She flits around on the surface of things. She has no appreciation for Tom because she canít see beyond his Newfoundlandish appearance. Lucy by contrast is a person with insight and understanding, with an interior life.

Todd

To Trollope-l

January 15, 2001

Re: Ayala's Angel: Quirky Perversities in Psychological Make-Up

I'd opt for the last of Todd's explanations for Lucy's behavior in the park, and expand that into one of the themes of this book: given, especially in the love stories, the transparency, artifice and generalised nature (meaning the use of broad strokes and a tendency to allegorising or abstraction in their presentation) of the characters, Trollope has plenty of room to explore all sorts of side issues. The plots in this novel are like a clothes rope-line: onto them he hangs what is of interest. One thing that emerges for many of them is that they show quirky perversities in their psychological make-up. Some of are not all that funny: characters do things that make them miserable; they act self-destructively, against their own interest, in a kind of fear and jumping away from what they most wants; others are just incongruous. Why does Traffic go for that long walk with Ayala? We also see how much of human behavior is irrational.

The inference throughout is to break up the idea of normality. There is no such thing once you get beneath the surface of large social decisions and watch people.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Reginald Dosett

At 16:27 01\01\14, Howard Merkin wrote:

We are told that Reginald always walked home, usually taking an hour and a quarter. Since the distance from Somerset House to Notting Hill through the parks is between four and five miles, this indicated brisk walking, which would particularly be needed if it was raining or snowing, and his umbrella >was never violated by use'. The journey by what is now the Circle Line from Temple station to Notting Hill Gate could hardly have taken more than fifteen minutes, and his financial position must have been particularly bad if he was prepared to risk his 'decent apparel' and shoes for the pleasure of tramping across the parks in bad weather.

This is largely a repeat of a posting I made about last July, which is now relevant.

The names of many streets in the area have changed (see for a useful directory of "lost" London Streets.

At the date in question, Notting Hill station was the station we now know as Ladbroke Grove (see under date 1864-06-13). It was renamed from Notting Hill to Notting Hill & Ladbroke Grove some time in 1880, and is now known as Ladbroke Grove.

This station was on the Hammersmith and City Railway, which was later was taken over by the Metropolitan Railway. Because of some business bust-up, the Metropolitan & District company extended to the south, finishing the Circle line, leaving the Metropolitan company with egg on its face. A price war seems to have ensued, and each company attempted to keep its own customers within its own lines. It seems to be the case that passengers from Notting Hill (as it was then, Ladbroke Grove now) were routed to Farringdon Street, and then south to what is now Blackfriars Station by a regular train service; would Blackfriars have been called Temple in its original incarnation? If a man of limited income were going to Somerset House by the Circle Line, why would he not alight at Embankment and walk on, rather than go on to Temple and walk back?

There is no doubt that Reginald Dosett walked home - "a walk home along the Embankment and across the parks and Kensington Gardens", (Chap 2, beginning of third page) which took an hour and a quarter (Chap 4, last para). I think this is about right for the walk.

Rory O'Farrell

To Trollope-l

January 16, 2001

Re: Ayala's Angel: Trollope and Austen

In response to Judy & Sig,

This novel, like several others by Trollope, has resonances, archetypes, or a plot-design which recalls Austen's: here we can include Northanger Abbey (the older male mentor who is also a delightful, witty lover and the ingenu as naive but well-meaning young girl), Sense and Sensibility (the abstraction, the two opposed heroines), Mansfield Park (powerless estranged females placed in houses where the family has no real obligation to take or keep them in from the point of view of what their society regards as acceptable moral behavior). Other novels have parallels: the married Greshams in Dr Thorne have scenes which recall the married Bennets in Pride and Prejudice; arguments have repeatedly been made about the parallel between Lily Dale and Marianne Dashwood and Bell and Elinor in The Small House at Allington and S&S: in this novel we even have the mother living on an estate with a rather dense but well-meaning male relative.

I suppose some of this comes from the genre, the kinds of characters depicted, the similarity in background between Trollope and Austen. But some is more intriguing, especially when the language or types seem close enough to make us think he had Austen's texts in mind. We can then compare his use of the paradigm to hers and see how one text sheds light on the other. In his An Autobiography Trollope says that as artistry Pride and Prejudice is one of the best novels he knows; somewhere in his letters or literary criticism for magazines, he makes interesting comments on Emma, again on the artistry. Ayala does seem one of those books where the comparison is relevant. I would like to know how often Trollope uses this male mentor-female pupil paradigm (off-hand I can recall it in Orley Farm where it comes to no good); how many other Victorian novels used it and how. I have always wondered how conscious Trollope was of the similarity between Jonathan Stubbs and Henry Tilney: both NA and AA are about one heroine's superficial ideas about the imagination and romance.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

16 Jan 2001
From: beth mcmillan
To: trollope-l-owner@egroups.com
Thankyou for the help getting a copy of Ayala from OTA.

The opening chapters have a flavour of Joni Mitchell's Big yellow taxi and Lucy is regretting all she took for granted in her past life.Trollope again introduces characters in the quasi-genteel fringe dwelling mode of life.He seems to emphasise the dull monotonous grind of life, made more pointed by Ayala's meteoric rise to a better and more glamorous lifestyle.

Lucy definately appears to love her sister but recognises a superficial quality in her nature, as well as a natural ability to show her talents totheir best advantage. Lucy sees her own more reserved nature as a disadvantage.

Thu, 18 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel

Hello all

Just a quick line to say that I am loving "Ayala's Angel" so far and fear I may once again be tempted to read ahead - I do find it so hard to ration myself to the weekly chapters!

I now actually have the joy of reading a paper copy, thanks to my local library - I had feared it would be the abridged version that Ellen warned about, but when it turned up from their store-room it was a complete (if battered!) Oxford hardback from 1975, a reprint of their 1929 edition with an added introduction by Simon Raven. It looks to me as if only about one person a year has borrowed this from the library, which suggests that it isn't the most popular Trollope, but I really can't see why.

Thanks to Ellen for the discussion of the Austen echoes in this novel - I am certainly finding it very reminiscent of her work in many ways, reminding me especially of Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. Austen also had a huge influence on Gaskell, so it is interesting that many Trollope readers seem to enjoy Gaskell's work too. (I'm looking forward to North and South, I must add).

So far, Ayala appears to have a lovely lightness of touch and Trollope seems to be quite affectionate towards the characters compared to his rather harder edge in Is He Popenjoy? But I'm not very far into the novel yet so that could change.

I especially like the glimpses of Bohemian artistic life in Egbert Dormer's household - what a shame that the novel starts when this era is already over, so that we don't see it in more depth.

I also love the moment when Trollope almost invites us as readers into his study, commenting in Chapter Four:

"A novelist or two of a morning might perhaps aid me in my general pursuit, but would, I think, interfere with the actual tally of pages."

And we all know how close an eye he kept on that tally!

Cheers
Judy Geater

Re: Ayala's Angel.

I've always liked this book a lot. One of my favourite chapters in Trollope is the one in which Ayala complains to her aunt of Tom Tringle's unwelcome attentions. This seems to me beautifully written (and profoundly understood). We see the idea, the startling idea of exchanging the two sisters, steal into Emmeline Tringle's mind, and over it. We see her cautiously lay out the trap into which Ayala blithely blunders. This is AT at his best. There are many good things in this book, many of them centred on the Tringle household. But it is perhaps a little over long, and a ruthless sub editor would have cut it somewhat.

John Letts

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel

I've finally got my copy of Ayala's Angel and have had the pleasure of a. reading Trollope again since the Barchester marathon, and y. reading everyone's posts about the book. One of the nicest things about the list is the way that so many people want to talk about their reading.

I do very much agree with Ellen that the presentation of an artist's home was disappointing. I suppose Trollope could mean us to believe that he was not such a great artist, more interested in the artist life style, since that is what he tells us about most. The quite heavy irony of the conversations about art were the weakest part for me.

I do like books with two sisters. It is a great device for novelists and gives them a lot of scope. I thought not so much about Austen but more about Collins and No Name where there is also an impetuous and fiery sister and one who is more pragmatic.

Isn't it interesting to see the class differences between drinking gin and drinking port. It was tax that made that difference. No tax on gin and it could be sold in gin palaces for working people. Tax on wine and port made it something more exclusive for gentlemen.

Angela

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001
Reply-To: trollope-l@egroups.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel

I do very much agree with Ellen that the presentation of an artist's home was disappointing. I suppose Trollope could mean us to believe that he was not such a great artist, more interested in the artist life style, since that is what he tells us about most. The quite heavy irony of the conversations about art were the weakest part for me.

Well, I must say I liked his skimming over this, and, to me, it seems to fit far better than heavy emphasis on what it was like might have. Because, after all, we are looking at that lifestyle and household through the nostalgic eyes of two women who now find themselves in lifestyles they dislike. What they will remember about their former life will be only the positive things, so long as they are miserable. And, by painting their former life in merely broad strokes, we get to paint in the fine strokes and picture a place that *we* would like. It gives the reader more input.

Jean H

To Trollope-l

September 8, 1999

Re: Ayala's Angel: How Are We to React to the Swopping?

I have gotten further into this novel and have a few observations to throw out. If anyone would like to respond, I'd be grateful. I am puzzled. The novel brings out certain patterns one finds in Trollope's earlier books in ways that arouse my sense of alienation from the fiction -- or displacement, maybe because I'm a 20th century person, maybe because I am just having a hard time identifying in quite the way Trollope assumes I will.

The first puzzle comes from wondering whether Trollope meant his original readers to react negatively to the separation of the sisters. Again and again he returns to their loneliness for one another. Both the Dosetts and the Tringles take it as a matter of course that the girls shall be separated. But Sir Thomas has money for both, and even Reginald Dosett is not exactly broke. Trollope is using their separated states to show the reader the great and terrible power of money. Those who have it can control, quite literally, the placement of the two girls' bodies. Shall Lucy walk in the park alone or not? Shall the sister at the Tringles go over to the sister at the Dosetts? Lots of intangible obstacles and tangible ones too are simply put in their way without ever so much as imagining how much more meaningful their lives would be to them were they together. But what did he mean to convey to the 19th century reader who would have understood how common early deaths of parents, total lack of provision for children, and the inability of a genteel female to support herself might lead to orphans for the having -- and divvying up in a family. I have read again and again of how people would do this as a matter of course. Did Trollope mean to say to his readers at the time, Think again?

Then there's all this business about the perfect man. This continues to floor me. When I was growing up, I saw my parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and other married couples, and saw nothing near perfection in any of them. Nor in any of the people I ever met. Maybe this expectation is a result of high expectations for one's life? There seems some failure of the imagination here: Trollope gets away with it by killing off the Dormers before the story begins, but even if life was gay, the couple were real people. Augusta doesn't expect a perfect man. Off-list I talked with someone about how one could see the fantastic posings of Ayala as a function of her fear of sex. She doesn't imagine a real flesh-and-blood man and when one comes near, like some mouse, she jumps away.

Which gets me to my third sense of distance from this fiction. In previous discussions of novels on this list, we have debated Trollope's presentation of the right of a young man to persist in his attempts to woo a girl. Trollope's generation saw marriage as a way for a young woman to find roof, bread, and bed, and when a man offered to provide such things for life to a young woman, they felt he was offering her something very remarkable. He was taking responsibilities on for life. Sexually this translates into a young man's right to persist in what we might call pestering. I have seen it called a form of stalking on this and other lists. At the same time, Trollope shows a number of female characters have strong sexual distaste for someone and ought to be listened to by him -- for his own good. I am thinking of Mary Lowther and Harry Gilmore in The Vicar of Bullhampton.

Whatever may be someone's take on these situations, I have never seen the reality of this discussed on lists. I can quite understand how a man after he has married a woman, had sex with her for a long time, children too, is emotionally incapable of giving her up even if she wants to be separated. Also how any male who has had a sexual relationship with a woman might develop intense possessiveness and be so hurt at rejection as unable to accept it. Here would be initiating kernel situations which lead to a man stalking a woman who now refuses him and then into violence.

What I have never come across personally is the young man who persists before marriage or sex. Everyone I said no to simply went away :). Surely he must have said to himself, here is a woman with no taste at all. Nor have I ever had a girlfriend who had this problem. I have a hard time believing a man would not have some pride. Ayala calls Tom a lout. That is a crude ugly word. Lout. At least Mary Lowther was polite to Harry Gilmore, let him down gently even if determinedly (until bullied into doing otherwise by her intervenist busy-body and self-interested 'friend' Janet Fenwick). In Orley Farm I don't remember Madeline Staveley coming into much contact with her persistent suitor, young Peregrine. Lily likes Johnny Eames, and, were it not for her finding out about Madelina Desmoulins, might just have yielded to him in The Last Chronicle. Plus he walks away too. He has other women (and were it a 20th century novel that verb would be a concrete one). I have probably felt this disbelief in these situations before but never so strongly. How do others respond to this notion that people persist even after being rejected? and persist and persist? even after being insulted.

Ellen Moody


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