Thick-Skinned People and Ayala's Angel; Fox Hunting; A Hunt Saboteur; A Personal Materialistic Idyll; Allegory and Realism; More on Mrs. Dosett; Art in Ayala; Trollope's attitude towards artists; Ayala's Angel and Hard Times; Condescension, Art, & the Personal & Social in Trollope and Dickens; Ayala as Kate Field; A Playground for the Imagination; Victorian against hunting; Hunting Scenes in Trollope; Hunting Scenes in Trollope: Different Frames for the Issue; Hunting: Controversies in Trollope's Day Connected to Our Own; Ayala and Stubbs on the Train; The Meaning of Wet; Pronouncing Ayala; Ayala's Angel as a Favorite Novel; A Hero with Red Hair; Sex, Romance and Money; Ayala, Scott's Waverley and Proust; Five Days and Nights in West Sussex; Fox-hall

Re: Thick Skinned People and Ayala's Angel: From Catherine Crean:

Here is a passage from Ayala's Angel about the power of thick skinned people. It is from Chapter XX, page 187 of the Oxford World's Classics edition. Colonel Stubbs is talking to Isador Hamel about The Honorable Septimus Traffick, who is free loading and leeching off his father-in-law. The passage starts with Hamel speaking:

"'If you could snub that Mr.. Traffick, who is of all men the most atrocious.'

'The power doesn't exist,' said the Colonel, 'which could snub the Honourable Septimus. That man is possessed of a strength which I thoroughly envy, - which is perhaps more enviable than any other gift the gods can give. Words cannot penetrate that skin of his. Satire flows off him like water from a duck. Ridicule does not touch him. The fellest abuse does not succeed in afflicting the slightest wound. He has learnt the great secret that a man cannot be cut who will not be cut. As it is worth no man's while to protract an enmity with such a one as he, he suffers from no prolonged enmities. He walks unassailable by any darts, and is, I should say, the happiest man in London."'

Is not Trollope a wonderful tonic for any time and mood!


Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Fox hunting

Angela wrote about the fox-hunting scenes in this novel:

I have just completed reading the passages where Ayala takes part in a fox hunt together with a lot of familiar Trollope characters from other books. (Are they from Orley Farm and The American Senator?)

Ellen has been putting forward scholarly criticisms of this particular novel which I have been reading with interest, together with the replies. My criticism is just personal, as I find these fox hunting scenes very very hard to take. We see the fox tossed in the air by the hounds, probably not even dead at that point, we learn its access to its earths have been blocked and we are not expected to wince at all. In other hunting passages in Trollope's novels that I have read, we have been spared this information and the riding has been the most exhilarating part. This is what Ayala likes and hers is the only voice lamenting the fox. (Not that we are to think this counts for much as a comment on hunting, only on her youth and inexperience).

I appreciate this is Victorian England and Trollope was admired for his hunting descriptions but my modern sensibilities came between me and the page in this last section. I am very much hoping there will not be any similar scenes ahead. Angela

I was also quoting The American Senator. One could read the bringing in of this group of characters as a part of this "book-making" aspect of the novel. Trollope reaches for some ready-made material that still seems to him fresh. You could see this book as taking the exhilarating mood in the hunting scenes of the earlier book over; however, in the earlier book the hunting scenes formed part of a critique of the community's attitude towards law and class. Not so here.

I read a couple of weeks ago -- or perhaps yet longer -- that in England there was a vote in Commons in which a bill was passed that would have outlawed fox-hunting. I had meant to type out the details as they appeared in the Washington Post, but never found the time. The sense of the story was that the bill would be shot down in the House of Lords (though I gather the nature of that body of people has changed since Blair, and again though I have a general idea of what happened I'm not sure what the state of that game is at this point). At any rate the way in which it was presented by the Post was that the issue was a litmus test for class attitudes as much as anything else.

Such a scene in a novel becomes a way for 20th century readers to identify Trollope as a Tory type. This is one of those issues where illustrations have a lesson to teach us. Among nearly 500 original illustrations (done in Trollope's day) which I studied for my book precisely 4 were about hunting. The twentieth-century illustrations I have been looking at since we were about the middle of the Barsetshire read have many many such illustrations. For the Victorian reader such scenes were not loaded with nostalgia or celebration for rural values, were not "hot" with class and money and pastoral or (conversely) pro-violence implications. They had no such encoded values -- or if they did, they were not hot spots for the English reader. They were for many Irish readers -- as we can see from the anger towards hunting on the part of the angry tenant classes in The Landleaguers (they boycott it, prevent it by putting themselves in great crowds in the way). But not the crowd who bought books at Mudie's and elsewhere.

There is a very very violent depiction of tearing the fox apart at the close of a hunt in one of Trollope's short stories. I will see if I can find it this weekend

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Fox hunting

Another response in sympathy with Angela's comment: my husband has just repeated a tongue-in-cheek quip he often utters when the topic of hunting comes up: hunting is "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible" :)

For those new to the list my husband is English, brought up in Southampton, went to English schools; he first came to live in the US permanently in his mid-twenties.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001
Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Fox hunting

I've just finished reading some grand scenes in Daniel Deronda where Gwendoline is delightfully exhilerated by the exercise of the hunt. Thank goodness no mention at all of what the poor fox is going through. I almost forgot the reason for the hunt.


Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Fox hunting

Indeed yes, Nigel. The novel Joan refers to -- and so many others, including our last Is He Popenjoy?, there is a strong link between women's sexuality and hunting in novels of the 19th century.

I knew my husband was remembering the quotation from somewhere :)

Cheers to all, Ellen who has never ridden a horse and never held a real gun

Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: A Hunt Saboteur

This is meant in fun. I have just read the hunting scenes in Ayala which are pure pastoral.

My husband tells me that The Telegraph reported that a "hunt saboteur" attempted to save a fox from the violence of the foxhounds and their human masters. The East Devon Hunt was in full swing, closing in, and said "saboteur" wrested the fox from the pack. Alas and alack, the fox bit his hand (ingrate!), and the saboteur was taken to a nearby hospital.

A member of the Countryside Alliance had this consolation to offer: "You have got to hand it to him because it is supremely difficult to get into a position where you can pick up a fox at all".


Re: Ayala's Angel, Chs 19-24: A Personal Materialistic Idyll

Here I am to throw out a few provocative thoughts. I ask everyone to look upon what I am going to write as not what I necessarily think is true of the book, but what could by an unsympathetic critic be said.

First, there is a problem for an older person reading this. I have said that my younger daughter read this book 2 summers ago when she was 15. She delighted in it. I didn't say she reread it this past fall (now 16). I gather she enters into Ayala's case with no sense of irony at all. For her these scenes at Stalham where the girls are told what to do and obey, Ayala's great education in realising that other people actually live differently from those she has abided with are striking and relevant. The phrase "angel of light" probably had little meaning for her until she read the book, and she wouldn't use it outside the book. Still that she longs for her version of a romantic male is indisputable. But for an older reader like myself -- or someone else beyond 45 let's say, there is a vein of condescension towards not only Ayala but just about everyone in the book but Tom Tingle and the Dosetts which is hard to take. Trollope patronizes his characters. In doing so, he patronizes the reader because he expects us to look in this more than jaundiced way towards some of them too.

To put it roughly, there is a sneer going on here which is hard to take. One could argue that the reason we have so little art talk is Trollope is too busy sneering at the artists in the book (Hamels, Dormers) as well as at the philistines (Traffic, some of the Tringles, Dosetts) to take the trouble to detail their inner lives. I have never liked reading a sneer.

And the man just never stops talking about material things. He cannot mention a moment of any one of his character's existence without wondering how he or she will get the proper hat to go with which to go through it, a proper riding outfit. He looks at the food on their plates and calculates how much it cost.

Now before anyone on this list gets excited at me, remember I may not be thinking this, I just throw the idea out as something someone unsympathetic to Trollope could be thinking.

Now we might answer this person, but, Sir, remember Trollope's Autobiography. Remember how he presented himself as the ultimate worldly success (when of course Sutherland shows he was not by the time he was writing the book), how necessary it was to him to turn his obsessive retreat into books, into writing, continual hallucinations when he went out walking into the wood into sheets of credit and debit. Real novelists who thought about such things realised he had to be exaggerating about his procedure and talking this way for effect (Oliphant among them). But Trollope couldn't come to terms with himself,a and what's more resented the new "art for art's sake" movement because such people looked down on him.

After all, should not we give this poor man some slack? After his son published this Autobiography, his reputation plunged with all groups of readers. (How readers just love to condescend. What we see in Trollope's biography is the discomfort many people feel when faced with the extraordinary: they must cut it down to their size, must find in it some payment, some absurdity.) Here he is justifying himself in terms his popular readership might like and they didn't even buy Ayala. He also did not put into his book the realities of artist's lives. We all know from the extant many memoirs how most of them lived with women outside marriage, that many such women lived far more interesting lives (especially when they were artists too) than any Mrs Dosett or Lady Tringle, or come to that, Lady Rufford. None of these sorts of real people show up. The only characters who make the plotline are those who fit the myth of women's perpetual chastity and obedience. No Kate Fields here. And Trollope loved Kate Fields.

Our hostile critic would say, well I understand. But that doesn't make the book any more adult or satisfying. It is hollow at the center, a false picture meant for nubile impressionistic 16 year old girls who have led very sheltered lives. It reinforces the prejudices instilled in them which unless a Jonathan Stubb or Isadore Hamel comes along will prevent them from living interesting lives.

We can of course turn away and say, but are not these hunting scenes lovely. Fresh, full of a lovely sense of the countryside. How about the conversation of Stubbs, his house, the wit and sarcasm of his letter to that most philistine of women, the Marchesa Baldini who seems to be Mrs Mountebank in pseudo-Italian guise. Why cavil at what you've not got?

Also does not Trollope do justice to the girls' imprisonment, to how necessary it is to have deep pleasure in existence, and deep pleasure is rooted in the flesh?

All true. But does he have to put in Stubbs's mouth his own preference for tidy women? At what level of pressure is he writing? What is he writing for? To write? And what is his attitude towards his presumed audience? Identification? or condescension, and not only to the young girl reading the book. Who is Stubbs? Him. In Tom Tringle we have a caricature of the tender inadequate inner man, fearful of the sexuality demanded of him; in Stubbs his dream figure of how he would like to have been seen. If so, why give us this Ayala? Why not the real woman of his dreams? or life? In the next chapter Ayala tells Stubbs, "you are not he?" Did Kate tell Trollope something of the same nature? Was this as close as Mr Trollope dared get?

To which our faithful Trollope lover might reply. Perhaps this is the mellowed memory of such a moment, and comes out of a careless rehearsal in warm disillusionment, not quite gay, but pretending to be, gay enough, a book thrown off with his hands tied behind his back (as he has left out most of the realities of artist's lives), the sort of thing a Mallarme might have written -- were he ever to have considered writing a novel - instead of the famous line, Ah, flesh is weak and sad, and I have read all the books ... ? Stubbs lives in the most romantic of spots, well in out of the way of everyone ... with Ayala down the mountain from him.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Allegory and realism

Thanks, everyone, for an excellent batch of responses to my post. In response to Ellen ( "One way of reading need not preclude the other, and they can go on at the same time, sort of subliminally.") -this is the point that I had hoped I was making, but maybe not quite successfully. Thank you for pointing out Eco's book; I'll look for it. It sounds fascinating. Theresa's remarks are well taken, especially as I just watched the second installment of The Pallisers, that is, Trollope's characters as interpreted by actors, and showing us things about them that aren't specifically in Trollope, but at the same time aren't not in Trollope. (Of course, it has been a long time since I read Can You Forgive Her, so there may be elements of the production that aren't true to the spirit of the book. I can't say).

Discussing the concept of caricature vs. realism in an earlier post, I could also have mentioned my impressions of my first trip to London nearly 30 years ago. I was deep in a reading of all of Dickens (chronologically from Boz to Drood) and my first impulse was to head for the City and the East End and just walk the streets (this was before so much of the area was pulled down and modernized). I remember seeing local people on the streets that could easily been taken for Phil Squod or or any of the other characters that seem to us to be such exaggerations. The experience cast these characters in a new light. Thereafter it was much easier to see Dickens's caricatures as real people. (Well, maybe Esther Summerson is a little hard to believe.)

Getting back to Ayala, I'm interested to see how Aunt Dosett develops in the rest of the novel. We've already seen how she has shown glimpses of a human side that weren't at first evident, first when she softens at Lucy's protests of being taken away to the Tringles, and then when she tries, after her own lights, to be kinder to Ayala than she was to Lucy.

Wayne Gisslen

Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] AA -- More on Mrs. Dosett

Just when I said, only yesterday how much I liked Mrs. Dosett, I read Chapter 21 where she refused to let Ayala visit Albury. Maybe she was correct but I disagree with her. She stated that Ayala would enjoy that way of life with its luxuries and entertainments and it would make it harder for her to be content with the Dosetts. True, but it seems the damage in that respect has already been done by a prior visit--plus of course the time she spent with the Tringles. She should see the possibility of Ayala's meeting a prospective and acceptable suitor. Who is she going to meet at the Dosetts when it seems the only time she gets out of the house is to do the marketing? I don't dislike her because of her decision but feel she is being rather too narrow in her thinking.

Ah, then comes Chapter 22 and it appears she has been contemplating and wondering whether her decision was the correct one. She relents and allows the next visit. And one of the best parts is that when Ayala tries to apologize to her aunt for her recent moping and unhappy attitude, Mrs. Dosett seems to understand when she says there is no need to speak of it.


Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Art

As has been pointed out, there is almost no discussion of art in Ayala's Angel. One might contrast this with Thackeray's The Newcomes (1855), where there is quite a lot of artistic talk, both from the narrator and from some of the characters, mainly Clive Newcome. Reading this, I suggest that at the level used in The Newcomes such talk was outside Trollope's experience. Thackeray was an accomplished artist, and the concepts of execution and material he talks about would come fairly instinctively to him as an artist and writer; I suggest however that they would be foreign to Trollope and so would not expect him to discuss such esoteric artistic concepts. However, in common with the other posters on this subject, I am disappointed that he did not deal more with Lucien Hamel's artistic endeavours, which he could perhaps have done at the level of artistic philosophy as opposed to artistic execution.

George III's Court Painter was a Guillaume du Hamel, who exhibited a painting depicting the biblical scene of the writing on the wall at the Summer Royal Academy in (was it) 1765

Rory O'Farrell

Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala: More on Mrs. Dosett

I have been interested in the ongoing discussion of the character of Mrs. Dosett. She has some psychological depth, I think. We need to remember that she had expected to inherit money -- four or five hundred pounds a year -- upon the death of "an old gentleman." She and her husband had expected to have this money to supplement Mr. Dosett's salary of nine hundred pounds per year that he received as a clerk in the Admiralty. Ten years into their childless marriage -- in other words after a sufficient amount of time had passed for patterns of living and thinking to be well established -- the old gentleman died, but somehow his money had vanished. Mr. Dosett was stoic; he could take the blow and move on without complaint. Mrs. Dosett, however, was different.

"He could bear and say nothing; but she, in bearing, found herself compelled to say much. It had been her fault, -- the fault of people on her side, -- and she would fain have fed her husband with the full flowery potato while she ate only the rind. She told him, unnecessarily, over and over again, that she had ruined him by her marriage" (Oxford, pg 14).

In time she channeled this "groaning," this guilt, into the sewing of seams and the darning of linens, an activity which allowed her at one and the same time to punish herself and stretch the household income. Her great sin had been to give herself over excessively to her expectations. She had counted on them too much, had let them take possession of her soul. This is why she is so strong with the Dormer girls on the subject of expectations. From Mrs. Dosett's point of view it was no doubt a very bad idea for Lucy to sit reading Idylls of the King. By the same token, Ayala was setting herself up for a great disappointment by spending time in the company of wealthy people.

She is a twisted personality but she means well.


From Jill Spriggs

February 6, 2001: Trollope's attitude towards artists

Thinking of the artistic Dormers reminded me of the rather negative portrayals of Bertie Stanhope in Barchester Towers, and of Conway Dalrymple in The Last Chronicle. I wondered if Trollope considered artists to be useless types, parasites on society. I decided to check with my Trollope reference books; The Penguin Companion to Trollope, and The Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope. The Penguin reminded me of that disreputable Irish artist in "Mrs. General Talboys". The only favorably depicted artist seems to be Isadore Hamel, but he is more pragmatic in outlook than Lucy's father. The Oxford told me that Trollope was " ... all his life an avid museum goer and art lover." (Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope, ed. R.C. Terry, OUP 1999, p. 17) Trollope had the sentiments of the time, which were that art should be clear in its intentions, and carry a message. His tastes were nonadventurous, but how many of us can claim distinctive, revolutionary tastes?

Jill Spriggs

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Trollope's attitude towards artists

In response to Jill's interesting comments, we should probably remember that Trollope was an artist. He writes about the art of the novel as well as genuine literary criticism about poetry and novelists. He goes to art galleries and view paintings as serious objects. He also had so many artist friends -- as did his brother who surrounded himself with objets d'art in Italy.

He does seem to have felt that the art itself was justified not by the pleasure one took in it or its aesthetic patterning, but in its moral messages which depended on its being realistic. Others talked this way (e.g., Thackeray), but it's not clear all of them really believed this (George Eliot did though). And his brother's circle made him deeply uncomfortable. "Mrs General Talboys" has been said to be a description of what he saw while he visited his brother in Italy.

The "art" in Ayala seems to be visual art: painting and sculpture -- and pre-Raphaelites and the latest movements in the visual arts in Trollope's time when they weren't socialist (Morris) or idealist reformist (Ruskin whose books Trollope criticised), they increasingly went for the "art for art's sake" doctrine.

It has never been easy to make money as an artist. Even today the charge against Millais that he prostituted his talent is used to explain some of his work.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Art

I wonder why he doesn't show either of the girls actually involved in anything artistic themselves, other than Lucy's attempt to read poetry. Do they draw? Write poetry? Sing? Decorate purses or fireplace shades? He doesn't even have them doing the normal things that "accomplished" young ladies were supposed to do. There must be a piano at the Tringles', but neither of them seems to play it. Pat

Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Fox Hunting

I enjoyed Ellen's post about the "hunt saboteur," especially the last remark from a member of the Countryside Alliance: "You have got to hand it to him because it is supremely difficult to get into a position where you can pick up a fox at all".

It reminded me of an article I read by Theodore Roosevelt on fox hunting. It was a wonderful article. I forget if he had ever hunted in England, it is possible he did when he visited. At any rate he did quite a bit of hunting in the Eastern U.S. He talks of both live hunting and drag hunting and several remarks he makes bear up Trollope's observations in Ayala's Angel about the different types of hunters.

We meet the young married gentleman in AA who used to be a fierce and daring rider until he married and became a father at which point he became much more conservative in his riding. TR says the same things, that many riders become more cautious when they have family responsibilities.

TR also mentions two types of hunters, those that are out for the hunt, the kill itself, and those that are out for the exhilaration of a great horseback ride. We met both those types in AA, and probably in other of Trollope's novels. TR, for anyone interested was the latter type. He loved a good chase. He loved to be in at the end of the ride because, hopefully, it was an exciting ride, and I think he rather liked to beat the other riders in expertise, at least in his younger years. He never minded when the fox escaped, he just hoped he gave a good chase.


Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel and Hard Times

Hello all

Ellen wrote

But for an older reader like myself -- or someone else beyond 45 let's say, there is a vein of condescension towards not only Ayala but just about everyone in the book but Tom Tingle and the Dosetts which is hard to take. Trollope patronizes his characters. In doing so, he patronizes the reader because he expects us to look in this more than jaundiced way towards some of them too.

I find this very interesting and have been thinking it over, but I must say this jaundiced note didn't strike me quite so much. (Of course, this is only one of the possible reactions to Ayala's Angel suggested in Ellen's post.) I have also just read He Knew He Was Right, and, much as I admired this masterpiece, I did notice this sneering tone at times there, especially in the storyline about the two sisters vying for the attentions of the clergyman Mr Gibson.

But this isn't really my feeling about Ayala's Angel. To me, it seems as if Trollope enjoys the youth and idealism of Tom Tringle and Ayala very much, and, although he might poke fun at them, he does this very lightly, retaining sympathy with their feelings. As readers, we might giggle at Tom's array of tasteless jewellery and "suicidal" waistcoat, or at Ayala's amazingly tactless comments, plus her flights of fancy about her angel. But I don't think we are able to dismiss the depth of Tom's love, however embarrassing his displays of passion may be, or the determination of Ayala to stay true to her innermost self rather than selling herself for money and status.

I did notice a certain sneering tone in the portrayal of Frank Houston and Gertrude, though. Trollope makes it impossible to sympathise with the awful Gertrude for even a minute, or with the self-satisfied and posturing Frank - they are really a couple who deserve each other! Frank's boastful letters really show up his essential hollowness and conceit, as he seems to think that Imogene will enjoy hearing about his mercenary wooing of another woman. This sub-plot seems to be written on a slightly different level from, say, the Ayala/Tom/Jonathan story - it is harder to believe in the characters as individuals and the humour is broader, more farcical. This changes slightly when Imogene comes in and we get nearer to the pathos of Guss in Popenjoy - but, oops, I have a feeling we aren't up to Imogene yet, so I'd better bite my tongue!

Reading the start of Hard Times alongside Ayala's Angel, I found it interesting to see that, in a way, both Trollope and Dickens are dealing with the same problem - how to make room in your life for both fancy/art and hard fact.

In Dickens, the two opposite poles are the circus, with its real live horses, and the dreary schoolroom, where a horse is reduced to dry statistics as an "omniverous quadruped" - or whatever the description is that the pale, bloodless Bitzer comes up with.

In Trollope, the contrast is between the warm remembered world of the bijou, with its sculptures and blue china, and the colder reality of Aunt Dosett's house, with its piles of sewing, cheap cuts of mutton and no money for the library.

Although they are writing in very different styles, both authors seem keen to stress that there must be a place for the imagination, and that life isn't just about working all the hours of the day and then sleeping. Lucy prefers Idylls of the King to needlework and haggling over groceries, while Dickens's weary factory operatives sometimes read too, even when they are dropping with exhaustion after 15-hour shifts.

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, so I'd better leave it there!

Bye for now
Judy Geater

To Trollope-l

February 8, 2001

Re: Condescension, Art, & the Personal & Social in Trollope and Dickens

In response to Judy, could we not say that the condescension we find in Dickens differs from the condescension we find in Trollope? In our present Ayala, Trollope sneers at his characters as artists, and sneers at Ayala as someone who doesn't properly appreciate how much work it takes to cook something and doesn't make connections between her enjoyment at Stalham and the amount of money and also comfort with their class connections (which the Tringles don't have, the Tringles being _nouveau riche_ in their lack of cultural bearings), but when it comes to looking at them more humanly -- apart from their occupations -- he endows them with the full burden of life's continual troubles, anxiety, petty bickering, and the tendency of others to ostracize anyone they can in order to puff themselves up (the attitude towards Hamel). The one place Trollope doesn't analyse carefully is sex: we are just supposed to know why Lady Tringle is bothered by Hamel's illegitimacy, supposed to accept it. It's interesting to me that this illegitimacy doesn't bother Sir Thomas. He's not threatened in the way Lady Tringle is. This is women endlessly taught and teaching one another to ostracize the woman who has a free sex life, including through her children.

Dickens, on the other hand, condescends to someone like Stephen Blackpool as a human being. We are supposed to feel for him insofar as he is a worker, but he is presented as ever so respectful towards those who exploit him. He will not go on strike, not he. The portrait of Guffshaw just provides fodder for myths about outside agitators -- the book to read alongside Hard Times is In Dubious Battle (about a strike too). Dickens does not endow his lower class characters with the full burden of humanity: they are always somewhat funny. Bozzle is a Dickens character because finally we are to laugh or the laugh cuts off deeper empathies. When Trollope does present working class and desperately poor people, those engaged in agricultural activities, or selling trash, manure, seaweed, he rarely makes them these comic figures. Judy's right: I had forgotten the many portraits of people below the bourgeois level in Trollope's short stories -- and occasionally the novels. Actually Trollope does have books about social war, meaning class conflict and violence: The Macdermots of Ballycloran, The Landleaguers, i.e., the Irish stories.

Dickens only goes near sex abstractly or keeps it in the margins of his novels. Sissy has no lover. We could mention how art is viewed by the upper class or bougeois outlook in Hard Times: as lurid, sleazy, dangerous. The circus stands for what art comes to the working class. For Dickens, our author, it's a release, but one he himself is not inclined to join in. In the Oxford Companion Dickens is quoting as regarding life in a circus as "utterly sensual and careless," coming "very much to the same thing as the Gradgrind school". So much for Eros and pleasure: it's not upbeat; the impulses of the flesh not sufficiently sublimated. I can't imagine the Dosetts going to the circus.

Did Beth tell us that North and South ran in Dickens's Household Words at the same time as Dickens was writing Hard Times? My Oxford Companion to Dickens came and I now learn that Hard Times is partly based on a strike at Preston; that it was written by Dickens in an effort to regain popularity in Household Words (which had been losing money). The Oxford Companion tells us that the novel itself, though, expresses Dickens's own frustration with his marriage? Was he involved with Ellen Ternan as yet? Yesterday I suggested that in Stubbs we find a displaced realisation or dramatization of Trollope's relationship with Kate Fields . I should have said that the description of Ayala resembles the photographs of Kate Fields in C. P Snow's biography. Psychoanalysis shows us dream-work disguises the love-object in precisely those areas where the love-object threatens. So Ayala is made utterly helpless, passive in effect, child-like and naive where Kate was anything but (she is presented far more truthfully in Trollope's short story, "Miss Ophelia Gledd", and the contrast is instructive and revealing). Where is Dickens's displacement?

A final thought: one could argue that Hard Times is not a contemporary novel, is old-fashioned precisely because it is so morally earnest, because Dickens writes fiction in an effort to reform the human spirit, to extend empathy. Who does that nowadays? In Victorian times -- until right around the time of Ayala -- art presented itself as a serious business. In the 20th century, from Bloomsbury on, this was seen as a hopeless endeavour, and perhaps someone today would the better, if more desperate expedient, would be to write a check Sir. In Trollope's uneasy, ambivalent meditation on art in his world he brings out this new vein which has become so prevalent in our time when popular culture has swamped the F. R. Leavis approach in the marketplace too. At the same time of course when social reformers today are not all upbeat puritans, are themselves complicit in the money-making corruption of our society, this is held against them, a purity is ironically demanded of those sneered at for their supposed naivetes -- but that's par for the course.

Ellen Moody

Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001
Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: Ayala as Kate Field

Thank you Ellen for a very interesting interpretation of Ayala's Angel.

I had not been bringing to mind those rather awful Trollope photographs where he does look particularly bristly but now that you mention it, there could well be a connection with Stubbs.

My partner has two pictures of Kate Field on his website, which you can find, if you wish, by going to

selecting Wilkie Collins from the menu, going to menu once there and then selecting letters. There are two letters to Kate Field with two different pictures of her attached. She is quite wonderful.

I think Collins met her at a dinner at the Trollope's.


Re: Ayala's Angel: A Playground for the Imagination

This to thank Angela (and Paul). How pretty Kate Fields looks in these photographs. I shall try to fit her in in next week's posting. Among the various thoughts about Trollope the man and Trollope the writer that come to mind is a central paradox: the women in his life to whom he was deeply indebted as an artist and writer and man, to whom he paid strong tribute or said he loved were all of the "strong-minded" variety, aggressive, individualistic, living a fulfilled life apart from men, yet apart from the erotic private realm of thought, the women he presents in his novels are shaped in such a way, placed into stories which inculcate a repressive dulling social stereotype. In his fiction women are to be allowed not to have to marry to please their relatives' desires for aggrandizement, status, and large amounts of money for them; we see the misery that results from marriages not based on love (the Trevelyans). Judy asked if Trollope ever does marry a girl off against her will or to a Bounderby: perhaps he doesn't. There are stories where women come close to being forced to, and suffer much from pressure (The Vicar of Bullhampton, Mary Lowther), and a couple of real tragedies where the girl is either harassed to death or commits suicide (Linda Tressel and "La Mere Bauche"). Still once married, the women takes the man's name, dwindles into Mrs [insert the male's last name] and we hardly see anything of her as an individual unless she is to come to grief.

The vein of sneering is probably stronger or just as strong in other books by Trollope. I wonder if it is this tone which makes him so disliked by many progressive liberal readers. Once you recognize it, especially if you have spent time as the one sneered at, it can grate on your nerves.

Of the females in this book, Imogen Docimer is the most interesting. She is held off for such a long time. However, when she comes, we again see how Trollope has substituted the large gesture, the archetypal resonance for the subtle nuanced portrait when we remember other characters in this mould (Alice Vavasour, Lady Mabel Grex, Mrs Aylmer). Of the three I place in parenthesis Lady Mabel Grex is closest: her young man who is willing to betray her is a Frank Tregrear. Another Frank.

Ayala's Angel is a place for the imagination to play in. We have yet to think of a better title for it. Everytime I think of one place in the book as apt ("The Bijou", "The Cottage at Drumcaller") I realise it gets its meaning in context, against the other houses. Still some title to do with the houses or places or landcapes of the book which take on symbolic resonances through all the contrasts would hit the core of the book from another angle other than here am I, Mr Trollope, Kate's angel if she would only realise it. I hear Mr Trollope's voice in Stubb's subtly rebarbative letter to the Marchesa: "No doubt she was a fool, but I cannot but like her the better for it" (Folio Society Ayala's Angel, introd. AEThomas, Ch 20, p. 161). Trollope disliked hypocrisy and manipulative maneuvrings. His "Ayala" had a largeness about her naivete; it enabled her to go about the world and lecture.

Of late in working on my book I have been reading books through what's called a psychoanalytical approach. That's how I viewed Is He Popenjoy? (aka The Brothers). That's how I looked at Ayala's Angel this week. The great strength and attractiveness of this approach is its explanatory power. Things that seemed anomalous, both an individual book and elements inside that book, suddenly make sense, have meaning, fit in a larger pattern and become relevant to our lives today.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel: A Playground of the Imagination

Ellen said, among many other things, that once a Trollope girl marries she usually dwindles into Mrs. Whatever the Man's Name May Be, or an opinion to that effect. Well, yes and no. I keep going back to Violet Effingham, one of the most delightful and decent characters in anyone's literature. Violet, for reasons that are not completely clear at the time, marries the terrible Lord Chiltern. Then when we meet this happy couple some time after their marriage, Lord Chiltern has been tamed. He is as decent as she is. Could we say that he dwindles into Mr. Effingham?


Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Victorian against hunting

Hello all

I agree with Angela on the hunting scenes in Trollope and also find them difficult to read.

As Angela pointed out, the hunting scene in Ayala's Angel is especially violent with the description of the fox's death - although I suppose in a way this makes it more honest than the chapters in some other books which just skate over this aspect of hunting.

Because, like many modern readers, I'm strongly anti-hunting, I find it hard to tell whether these chapters add much to the novels from a literary point of view - does anybody have a view on this? I find the hunting sections in Trollope rather samey, I must admit, and am always pleased when a novel doesn't include any hunting - but I do realise that I could well be missing something!

Angela wrote "In the 1870s, protest against battue shooting was a feature of the 19th century journals. This is where massive stocks of game birds are bred and become almost tame they are so well fed, and are then driven to a position where a group of sportsmen can get easy shots. The sheer numbers slaughtered appalled Victorians. In Hardy's novel, Tess wrings the necks of the wounded birds, left to die by bad shots."

This reminds me of a short poem by Hardy on the same theme, which originally had the title "The Battue". I don't know when it was written - it was published in 1901 but many of his poems were originally written decades before they were printed:

The Puzzled Game-Birds


They are not those who used to feed us
When we were young - they cannot be -
These shapes that now bereave and bleed us?
They are not those who used to feed us,
For did we then cry, they would heed us.
- If hearts can house such treachery
They are not those who used to feed us
when we were young - they cannot be!

Hardy was always passionately opposed to cruelty to animals in any form, as this poem suggests. He and his first wife Emma were founder members of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and this was an interest they still shared even during the years when their marriage was extremely unhappy.

In Jude the Obscure, it is possible to trace a whole chain of imagery connected to cruelty to animals and especially birds, running right through from the very opening chapter where the young Jude decides he doesn't want to go on stoning birds away from the crops. His marriage to Arabella ends when she forces him to slaughter a pig, while he and Sue are drawn together by their shared anguish over a rabbit caught in a snare. Later Sue is heartbroken when her pet caged birds have to be sold, and defiantly sets them free, and shortly before the end of the novel a despairing Jude speaks out bitterly against a man ill-treating his horse.

I'm not sure if there are any hunting scenes in Hardy, though - does anybody remember any?

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Re: Hunting Scenes in Trollope

I'll try to respond to Angela and Judy,

I have to admit that I don't have strong feelings about hunting, probably because I have never known anyone personally or closely who was a hunter. I have had students in my classes here in Virginia who say they go hunting, but in just about every case it was not a matter of fox hunting. For a start, there were no horses involved. They go shooting the poor deer; sometimes to make it more difficult they do it with antique guns (musket season) or bows and arrows (really). There are fox hunts in Virginia, but these are the province of the wealthy in rural Virginia. There was a controversy about hunting about a decade ago when there was a recession: people who were suffering from it wanted to build huge malls where the hunters hunted. It was a class quarrel. I originally come from New York City and have lived all my life in urban or suburban areas. While we had much controversy in NYC about many sorts of things, hunting was not one of them.

My guess is, speaking generally, it simply is not a US issue. One has to remember how many Americans own guns. The issue (as we frame it) is gun-control: there is great fear because people shoot one another. This trumps the plight of animals.

And yes I too often find these hunting sequences tedious. I have made an effort to understand what is going on: I have read a couple of books on hunting. Trollope uses hunting metaphorically in a variety of ways: it has sexual connotations. A woman who hunts is sexy, passionate. The hunt itself is a metaphor for conquest and competition and for the marriage marketplace. Sometimes the scenes work as contrast: pastorals, an idyl. The hunting scenes in Ayala are somewhat fractured pastorals. It was then -- as it still is in part -- mostly a rich man's sport, and Trollope presents it in this light in The American Senator and The Landleaguers (where the poor Irish tenants boycott it).

Although writing in his non-fiction somewhat satirically about hunting, Trollope seems to have revelled in it. He was a physical man: he enjoyed physical life. He argues that hunting makes for egalitarianism among those who hunt together. It was a release for him. In his essays on behalf of hunting, he seems to think those who argue against it as cruel to animals are hypocritical, are fooling themselves. He just can't take seriously people feeling sorry for foxes.

I loved Jude the Obscure. Here on Trollope-l we had a group read of The Mayor of Casterbridge and during that time I also read Jude the Obscure. In that book Hardy shows himself capable of feeling for a pig. I didn't know until I read it that people could deliberately kill an animal slowly (put it through agony) so as to make a little more money out of it.

There is much in 20th century novels that is distasteful to me. I don't think I could get past the fifth page of a John Grisham (from what I have been told about these). I know I don't like the attitudes towards working class people, sex outside marriage, class hierarchies and many other things I come across in many19th century middle class novels. Probably these things bother me more than hunting. I know I cringe when I read some of Trollope's comments about black or African people, really cringe. It's probably in the context of what seems to me so much worse attitudes in these novels that you don't any complaints from me about the hunting scenes.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Victorian against hunting

Thank you Judy for the extra information about Hardy. I didn't know he was a founding member of the RSPCA. I like the connections you make in Jude too. I can't recall any hunting scenes in Hardy but in searching my mind for it, came up with the sinister evidence that it was in an ancient hunting wood that Tess was raped.


Subject: [trollope-l] Hunting Scenes in Trollope: Different Frames for the Issue
February 12, 2001

After rereading Angela and Judy's posting in the light of Dagny's posting (last week), I thought I'd qualify my altogether too quick agreement with Nigel that modern attitudes towards hunting do not pertain to Trollope's novels. They probably do, except that the issue is complicated and criss-crossed when we consider whether the reader is a US citizen or someone from Canada or England or Ireland or Australia or any of the many countries all of us live in who subscribe to this list.

Hunting does matter in the US, but it is subsumed by the larger issue of gun control. Dagny is right to suggest there are cultural differences to be pointed out. The US is 3000 miles wide and 1000 miles high (looking at it as a map); it has been estimated that it's not one country but at least 9, meaning at least 9 different sets of cultural values obtain in the different parts of this vast land. It is said that were you to be able to have a referendum, a straight popular vote across the US, you would have a strong majority which would put legislation in place to prevent any further proliferation of guns (all sorts, not just handguns, but mighty powered rifles and machine guns).

I would vote to control the ownership of guns severely. The murder rate in the US is very high (meaning murder of human beings by other human beings), and I have seen all sorts of statistical studies which show a direct correlation between domestic murder and murders during crimes and the availability of guns. Guns kill. Police kill citizens because they fear the citizen will kill them first. Growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s I saw many an intensely violent quarrel break out between young men and boys and occasionally women and girls. Most did not ensue in death. The weapons were razors, knives and bats. You really have to be in a violent frenzy and have to risk your own life and take considerable damage to murder someone else this way. You can murder someone with a gun at a distance with ease.

I know it would take time. Many as much as 40 years before the present stock of guns everywhere in US households would atrophy. But time would do its work. After a while we would no longer have the daily or weekly stories of some slaughter of a group of individuals in a particular school or office or institution by someone who got a load of guns by mail or by the simple expedient of driving to where he or he and his friends or she and hers could buy them.

If the majority of US citizens are said to feel the way I do (meaning in population) why is there almost no effective control of the sale of guns in many many states of the US? Among other things, the activity and money of the NRA which is the alphabet soup for the National Rifleman's Associations. One of the justifications of this group's lobby which pays out enormous sums of money to campaigns and will target congressmen who work to put gun control in place (pay for ads to destroy them, make sure they lose) is hunting. Their hunting will be interfered with. Perhaps it would.

This is not the only motivation here though. The second amendment to the US constitution was put in place by the original framers of the constitution mostly to enable local governements to form militia much in the manner that local militia were formed in England and Scotland in the later 18th century. People above a certain level, those who could afford guns and used them could be called upon to form units to protect local territories and one another. It was also a response to attitudes towards government at the time as something the individual citizen wanted to have some rights against, some way to defend himself. Nowadays of course if you try to defend yourself against the government you will find whatever guns you have amassed will do you little good against their fire power.

However, other more primal attitudes about violence, an attitude towards weaponry itself, fear of other people who have guns all work further to fuel the kind of attitudes which allow a lobby such as the NRA to be effective.

Thus in the US hunting is not irrelevant; it's that it occurs in a framework where the issues are so differently understood that Trollope's novels are hard to relate to what matters to US citizens who read his books today.

Not that they are unrelatable. So yes there is a celebration of violence in hunting in Trollope. This is bad. There is an acceptance of murder of animals which by extension could be said to encourage the reader to do likewise. At the same time it should be said that the way in which Trollope usually dramatises these hunting scenes brings out in the text attitudes towards sex, class and money, towards community hierarchies rather than violence. Most of this week's story concerned what clothes Ayala had on, who was who in the community hierarchy, who had rank, who was cunning and strong (personally) and sexual engagement released through physical games involving horses and the countryside. The violence comes in at the end when the fox is killed. Trollope's texts are not strongly pornographic over violence in the sense that they do not stir the reader into enjoying violence. I offer the idea that in fact when it comes to ripping the animals apart, to the blood and guts of the few scenes he describes, there is a kind of appalled distaste, a withdrawal in Trollope which accounts for Judy and Angela's dislike of the closing scene. Trollope was himself somewhere in his soul a tender-hearted pacific man: that's why he failed in his novel called La Vendée. He didn't have the stomach really to give us the slaughters and rapes and viciousness necessary to protray civil war. He gives us a stylized version of it in "The Two Generals".

If we want to say that many readers have since the publication of Trollope's novels read them as encouraging and validating caste arrogance, snobbery, a justification of a money-centered world, sexism and yes an acceptance of violence too, we are only telling the truth. The hunting scenes are part of this terrain.

However, that we can easily take what we find here and relate it to our lives, especially the issue of guns, hunting, violence, attitudes towards government and weaponry, macho males (as an ideal of behavior) as we find them in the US is probably not so. Of course Trollope's hunting scenes don't help someone who would like to see the violence that we have in the US have some severe brakes put on it. So both Angela and Judy have made some good points even for the US citizen. And for the English person or someone who is in a country where the issues of hunting is framed in ways somewhat like what we find in Trollope perhaps these scenes rightly grate as capable of furthering or encouraging the doing and fostering harm (the issue here being the encouragement of class stigmas and hierarchies as well as violence).

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

February 15, 2001

Re: Hunting: Controversies in Trollope's Day Connected to Our Own

I can't resist offering this little joke for Angela's perusal. A couple of years ago here in Washington DC, the Woolly Mammoth Company (a non-profit dramatic group) did a raucous satire on attitudes towards guns (and by extension hunting). What fame it garnered came from a sign placed at the corner of the stage in front of a store that sold guns:

If we can't kill it, it's immortal.

When I first moved to Alexandria, Virginia in its "Old Town", a part of the city-suburb which has been partly preserved in the block lay-out and many many houses along streets so that it shows something of what the city was in the 18th century (when it was a slave-holding banking town) and again in the 19th. By the Potomac there were two very large wooden stores with large signs which said: "Guns Sold Here. Come and Get Them!" Over the 19 years I have lived here the population has changed in the city: we have had an enormous influx of people from up north and the cities (including me!), and in city Council meetings on occasion there would be a protest against the opening advertisement of these dangerous weapons and the kinds of vibes the sign sent out. Well slowly these signs grew smaller, then disappeared altogether, and a few months to a year ago the stores themselves vanished. They are to be replaced by art studios, for the Torpedo Factory, a place where torpedos were made in World War II, and which became the home of a local museum and place for living artists and craftsman to do and to sell their work and give classes, is now expanding.

Yet the sign, "If we can't kill it, it's immortal" has strong resonances in the underground culture of the area still, the one which is no longer as openly voiced as it once was. As I wrote earlier, western and southern Virginia is hunting country for wealthy people and there was a strong controversy when there was a recession there over whether to turn that land into a business-growth area for those who needed an influx of jobs. We then had a very fragile social-safety net in the US, and today it is more fragile than ever.

So class conflicts come into this too in the US though again in somewhat different ways -- particularly as money is always in the US more central to any fight than people will readily admit. (Thus Clinton's famous reminder to himself, "It's the economy, stupid!, a reminder Gore most unhappily forgot.) People may vote based on their religious-ethnic identifications, they may vote because something in an individual appeals to their sense of their own threatened identity or earlier hurts or need to validate an identity, but they also vote their pocketbooks. I sometimes wonder what percentage of the per capita income of this country (GNP as it's sometimes called) comes out of the sales of guns, not only overseas (where oodles are made) but inside the US itself.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

There follow a series of postings which were written during the time I posted for the second continuous time about Ayala. I place them here because they are relevant to the middle of the book.

From: "Catherine Crean" Re: Ayala and Stubbs on the Train

I believe Ellen is referring to chapter where Ayala and Jonathan Stubbs are in the train together sharing a compartment with an elderly couple. This is one of the most charming scenes in all of Trollope. There is a flirtation going agong among both couples. The old woman calls Ayala "perverse." Very well put. There is something so poignant and real about the scene. The old woman complains of drafts and Stubbs manfully tries to make all kinds of adjustments to to the ventilation system, windows, etc. to make her comforatable. Who hasn't been in a situation like this? The tension between Ayala and Stubbs softens a little, and we see the beginning of Ayala falling in love. I know Ellen has issues with AA, one of them seems to be Ayala herself. I have known, and do know, young women like Nina and Ayala. They are naive, silly and self-centered. Sometimes their solipsism is mind boggling. They exist all right, and men fall for them. Some of these women are worth the pain of being won. They mature and grow out of the silliness. Now I owe posts on Tom Tringle, Imogen Docimer, and the issue of people with money using their power. Another time.

Subject: [trollope-l] The meaning of wet

From: "Howard Merkin"

I knew as soon as I had pressed the send button that I shouldn't have done it. It was asking for trouble to challenge American readers to query my description of Ayala and Lucy Dormer as 'wet'. Now that Ellen has leapt into the fray, I have had to give up a small part of what is a comparative rarity, a fine English bank holiday, to do a little research. With the limited resources that I have at home, the following is what I have come up with.

What I wanted to say was that they were feeble and ineffectual. There is an aura about the term in colloquial English usage which is entirely clear to people of my generation, and probably of later ones too. Ayala's search for an 'angel' always appears to me to spoil what otherwise looks like a bright and fetching young woman. Lucy never really comes to life, and she seems to have chosen a kindred spirit in Isadore Hamel.

The third definition of 'wet' in the Concise Oxford Dictionary gives :- Brit. Colloq. a feeble or inept person. Lord Fawn in The Eustace Diamonds fits the bill exactly, and I don't think that there is any political meaning there at all. I can't remember what Lord Fawn's politics were, but I think that Ellen's source was using it in this sense.

The COD then goes on to give a fourth definition :- Brit. Polit. Colloq. Conservative with liberal tendencies, esp. as regarded by right-wing Conservatives - which is exactly the usage employed by Margaret Thatcher which Ellen remembers. The tendencies did not have to be very liberal - she included Keith Joseph, who in my view was as reactionary as they came. But now we are straying into politics in a sense which is probably not Trollopian.

Subject: [trollope-l] Introduction and Ayala's Angel


Hi everyone...I'm new to this list so I thought I would introduce myself before launching in to the discussion. My name is Lisa and I live just outside of New York City (on the Jersey side of the Hudson). I work in the entertainment industry and have a proper English hunting dog--the light of my life--a Jack Russell Terrier named Posy.

I was introduced to Anthony Trollope during a Victorian Lit class in college, and have been a devoted fan ever since. I am just finishing up Ayala's Angel, after having read He Knew He Was Right and Is He Popenjoy?. I've of course read many many more, plus the wonderful biography written by Victoria Glendinning. I have yet to tackle the Parliamentary novels, however, though I do own them.

My favorite so far is The Warden, which was the first Trollope I ever read. My least favorite, and here is where I enter the discussion, is Ayala's Angel. I agree that Stubbs is a wonderfully constructed hero, though the extremes of behavior of several other male characters in the novel are almost confusing; they tend toward either undying devotion (Tom), or sudden reversals (esp. Houston, to a lesser degree Captain Batsby and Mr. Tringle).

Ayala comes across as very whiny and a little selfish. She's really quite the drama queen (as Tom Tringle is the drama king...perhaps they really were perfect for each other). I would have loved to see Lucy's character more fully developed, as she is more reminiscent of what I expect of a Trollope heroine, and it's a shame that Isadore Hamel, who also had potential as a heroic figure, doesn't figure more prominently in the novel.

That said, the premise of the story is excellent, and the potential, if not wholly realized, is certainly present throughout. There are many great scenes (like the one in which Stubbs and Ayala finally are engaged) as well as the visits of many a hapless suitor to Mr. Tringle's London office. Tom's antics, though a little too dramatic, are humorous, especially when he challenges Stubbs to a duel, and is artfully rebuffed.

Of course even Trollope's weakest work is better than 90 percent of the drivel that we see today...

Looking forward to more discussion....


To Trollope-l

Re: How to pronounce Ayala:

From: "Catherine Crean"

By the way, how does one pronounce "Ayala"?

It's a Hebrew name, meaning a hind, and we pronounce it A-ya-la,
the first a like 'eye'
the y as in yellow
the other two a's as in apple
and the accent on the last syllable.

Thilde Fox.

Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Pronouncing Ayala

From: "Jeremy Godfrey"

When I was younger, my father used to invite me to the Lincoln's Inn garden party every June. They always served Ayala champagne and it was always pronounced Eye-ah-la. (And it tasted very good too: it has always been one of my favourite champagnes.)

It came from Chateau d'Ay in the town of Ay.

Now that I live in Hong Kong, I come across the name Ayala mostly in the context of the business now known as Ayala Corporation. This is a Philippine conglomerate founded by Don Antonio de Ayala in 1834. However it did not take his name until 1876, when it was called Ayala y Compañia.

So where does Ayala Dormer really come from? Is she Spanish, French or Hebrew?

One of small more puzzling things I noticed about Ayala's Angel was that her pony changes its name from Sprite to Croppy half-way through the book. Is this mere sloppiness on Trollope's part - or can we read something deeper into his and Ayala's failure to notice that she has changed horses in mid-stream?


Good question. Unless Trollope has told us somewhere, in the book or in other writings, how he derived the name, we'll never know, since it obviously could have any one of several origins.

I prefer the Spanish pronuciation (eye-YAH-lah) because that name does occur in England in medieval times when one of the royal princes (I forget which) married a Spanish royal or noble woman who had Ayala as one of her surnames. In Spain it is still a not uncommon surname (just as Jeremy Godfrey shows by mentioning Don Antonio de Ayala of the 19th century).

Gene Stratton

Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's Angel as a Favorite Novel

From: "Catherine Crean"

My favorite Trollope novels are Is He Popenjoy? , Ayala's Angel and The American Senator. Ayala's Angel is pure delight. So optimistic, humorous, and lively for a book written late in Trollope's career. It's no accident that Trollope named Ayala after his favorite champagne. The young women in AA seem curiously like modern teenagers - moody, unsure, delighted with life. And of course who could forget Tom Tringle, who reminds me so much of Jos Sedley in Vanity Fair. Jonathan Stubbs, red hair and all, is a total dream boat. I'm rereading Vanity Fair this sultry weekend and loving it. Ellen, I'm sure you have noted the use of letters in this novel. One of the letters from Miss Chadwick describes and unattractive girl with a squint (crossed eyes), pock-marked skin and RED HAIR! Miss Chadwick is describing two potential governesses and puts forth Miss Hawky of the pock-marked skin and red hair as the best candidate because the family in need of a governess has young men in the house and Miss Hawky is less of a temptation.

August 26, 1999

Re: A Hero with Red Hair

Those who have read Ayala's Angel may remember that the hero of the book is one Jonathan Stubbs. Jonathan is just about the wittiest, kindest, most gentlemanly of Trollope's heroes, perhaps more of an 'angel' in this regard than Austen's Henry Tilney whom he resembles in nature and lightness and gaiety of tone. Readers may also remember he is said to be ugly, and one part of this ugliness is probably the red hair.

I'd like to remark that as far as I know here in the US red hair for women is considered lovely. Women dye their hair so it shall have auburn highlights. People like to talk of having strawberry blonde hair. Red hair is in the US also associated with Irish people, and Maureen O'Hara's red hair was considered central to her beauty (she played Esmeralda opposite Charles Laughton's Quasimodo in an old but to me still brilliant film adaptation of Victor Hugo's book). However, in my experience at least many British men have red highlights in their beards. When my husband was young he did; so did my brother-in-law (also English).

Perhaps people do look upon red hair for men as "not sexy"? The man with dark hair is Jung's animus male.

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

September 21, 1999

RE: Ayala's Angel: Sex, Romance, and Money

I agree with Catherine that there is a good deal of blockage in Ayala's Angel. Ayala's two suitors recognise that love is a function of sexual as well as an array of physical satisfactions: children, physical beauty, in the case of Stubbs, a woman who can cook and manage a house comfortably, in the case of Tom Tringle, a woman who looks well with diamonds and will be decorative in a rich man's house. It is striking that Trollope never has Ayala imagine her angel fully; it remains a vague concept. I only wonder if he does this because he is determined to present his young heroine as an innocent virgin who will make a chaste wife or because he wants her to be seen as someone who is refusing to see the sexual element in love. In earlier novels he did present intense sexual longing and distaste, albeit obliquely (e.g, Mary Lowther in The Vicar of Bullhampton).

My argument has to do with another aspect of the novel, another set of its themes, or obsessions. In this novel Trollope seems determined to shove money in our faces as a measurement of happiness. The Dosetts cannot be happy because they haven't got enough to keep up appearances. The question is never asked if they have to keep up appearances. They seem unhappy keeping them up. Colonel Stubbs doesn't bother in Scotland, and he is willing to marry the penniless Ayala, but then he's got enough for two. And yet still when he seeks to marry Ayala, his aunt persists in bothering him over Ayala's lack of money. Yes one cannot be happy if one is starving or wretched, or threatened with eviction, but that does not mean one has to marry someone like Tom Tringle who is deliberately made into the most good-natured and well-meaning of philistine oafs. In reality personalities don't come that way: I don't believe someone with as small a notion of what can engage a girl (a necklace) would be so good-natured. The notion is itself a function of a mean view of human nature. Why make Stubbs so very ugly? Why insist on it? Because you want somehow to prove looks don't count? But they do, and the probability is someone who was really so ugly as Stubbs would have had his personality somewhat warped, not so sound, if only because other people would not have accepted him. By giving Stubbs a foreign aunt and a very naive sheltered cousin, Nina, who talks like a child, Trollope gets over that difficulty. George Eliot's ugliness shaped her existence, made her reclusive. Her saturnine greatness is partly the result of her response to social rejection of her.

I don't say I'm not enjoying the novel or it's not smart. I do say it's the book of a man curiously obsessed by a conflict between money and beauty. The book is not really written as a fairy tale if you take into account the incessant counting up of everyone's income, how they eat, how they dress. I actually like that because it makes the characters far realer than they are usually in novels.

Still, yhe exaggerated oppositions are not probable. It's a very playful book, but under the play is alienation from that which Trollope as an artist took great pleasure in, regardless of how much money it made or cost. We can see his idealism in his editorship -- tempered with an attempt to keep the magazine afoot, which he didn't manage to do in the case of St Paul's

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

Re: Ayala and Waverley

"This is Proust's theme too: Waverley looks forward to Marcel.

It's a familiar theme in literature. In the better or finer of such books, those presented realistically (not just satire) what the character finds in books and his or her imagination is vastly preferable to what he or she encounters in the physical world of people, and he or she wants the real world to conform to the presences founds in books. Books, after all, are written by people, and brings forth writ large elements in our personalities which cannot have the same play in society. We see the same phenomenon on the Net ..."

On behalf of Ayala, this is one of the few of Trollope's books where he makes his characters' responses to the world of the imagination and books a central part of the book's story. Ayala and her artistic family as well as Jonathan Stubbs are the characters who live an enriched life because of the world of the imagination they belong to and have developed within them. We are told Stubbs does this through books; we are told the world of Ayala's family was visual art. That "We are told" tells part of the problem. Trollope doesn't develop this side of the novel anywhere near as much as would be adequate for his theme. The other is that the lack of development stops him both from going into the down side of living in such a world against a materialistic philistine society and it gives too much play to that society. Trollope is here imprisoned by his own ambivalence and inhibitions.


The following was written in summer of 2000.

July 28, 2000

Re: Five Days and Nights in West Sussex

Angela asks about my trip to West Sussex. The place is relevant to the reader of Trollope's novels and to anyone interested in certain aspects of the social milieus depicted in his novels, which he lived out as a kind of expensive fantasy on the side, to, specifically, the whole complex of experience and values associated with the fox-hunting episodes in his books and the place of the aristocracy in them. I see we have just had a thread on the ranking orders within the peerage of Great Britain so maybe what I have to say bears upon that too.

We rented Fox-Hall; this is an ex-Ducal Hunting Lodge in Charlton, not far from Chichester. The racing course, Goodwood is close by -- as is Harting Grange, the house Trollope rented between 1880 and 1882. You are told, tirelessly it would seem, by many authors of books about fox-hunting that Charlton Hunt was famous, fashionable; that the Duke of Monmouth said that when he would be king he would hold court at Charlton. Fox-Hall, a small Palladian building was the center of this Hunt by the 1730, built according to a Burlington design by Roger Morris, it was the Duke of Richmond's. To it, his cronies would come; imagine not some lurid mistress hide-away, but a male preserve, for a club of aristocrats (numbers of them of high rank, Dukes, Earls and so on), squirearchy, gentry. There was orignally another much bigger building for them to feast in, but Fox-Hall shows enough of the ways in which its owner led a numinous existence. His large bed is in an alcove under a ceiling carved as if it were a chapel in a church; around the alcover are gilded light acqua blue Corinthian columns; he was served hand-and-foot by servants who lived down a flight of stairs where his clothes were probably kept. The first floor is an enormous cube; the decoration and windows and way in which the space is carved with arches and a fireplace give it magnificence; said alcove is off to the side. I liked the copies of paintings by Stubbs placed at angles near the corners of the room. I also loved the green surrounding plot with its trees, the landscape, the quiet. Landmark Trust houses are usually off the beaten track: this one was on a dirt road. They have no TV, no radio, no phone. If you want a clock, you must bring your own. We could hear the doves in the nearby (rotting) stables, owls. Landmark says there are nightingales too; if so, they sound like loons (which have a haunting sound, found in and around New England lakes).

However, what is significant for what we read in Trollope and Trollope's world is clear sense of careless and assumed self-importance of the figure at the center of this place which everything in it testifies to. Is it any wonder that fox-hunting is disliked because of its roots in such a world? In The Landleaguers, Trollope shows that among the first and most meaningful acts to the rent-racked Irish tenants of the country he delineates is to stop this sport from proceding. That this idea that there is something special here is still alive was testified to in the logbook: this is where people are invited to write up their experiences. There were actually people who preferred to sleep downstairs, saying this bed and alcove somehow made them uncomfortable. There still is nowhere for those who occupy 'the ducal bed' to put their clothes by which I mean there's no closet on the first floor, not even a wardrobe.

In each of the Landmark places my husband, Jim and I have now stayed in there has been an appropriate library of books. In Bath, we found Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion as well as other novels set in Bath, diaries of people who visited, books on Bath of all sorts; in Hampton Court Palace there were fascinating histories of the place, and of course the usual novels and memoirs. In Fox-Hall there were numbers of books on fox-hunting, books on Roman and Saxon remains, on the Chichester cathedrale. There was Siegfried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. Two novelists were represented: Surtees and Anthony Trollope. I am sorry to have to report that the person who picked out the Trollope novels did not know which of his novels had fox-hunting and the hunt central to the books, for the two chosen were Eustace Diamonds and The Duke's Children. Whoever it was had heard of the fabulous £70,000 bet by Lord Silverbridge, and there is a sordid travesty of hunting in Scotland carried on by Lizzie and her so-called friends. Much more appropriate would have been The American Senator where hunting figures metaphorically, centrally, in all ways; Orley Farm where there is again an important use of hunting; Phineas Redux, ditto. Trollope was repeatedly referred to in the books on fox-hunting; it is an apparently obligatory gesture, a kind of bow; I wonder how much the people who wrote these books really know of this man. They didn't quote his novels, much less The Hunting Sketches.

I was amused to find a book of comic prints from Punch. These show comic moments in hunts: several had a Trollope character as he presents himself in his Hunting Sketches (no, these, too were not at Fox-Hall): we see the man who lives elsewhere, who gets up early in the morning, jumps on a train, and hastes to join a hunt as a kind of day boy (so to speak). There is such a figure in Can You Forgive Her? Appropriate irony: Trollope was a day boy in public school. Of course he also owned horses at times: Mullen tells us he spent a small fortune on hunting. Jim got a great kick of out one joke he read in one of the histories: some tenant was helping his lordship out of a ditch, and a wise friend came over to them, and said to the tenant, don't be an idiot; help him up only after he lowers your rent.

I said the library also contained books on Chichester Cathedrale and the Roman and Saxon remains in the area. Jim, I, and our daughter, Isabel, did visit Bignor Villa, the Open Air Museum, and spent some pleasant hours in Chichester. Sussex is an area which has been lived in for a very long time. The Roman villa at Bignor has some remarkable remains of tiled floors; we were lucky in that the day we went was "Young Archealogists Day" so there were interesting activities afoot. You were invited to dig. Nowadays the 19th century houses built round the remains are preserved. I was fascinated to find one of the large floors was first available for viewing in 1812; there were picturesque dream depictions of this villa done in the Romantic period.

The open air museum was too big to see in one day, too much to see, and much of it genuinely real. It consists of houses from the medieval through the late 19th century which have been moved to this site and reconstructed. Alas, Isabel was soon bored It was too much history for her, but to Jim and I it wasn't history. We saw the realities of the way people in the books lived, the hum and buzz of what is assumed when Pepys talks of his closet, when we hear of a smokey hall. It was interesting to see how roofs were built. We also saw the way labourers lived. One small house showed us what life would have been life for people of our class in the late 19th century. Hard, meagre. A stove in one house was, Jim said, just what his mother had until the early 1960s: black, heavy, hot, dangerous to someone who can't work it. I saw this kind of thing in the apartments in the lower East Side of Manhattan in which my aunts and relatives had lived in the 1950s. Also my father's hand-made house in Wading River, Long Island had a pump and outhouse hardly at all different from those we saw. How much the world has changed since the 1930s: we saw a plumber's shop from the 1930s. Technology has in the last 50 years retransformed the world to something so much easier to live in.

The cathedrale is beautiful. It is as fine as Salisbury. The day we went there was an exhibition of sculptures. I am embarrassed to say I don't remember the name of the sculptor. The pieces were large stone images of Don Giovanni characters: but it was not Venice at daylight; it was Venice seen through operatic eyes of a Gothic menacing sensibility. They loomed at you. My favorite was one of a nun sitting on a bench reading; admittedly, this one was less marked by the distinctive atmosphere of wit and power in the others. Before we came to stay my husband had gone to the Cathedrale one night to hear Britten's War Requiem.

They still have good used bookstores in Chichester. Yes. I found a three-volume set of bound rare plays, stretching from the early 17th into the late 18th century.

For the rest we swam briefly. The weather was lovely. We went to West Wittering where the beach is part-shingle and part-sand. Isabel and I too a one hour and one half whirl-wind tour round Portsmouth on the top of a bus. A very flirty bus-conductor kept us amused.

I also got to some Austen sites: I saw Chawton cottage, where Austen died, Winchester Cathedrale from the outside. These experiences further persuaded me how false, how swathed in myth is Austen's life. Chawton Cottage, in particular, is on the face of what you are shown unbelievable. The door labelled the one that creaked which warned her is on a room which has the front door. The back half of the house itself shows brickwork which reveals crude renovation and suggests the original house did not have the Admiral's room nor the Residences Room. Jim wondered if they always shared the building with another tenant. The house Austen died in is right outside the Winchester Cathedrale close; it was in its own time probably thought a decent place, not great, decent. It today has a handwritten sign by a family right by the door, saying 'This is a family residence, private' by which is meant 'go away, please, don't be ridiculous'. I felt sorry for this family.

I have of course not dwelt upon what mattered most. My husband has been away for nearly 5 weeks now and we were able to break this long period up by my coming there for 6 days inbetween the last class I taught and turning up at GMU to pick up their finals. The worst was the plane trip and airport, as usual an ordeal I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, an insanity everyone agrees to pretend they don't mind in the least and is safe. I suppose it just goes to show that we will trade anything for time.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

From: "Catherine Crean"
Subject: [trollope-l] Fox hunting

July 29, 2000

Ellen, I enjoyed your post about your trip to England. I agree with you that one of the best books by Trollope about fox hunting is The American Senator. We are lucky because our friends from Dillsborough are featured in Ayala's Angel !!!! In fact the fox hunting scenes in Ayala Angel are supposed to be among the best fox hunting scenes in Trollope. One thing I still don't understand about fox hunting (adopting the nasal twang of the Senator from Mickewa) - why do the common folk put up with the gentry tearing up their fields? I was dumb-founded that the "commoners" not only supposed to allow game (foxes and game birds) to destroy their livestock and corps, but they were expected to leave gates open too. Can you imagine how torn up the ground would be after a fox hunt had trampled and smashed it's way through? And, "oh yes, you tenant, go fetch a door, will you? Major So&so has broken his back and must be carried back to the house. And now that you have brought the door, go along and carry the Major back to the house, like good fellows." I know that tenants were "reimbursed" for their losses, and that technically the land may have belonged to a landlord and not to the tenant. (Assuming that the landlord allowed hunting, so might the hunters charge through the tenants fields.) But there were landlords who didn't allow hunting on there property, did not maintain their coverts, did not leave gates open, etc. In Trollope, such an attitude (defending you own land from the depredations of the hunt) was considered ungentlemanly. In the northern part of Westchester County NY there are "hunts" held where they use a scented trail, rather than a real fox. It all seems so pretentious. People are there to show off. It would have made Trollope laugh to see the hunts here Westchester. And the more I think of it, the more Trollopian the

Westchester County NY hunts are. Tally ho!

Catherine Crean

Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Five Days & Nights in West Sussex


Did you happen to spot a TV crew when you were staying at the hunting lodge?!

The reason I ask is that today I was looking at some forthcoming TV billings (I edit the television sections of a couple of local newspapers) when, by surprising coincidence, I noticed that the August 15 edition of the BBC TV programme Summer Holiday is to include an item on the Landmark Trust, with presenter Sankha Guha visiting "a hunting lodge in West Sussex". I assume that it is probably the one where you stayed.

What a shame I can't video it and send it to you in America, but, of course, the incompatible video systems make that impossible. If your husband is still in Britain I suppose he will be able to see it, anyway.

I'll let the list know exactly when the programme is going out once have definite details, so that the Brits can make a note in their diaries.

Bye for now,
Judy Geater

To Judy,

I rejoice to say my husband is home again; he has been back since last Saturday. He would not be surprised at your message, though. On the Sunday the lodge was taken over by a hunting or racing club. Or so we were told. Why are they there? In early to mid- August there are numerous special events which go on at Goodwood which is nearby. The Duke of Richmond who built Fox-Hall and the Duke's House (this latter is now gone) lived at Goodwood House. We were told by someone that each August Fox-Hall is rented by people who are interested in hunting and racing horses.


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