January 6, 2001
Re: Introductory and Concise Calendar for Ayala's Angel (I)
The original plan was to begin Ayala's Angel about a week after our Winter Solstice and Ghost Stories ended, so I have tonight concocted a calendar which will begin next week and take us to what was once the first day of the year, March 25th: very early spring.
Spring and its greenery is appropriate for we now turn to a book known for its gaiety. Those of us who were on the list or paying attention at the time we decided for Ayala will recall we chose it to go with Is He Popenjoy? because the latter is one of Trollope's late dark and bitter or pessimistic books. Ayala is often said to be the anomaly among Trollope's later books: coming inbetween the often gloomy passionate John Caldigate, with its exploration of bigamy and fraught parental-child relationships, and Cousin Henry, a 'study of guilt, cowardice, and procrastination', it is 'uniquely zestful', an 'exuberant romantic comedy, underpinned by a calm and serious view of life'. Thus says Julian Thompson (in his 'Introduction' to the Oxford World Paperback Ayala, p. vii) in a delightful essay which conveys one of the book's predominant themes: 'the richness and ubiquity of fantasy, and the narrow and uncertain border that separates visions from real life' (pp. xxii-xiii). I'd put it that Ayala is a book about dreamers and the resilence dreams can give us in the context of the practical realities of making a life for ourselves, one we can bear to live, out of the circumstances we find ourselves thrown in and the human beings we have to deal with.
As Thompson says, the paradox about Ayala is while those who have read it usually enjoy it, and despite 'its sustained richness and distinctive freshness of tone', it is yet one of Trollope's 'less frequently read novels'. As with John Caldigate (the novel we said we would read after it as part of our trio of 'relatively unknown novels'), the problem has been it came so late, there are 46 other novels, and when it came into print, it was ignored. The original reaction or circumstances in which a novel is published sometimes can influence the way it is seen for a long time afterwards. So it has been with Ayala and John Caldigate.
Trollope had fallen from popularity; he was no longer writing the Barsetshire-type novel, and the darker The Prime Minister, today a book much written about, had been one of a series of relative flops. One of the results of this is that although Trollope wrote the book between April 25th and September 24th in 1878, he didn't manage to find a publisher for 3 years. The first volumed edition was by Chapman and Hall and came out in May 1882 -- with no illustrations. The first serialisation was done in the US; far from being the star of the Cornhill, Ayala came out 2 chapters a week in the Cincinnati Commercial between 6 November 1880 and 23 July 1881. I have come across lists of Trollope's novels which were not serialised which include Ayala because the scholar didn't know about this obscure first publication. This affects us because Ayala is the only one of the serialised novels by Trollope which is not included in J. Don Vann's Victorian Novels in Serial which I have been using as a basis for our calendars for a few years now. Of course I can figure out that the book came out in 1-2 chapters by dividing the 64 chapters by the numbers of weeks. Still I have no documentary evidence for which chapters went with which. The Folio Society edition which has 16 illustrations provides 1-2 for each 4 chapters, thus suggesting a shaping of 4 chapters per instalment. The problem with this is the read would then take us 16 weeks, and even if the book is among Trollope's longer 3 volumed books, that's too long.
So I have opted for the same average of 6 chapters a week we have been practicing for novels which were published in well-known English periodical in instalments of 3 chapters a week.
Here then is our calendar:
January 14: Chapters 1-6
January 21: Chapters 7-12
January 28: Chapters 13-18
February 4: Chapters 19-24
February 11: Chapters 25-30
February 18: Chapters 31-36
February 25: Chapters 37-42
March 4: Chapters 43-49
March 11: Chapters 50-54
March 18: Chapters 55-59
March 25: Chapters 60-64
A break of a week or two and then we'll begin the third of our 'unknown Trollopes', John Caldigate.
I'll break the introductory posting here.
Re: Introductory and Concise Calendar for Ayala's Angel (II)
I usually introduce Trollope's novels by quoting what Trollope had to say about each one in An Autobiography, but Ayala because it is so late is one of those novels he doesn't discuss because he hadn't written it yet :). He does say this about it in a moving & unusually revealing or private letter to a male friend in whom he confided, G. W. Rusden:
Yesterday I completed my 80th tale; -- not all what you would call novels, but of very various lengths -- I doubt whether a greater mass of prose fiction ever came from one pen -- I have never consciously drawn a character or a plot from the writings of another author (N. John Hall, Letters, II:792).
Trollope underlined 80th three times. The count includes short stories as well as novellas, 3, 4, and 5-volume novels. There is pride in an achievement and in his integrity (in not what he would consider plagiarising) in the statement. It also shows that to Trollope the energy involved in inventing material for a short story or novella meant as much to him as the material undergirding the long novel. The difference was one of psychological elaboration.
The publication history bears out the early publishers' reluctance to take the book on. After the 1881 (I goofed the date in Part One of this post by a typo) Chapman and Hall edition, reprinted almost immediately in the US by Harper & Bros and in Leipzig by Tauchnitz, there have been until recently only 2 editions in English: 1884, Lock; 1929 Oxford. (There was an 'abridgement' published by Oxford in 1964!) Ayala has recently done better because there is more interest in Trollope and because of the Trollope and Folio Society publication schemes. There are three good recent editions available to us:
AT, Ayala's Angel, ed Julian Thompson, Oxford 1991 which reprints the 1929 text with emendations;
AT, Ayala's Angel, the Trollope Society, 1989 (at the very beginning of the scheme, doubtless showing their good taste);
AT, Ayala's Angel, the Folio Society, 1989 the text a reprint of the Trollope Society, with lovely picturesque illustrations by Robert Geary, introduction by Alice Thomas Ellis
I will be using the Folio Society edition which I found on sale on the Net for $20. It is a pretty book: the cover is light acqua blue with a darker acqua blue border. However, the best edition for the money is probably Thompson's: it has good notes, a fine introduction, and is priced moderately. I have thus far found no Dover listed anywhere.
I am always interested in what languages a Trollope novel has been translated into. We know how important Castle Richmond was in that terrible year of famine because almost immediately it was translated into 5 languages. Rachel Ray is a very French book somehow, and it was almost immediately translated into French. Orley Farm, an oddly intellectual book about property and law (if you think about it), one which analyses society, yet is bourgeois, almost immediately turns up in German and Dutch. Ayala is one of a number of novels by Trollope which were quickly translated into Russian. (There is an artlcle in one of the Trollopianas about how Trollope appeals to Russians, and how his novels in Russian have been turning up since the 1989 crumbling away of the socialist hierarchical controls.) In 1882 there was a Russian translation: Angel Aglan. Then in 1890 an edition in Hungarian: Ayala Angyala. Yet a second translation into Russian in 1898: Ayala Angel, published in St. Petersburg. Let us imagine the characters in Uncle Vanya sending their copy over to the characters in Turgenev's A Month in the Country or vice versa. Trollope admired Turgenev's fiction very much.
There are few separate critical essays on Ayala. I already cited Thompson's introduction in the Oxford paperback; also very good is a section in James Kincaid's book on Trollope's fiction and R. C. Terry's in his book. Andrew Wright in Trollope: Dream and Art sees parallels between Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Ayala. For my part I find a strong parallel between Trollope's presentation of Jonathan Stubbs as an unhandsome witty and romantic mentor of the heroine and Austen's depiction of Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey, another book about the imagination and art. There are also the essays in Mullen's Penguin Companion and the recent Oxford Companion, the latter of which I find disappointing. It's so easy to get too heavy-handed in trying to discuss the sombre underpinnings of the book -- which are there.
Among things to watch: the characterisation of Tom Tringle: Trollope has moved from an intensely empathetic depiction of an alter ego of himself in his first novel, The Macdermots to the distanced appraisal of himself in Johnny Eames and Charles Tudor, to the debunking harshness of aspects of himself as Lord George Germaine into one of the most moving or touching of conscious self- caricatures in Tom Tringle. A line given to Tom brings us how strongly his creator gave of himself to this character because it echoes what Trollope said of his attitude towards his career after the first 10 years of writing and getting nowhere: "The merit is to despair and yet to be constant". Again, as Thompson says, sticking strongly to one's dreams "has much to recommend it" if we are to find any happiness. Don't underestimate Tom because Trollope's "pet heroine", Ayala does. Tom and Imogen Dulcimer never meet. She is given a name from Shakespeare's romantic Cymbeline, that of a heroine who meant much to Victorians (see Hazlitt in his Characters of Shakespeare's plays. She's another one to watch. Numbers of the characters are given rich inner lives, and those we see from an angle on the outside are endlessly suggestive about how to get through life.
Cheers to all,
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] The Sublime Ayala
Welcome back, Ellen! I'm looking forward to our group read of Ayala's Angel. In addition to being a delightful story, the book has some unforgettable characters. We also get a peek at what happened to some of our friends in The American Senator. There are balls, fox hunts, lovers, fools, and fun in this wonderful book. The days are getting longer, spring is on its way, and Ayala and her friends will be splendid company for all!
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] The Sublime Ayala
Like Catherine, I'm also looking forward to commenting on Ayala, although perhaps I don't like her as much as most of our readership will. But we can talk about that later. But Catherine is right in that there are some really good characters in the novel, mainly the aspirant sons-in-law who wish to join themselves to whatever wealth is on their horizon. Again, we have the old problem, which Trollope highlighted so well in The Prime Minister: What does an impoverished yet gentle person do in life if he or she cannot marry money? And, as Catherine pointed out, we meet again a more domesticated Larry Twentyman and Lord Rufford, as usual riding after foxes.
Re: The Romance Names and Names of the Characters
Ayala is an unusual name, and recalls a couple of other 'A' names for women in English which one doesn't hear very often, e.g., Aphra (as in Aphra Behn). I haven't begun to reread the book yet, and don't remember if Trollope's narrator explains the provenance of the name: why did the father and mother choose it and where does it come from? It does sound to my ears like a 'romance lady' name: that would put it in the category of 'Clarissa', 'Isabel', 'Laura', 'Julia'. These are names people do name their daughters, but they also have a history of associations with romance heroines, usually stemming from the 18th century, but sometimes earlier, as in those impossible-to- pronounce Greek-French sounding names one comes across in earlier French novels, ancient Greek romances and Elizabethan and Jacobean pastoral plays. The name 'Imogen Dulcimer' is also redolent of romance associations: 'Imogen' familiar to us from Shakespeare's Cymbeline (one of these Jacobean pastoral plays I refer to above). I mention 'Isabel' and 'Laura' to include myself in this as these are the names I choose for my daughters.
Trollope is having a bit of fun with us as he calls the other sister, 'Lucy', traditionally not a romance lady name, traditionally 'ordinary and home-y', like Jane, Elizabeth, Emma. Some names hover between the two poles: they can be made to feel romantic. Such a name might be: Margaret. Isn't it Aunt Margaret Dosett. I think of the lovely Yeats poems on Margaret. One feels about this woman that she could have been a dreamer, had her life permitted it. Her very astringency, her intense refusal to allow the whiff of a dream near her suggests how intensely tempting it might be, how strong is her insistent sublimation.
Perhaps one element that makes for a romance lady name is its strangeness, the difficulty of pronouncing it. How does one pronounce Alcione or Alcyone? (That's the name of a heroine in a seventeenth century romance by Scudery). Names thought to be ordinary and everyday can always be pronounced; they are often one or two syllables. It's the romance lady name that is 5. We often cut down longer women's names to nicknames, and in so doing make them more 'comfortable'.
Trollope is ever alive to the allegorical and irrational association people in general and individually give to names. He uses names skilfully -- for humor, to epitomize and sum up (Mr Toogood, Slow and Bideawhile, the lawyers; NeartheWind and Closerstill, campaign managers), but also suggestively. We know that Ayala is to be the 'pet' heroine because she's given the romance lady name, and Lucy clearly isn't. Yet Lucy's young man is one Isadore Hamel. Another curiosity to watch is Ayala's response to the name Jonathan Stubbs. I mean "Stubbs". I hazard the assertion that people's names do affect us, and confide that I have known women who told me they didn't like a man because of a name he had, or felt uncomfortable about the name. I have a friend whose decision to keep her maiden name after marriage was partly predicated on her dislike of her husband's last name: it lacked macho power :) Trollope plays with this kind of thing in this novel.
Date: 11 Jan 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Ayala's name
Just found this in the Penguin Companion to Trollope:
"Trollope, who was devoted to champagne, probably took Ayala's unusual name from the well-known champagne house established in France in 1860 by the son of a Colombian diplomat."
[trollope-l] An E-Text of Ayala's Angel & Online Trollope
In response to Judy and anyone else having trouble finding a copy of Ayala's Angel, we do in this case have the option of an online text. Yes, some true enthusiast has typed the whole of this book, and you can find it at:
I would find reading such a large book on a screen off-putting, but if a reader does follow the schedule and only attempts 5-6 chapters a week, it might not be that bad on the eyes or back. I know we had some people who wanted to read _Is He Popenjoy?_ and didn't because they couldn't locate a copy; for Ayala we have at least one available to everyone who can get onto the World Wide Web. I should have included this citation in my introduction. I simply forgot about it. I also don't include the very cheap orange Penguins partly because the texts are so poor, there are no notes, the books are pasted, and they are just not cited in bibliographies which are my sources. (I don't invent my citations out of thin air; I go to a printed or online source.) Recently too they have been falling out of print -- books fall out of print or go out of stock quickly nowadays as the large conglomerates which are buying up the smaller publishers often discard their backlist.
It's curious what texts by Trollope are online. The other two I know about are The Warden and Lady Anna. The first one might expect -- it's well-known, often a favorite, short and for many readers shows in little central characteristics of Trollope's art and moral vision. But the second? It sold badly, has not been a favorite, is not particularly short (a two-volumer). The criteria for these online texts often seems really to be, Is there someone who likes this book well enough to type it? or Is there somewho who thinks this text is important enough to pay someone (minimally -- the pay is very bad) to type it for them so he or she can include it in some sets of 'classic' texts?
There may be other Trollope e-texts. I have never done a search for each and every text or even a lackadaisical general one. Perhaps some enthusiast amongst us would like to? If you do, please come onto our list and tell us what you have found.
These etexts are very useful in ways printed books are not. I once looked very hard (persistently) for an etext of Trollope's An Autobiography and couldn't find it. This was sometime ago (when I was writing my chapter in my book on An Autobiography. The reason I wanted this etext was once I had it I could have used software to do word searches. I did that for Lady Anna (which formed one of the chapters in my book). E-texts can allow studies in ways the human brain is not readily capable of. I 'own' and have on my email account at GMU all six of Jane Austen's novels: this means I can do searches anytime I want for words, phrases, scenes, all sorts of stuff. If, for example, I wanted to study her use of letters, it is so much easier than trying to study the letters in Trollope's novels where such searches across the corpus are just not possible as yet.
Date: 11 Jan 2001
Reply-To: email@example.com Subject: [trollope-l] An E-Text of _Ayala's Angel_
Last fall I bought a CD Rom called "Bookshop Classics" at Best Buy for $4.99. According to the blurb on the back it "contains over 1,000 classic literary works by Chaucer, Dickens, Poe, Shakespeare and more ... includes complete text for each title". Imagine my surprise when I found that the one Trollope work it contains is Ayala's Angel . The disk is put out by SimplyMedia which can be found at www.simplymedia.com
Actually, it's a rather eclectic collection, containing among other things, the CIA's manual Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, Martin Luther's Theologia Germanica, The inaugural addresses of all the US presidents from George Washington to George Bush, The Magna Carta and lots more. I don't know how they picked the titles; there doesn't seem to be any theme or system.