Date: Tue, 1 May 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Trollope and son in Australia
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been reading a book called A Tale of Two Brothers: Charles Dickens's Sons in Australia, by Mary Lazarus. Although the book is mainly about the Dickens family, it also has some interesting information about Trollope and his son Frederic, and Australian life at this time, which I thought I'd pass on.
Lazarus suggests that Dickens's son Alfred may have been partly inspired to think about emigrating by Frederic's example. She writes:
In 1863 Anthony Trollope's son Frederic emigrated to Australia and appeared to have adapted himself well to station life in New South Wales. Trollope and Dickens, though not close friends, knew one another, and Alfred is likely to have heard of Frederic's emigration. In the next few years he would surely have been interested in all oversea news and to have read the articles about Australia in All the Year Round (the magazine Dickens edited at this time).
One in August 1863 deplored the democratic tendencies in Melbourne; people of "the lowest class who have made their fortunes at the diggings" lived in handsome houses while "scions of great families in England and men who have taken honours in universities are found driving cabs, serving in the police or following the profession of tavern waiters". The "new chum" who was thought to "give himself airs" was "a favourite mark of satire" and was resented "very severely".
This whole passage reminded me of "John Caldigate", where Mr Crinkett would seem to fit the bill of somebody of a lower social class (perhaps not "the lowest", but "not a gentleman") who has made a fortune at the diggings and built his mansion - while Dick is highly educated by comparison... but struggles to make a living and is soon a shepherd in the Queensland bush.
Jumping a few years forward in time, in 1872 Lazarus says Frederic Trollope ran into trouble because of a long drought. Alfred Dickens was at a station in the same area and she suspects he suffered similar financial losses. In June of that year, she writes:
"Anthony Trollope had visited his son Frederic at his station, Mortray, near Forbes, on the Lachlan. Frederic had had great losses, despite the fact that, as his father wrote, "I never knew a man work with more persistent honesty at his trade than he has done." Despite the fact, too, that his father had invested "several thousands of pounds" which were "lost on the venture". Mortray remained in Frederic's name for a few years, but it was heavily mortgaged and some weeks before his father's visit it had been transferred to the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency."
Both Frederic Trollope and Alfred Dickens applied for the vacant post of magistrate at this time, in competition with one another, but it was Frederic who got the job, after his father wrote to the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, "asking him to use his good offices on Fred's behalf". A friend of Alfred Dickens had written to the Attorney-General on his behalf, but Lazarus says his recommendation would have been overridden by one from the Premier.
The book continues: "If, as seems likely, Alfred Dickens was in the Forbes area at the same time as Anthony Trollope, it is probable that they met. Trollope and Alfred had a common friend (or as Trollope would have said a 'joint friend') in GW Rusden. Trollope presented Rusden with a copy of the first volume of Forster's Life of Dickens inscribed "In remembrance of our joint friend Charles Dickens."
Later on, in December 1884, Dickens's youngest son, Edward, worked under Frederic Trollope for a time in the outback. "Edward was appointed one of the inspectors of runs (small land-holdings) and had to report to the Land Board at Bourke. The chairman of the Wilcannia Board arrived in December 1884. He was Frederic Trollope, who, when his property finally passed out of his hands, had entered the Public Service. Though the local paper reported his arrival, it made no mention of the strange coincidence that the sons of two of the most notable novelists of the century should both at the same time have been in this small settlement in the outback of Australia."
Both Frederic Trollope and Edward Dickens were later invited to a dinner to honour a visiting Minister who had travelled out to Wilcannia, which was a very remote area.
"There were many speeches, the Mayor proposing the toast to the Minister and Edward the Press. Perhaps with Barchester Towers and Bishop Proudie in mind, Frederic Trollope had been asked to toast the clergy and the Bishop of Riverina."
Bye for now
Re: John Caldigate: A Post-Colonial Novel?
According to a book I have been reading on post-colonial approaches to literature and culture, post-colonial literature begins from the first point of contract between the people who come from powerful states to colonialize the native people in the less powerful states. Thus post-colonial literature of Australia begins whenever the first English people came over to settle it as a colony.
To look at John Caldigate as a post-colonial novel is perhaps to over-emphasize the early chapters and de-emphasize the psychological and ethical themes which come out of the latter ones. However, the roots of Caldigate's "success" derive from his having gone to Australia and brought wealth back from it. The roots of his ambiguous position dervie from his having gone to Australia and lived freely in this unrestricted culture where the new hierarchies did not form as a result of who your grandparents were in England but what was the nature of your character. He has lived with Mrs Smith in Australia openly as he never would have in England. Thus the nature of the experience there colours the whole novel. People in talking of, writing about, and making movies from Austen's Mansfield Park find in the sequence where Sir Thomas goes away to bring his (probably) slave plantations back to the point where they are money-making so as to keep his estate in England up argue about the importance of parallels between Fanny's position and those of subject peoples in Antigua and how her brother's highly militaristic career play out centrally in the themes of the book. Yet there are no long chapters about Antigua; Australia is the first third of the book, and the past for Caldigate will become ever more present as the people there begin to show up in England.
There's a very interesting passage in John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy which reveal to us how Austen's generation and, as Judy has outlined, Trollope and Dickens themselves and their sons and progeny after that regarded such colonies:
These [outlying possessions of ours] are hardly to be looked upon as countries carrying on an exchange of commodities with other countries, but more properly as outlying agricultural or manufacturing estates belonging to a large community. Our West Indian colonies, for example, cannot be regarded as countries with a productive capital of their won ... [but rather are] the place where England finds it convenient to carry on the production of sugar ... [and many other natural products] ... All the capital employed is English capital ... [everything done and made there is eventually to be sold] for the benefit of the proprietors there. The trade with the West Indies is hardly to be considered an external trade, but more resembles the traffic between town and country ...
Substitute Australia for the West Indies, gold and other commodities for sugar, indentured servants and transported prisoners for slaves, and you have the same picture. In fact what Caldigate got in Australia is being used to settle his debts, shore up Folking buy him a that trophy wife he so dreamt of for years (or so he says).
It is interesting how Trollope and Dickens themselves fought for places in the governments of these new states when the very difficult effort to work the land and bring forth wealth from it proved beyond the capabilities of even such sustained effort as Fred Trollope gave it. And Trollope told the truth about his son (you can read a strong parable about him in Harry Heathcote).
We can profitably think about a few things that this novel brings before us in ways only the short travel stories (several of which are stories of colonial life) and a few of the novels (mostly the shorter ones) which take place outside England and outside its restricted bourgeois world hint at. Why do they just hint at it? Because in a novel like The Golden Lion (catholic France) or Nina Balatka (Prague, an intermarriage), the plot does not yoke England with the "other" country. Only Lady Anna adumbrates this at its close, and that is in order to provide a qualified happy ending -- severely qualified as until the end Lady Anna's mother is as cold and unforgiving of her daughter as we might imagine a Mrs Bolton would be were she less hysterical.
What are these?
What does John Caldigate reveal about the identities and characters of people when they move from one country to another? What is the relationship between one's morality and where one lives, what one does, one's place in an area?
How does this book represent life in Australia? how does it represent its relationship to life in England? This would link it to the short stories and Harry Heathcote.
What does it tell us about the fragility of class, of blood? Also how England was using the place. How people were sending their "extra" sons out there, especially those who had no inherited wealth or positions to fall back upon.
How does this book reinforce colonialist ideology (the idea that English people have the right to do this) through its silences and characterisations of life in Australia?
Trollope is also, as ever, writing about himself, his life, and how he felt about hierarchies, character, morals, men and women. What does this book with its colonial spaces -- we have a book that crosses the earth -- tell us about all these?
It's worth thinking about in the year 2001.
May 16, 2001
Re: John Caldigate, Chs 31-36: Hester's Spoken Rationales v her Behavior and State of Mind
This is both to admire this week's powerful intelligent scenes and to register a dissatisfaction with the depiction of Hester's spoken rationales versus her behavior and state of mind.
The six chapters which form a kind of unit in which the Boltons lure Hester to their home, attempt to persuade and then to coerce her into leaving her husband to live with them are superbly well done. First it is made believable. The story of a young woman whose family tyrannizes her, especially when it comes to her use of her body and sexual experience, is one familiar to English novels from Richardson's Clarissa on. What Trollope has added to it is reality. He doesn't exaggerate any aspect of it: Hester's brothers hesitate, stay away; the father knows that this is deeply inhumane and wrong. He is pressured into it because it is for the moment even more unpleasant to stop his wife, and if Hester submits, his life will be more comfortable with his wife afterwards. The baby is sent upstairs to sleep; breast-feeding makes it impossible to use the baby as a decoy, a hostage. The two women are presented realistically; they tire; they fall asleep early in the night and then must wait for the dawn to come. I have already remarked on Trollope's courage in showing what the real idea of motherhood is about in the mind of a woman like Mrs Bolton (and she is not that exaggerated): "'I will not be conquered by my own child'. There spoke the human being ... I will not be beat by one who has been subject to my authority'" (Folio Society John Caldigate, introd. RCTerry, Ch 36, p. 279)
Trollope picks up that what permits this kind of destruction of an individual is custom: Caldigate thinks to go to the Mayor at first, but he demurs because he knows the community sense is against him; when he finally does go to the Mayor, the man refuses to use his power over legal violence to free Hester. Very often in life what determines people's behavior is not law but deep custom which is oftentimes somewhat at odds with law; law often presents the extreme while in life much experience is moderated by tiny conflicting circumstances and individual considerations. At the same time the Mayor will not use his power over legal violence on behalf of the Boltons. Thus we have a stalemate, but a stalemate that reflects community ambivalence. In the US one may see a similar stalemate playing itself out continually in the abortion debates. Trollope presents this in terms of the Mayor's consciousness, Caldigate's, the Bolton males. It is rare that the basis of the conflict between an open and a closed society is so skilfully caught in a believable familial story.
That Trollope has this conflict or distance between law and custom in mind is made clear by the explicit way in which he allows Hester to formulate her dread in going to her house, her suspicion that her father-in-law is right to worry:
"But would the law allow itself to be used readily for this purpose? She, too, could understand that the feeling of the community would be against her, and that in such a case the law might allow itself to become slow, lethargic, and perhaps inoperative, yielding to the popular feeling (Folio Society John Caldigate, introd RCTerry, Ch 34, "Violence", p. 263).
When the Mayor thinks in response to pressure, our narrator repeatedly brings in how different parts of the community feel differently about this situation: the older bourgeois and gentry, those who are themselves married, on the side of the Boltons, the younger and poorer people on the side of the couple (Ch 36, "The Escape", p. 276, beginning with "The steady married people ...").
It is believable that the servants get involved: they identify with their employers.
The use of the public scene as a mortification is remarkably true to life because it is both horrible and yet so banal. How raw, how humiliating it all is, and yet how people will act in this way, accept it and when it is over, trivialize, brush it away as unimportant, forgettable. When something is intensely desired or hated, such ravaging in public is endured:
" ... as this day went on, Hester became at times almost hysterical in her efforts to communicate with her husband through the window, holding up her baby and throwing back her head, and was almost in convulsions in her efforts to get at him. He on the other side thundered at the door with the knocker, till that instrument had been unscrewed from within. But still he could knock with his stick and shout with his voice; while the people outside the iron gates stood looking on in a crowd. In the course of the day Robert Bolton endeavoured to get an order from the magistrates for the removal of Caldigate by the police. But the mayor would not assent to that. Old Mr Bolton was the owner of the house, and if there was a nuisance to be complained of, it was he that must complain. The mayor during these days was much tried ... (Ch 36, p. 276).
The use of a rationale, the lip service paid to the conventional law -- that the owner of a house is the only one who can call for the police -- is perfect here. This is not the reason why the Mayor doesn't call the police in. How often laws provide a pretext for actions which everyone knows have nothing to do with law.
Little details light up the specifics of the situation: "'I cannot allow this; I cannot allow this,' said Mr Bolton, when he shuffled down in his slippers" (Ch 36, p. 278). The shuffling in the slippers: the inner man as well as the outer is caught there. The whispering everyone does: Bergman calls one of his films, "Cries and Whispers". Trollope has written as well but never better than in the dialogue between the mother and daughter when the daughter falls on the floor (Ch 36, p. 278, "'Hester speak to me ... "); it's wonderful how we are allowed to see what this word love means here, how the word duty is put into service.
And yet, there is gap, an untruth. Hester is too idealised. Her words are entirely those of obedience. She wants to obey her husband; she loves him and believes in him utterly. Trollope registers not a slither of doubt in her, not an anxiety. The surface content of her rationales are presented wholly in terms of pious cant. She registers no hatred of her parents, only a kind of frantic resentment and despair, and the minute she is freed, she is presented as running up to her mother to kiss her. At no point does she utter one word of rebellion or anger at anyone. I submit her inner life as it is presented through her words are unreal, one-dimensional, not even two. Her behavior appeals to us so strongly, but there is nothing in her thoughts to make it an adult experience. Her words to her parents remain that of a child; her words to her husband remain that of the loyal devoted wife at all points, especially when it comes to the word "obedience".
The reason is not far to seek: Trollope does not want his reader to question Hester's motives: he wants all his readers to be on her side. Since she is clearly willing to live with Caldigate even if it is discovered he is legally married to the other woman (which she tells her mother), he cannot present this in terms of sexual adhesion or distaste for her life with her parents or psychological realities which show the falsity and fragility of laws and customs which insist on legalising all forms so that they are controlled by society.
The words themselves, though, are idiosyncratic with Trollope. I have now read enough Victorian novels to be able to say that this way of using the criteria of obedience to justify his female character's behavior or to castigate it from the husband's point of view is wholly atypical. Thackeray does not talk this way; Dickens does not talk this way; Gaskell does not talk this way; George Eliot does not talk this way .... It is Trollope who presents his males as explicitly demanding obedience as a way of dramatizing their anxiety over their wives' sexual behavior and loyalty. It is Trollope who presents his ideal wives as explicitly adhering to the vow of obedience as a way of dramatizing them as pure, good, controlled in their sexual life, utterly socially just. I can only think that he saw it this way in his conscious thoughts -- partly because of his own need to dominate a situation with a woman and his anxiety over his inability to. Also because of what he saw happen between his father and mother.
At any rate, the inner life of Hester as presented in these chapters is not adequate to the dramatized situation. We are given enough hints in her words, in the reality that a baby was born, in the reality of how represive her life was in the house (the evening she arrives we are told she suddenly feels how alive her life has been since she left this home and how still it was for her before she married), to know that her reasons for staying with Caldigate, were she a wholly probable figure when seen from within, have far deeper motives than a mindless obedience to whatever her husband asks of her. Who takes this seriously? It would justify Caldigate doing anything he wants. But it is very dissatisfying and detracts from the novel's truth to life and ability to do some cultural work of freeing the reader, of teaching the reader, to blank out on the complexity of the heroine's psychological motives. It is here that we see the distance between John Caldigate and a book like Anna Karenina. Still there are so many Victorian novels that never get anywhere near what we have in Caldigate.
Here the reader needs to know that at the time a group of us on Trollope-l were reading and writing about John Caldigate, some of the same people were reading and writing about Walter Scott's Rob Roy:
May 17, 2001
Re: Die Vernon, Euphemia Smith (Caldigate?) & Hester Bolton (Caldigate?)
Since our discussion of Hester, Die Vernon, and Euphemia Smith (our three heroines for the nonce) has taken mostly the form of praise, I'd like distinguish what we praise them for. It reveal something of the nature of Scott's and Trollope's art, and some paradoxes about their readership.
In the case of Hester what we are praising her for is how she is acting in the story at ultimate moments. We are praising her goals in the context of her circumstances. That is, what we like is how she appears in terms of her choices and decisions, which are a function of the dilemma Trollope has conjured up. I suggest we do not like her particularly for herself -- her inner life. She is given very little. She seems to have no thoughts or functions or ideas in our text beyond first her love for her man, then her baby, and now her loyalty. Just about every statement and thought she is given comes from this. It is not too much to say she is therefore somewhat one-dimensional -- not psychologically in the situation as imagined -- but as a personality. I hope I will be forgiven for saying she is dull or nothing beyond this.
This is less true of Euphemia Smith. In the earliest parts of the novel she manifests tastes and interests and even opinions (about life) which are not plot-rooted. She has ideas beyond her function in the story. One could imagine having a dinner conversation with her about books or travel or how to cope with other people and the nature of decisions for adults. All these things she comments on. Still Trollope soon drops this matter, and she moves on the plot. When we see her next her thoughts -- persuasive as they are, psychologically just in her situation -- will not give us anything about this woman as a woman beyond her function and therefore meaning in her story.
Now when we praise Die Vernon, we do not praise her merely or even for her function in the plot. As of next week (I have gotten to the end of next week's instalment), we still know very little of the story -- though as an old-time reader of romances and particularly of historical romances I can guess what's to come. (George Eliot did do a sharp trick in her Romola by creating a plot and characters which evolved unexpectedly despite a continual array of conventional signs.) However, it's guess work and not in the text. What we enjoy in Diana Vernon is her conversation, her tastes, her attitudes, her wit. We like her abilities with repartee, her analysis of other characters, such as Rashleigh; her astute commentary to Osbaldistone which shows her more aware of what his personality is than he is. She is given long paragraphs of intelligent sparkling talk too which the narrator picks up and blends into the background of the story, the physical realities of the house, the library. She is more of a central personage and more interesting, keeps the story going far more than Osbaldistone who is, like many of Trollope's heroes, not at all the macho- male type, something of a melancholic, with a strong tendency to withdrawal. Not that I don't like this. In fact Trollope's hero's unconventional masculinity -- the fact that they don't embody the usual steretypes -- is part of what gives his stories their peculiar attraction to both men and women readers. However, unlike Trollope who likes to develop the melancholic withdrawn isolated personality at length and put it at the center of a tale (e.g., Rev Crawley, in Lady Anna the Countess of Lovell and the proud working-class tailor Daniel Thwaite), Scott shies away from going into the inner life of such people except through what they do in his novels and what is done to them.
There is a sort of paradox here. I suggest that what has given Trollope his continuous readership since his books first came into print -- even if it was a minimal one from around 1890 to 1940 -- is his characteristic efficiency. His stories move while they are psychological, and one reason for this is the psychologizing is rooted in the story and moves it forward. We rarely get psychologizing for its own sake. He is aware of this as an artist: in his An Autobiography he writes that the story must always be moving forward. He also says speeches must be short (Oxford classics An Autobiography, rev ed PDEdwards, "Proportion" "Beware of Tedium", pp. 239-241). The speeches Scott gives Die Vernon are unrealistic; no one would really talk that way at length -- though they might write that way, and that we realise we are reading writing allows Scott and many other novelists and biographers to get away with somewhat unrealistic speeches for the sake of presenting entertaining stimulating thoughtful matter.
It's interesting to note that Trollope will occasionally give a few heroines some real speeches with matter and depth: Alice Vavasour, Lady Glen come to mind. However, even here what they have to say is always about their relationship to men, to society as run by men, to politics of human relationships, very very rarely about their tastes and desires apart from that, themselves as individual human beings. He does do that for a very few heroes: among them, Plantagenet Palliser. Here we have one reason women today often find reading Trollope so frustrating. The full paradox is then that precisely what has kept Trollope his readership is what keeps his texts too thin, too narrow, and from the male point of view for women readers especially. Women today, I hope, see themselves as more than adjuncts to men, in more ways than as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. Their identity has many other aspects, and, like men's, is not to be wholly defined in accordance with social roles.
The pleasures of Scott's texts are what makes him less realistic, and led to a real decline in his readership throughout most of the 20th century. Not all his novels have women at the center who are interesting and varied in the manner of Die Vernon -- though a number do, and often the women are interesting as they respond in talk to a larger political situation which they are not looking at from the point of view of complaint that they have not as much power as men, which is really what the talk of Alice Vavasour and Lady Glen and many a Trollope heroine is sheerly about (e.g. think of Emily Trevelyan, Laura Kennedy). When does Lady Carbury (The Way We Live Now) talk about the content of her books beyond in the most mercenary manner? Throughout Scott's novels there are long fascinating passages, as often as not given to a heroine, about matter far more varied than whether someone should marry, is lonely, or has made a morally right decision. There, like Trollope, Scott shows us that morality is relative.
So I would say that Die Vernon is a much more satisfying heroine than either of John Caldigate's possible wives. We cannot define her, limit her by who she chooses to marry. There is a rich suggestiveness about Die. If I were to try to imagine her outside her story, I can see myself having a good conversation with her about all sorts of things. It's appropriate to mention that at the time reviewers particularly commended Scott for his portrayal of this female character, and she was remembered and imitated in pro-feminist novels like Meredith's Diana of the Crossways.
Scott was loved and read by Daphne DuMaurier. I am teaching Rebecca this summer, and in her diary and letters I have come across a number of references. I speculate that Rashleigh is an allusion. DuMaurier has some Die Vernon like characters. Is Rashleigh a clever villian, Rhett-Butler type, Gene?
NB: People have suggested that the name "Die" seems to them odd. I haven't paid close attention, but it seems those who have registered the name as an "oddity" have been English or British. Here in the US "Die" or "Di" is (in my experience) a common nickname for Diana. In US newspapers stories about the late Princess of Wales often used headlines like "LADY DI" this or "PRINCESS DI" that. Perhaps this one of those instances where older British forms came over to the US and continued on.
Cheers to all,
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] Scott and Trollope: Plot and Hero Types: "hero violating a moral law" and having to undergo a punitive ordeal to be restored to the community, or Victim-Hero
If I generalise too broadly on Scott in what follows it's that I haven't read enough Scott as an older person. Blake said "to generalize is to be an idiot"; however, generalizations are the stuff of sentences which make sense of phenomena.
So here is a perspective which takes both Scott and Trollope into account: as Sig knows, on Arthurnet we have been having a thread about archetypal plots (called "morphologies"), and various people have been defining types. During this now-long read on three lesser known books by Trollope I have been struck by his frank exegesis of male sexuality both in terms of its apprehensions against a macho male paradigm encouraged by most cultures and its real interactions with real women as figured forth in Trollope's female characters. The plot types of Trollope's earlier novels seem to swirl around miscommunication between characters and between characters and their society (this is particularly clear in The Small House at Allington where Lily is exploited by Adolphus Crosbie, and he destroyed by a society whose mores he interpreted as allowing him to so exploit her, and where Johnny cannot get the woman he wants because he can't manipulate communications adroitly).
I have been arguing that the plot-design of John Caldigate resembles that of the archetypal "hero violating a moral law" and having to undergo a punitive ordeal to be restored to the community. In a posting sent to Arthurnet by Bruce Beattie (based on a book by Vladmir Propp who studied the structures of fairy and folk tales and applied these to "great" literature), Beattie identifies the kind of plot we see in John Caldigate as about a Victim-Hero. To use the adjective "Victim" is to point out that the usual archetypes are at work (quest, ordeal, journey, attempts at communication, the plot based on desire for a valued object), except that the hero is someone judged unfairly by the community around him and the emphasis in the story will be a process undergone by the hero -- from within. Caldigate is not a false hero or a villain, and he is used to highlight critiques of the world, both outward and inward, Trollope lived in. According to Propp's analysis, the hero type often has helpers who are family members (Caldigate's father, his second or "real" wife, Hester); he has undergone a test (gone to Australia) and while he has succeeded in some ways, he has broken tabooes to do it, is going to be branded, and will have to live with that. It is interesting that Caldigate does not play tricks on anyone, although he does deceive the Boltons. Perhaps the payment is Trollope's way of showing how Caldigate is not a trickster. In this he links back to Johnny Eames whose problem was he was simply too truthful, too candid -- as was Lily Dale.
How does this link to Scott? Well the victim-hero is often ultimately passive -- and how true this is of many of Trollope's sensitive heroes. Scott's plot-design is clearly the traditional quest. The hero or heroine is on a quest to do something. In Mid-Lothian, Jeannie Dean exculpates her sister from the serious charge of infanticide -- or gets a pardon for it, I forget which, it doesn't matter. Rob Roy resembles the couple of novels I have recently read and a few I remember by Scott in that the hero is more or less dragged into a journey in which he goes deeper and deeper into Scots culture and Scots history. I have gotten to next week's chapters and the climax of the book seems to me to be Osbaldistone's encounter with Rob Roy. And Rob Roy is a charismatic presence. This reminds me of so many Scott novels where the hero or heroine about 3/4s of the way through finally meets the numinous historical presence (be it Mary Queen of Scotts, Richard the Lionhearted, Charles Edward, Louis XI, &c&c).
In Scott's case then the plot-design permits us to journey into Scots history and culture and meet up with a figure who contains it in him. In Trollope's the plot-design permits us to see the hero's inward life against the pretended and actual mores of his or her society. Both are much interested in custom and law.
Just a few thoughts. I haven't treated these plot-designs adequately, but hope this way of looking at Scott and Trollope helps bring them together in the same era and show where they intersect and where they differ
Cheers to all,
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001
Subject: [trollope-l] John Caldigate
I started John Caldigate way behind the schedule and saved all the posts until I had finished it. That was last evening, and I was so moved that I cried. I won't spoil the end except to say that it moved me greatly. I also thank Ellen for the suggestion of so many Trollope titles that I would never have known. He certainly should be read somewhere in high school even if only in an Honors class. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I never read him even in college and grad school as an English major. But I am certainly catching up now.
Now for a few thoughts: I don't think Maryanne Bolton (mother) and Hester (daughter) are similar at all. Maryanne is the religious fanatic who uses her religion to manipulate others, to maintain control and to damn others to hell. Hester is truly religious in her caring for others. And Trollope must have had something like organized religion as a touchstone, for the most caring person in the novel is Daniel Caldigate who is if not an atheist at least an independent believer. He grows; Maryanne does not.
Hester and John, each immature in different ways at the beginning of the novel, grow also into a deep and caring love for each other. I don't think Hester is blinding herself to support her husband. I believe that what they have experienced with each other (and part of that is the intimate relationship which remains unwritten) is strong, caring and productive. What bothers me about Hester is that she is still so caring of her mother and so quick to forgive her and verbalize her love for her. Mrs. Bolton is a monster, and I would never want to see her again if she had locked me away. That is one of the most painful scenes in literature that I have ever read.
I agree with the lack of depth in Euphemia Smith. I'm sure she has her story, too.
This was a wonderful story, and Trollope has become one of my favorite writers.