Notes to "Trollope's Comfort Romances for Men: Heterosexual Male Heroism in his Work"
1Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography, ed. Michael Sadleir and Frederick Page, introd. notes. P. D. Edwards (1950; rev. ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1980). As there is no agreed-upon collected edition of all Trollope's works, I will for each text I use throughout this paper quote from readily available academically-prepared texts. There are many studies of Trollope arguing that he wrote ironically, but the starting point for this irony is usually placed after the opening sequence about Trollope's boy and young manhood; see, e.g., Peter Allen, "Trollope to His Readers: The Unreliable Narrator of An Autobiography," Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 19:1 (1996): 1-18.
2For an excellent discussion of the meaning of the term "manly" and all its cognates, see John Toss, Manliness and Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Essays on Gender, Family and Empire (Longman, 2005), see particularly 33-34, 44, 73, 87-90. Jane Nardin, He Knew She Was Right: The Independent Woman in the Novels of Anthony Trollope (Carbondale and Edwardsville: So. Illinois UP, 1989), 165. P. D. Edwards remarks that Trollope's characters very rarely crack in front of us; I put this down to his valuing of manliness as safety and peace. See his introduction to An Autobiography, xii-xiv, and Anthony Trollope: His Art and Scope (St Lucia, Queensland: Queensland UP, 1977):1-8. Nardin is accurate when she identifies Will Belton, the farmer hero of The Belton Estate as one of Trollope's most exemplary cynoscures of manliness among his many manly heterosexual male characters. On Jonathan Stubbs of Ayala's Angel, see below.
3Anthony Trollope, The Macdermots of Ballycloran, ed., introd. Owen Dudley Edwards (London: Trollope Society, 1991). Johnny Eames's physical instinctive aggression is justified by a moral aim: he saves an old man and Adolphus Crosbie is a "con-founded rascal" and "scoundrel"; see Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington, ed. James R. Kincaid (London: Oxford UP, 1980):233, 364-72. Among the heroes who are not financially independent, seeking a career in public, or convinced of the real usefulness of their efforts by the close of the book I instance Mark Robarts, John Grey and Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium. See, e.g., Anthony Trollope, The Duke's Children, ed., introd. Hermione Lee (Oxford: Oxford UP, 193):196 (The Duke to his young idealistic son: "It is the grind that makes the happiness ...")
4Again see Tosh, Manliness and Masculinities, this time on "masculinity" as a term for discussing sexual norms among heterosexual men, 68-69. Anthony Trollope, The Belton Estate, ed. John Halperin (1923; rev ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1986). In The Belton Estate Clara Amedroz almost chooses a wretched life because she is strongly attracted to Captain Aylmer's "position in the world," her "feeling that he was a man of influence," "a man of fashion," "always looks like a gentleman," "reads admired books," and has the glamor of an unknown private (possibly amoral) sexual life in London (10- 11:126-33).
5Although Ruth apRoberts argues that Priscilla Stanbury is not a lesbian, I find in her essay much proof that she is (along with Lizzie Eustace and a Mrs Leslie whom Lizzie ends up living with); see Ruth apRoberts, "Emily and Nora and Dorothy and Priscilla and Jemima and Carry," The Victorian Experience: The Novelists, ed. R. A. Levine (Akron, Ohio: Ohio UP, 1976):102-4, note 14. See my own argument and quotation from He Knew He Was Right ("I have a distaste for men ..."), in Ellen Moody, Trollope on the Net (London: Trollope Society and Hambledon Press, 1999):77-78. Miss Todd appears in both Miss Mackenzie and The Bertrams; Aunt Sarah Germaine appears in Is He Popenjoy? Trollope's presents and often undercuts stereotypical attractiveness as having height or stature, bigness of frame, blondeness, large breasts. Trollope's women characters of this type are often cold (e.g. the frigid Griselda Grantly in the Barsetshire cycle, and the manipulative Arabella Trefoil in The American Senator).
6See "Lady Lufton and the Duke of Omnium," Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage, edd. David Skilton and Peter Miles (NY: Penguin, 1984):347-51; Trollope asked Millais to illustrate the incident where Lady Lufton "bests" the Duke; see N. John Hall, Hall, Anthony Trollope and His Illustrators (New York: St Martin's Press, 1980), pp. 21-24. The incident where the Duke apologizes to Madame Max is much praised in Trollope's criticism, e.g., John H. Hagan, "The Duke's Children: Trollope's Psychological Masterpiece," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 13:1958):1-23; Lowry Pei, "The Duke's Children: Reflection and Reconciliation," Modern Language Quarterly, 39 (1978):284-302. Rajiva, Hagan, and Pei seemed unconcerned about the sexual basis of Palliser's mistrust and what, if anything, Mrs Finn gains by this apology. Trollope's preference for small dove-like brunettes, thin and non-descript includes his feminine or womanly exemplary women, e.g., Lucy Robarts. In The Androgynous Trollope: Attitudes to Women Amongst Early Victorian Novelists (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982), Rajiva Wijesinha presents Madame Max as an exemplary manly woman in Trollope; she is a "comrade" and "partner" to Phineas in Nardin, 193-201.
7Some have objected to this subject matter, on the basis that there is nothing interesting to discuss in Trollope. It's said that everywhere in Trollope are heterosexual males whose sexuality Trollope is uninterested in, or deals opaquely with, or is utterly conventional about. See, for example, Joanna Trollope's cavalier dismissal of Trollope's men in her radio talk and paper, "Trollope and Sex," Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society, 29 (1995):19-20.
8This is not the place to, nor do I have room to discuss feminist readings of Trollope's women. My paper is indebted to two especially: first, Nardin's He Knew He Was Right, where despite Nardin's manifest well-intentioned desire reveal Trollope as an original analyser, daring, and feminist, most of the book is taken up with showing how limited is his depiction of women through much of his career, pp. 1-175. His subversions are all very subtle. Second, Margaret Markwick's Trollope and Women (London: Trollope Society, 1997):144-56. Markwick's analysis of male sexuality in Is He Popenjoy? is central to my analysis of that novel. I am not the first person to argue in print that Trollope's depictions of women are limited in central ways. See Anthony Powell, The Soldier's Art, Autumn, A Dance to the Music of Time (1964; rpt. New York: Popular Library, 1976):46-48 ("women don't analyse their own predicaments as there represented ... ").
9And older man too: Trollope built a carapace which is firmly on in his defensive autobiography. I agree with N. John Hall's approach to Trollope's presentation of himself in social life as well as the earlier study by the Stebbins of his frequent melancholy: N. John Hall, Trollope: A Biography (Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 1993), e.g., 105-6; Lucy and Richard Poate Stebbins, The Trollopes: The Chronicle of a Writing Family (NY: Oxford UP, 1945), passim but see especially the concluding chapters, 307-333. Two studies of Trollope's fiction which pick up on this are A. O. J. Cockshut's Anthony Trollope: A Critical Study (London: Collins, 1955):169-97; and P. D. Edwards's Anthony Trollope: His Art and Scope (St Lucia, Queensland: Queensland UP, 1977):1-8. For a fine example of a perceptive autobiographical approach to Trollope's fiction, see Lawrence Jay Dessner, "The Autobiographical Matrix of Trollope's The Bertrams," Nineteenth- Century Literature, 45 (1989), 25-38.
10Lesley A. Hall remarks in her Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900- 1950 (Cornwall: Polity Press, 1991):11: "To turn the gaze onto the male, when this is not a matter of staring at a clothed and triumphant hero, is a subversive project." She covers the later 19th century too. A small selection of such arguments: Russell A. Fraser, "Anthony Trollope's Younger Characters," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 6:2 (1951):96-106 (a study of Framley Parsonage and Mark Robarts as anticipating many of Trollope's weak, fallen and vacillating heroes); Gilead, Sarah. 'Trollope's Orphans and the "Power of Adequate Performance"', Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 27 (1985), pp. 86-105 (a study of Mr Harding in The Warden, Mary, Lady Mason in Orley Farm, and Lily Dale in The Small House of Allington as characters who we are to admire for building for themselves "safe psychosocialspace" after they "survive" a "disorienting, identity- threatening experience or series of experiences which they interpret as cultural rejection"); Ross Dabney, "Facing Facts, Losing Gracefully," Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society, 42 (1998):4-17 (on Josiah Crawley, Plantagenet Palliser, and even Dr Grantley as characters we are to admire as successful who "have failed, have been beaten, or who relinquish power"). Lady Lufton's actions parallel Dr Grantley; both permit a beloved high-ranking adult son to marry a woman with no money and low rank in the gentry class (clergymen's daughters). They are in the conventional sense losers.
11See The Vicar of Bullhampton, ed. introd. David Skilton (1924; rev ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1988), where the Rev. Frank Fenwick attributes the rewards offered to the apparently aloof alpha male, to the rewards it gets and his presentation of this admiration to a human instinct to desire what presents itself as unavailable, by equating a cynosure of these norms, the Rev. Henry Fitzackerley Chamberlaine to "a great Akinetos," whose "source of greatness" Trollope's narrator tells us would be "very curious to trace" (24:165-66), but which in the sexual arenas of The Belton Estate and "The Parson's Daughter at Oxney Colne," Trollope's narrators do trace as an urge to conquer or to possess that which seems invulnerable, aloof, a prize out of reach, something denied.Trollope, The Belton Estate, ed. Halperin: x particularly (Halperin's comment that the novel is about a kind of love "that depends on the perceived desirability and availability of its object") and 126-28 (a proposal scene). See also John Sutherland's comment that the male character in "The Parson's Daughter' does not "get his deserved thrashing," Anthony Trollope, "The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne," Anthony Trollope: Early Short Stories (New York & London: Oxford UP, 199): xviii and 239, 241-42 (narrator's comments).
12It is not Trollope who labels these characters' state of mind pathological, but critics writing about them. Critics also words like "perverse" where Trollope sees no perversity but average irrational humanity. See Margaret F King, "The Place of Lucius Mason in Trollope's Studies of Perversity," South Atlantic Bulletin, 45:4 (1980):43-54. Trollope's unmacho men mostly do the kind of unacknowledged good in their local and limited worlds George Eliot attributed to Dorothea Ladislaw at the close of Middlemarch -- though some by chance manage the same more extensively through public life. See George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, ed. Rosemary Ashton (London & NY: Penguin, 1994):838: "the effect of her being on those around her ..." When the full nature of Trollope's heterosexual male heroes is found out, understood and valued or supported by their partners, or the people around them, we are cheered because an existence emerges for them which they and their friends are may hope to be contented with and really fulfilled by. Conversely, we are surprized by grief or taught to accept a much diminished repressed dailyexistence for our hero (and sometimes heroine) when he (or she) has not recognized the "meanness" of (the word is Jonathan Stubbs's), or known how to respond performatively and calculatingly enough to inane, punishing and manipulative social codes of machismo and consequently has lost some important dream, or grand goal that cannot be revived. See Anthony Trollope, Ayala's Angel, ed., introd. Julian Thompson (1929; rpt. London & NY: Oxford UP, 1986):239.
13To name them all: Francis Arabin, Mark Robarts, Josiah Crawley, Johnny Eames, John Grey, and Plantagenet Palliser; in The Way We Live Now and He Knew He Was Right, the noble Ezekiel Breghert and sexually anxious Louis Trevelyan; in The Macdermots of Ballycloran and Castle Richmond, the tragic inarticulate Thady Macdermot and doppelgnger pair, Herbert and Owen Fitzgerald; and in Ayala's Angel, Egbert Dormer, Reginald Dosett, Sir Thomas Tringle and Isadore Hamel; Jonathan Stubbs, Tom Tringle and Frank Houston.
14All three have often been dismissed as inferior or non-serious books. On the first, Trollope's working title was "the modern Griselda" and here Henry James and Michael Sadleier are in agreement: James called the novels scenes "horrible" scenes, while Sadlier described the book as "faintly sordid. Trollope 's Miss Mackenzie was originally titled "the modern Griselda" and he refers to Miss Mackenzie as a Griselda at key points in the book; see Mary Hamer, "Miss Mackenzie," in Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope>, ed. R. C. Terry (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999):370-71; see, for example, Anthony Trollope, Miss Mackenzie, ed. A. O. J. Cockshut (1924; rtp. London & NY: Oxford UP, 1988): 238, 294, 296, 303; 383, 385, 393; the sexual inadequacy of George Germaine has been discussed by Markwick (cited above) and Anthony Juckes, "Pagans and Popinjays," Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society, 46 (1999):13-22. Henry James's distress is recorded in "Miss Mackenzie," Henry James: Literary Criticism: Essays on Literature, American Writers, English Writers, ed. Leon Edel and Mark Wilson (NY: Library of America, 1984):1312-27. Victorian reviewers rejected Miss Mackenzie on the grounds its heroine is middle- aged and plain, critics on the grounds it's "amusing but faintly sordid" or "very inferior"; Trollope: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969):215-30; in a group read I led on the Net two summers ago, active participants rejected John Ball because he lacked glamor, was not handsome and debonair; see Three Heroine's Texts Miss Mackenzie, Nina Balatka, and Linda Tressel.
15Sadleir's comment that Is He Popenjoy? is "a first rate second rate book" is quoted as accurate by John Sutherland in his introduction to Anthony Trollope, Is He Popenjoy?, ed. John Sutherland (Oxford & NY: Oxford UP, 1986):viii. In the 1870s as an era of over contestation about male sexuality, see Angus McLaren, The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930 (Chicago & London: Chicago UP, 1997). The very cheerfulness and romance of Ayala's Angel (as well as the conventionally virginal young heroines) has led to its dismissal. Numerous books on Trollope simply omit it beyond the barest mention. Christopher Herbert, Trollope and Comic Pleasure (Chicago & London: Chicago UP, 1987) is uncharacteristic because he not only openly values of comic pleasure, but treats it seriously. His a rare text to devote a lengthy discussion to it.
16Trollope, An Autobiography, 188-89.
17Parallel heroines include Emily Trevelyan (He Knew He Was Right) and Mary Lovelace. Cf. Trollope, Is He Popenjoy?, 63-70. I discuss parallel scenes and configurations of sexual jealousy in He Knew He Was Right in Trollope on the Net, 51-63, 71-80. See also apRoberts, "Emily and Nora and Dorothy and Priscilla and Jemima and Carry," 87-120; Simon Gatrell, "Jealousy, Mastery, Love and Madness: A brief reading of He Knew He Was Right," Anthony Trollope, ed. Tony Bareham (New York: Barnes & Noble):95-115. For a perceptive defense of the maschistic aesthetic as "imaginatively radical," not reactionary, see R. McClure, "A Recent Martyr: The Masochistic Aesthetic of Valerie Martin," Contemporary Literature, 37:3 (1996):391- 415. The argument is that masochism or suffering protagonies lay bare the power structure as no other typology can. On a scathing and unsympathetic but remarkably lucid presentation of how protest fiction depends on masochistic victims, see James Baldwin's "Everybody's Protest Novel," Notes of a Native Son (Boston: Beacon, 1955):13-23.
18Cockshut's introduction, Trollope, Miss Mackenzie, xiv-xv where Cockshut shows how a "masterful undercurrent" of sympathetic and justifying analysis traces Ball's analogous behavior throughout the novel. See also Nardin, 143.
19The "raucous sexual flavor" of the puns and what Michael Sadleir called the "faintly sordid" ambience of this book highlights its sexual project. For information on Arundel Street," see the online 1888 Dickens Dictionary. These places are socially and through location not kept apart from the Rubb and Mackenzie tradesman shop, Ball aristocratic country house, and Slow and Bideawhile attorney's offices. Michael Sadleir's phrase is quoted in Smalley, 215. See Margaret Markwick on the sexual puns and vulgar jokes in Trollope's novels, "A Young Man's Jack," Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society, 42 (1998):18-23. I highlighted the mocking irony of the bawdy puns both in He Knew He Was Right and Miss Mackenzie in my Trollope on the Net, p. 74. In He Knew He Was Right, the smooth-talking ideal hero who chases a heroine around a glass table is Glascock; the heroines are imprisoned in Nuncombe Priory in Cockchaffington.
20The American Senator is another of Trollope's overtly sexually subversive novels. Markwick uses Trefoil's pun in her analysis above. See also her Trollope and Women, 116-26.
Cut portion of original: Jack de Baron may equally be described as a shallow frivolous cad who arouses the jealousy of novel's "grim, gaunt, sombre" and older respectable hero, George Germaine (1:2). Trollope first contrasts this pair of men and then places them within an overlapping configuration of male sexuality in the novel. The contrast is developed through scenes which show how they respond to female sexuality in vulnerable and powerful women. Her and his lack of money had led De Baron to persuade Augusta Mildmay to break their engagement, though they had consummated it: the narrator tells us of her immediately that she had "grievances of her own -- great grievances" against him (13:122). The narrator emphasizes Miss Mildmay's continuing sense of an breakable attachment to her Jack, how this reinforces her regret she has lost him and her loneliness and strain amid the barrennesses and competition for a new men in social life. We then overhear them talk thus:
" 'I think promises ought to be kept, Captain de Baron'.
By contrast, Germaine attempts to persuade his sexually powerful partly because ignorant wife, Mary Lovelace, whom we are shown finds De Baron a congenial spirit (28:277), to conform to his relatively impoverished family's and unmarried sister's modes of life. Mary is also empowered because Germaine knows he married her for her money, and her father has previous to the marriage gotten Germaine to promise he will allow Mary to live in her own house in London for a portion of the year. In this scene it is woman who uses their previous sexual experience further to tame her man:
'You wish, Mary, to be one of us; do you not?'
21Tosh argues that "hegemonic masculinity" is a more useful phrase for male power than "patriarchy;" see his useful analysis, 44--98. Many men did beat their wives; see Maeve E. Doggett, Marriage, Wife-Beating and the Law in Victorian England (Columbia: S.Caroline UP, 1993), particularly 34-99. On strong satiric nature of The Way We Live Now and the plainer nature of Is He Popenjoy? see Trollope, An Autobiography, 254-55 and 362. There are two areas where Brotherton does defy the norms of manliness: he is an open liar to his craven imbecilic mother, does no work whatsoever, and has no male associations (friends) in the public social world. Ruth apRoberts has argued the Marquis has syphilis, The Moral Trollope (Ohio: Ohio UP, 1971): 157-65. Again, the text we read nowadays is a bowlderized one; see Sutherland's introduction to IHP, xxiii-xxiv, his notes, and D., T. C. 'Victorian Editions and Victorian Delicacy', 251-53. Trollope has at least two more top men die syphilitic deaths: Lord Brabazon in The Claverings, Lord Eustace (married to Lizzie) in The Eustace Diamonds.
22Is He Popenjoy? mounts a bitter critique against society. Trollope reveals how what is admired or accepted as manly conflicts with happiness for anyone, and easily lead to impoverished impotence for those caught in their power. Yet the novel is not caricature or "exaggerated" satire in the manner of The Way We Live Now. Its mode is realistic and indirect. Nonetheless, it was subject to a continual bowdlerization and censorship by Dickens's son; see D., T. C. 'Victorian Editions and Victorian Delicacy', Notes and Queries, 187 (2 December 1944), pp. 251-53. Sutherland records many of the changes in the notes to the Oxford edition, 317-35.
23Robert Tracy describes him as a "displaced God of the Festivity, with a vigorous and manly [!] disregard for forms and a hearty taste for pleasures, the pleasures of the table and of the field;" see Robert Tracy, "Is He Popenjoy?", Terry, Oxford Reader's Companion, 273-74. "Manly" disregard? See James Kinkaid, The Novels of Anthony Trollope> (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977):243-44 (on the "moral stupidity" of the Dean). See also David Skilton, introduction to Anthony Trollope, Is He Popenjoy? (London: Trollope Society, 1998):xii-xv.
24He also thinks Germaine's possible liaison with Adelaide Houghton "beneath her notice;" Mary calls him a "Pagan" cleric (16:159). On the common religious underpinnings of family life and attitudes towards the behavior of clergymen that were not considered extremist, see Leonarore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (1992; rev edition: London & NY: Routledge, 2002), passim, and John Tosh, A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven & London: Yale UP, 1999), passim too.
25Two studies have argued that hints in Trollope's text suggest that either the marriage between Germaine and Mary is not consummated until later in the book when Mary becomes pregnant, or George and Mary had not been able to enjoy orgasm together (been "galvanized") and the "sign" of this late development in the book is Mary's pregnancy. The chronology of Is He Popenjoy? led Markwick to wonder if in fact the second Popinjoy of the book, Mary's child is George's after all: "Trollope's hidden joke here is that he gives Mary a ten and a half month pregnancy." Markwick, Trollope and Women, 148-55; "A Young Man's Jack," 23, and Juckes, 14-15.
26Trollope considered a similarly ironic and pointed title for John Caldigate: John Calidigate's wife, N. John Hall, ed., introd., notes, The Letters of Anthony Trollope, 2 vols (Stanford, Cal.: Stanford UP, 1983),, 2:724. We never are sure that the second Caldigate marriage is not bigamous.
27See note 25 above. To these studies, I'd add that while there are many comments throughout the novel by the narrator lamenting George Germaine's lack of conventional masculinity and manly self-government (39:69) , there are equally passages which present George as unfairly hurt and a victim because he is honorable and decent and sensitive. See Is He Popenjoy?, 60:268, where George writes a letter, thus documenting himself, and the narrator's comment. Trollope destroyed letters. Hall, Trollope's Letters, vii., says "Trollope customarily destroyed letters he received." Again George may think that "he should lord it over" Mary "is necessary to his happeness" (19:179) and fears he will be "contemptible" before others if he does not (20:95), but Trollope places close to this statement a long striking meditation by the narrator likening George to Hamlet, and describing George's kindness, thoughtfulness, and rejection of the Dean's ambition. The meditation is juxtaposed to a noble, strengthening letter by Lady Sarah Germaine's to George, where she outlines the better motives fuelling his conduct motives she shares (29:288-89).
28See for example where the narrator lightly condemns Jack's cool promiscuity (12:116); the novel remains ambivalent on the issue of how cruel and risky it is to assume you can play lightly with other people's emotions (27:266)
Cut portion of original: Trollope's narrator begins Is He Popenjoy? by telling us its story is "in nature akin" to that of a "poor Mrs Jones, who was happy enough down in Devonshire till that wicked Lieutenant Smith came down and persecuted her:
You remember Mary Walker. Oh yes, you do -- that pretty girl, but such a queer temper! And how she was engaged to marry Harry Jones, and said she wouldn't at the church door, till her father threatened her with bread and water; and how they have been living ever after as happy as two turtle-doves down in Devonshire, till that scoundrel, Lieutenant Smith, went to Bideford! Smith has been found dead at the bottom of a saw-pit Nobody's sorry for him. She's in a madhouse at Exeter; and Jones has disappeared, and couldn't have had more than thirty shillings in his pocket'.
In a frank railway variant, our fable would show that the present state of heteros.
29 30 31
29I should say I don't agree that most romances are really written from an imagined woman's point of view. They are masculinist a good deal of the time even if heroines are placed at the center of the narrative. hree books which persuasively make the case for the rarity of a genuinely woman's point of view and in what it consists are: Beatrice Didier, L'ecriture-femme (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1981); Nancy Miller, Subject to Change: Reading Feminist Writing (NY: Columbia UP, 1990), and Margaret Cohen, The Sentimental Education of the Novel (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999).
30Herbert, Trollope and Comic Pleasure who makes the connection explicit; he finds many Proustian elements including analogies between Swann's vision of Odette in Proust and Stubbs and Tom's vision of Ayal, 211-215-16; another witness is Auden in an introduction to Shakespeare's sonnets, William Shakespeare, The Sonnets, introd. W. H. Auden (NY: Signet, 1964):xxviii-xxxiii.
31Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ed. J. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1954).
When we read Ayala's Angel on Trollope-l a number of the active women
participants objected to the central concept of the book's title. They said (and I among them) that
women don't grow up with an "angel of light" in their minds. They are sufficiently aware of the
realities of what men from their experiences of fathers, brothers, boy cousins, uncles and
encounters in school. Similarly, they took Elizabeth Bennet's standpoint that they were
themselves not such fools as automatically and naturally to refuse a man they wanted to marry on
his first proposal. It was averred this was a self-flattering male myth. See, for example, Ayala's Angel:
"As a single young woman I reacted almost defensively as I read Ayala's Angel to
Trollope's portrayal of his central heroine as, for awhile anyway, unable to come to grips with the
realities (i.e. the imperfections) of being human ..." Other readers made less concessions to
Trollope's trope and objected less courteously and didn't explain themselves. A series of emails
about their own lives suggested most of the women willing to tell had accepted men on their first
proposal, indeed had perhaps longed for a long time for that proposal.
32The book's continual use of imagery and allusion drawn from romances has been explored. Trollope develops the many stories of this alluringly pleasurable novel through archetypal romantic, pastoral, luxurious imagery and personal and bookish paradigms: beyond the beauty and beast fable (e.g., 7:59), we have a Cinderella story (6:57), and language which connects both heroines to sleeping beauty ("dormir" in French means to sleep); typologies, allusions, and names from Shakespeare's fantasy and erotic romances, a pseudo-medieval minstrel from Walter Scott, characters who read Byron and Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and character types and situations strongly reminiscent of Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Ayala is named after Trollope's favorite champagne, and the places the novels evoke are idyllic pastoral landscapes, from Rome to Scotland, from the green parks of London to a lush landscape in Sussex; the physical description of Ayala is reminiscent of Kate Field.
See Thompson introd. to Ayala's Angel, viii-x, and notes; apRoberts, The Moral Trollope, 196-97 (she identifies Sense and Sensibility in the archetypes); R. C. Terry, The Artist in Hiding (Towota, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977):68-71; 165-66; Kinkaid, 256-59; Herbert, 199-205, 210-16; Walter M. Kendrick, The Novel- Machine: The Theory and Fiction of Anthony Trollope (Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980):103-6. Richard Mullen remarks in his and James Muson's The Penguin Companion to Trollope (NY: Penguin, 1996):21-5: "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." Ayala is also a bewitching Ariel, and the other strong heroine of the book, Imogen, takes her name from Cymbeline. As one may see from Hazlitt's and other 19th century criticism (Anna Jameson comes to mind), Imogen was for Victorians an exemplary heroine.The modern illustrations to Anthony Trollope, Ayala's Angel (London: Folio Society, 1989) by Robert Geary show an Ayala who bears a strong resemblance to Kate Field and a Jonathan Stubbs dressed in outfits that recall Anthony Trollope's own. See my website, Ayala's Angel, and Illustrations by Robert Greay. Trollope's investment in Ayala has led innumerable critics to identify Ayala Dormer with Kate Field who Trollope tells us he loved, An Autobiography, 316.
Cut portion of original: One could argue that in Ayala's Angel Trollope compensates for the distressing misogyny of his mockery of "female disabilities" in Is He Popenjoy? A candid account of how women are treated in Is He Popenjoy? would have to include its crude and tasteless satire on the suffragette movement, and the Dean defends the unquestioned right of "one half of the world" to "rule" the other on the grounds women are "fed by the labours" of men (16:152). He seems unaware that the vast majority of women in England did need to work for money to live. Yet George is allowed to work out that while Mary carries with her a great deal of money from her father, were she dependent on her marketable skills, she'd starve:
He figured it out, and found that his wife could earn three-halfpence a day by two hours' work; and even Lady Sarah did not required from her more than two hours daily. Was it worth while that she should be made miserable for ninepence a week -- less than 2 a year. Lady George figured it out also, and offered the exact sum, 1 19s ... Then Lady Sarah was full of wrath ... Mary considered a while, ands then said that she thought a petticoat was a petticoat, and that perhaps the one made by the regular petticoat-maker would be best. She did not allude to the grand doctrine of the division of labour, nor did she hint that she might be doing more harm than good by interfering with regular trade (3:27-28).
The latter paragraph shows Trollope had been reading Barbara Bodichon's radical tract,
Women and Work, Is He Popenjoy, 320 n. 27. Also I suggest Bessie
Raynor Parkes's What Can Educated Women Do?. Both are available and other
tracts all written and published in the 1850s through 60s, in Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
and the Langham Place Group (London & NY: Routledge, 1987):36-74, 150-73. The only
suitable occupation Miss Mackenzie can think is that of a nurse -- just such a career
Parkes discusses, and taken up in the 1890s by Mary Ward's Marcella in her at once traditional
and radical novel; see Mary Augusta Ward, Marcella, ed. Beth Sutton-Ramspeck
(Ontario: Broadview Press, 2002).
33In this novel Trollope validates the world of the imagination and the need for people to enrich their lives with art, in the context of the demands of daily life, that is to say, the need to earn or have enough money to pay for everything. See Kinkaid, 259-60; Herbert, 194-96, 203-5; Walter Kendrick, "Ayala's Angel," Terry, Oxford Companion to Trollope, 28-30; Thompson, introd to Ayala's Angel, xiv-xix. On the other hand, the older women in the novel serve the men's needs. If there is a conflict, the older woman gives up what is in her interest and her desire. Mrs Dosett cannot control where Ayala visits once Lady Albury, who loves Stubbs, and, recalling Dean Lovelace, vicariously oversees her beloved's sexual pleasures, decides she will obtain Ayala for him (27:250-59; 54:530-32, 535-36). Mrs Dosett sews away lest Mr Dosett not be clothed correctly; he gets the best cuts of the meat, and until Ayala came to live with them, a glass of wine.
The time it took Mr Dosett's to do his daily walk was worked out by some
readers of Trollope-l who knew London well; see Ayala's Angel, particularly this
paragraph: "We are told that Reginald always walked home, usually taking an hour and a quarter.
Since the distance from Somerset House to Notting Hill through the parks is between four and five
miles, this indicated brisk walking, which would particularly be needed if it was raining or snowing,
and his umbrella 'was never violated by use'. The journey by what is now the Circle Line from
Temple station to Notting Hill Gate could hardly have taken more than fifteen minutes, and his
financial position must have been particularly bad if he was prepared to risk his 'decent apparel'
and shoes for the pleasure of tramping across the parks in bad weather." The point this reader
missed is that Mr. Dosett luxuriates in "la belle nature."
34The OED defines lout as "awkward fellow, bumpkin, rough-mannered or unpleasantly aggressive man. Will Belton also fits this definition. The Concise Oxford Dictionary, ed. Judy Pearsall (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999), 10th edition, 842. I suggest for the American reader the word has yet worse connections: it suggest a low person, a sleaze, someone as potentially immoral as he is distasteful. The British connotations are however nasty enough. A line applied to Tom Tringle is sometimes said to bring before us how strongly Trollope 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" (61:594). But in context and from a woman's point of view in the story Tom's behavior resembles stalking; from a woman's point of view, here Ayala's, no man is entitled to persist when once she says no. Tom's persistence makes Ayala an outcast from the safety of the Tringle homes.
35Goldstein thinks among Victorian novelists only Trollope would have dared the passage; see Martin Goldstein, "Ayala Asleep," Trollopiana: A Journal of the Trollope Society, 36 (1997):18-22.
Cut portion of the original: Is He Popenjoy? is the text most often called by critics
and reviewers "unwholesome;" its imagery is no more coarse than that found in Ayala. See the
reviewer on Is He Popenjoy? in Smalley, 444; Kincaid, 240-41, 256 (Ayala is rather
"true romance"). A search through an online etext edition of Ayala's Angel demonstrated that
Trollope's narrator refers to his story self-reflexively with much fairy tale imagery; one skein
equates Ayala with Beauty and Jonathan Stubbs as "beast" as well as a "knight;" by extension or
as a parallel Tom Tringle is a "beast" and "knight" too; see :viii-x. A search engine identifes no
less than 7 references to Tom, Jonathan and Ayala as variants on "beauty" and the "beast." In
The Belton Estate, Trollope also presents Will Belton as feeling he is a "beast" before
Clara Amedroz's "beauty" and gentility. Will Belton is perhaps a character most close to Jonathan
Stubbs in type and conception.
36 37 38 39 40
36See Ayala's Angel, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. These words, and close cognates repeatedly occur in a closely analogous scenes, meditative passages, and revealing letters which contrast the narrator's intensely empathetic depictions of the two central heroes, Tom Tringle and the articulate Jonathan Stubbs (22:183, 187); which present more detached descriptions of the financially insecure Isadore Hamel's eagerness to marry Lucy Dormer, Ayala's sister (33:316-17; 20:183-86; 34:318-21); and in scenes which present Frank Houston (28:261, 263).
37More examples: Tom says it was cowardly and "unmanly" of Stubbs not to tell Tom Stubbs loves Ayala; Stubbs urges Tom to "try to be a man" and forget Ayala if he cannot win her (33:306- 307; 35:337; 44:428; 61:603).
38Cut portion of the original: There is a parallel worth noting here: Tom is asked to cope by going away: he will renew himself by interacting with new people in culturally very different places. Stubbs's way of coping includes periodic retreats to an unconventional Bohemian way of life in a well-appointed cabin by a lake in Scotland (18:169-72; 20:187). Trollope himself loved to travel; Trollope also shows a strong Bohemian quality in two of his travel books, The West Indies and Spanish Main and Australia and New Zealand. This central quality in Trollope's "hidden" personality was brought out in a paper I heard in the North American Victorian Studies Assocation held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville last October 2005: "From Ireland to the Antipodes: Writing, Work and Empire in Trollopes An Autobiography and Australia and New Zealand" by Philip Steer.
39Against Tom's enthralled state, we have Stubbs's "great" self-control and for Trollope unusual "heroism." Stubbs is declared "manly" and "gallant" when he refuses to fight (45:431). His refusal to duel is highly unusual in Trollope's corpus, and unashamedly defended (36:344-45; 44:428). In previous novels Trollope's narrator defended men who sought to resolve conflicts, and reciprocate injuries, and struck spontaneously even to the point of murdering the opponent. These include defenses of Thady Macdermot (The Macdermots of Ballycloran), the idea that Roger Scatcherd's murder of Henry Thorne should not get a long sentence (see Anthony Trollope, Dr Thorne, ed., introd. David Skilton [London & NY: Oxford UP, 1981:2:29), acceptance of Phineas Finn's duel with Lord Chiltern (Phineas Finn). On duelling in Victorian culture, see Peter Gay, The Cultivation of Hatred (NY: Norton, 1993):3-128.
40Sir Thomas, ever our bellwether for conventionality, sums Houston's great advantage in social life up when upon seeing him, he remarks Frank is "a manly-looking fellow" (47:468).
Cut portion of the original: Frank Houston is a male type who appears in many of Trollope's
novels (e.g., Harry Clavering and Frank Tregear in The Claverings and The
Duke's Children respectively), and here as elsewhere both hero and narrator apologize for
the male lack of heroism (28:261). But in this novel, we are invited to read crass letters by Frank,
and these are juxtaposed to the noble and tenderly loving candor of the letters by the woman who
loves him, Imogen Docimer; he is presented as "cruel," "deceitful" and callous (even in the context
of the comically desperate ones of the woman who wants to buy him as a husband, Gertrude
Tringle (14:130, 132-34; 17:167-68; 29:275-76; 38:364; 42:406). He is prepared to marry her
although he can say "I hate her ... with every fibre of my heart" (42:395). She (and her sister-in-
law) are for most of the book as sarcastic to Frank as Sir Thomas is to Septimus Traffick and
Captain Batsby (another drone candidate for Gertrude's money). It seems to be Frank's
shamelessness and request for sympathy that arouse their scorn most. Imogen tells him twice
that she "will not condescend to any tenderness," is "sorry" he "should be inconvenienced; " Her
brother, Mr Docimer that "A man with a grain of feeling would have stayed away" (28:259-68).
"Meanness" also comes early in An Autobiography (p 1): "Who could endure to own
the doing of a mean thing" Frank Houston can.
41 42 43 44
41He is enabled to do this though by the charity of a maiden aunt after he says he will try to earn a living as an artist (70:583-93). Working for a living was central to the Victorian ideal of manliness. This undermined the leisurely way of life that had been defined a gentlemen and therefore gentlemen as valuable. Beyond the Tosh and Davidoff and Hall books cited above, see Tim Barringer, Men at Work: Art and Labour in Victorian Britain (New Haven: Yale UP, 2005), passim.
42Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. J. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1954). I quote Touchstone's famous: "I press in here, Sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives" (William Shakespeare, As You Like It, ed. Ralph M Sargent, William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, gen. ed. A. Harbage (Baltimore, Md: Penguin, 1970), V:iv:52-53 (p. 271)
43To name a few: Alaric and Charles Tudor in The Three Clerks, John Eames and Adolphus Crosbie in The Small House at Allington, Samuel Crocker in Marion Fay, and the alcoholic scholar, Julius Mackenzie in "The Spotted Dog;" John Grey in Can You Forgive Her? (who loves to read about the counter-revolution in France and Carlyle's French Revolution, also a book Lily Dale escapes to); Daniel Caldigate, the loyal father of John, imprisoned for bigamy, Sir Thomas Underdowne, with his illusion of the great work on Francis Bacon he will yet write, in the meantime prowling the streets at dawn, and attempting to be elected at Percycross (Ralph the Heir), Archie Clavering and Captain Boodles (The Claverings) and also perhaps Owen Fitzgerald and Sir Patrick in Castle Richmond (a young and older man in love), and from Thady Macdermot's father to Cousin Henry through to Mr Scarborough. Terry,
44Lesley Hall, 170-72.