An Explanation of the Calendar; The Place of Dr Thorne in Trollope's Life and Career; Translations; Trollope a Landscape Novelist: Dr Thorne and the First Detailed Emergence of the Barsetshire Map

To Trollope-l

September 11, 1999

Re: The Proposed Calendar for Dr Thorne

As many of us know Dr Thorne was not one of those novels by Trollope which was serialised. It was his seventh novel, and although both The Warden and Barchester Towers attracted attention, readership, and, the latter especially, strong praise, it was this book which appears to have consolidated his reputation as (in David Skilton's words) 'a well-thought-of, widely-read novelist for the middle-class market'. Whether we are all agreed that such a reputation leads to a novelist's works being respected as serious or great works of art, what was true was that after Dr Thorne Trollope was 'made' as a man who could write sellable novels. Of the kind of praise Trollope received for Dr Thorne he wrote, it gave him 'the feeling . . . of a confident standing with the publishers . . . If I wrote a novel, I could certainly sell it' (Oxford Dr Thorne, ed DSkilton, p. xi).

As we begin Dr Thorne, and see the difference between the tongue-in- cheek satiric nature of The Warden and Barchester Towers and their emphasis on a sceptical appreciation of the church as a political institution and church doctrine as a instrument for gaining power over others and the strongly romantic and private story at the heart of Dr Thorne we could think about what exactly it is that appeals to a well-to-do middle-class market. I am thinking here also of the kind of praise given to recent books like Toni Morrison's Beloved whose text is not much different in many of its essentials from Trollope's.

Trollope told a famously dramatic story of how he got a better price for his book than had originally been offered him which both R. H. Super and John Sutherland have queried in some of its details. Apparently Trollope's memory conflated several happenings into one day to make the story more dramatic. However, if in the compression of events Trollope made a more dramatic than had actually occurred, the feel of his status at the time, his efforts to ratchet that up is accurate, and the switching of alliances of publishers and important move to Chapman and Hall are all accurate:

'I thought that I had now progressed far enough to arrange a sale while the work was still on the stocks. I went to Mr Bentley and demanded 400, -- for the copyright . He acceded, but came to me the next morning at the General Post Office to say that it could not be. He had gone to work at his figures after I had left him, and had found that 300 would be the outside value of the novel. I was intent upon the larger sum; and in furious haste, -- for I had but an hour then at my disposal, -- I rushed to Chapman and Hall in Picadilly, and said what I had to say to Mr Edward Chapman in a quick torrent of words which have since been spoken by me in that back-shop. Looking at me as he might have done at a highway robber who had stopped him on Hounslow Heath, he said that he supposed he might as well do as I desired. I considered this to be a sale, and it was a sale . . . (Oxford An Autobiography, intro & notes PDEdwards, p. 117).

The book came out in 1858 in 3 volumes of 47 chapters. Neither of the editions I own tell me where the divisions were. If someone has the most recent black Penguin that might have the original divisions. For now I will half-assume important turns between Chapters 14 and 15 and Chapters 30 and 31. The chapters in Dr Thorne are somewhat longer than those in Barchester Towers, so we slow down just a bit and go at a rate of 3-4 instead of 4-5 chapters a week, and take these turns into consideration, we have the following calendar:

For Dr Thorne:

Phase 1:

Phase 2:

Phase 3:

We could then decide whether we want to begin before or after Christmas. We have begun a tradition on this list of stopping for Christmas. Those who want to have just read whatever Christmas story by Trollope he or she felt like and shared thoughts on this. This year instead of sticking to Trollope, we could invite people to read any Christmas story by any Victorian.

Cheers to all,
Ellen

To which Gene Stratton was kind enough to reply:

Ellen: Your assumptions would seem verified mathematically by comparing Sadleir's Bibliography of the original 3 volumes of Dr. Thorne with the OUP World's Classics edition (assuming of course the same type and spacing in all 3 volumes). The former gives 305, 323, and 340 pages of text, totaling 968 pages. OUP has 47 chapters in 624 pages. Thus the ratio of OUP to Sadleir's original is .644628 pages.

Multiplying Sadleir's text pages by this ratio, we get 197, 323, and 340 OUP pages for the 3 original volumes. This is extremely close to having Vol. 1 end between chapters 14 and 15, Vol. 2 consisting of Chapters 15 through 30, and Vol. 3 consisting of Chapters 31 through 47.

Gene Stratton

I thanked him:

This is to thank Gene for working out the pages in the Sadleir Bibliography. I own it but am among the arithmetically challenged :).

I looked at the numbers of the pages and the numbers of the chapters, and compared what Trollope had done in previous novels, but my sense of where the volumes began and ended specifically was also the result of reading the book and looking for some kind of definite break or turn in the plot which also included time or place.

trom Trollope's letters, working papers and various essays that have been written about his books (e.g. Mary Hamer's and some of Sutherland's), we see that like other Victorian authors Trollope shaped his fictions in accordance with the formulas set for publication in the periodicals, Mudie's, and conventional notions of how big one of three volumes should be. The closer we come to following his pattern, the better we can appreciate whatever suspense and other effects he is aiming at.

Cheers to all
Ellen

To Trollope-l

September 17, 1999

Re: Dr Thorne and the Landscape of Barset

Dr Thorne is one of those books by Trollope which has never fallen out of print, and today exists in an abundance of editions, the best of which are probably the recent Penguin (1991 Ruth Rendell), Oxford World paperback classics (1980 David Skilton), the Folio and Trollope Society edition; Pan Books (1968 Arthur Calder- Marshall). Then there is the Bantam; I see no Signet in Tingay's list (A Collector's Catalogue, 1992 The Trollope Society), but there is a listing for Doubleday and that might be the Signet.

I have ordered the Penguin on the Net (as it wasn't in my local Borders), but will use until it comes an older edition which I am fond of: the 1959 Houghton Mifflin Riverside edition of Dr Thorne, edited and introduced by Elizabeth Bowen. Her essay is still one of better shorter essays ever written upon Trollope: she has a particular shared imaginative community with him as they both also wrote books which belong to the Anglo-Irish canon. Her essay on Sheridan Le Fanu's Uncle Silas explicates elements in Trollope's Anglo-Irish books -- and temperament in veins in other of his pure English books. This is nearly the first book I have read by Trollope; it is the first one I remember well. It has a green and light yellow cover.

Checking to see which language a book is translated tells us something about which cultural audience was thought to want to read it. Rachel Ray went into Russian and French almost immediately. It is a book about intimate social and psychological feelings. Orley Farm was turned into Dutch, two different German editions, with the French lagging just a bit behind. It's a book about justice. The Warden is today a favorite among Italians! It's called A Case (with implications of crisis) of Consience (that's the title translated back). Castle Richmond was translated into no less than 5 languages the very year it was published -- showing us perhaps the awareness of other countries in Europe of how significant was the Irish famine.

So I here record that 2 years after the first publication of Dr Thorne it was turned into Dutch, a year later into Danish; two years later into two different German translations and a French; a year later another French. The Norwegians got into the act in 1951, whereupon one of the German translations was reprinted. Apparently the Russians have remained unimpressed. Now that I know where to buy Italian translations on the Net, I can report that there is presently no translation of Dr Thorne into Italian.

Another wrinkle in significance in the publication data is the fact that Dr Thorne has not always been treated as a wholly bona fide member of the Barsetshire books. Although it was one of the set produced in 1878 by Chapman and Hall which included The Small House of Allington, Trollope has a letter in which he thinks to himself the only real Barset books are The Warden, BT, The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire.

This registers Trollope's adhesion to the common reader's feeling that the defining marks of a series are repeating characters and a theme: in this case Mr Harding, the Grantlys, Arabin and Eleanor Bold, and the Proudies, with the Crawleys coming in as the theme here is church politics and religion -- of which there are none in Dr Thorne. Pas de Mr Harding in Dr Thorne. We can squeeze in Framley Parsonage as a book about church politics and circling round religion (Mark Robarts and Crawley are introduced here, and it is Mark, a vicar's story). Trollope himself in his Autobiography excluded The Small House as belonging to the Pallisers: it too lacks Grantlys, Proudies, and Mr Harding makes only a cameo if important appearance. Dr Thorne has again and again been printed separately or with a slew of non-series novels by Trollope when the central three (The Warden, BT and The Last Chronicle) have not or have only been printed as a tight-knight Barsetshire group.

How is this? The maps of Barsetshire itself derive first from Dr Thorne. It is in the opening chapter of Dr Thorne that the place is first described in loving detail. The inference is that merely reappearing characters and a central theme are not the finally defining characteristics of a series. Place is. Landscape is. Perhaps mood too. The mood of Dr Thorne is not tongue-in-cheek; it is not a droll book except perhaps in a few wonderful Miss Dunstable moments.

Trollope was a landscape novelist. (See Juliet McMasters's book on the Pallisers, which opens with a chapter on The Small House, has a long chapter on the importance landscape in all Trollope's novels. I am now listening to Ayala's Angel: well in this book there is a hunting sequence in which we find ourselves in the landscape and among the characters of The American Senator. The Ayala characters join the Ufford and Ruffford Hunting club, and there we find Lord Rufford (grow old, fat, and henpecked), Larry Twentyman, Tony Tappit, and find ourselves visiting spots in and about Dillsborough. Trollope is extending this imaginative site towards Ayala's Angel. His Irish books all take place in an area of Western and Southern Ireland where he spent much time riding the countryside as a postal surveyor. You can in fact draw a line around the area, find it in real next to beautifully and appropriately imagined places. Trollope dreamed of an Australia cycle developed out of Lady Anna: alas, the book was savaged by the conservative reviewers of the time and did not please the kinds of readers who could have afforded the first expensive set. So no go.

Dr Thorne is a Barset book because it happens in the same imagined area of Trollope's mind and all that that area signifies to him, the area he called Barsetshire and developed yet further in Framley Parsonage and The Last Chronicle of Barset. His reluctance to include The Small House at Allington is based on his sense that somehow the landscape is differently focused; it includes Barset but is not simply that, or not importantly that. It may be true that Adolphus Crosbie passes through and spends a brief moment with Mr Harding -- but it did Crosbie not a bit of good. After all is not The Small House strongest in its portrayal of Crosbie's betrayal of himself?

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody


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