Miss Dunstable as Mrs Thorne? How Trollope Gets Us to Accept it through the Effective Letters and Now Other Means (Continued); Love and Serialization; Mary Hamer's Writing by Number: Trollope's First Serial; Deeply Affecting Scenes; Salmon-fishing in Norway; The Goat and Compasses; Consolation; Lady Lufton is taken by Surprise; The Story of King Cophetua; Kidnapping at Hogglestock; I like Mark Robarts; Sowerby; Playing Devil's Advocate: Anti-Framley Parsonage; More on Josiah Crawley as a Way of Criticizing the Injustices in Church Hierarchy, a Purely Social Figure in Framley Parsonage

Tyler picked up my objection to Trollope's marrying Miss Dunstable off to Dr Thorne

From: X95TICHELAAR@wmich.edu

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com

Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonge: Love and Serialization

From: X95TICHELAAR@wmich.edu

I also was surprised when it became apparent that Trollope was going to have Dr. Thorne marry Miss Dunstable, although I at once saw the advantage of the match and believed the two characters would be happy. But I was disconcerted as well, for I thought it admirable that Trollope had created two very likeable characters who were not married, and who did not seem to greatly feel the want of being married. I find unmarried, older characters interesting personally because I am myself not married, although it now seems like I am past the average age for marriage. Our culture from childhood seems to push us toward marriage, but in the last few years, I have realized that many people - far more than you would at first think - never marry, yet they can and often do live lives that are as happy and fulfilled as others. I want to protest that while Dr. Thorne and Miss Dunstable do marry, there should be more portraits of unmarried characters who are happy in their choice of the single life. I am reminded of one of my favorite novels Little Women. Louisa May Alcott declared that on no account would she marry Jo to Laurie, and it is a better novel because she did not do so, even though she has broken millions of hearts as a result. I only wish she had left Jo unmarried to show that people can live fulfilling lives without marriage. But unmarried characters do not sell books, so Trollope felt he must marry these two characters off.

That said, Trollope does a wonderful job of detailing how the marriage comes about between Dr. Thorne and Miss Dunstable. At the same time, I wish to comment upon an aspect of Chapter 39 - "How to Write a Love Letter"which has not been mentioned. Trollope is very clever in his description of Dr. Thorne's visits to the Greshams and to Lady Scatcherd while he is thinking about whether he should marry. His observations leave him without reason to marry, yet he decides to do so anyway. The comparison between Lady Arabella and Lady Scatcherd makes it appear as if a person can be unhappy whether married or not, and this is true, but I do not feel Trollope is fair in his treatment of the two women. After the two visits, Dr. Thorne thinks to himself:

which was most unreasonable in her wretchedness, his friend Lady Arabella or his friend Lady Scatcherd. The former was always complaining of an existing husband who never refused her any moderate request; and the other passed her days in murmuring at the loss of a dead husband, who in his life had ever been to her imperious and harsh, and had sometimes been cruel and unjust. (467)

This comparison is true, but the causes of unhappiness are ignored. Lady ArabellaUs unhappiness is largely of her own unmaking because she has chosen to be a hypochondriac, and while her personality would not allow her to admit or recognize such, it is true. Furthermore, Lady Arabella, for all her unhappiness is not alone in the world. She has a husband who may be distant, but who still loves her, she has her children, her DeCourcy relatives, and her social circle to find happiness in. Lady Scatcherd, however, has nothing. When we read _Dr. Thorne_, Ellen pointed out that Trollope wants us to admire Lady Scatcherd as a good-hearted but simple woman who does her duty and knows her place. She is not a social-climber or a snob. She loved and cared for a cruel husband and a worthless son. When Mary Thorne stayed with her, she did everything in her power to please Mary. Yet in Framley Parsonage we find her so miserable that even the friendship with her servant no longer seems to exist. Trollope does not even hint that Mary ever comes to visit her, only Dr. Thorne does so. I wish to protest that Trollope could have left Dr. Thorne and Miss Dunstable alone, for they could have found other amusements besides love, but Lady Scatcherd, if anyone, is a person who deserves love in her life - if not romantic love, then she needs someone to love by taking care of them. Loneliness is a horrible thing for some people, especially people who cannot improve their situations by self-motivation. Lady Scatcherd is severely displaced from her own class and she is displaced in the upper class to which she has risen. Her servants will not be friends to her, and her wealthy neighbors ignore her. Nor is she endowed intellectually so that she can find other pursuits to fend off her loneliness. How could Trollope leave her alone like this? It is cruelness, yet I wonder if he even notices. Today, she could go to a senior citizen center and find friends, but in rural nineteenth century England, what is there for her to do but be lonely and count the hours until Dr. Thorne again visits. Marriage is not necessary or even desirable for everyone, but Lady Scatcherd deserves someone. I hope Trollope will give her her share of happiness before we finish the Chronicles of Barset.

Finally, with Framley Parsonage, I can now say that Trollope is one of my favorite novelists. I have only read these four Barset novels, and it is only in Framley Parsonage that I felt he has complete mastery of his art. As Ellen noted earlier, Barchester Towers is very stylized. It is a wonderful book, but often the stylistics are so much that I find myself not completely believing in the characters as real people. In Dr. Thorne I felt Trollope often missed his chances to make strong dramatic scenes, especially at the beginning where there was so much background description of the characters, so much telling rather than showing. But Framley Parsonage appears completely balanced to me. I am wondering how much this balance is due to the novel being serialised. I continually found myself passing from a happy chapter, to a sad chapter, from a love scene, to one of misery, to one of humor. Trollope is a master of multiple plots which allow room for a variety of emotions and a break from the tedium of one storyline. He must have felt that he needed to include a little of everything in each installment. Does anyone else feel that the novelUs success is due to its serialization, or can anyone offer more specific thoughts upon how this serialization made the novel successful.

Best to Everyone.

Tyler Tichelaar

Re: Framley Parsonage: Trollope's First Serial

In response to Tyler, in Mary Hamer's Writing by Number, Mary Hamer seeks to demonstrate that Trollope's art became more complex and controlled at the same time as he learnt to let himself go within numbers when he began to serialise his books. Writing by Number contains several detailed analyses of books by Trollope which were serialised, one of which is Framley Parsonage.

It is true that Trollope dismisses Lady Scatcherd. I suspect we see class bias here.

I too find Barchester Towers ultimately dissatisfying even if it is so enjoyable, so filled with delightful and sardonic high spirits. Its ecclesiastical satire is very good. Yet the social life of England, and psychological presences we are allowed to come close to are mostly missing (we get a bit of it with Arabin.) I see Trollope striding into his creation of the landscape Barsetshire in Dr Thorne and as the place becomes more real to him so does his art deepen emotionally. I found Dr Thorne more compelling than Framley Parsonage because there are fewer characters and they seem to loom large at us

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

Re: Framley Parsonage, Chs 31-36: Deeply Affecting Scenes

We have a number of crises in this week's instalments, and these give Trollope scope for sympathetic and perceptive analysis of the state of mind of Sowerby, Mark, Lucy Robarts and Lady Lufton, and Crawley. I find myself liking all of them -- and I submit Trollope meant me to.

There are some curious analogies. I'm with Robert and Jill in entering into Mark's case. I suggest Trollope writes his scenes so as to make us also enter into Sowerby's, Lucy's and Crawley's case. While the narrator explains Lady Lufton's motives, she is kept somewhat at a distance from us; Arabin is brought in to voice the world's view to Crawley I think that unites Sowerby, Mark, Lucy and Crawley is they are all underdogs in their situation. It doesn't matter that the first and second brought their misery on themselves; what matter is how they behave towards it. Sowerby is honest and tells Mark the truth and would like to help him. Mark tells Fanny the whole story. Lucy opens herself to Lady Lufton -- and in so doing secures the upper hand. Lady Lufton has always lived in a world of forms and manners first, and this robs her of ammunition with which to intimidate Lucy. Crawley's pride is one I share and understand; in his situation it is a form of excoriation, flagellation, and Trollope indicates its excessiveness through his portrait of Mrs Crawley. And yet Crawley speaks truths no one else in the novel does: in this world children have to endure poverty if their parents do is just one of them.

Again I see strength: in Lucy, in Mrs Crawley, in Fanny Robarts.

Think of how many ordinary ordeals Trollope hits here: overspending, debt, the desire for what we can't have and don't even want (Mark's ambition vis-a-vis Sowerby), sickness, thwarted love (very common among the middle classes in England in the 19th century; desperate poverty, bankruptcy. He hinges his book quietly on the things we all know though rarely in the dramatic way of novels.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

From: "Jill D. Singer"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] FP: Installments 11-12 (Chs 31-36) - Misc Observations Part 1

From: "Jill D. Singer"

I jotted down a number of scattered thoughts and impressions as I was reading this week's chapters. I will post them in two parts to avoid a single over-long posting.

Chapter 31: Salmon-fishing in Norway

(A) It is noteworthy to see Mark AND Fanny standing in the "I'm about to have an imporant discussion" position in front of the fireplace. Offhand, I can't think of another scene where a _woman_ has this position along with a man, although there probably are some. Can anyone else give me some other examples, e.g., does Mrs. Proudie do this? But what I would like to see is another womanly-woman do so.

(B) I enjoyed Trollope's juxtaposition of his rather jumbled fairy tale motif -- Cinderella coupled with the "if you want to win the fair maid you must perform a difficult task, solve a riddle, etc." coupled with the cruel quasi-witch -- against a real-life world, e.g., Lord Lufton's statement that asking Mama's permission just isn't the way of it in these modern times and showing the unsettled crying that goes on behind the heroine's front of calm pride. It was a funny (humorous) mix, a la Princess Bride. Anyway, I thought it extremely clever.

Chapter 32: The Goat and Compasses

(A) A very nice Trollopian detail in John Robarts's doodling sketch of the smoking Turk. Sounds like something Trollope might have done himself. What does Buggins refer to by 'stifflicates?


B) Trollope's comment re financially-strapped men always seeming to have enough for small luxuries sounded familiar. Do we frequently see this occur, with or without express authorial recognition of the fact? Or am I confusing this with Wodehouse's Drones behavior?

Chapter 33: Consolation

What a contrast Fanny's warm and wifely loyalty and comforting support is with Mrs. Harold Smith's treatment of her spouse. A real "for better or worse" example. And what a wonderful quote about the value of marriage: "A burden that will crush a single pair of shoulders will, when equally divided -- when shared by two, each of whom is willing to take the heavier part -- become light as a feather." Trollope shows us some ingredients for wedded happiness (if not constant romantic bliss) in Mark and Fanny's behavior: the benefits of honest communication and willingness to share difficult problems.

Jill Singer
Overland Park KS

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] FP: Installments 11-12 (Chs 31-36) - Misc Observations Part 2

From: "Jill D. Singer" Chapter 34: Lady Lufton is taken by Surprise

I loved Trollope's slow-motion tracking of Lady Lufton's thought processes as she digested her son's marriage wishes and arrived at a response plan. First we see her rationalizing and justifying her opposition to Lucy, then perceiving the significance of her consent or absence thereof, and finally settling on a concrete plan of action for preventing the marriage. This time he opens a character's mind and shows us how "[o]ne forms half the conclusions of one's life," possibly "without any distinct knowledge that the premises have even passed through one mind," as he notes in the next chapter re Lucy's quick perception that Lady Lufton's note wasn't a pleasant summons.

Chapter 35: The Story of King Cophetua

(A) More a propos fairy tale themes -- King Cophetua and Chaucer's Griselda (what a tongue-in-cheek contrast with _our_ Griselda!). (I loved Trollope's little conscious or unconscious pre-Freudian joke via Lucy's wish that King Cophetua would take "himself and sceptre elsewhere.")

(B) But maybe the best thing in the book (so far) is the brilliant scene between Lady Lufton and Lucy. It is true that Lucy lacks "quiet dignity;" but what she does have is strength of character and "speaking dignity" just like Lady Lufton herself! What is the saying -- all men marry their mothers? I wonder if Lord Lufton knows what he is in for. In any event, Trollope's crescendo of Lucy trumping Lady Lufton time after time is tremendous.

(C) BTW, what's with all the "L" alliteration in these characters: Lady Lufton, Lucy, Lord Lufton, Ludovic. Another small bit of craftsmanship: Trollope's pointing out that although we -- Trollope and the reader -- have been in Lady L's boudoir and conference room before, Lucy has not. Once again the authorial intrusion somehow has the effect of making Lucy more, not less, real to me.

Chapter 36: Kidnapping at Hogglestock

(A) Trollope offers additional evidence that Lucy, with her spirit, initiative, competency and general "take charge" (take over?) character will indeed be able to fill and possibly grow out of Lady Lufton's shoes.

(B) Could it be that Rev. Crawley's ostensible and overt sin of pride also conceals the less glamorous sin of envy? Did Anthony also perceive this in his unsuccessful and unhappy father?

These are random reactions that don't fit into a cohesive essay. Nevertheless, re-reading this marvelous book slowly and trying to pinpoint here and there points revealing the craft and skill that Trollope used to build such an engaging piece of fiction is enhancing both my appreciation of his work and my enjoyment in reading it.

Jill Singer Overland Park KS

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com Subject: [trollope-l] The Goat and Compasses

From: Sigmund Eisner

I rather liked Trollope's etymology of the name of the pub called "The Goat and Compasses," (FP, Ch. 32) which comes from a sign erected by a Cromwellian landlord, "God encompasseth us." How many curious British pub or location names come from a misunderstood slogan filtered down through the years? One of interest is a square or a circus at the top of the New Kent Road in southeast London called "Elephant and Castle." It's also a tube stop on the Northern Line and a British Rail station. I've been told that the original name of this location was created to honor a princess from Spain who was known as "La infanta de Castile." Could Trollope have had that in mind when he created "The Goat and Compasses"?


Roy O'Farrell replied:

There are many public houses called "The Goat and Compasses" throughout the United Kingdom.

If you refer to TH Whites The Book of Beasts, a translation and commentary on the Mediaeval Bestiary, (from memory, I think the main manuscript is Ashmole 1511), you will see the mediaeval description of an elephant is an animal "which approaches the form of a mountain ... The Persians and the Indians, collected into wooden towers on them, sometimes fight each other with javelins as if from a castle", and the illustration from the manuscript shows the elephant and castle.

I think both the Goat and Compasses and the Elephant and Castle names are traditional English inn names, which well predate Trollope. I have just returned from a meeting in Shrewsbury where I stayed in a hotel called "The Lion", which dates (and is named) from about the 1600s, as far as I remember.

Rory O'Farrell Email: ofarrwrk@iol.ie
Tinode, Blessington, Co Wicklow, Ireland

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com

Subject: [trollope-l] I like Mark Robarts

From: "Batt, Roger"

Roger quotes Jill Singer:

"It struck me reading this weeks chapters how much I like the character of Mark Robarts and how cleverly Trollope makes him believable. He is really admirable against Sowerby in the scene in the Pub and then I love the way he goes straight home and confesses to Fanny. I think that the interesting thing about him is that he is not perfect - he shouldn't have put his name to the bills, he shouldn't hunt and, probably, now he should try and work out a scheme for paying the 900 pounds - but he doesn't. On the other hand I find Fanny a bit too good to be true, doesn't she have any faults?"

Then he wrote:

I also think that Lucy is a great girl - maybe one of the things we could do is to keep her in mind, as it were, so that we can "compare and contrast" her with Lily Dale in the Small House. I will nail my colours to the mast straight away and say that I much prefer our dear Lucy than Lily - who gets right up my nose (although John Major said she was his favourite character!).

Finally, as this post seems to be about my likes, I must say how great Lady Lufton is - she is the heroine of this book I think.

Cheers Roger.

Rrom: Liz Witthuhn
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] FP: Installments 11-12 (Chs 31-36) - Misc Observations Part 1

From: Liz Witthuhn

Liz quoted Jill D. Singer:

" (B) Trollope's comment re financially-strapped men always seeming to have enough for small luxuries sounded familiar. Do we frequently see this occur, with or without express authorial recognition of the fact? Or am I confusing this with Wodehouse's Drones behavior?"

I don't know about Trollope or Wodehouse, but don't we all see this a lot in real life? How many people in our lives live paycheck to paycheck, with credit cards maxed out, yet always seem to have ready cash for that $4 mocha latte or lunch at a restaurant vs brown bag? One of the things I love about Trollope is his attention to behavior details like this.

She quoted Jill Singer again:

" Chapter 33: Consolation
"What a contrast Fanny's warm and wifely loyalty and comforting support is with Mrs. Harold Smith's treatment of her spouse. A real "for better or worse" example."

Except that Mrs. Harold Smith was supportive in other ways - helping him politically, accepting her change in station by her husband's side (though not without grumpiness). In her own way, she is loyal to the ones she loves.

One last time Liz quoted Jill:

"Trollope shows ussome ingredients for wedded happiness (if not constant romantic bliss) in Mark and Fanny's behavior: the benefits of honest communication and willingness to share difficult problems."

He's also not shy about showing Fanny as the stronger, more realistic of the two. How very 90's!


Subject: Re: [trollope-l] The Goat and Compasses

From: "Angela Richardson"

I've been boring people with this Goat and Compasses story ever since I read it in Framley Parsonage but I have been having my doubts about it as a fact and am wondering if its a joke. There is something slightly amusing about the Puritans having a pub and then calling it by such a religious term. Can Trollope be having us on here?


Someone named Majkia wrote in:

This sort of corruption of original names of pubs seems extremely widespread and commonplace, and happening long before Trollope's time. I recently saw a reference to a pub called the The Bridge and Bottle which, when examining the original pub sign turned out to be a corruption of The Bridge Embattled. So many locals wouldn't have known how to read, and would hear words, not necessarily knowing their origins. And the sound would out in the end, I should think.


Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 17:54:11 -0500
From: "R J Keefe"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Dr Thorne and Miss Dunstable

From: "R J Keefe"

While I understand Ellen Moody's initial misgivings about the unexpected union of Miss Dunstable and Dr Thorne, I haven't shared them. The marriage struck me right off (and continues to do so) as eminently just, and perhaps the most sensible of the marriages that tie up Framley Parsonage.' If credulity were strained, it would only be the likelihood of the parties' spending enough time together to conceive that warm friendship without which matrimony would be positively distasteful. The chances, even at the end of Dr Thorne, would have seemed small. But since then, Mary Thorne has entered the beau monde of which Miss Dunstable seems to have made herself the center.

I think the wedding's a happy one not for the sake of 'country copulatives' but because it bestows a happy companionship on the parties, who really do 'deserve' it. If there's sleight-of-hand, or the clink of a problem neatly being resolved, it's the sudden refurbishment of Dr. Thorne's exchequer. He's no longer a poor relation of the Ullathorne folk but 'Thorne of Chaldicotes.' *That's* what I found almost too good to be true. But I don't think one can complain about such overnight enrichment without arguing against the very similar marriage of Phineas Finn and Madame Max.

RJ Keefe

From: Gene Stratton
Reply-To: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Dr Thorne and Miss Dunstable

I had read Framley Parsonage shortly before the group read, and when I came to the part about the marriage of Dr. Thorne and Miss Dunstable, I approved of it and thought it quite reasonable. These are some of the reasons for my thinking:

We all change in time (I wouldn't recognize today that skinny, hot-tempered chap who went to college under my name). There is no reason or need to hold people to their non-contractual intentions of earlier years.

Dr. Thorne had to realize that his position vis-a-vis Mary was changing. Their relationship could not continue as it had been as she would be transferring her primary thoughts to a husband supplanting a father. He was facing increasing loneliness as he himself got older.

Miss Dunstable was now past age 40. A few years ago she had been just a few years past 30, but Trollope had made a mistake in giving her age when he wrote Dr. Thorne and was honest enough to correct it in Framley Parsonage. She too would be feeling the increasing onslaught of loneliness, and she must have realized that her power of self-sufficiency which had sustained her in her earlier years would be waning.

But she also knew she was sitting prey, a desirable morsel in a world full of duplicitous men who would gladly take her hand in matrimony along with her money and then discard any emotional attachment or decent behavior as they looked upon her in contempt because of her non-aristocratic background.

Yet she was fortunate enough to have intelligence and wit as well as money, and she would have realized that Dr. Thorne would have been a husband with whom she could be happy. Both were outspoken but kind-hearted. Both were genuinely compassionate people. Both were capable of love, and both were intelligent enough to know that there are varying types of love, that there is more to love than passion in a haystack. Perhaps easier for the more mature to understand, they knew that love could be rationalized. I have known people very similar to them in real life, people who had very happy marriages.

To me, the marriage of Dr. Thorne and Miss Dunstable was most logical. They needed someone just like the other.

Gene Stratton gwlit@worldnet.att.net

Reply-To: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Dr Thorne and Miss Dunstable

From: "Joan F. Wall"

I agree with Gene, I found this marriage a perfectly natural progression for the people involved. Joan

From: "Angela Richardson"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Sowerby

From: "Angela Richardson"

I've been meaning to ask those who are listening to Framley Parsonage, how Sowerby comes across. I find him a very believable villain, as Judy Warner recently commented. I'm particularly interested in the scene with the first bill when he moves from seemingly idle chatter to bullying. He is twice Mark's age and pretty formidable, I think.


From: "Judy Warner"

He's very smooth and cool, and I can easily imagine him talking me into almost anything. He seems very in control, and makes light of Mark's worries, which is exactly what Mark wants to hear. Very much the man of the world--in contrast to the voice of Crawley. It's hard to remember for me, how young Mark is, and I think that's very important.

Timothy West's reading is excellent. He sounds like the voice of Trollope to my imagination. He doesn't differentiate the voices of all the characters, as some of the readers are able to do, so a few times I've lost track of who's speaking, but overall I like the recording very much.


From: "Catherine Crean"

In reply to Angela's question, David Case (the reader I'm listening to) does a fabulous job differentiating all the characters in Framley Parsonage. Ellen posted earlier saying that Case affects a drawling voice for Sowerby. It works marvelously well. When I read FP, I could not understand how Mark Robarts put his name to those bills. Hearing Case read the book made this much more clear. His rendition of Sowerby is a marvel. Believe it or not, when I first read FP, I got the Chaldicotes set characters mixed up (Smith, Supplehouse and Sowerby.) The recording cleared that up for me. My copy of FP had some post-it notes stuck to the back pages. I had made these notes the first time I read FP to remind me of who was who! I have such notes in many of my Trollope books. I drew a family tree for Ayala's Angel. I'm digressing. I'm in love with David Case's voice. What a reader he is! I finished listening to FP and will continue to read along. In the meantime I have ordered David Case reading Can you Forgive Her? and I'm looking forward to hearing many more recordings by this talented man. Case does a lovely Lucy Robarts - she has a bit of a burr in her voice.

Catherine Crean

From: "Judy Warner"

Sounds like this recording might be better than Timothy West. I do love David Case myself--have heard lots of books just because he's the reader. He's a whole theatre all by himself. Judy Warner

From Rory O'Farrell:

It is worth mentioning that the swindler (Merdle) in Dickens Little Dorrit and Melmotte in The Way We Live Now are both said to be based on the same original, a real swindler called John Sadlier, who also committed suicide. It is interesting to read two portraits of the same man by two master authors.

To Trollope-l

February 8, 2000

Re: Framley Parsonage: Playing Devil's Advocate

I wonder if I might take a hostile point of view for the sake of garnering answers to it. Framley Parsonage was Trollope's first undisputable hit. He was a made man, the 'Apollo of the Circulating Library' for some time after the publication of this book. His popularity and and the money he could command started to go down when he moved away from Barsetshire. One complaint one comes across in the literature of the increasingly from around 1867 on is (in effect) this is not like Framley Parsonage. We might ask, In what way is it not like Framley Parsonage?

We cannot go into the mind of inarticulate reviewers or discover the reasoning behind blurted out comments if none are on offer. However, Trollope was increasing accused of being dark, morbid, grim in at least some of his later books. Now I am wondering if what people at the time liked about Framley Parsonage is how it flatters us. Just about every character in the novel is presented as having really good or humane motives at some time or other; most of them are likable. Trollope works hard to present their problems as ours, the kind we suffer through -- Liz brought in some real analogies with Mark Robarts' behavior. Which of us would like to tell about the state of our credit card account?

I have been writing about the strong women. I like that. But is Mr Trollope not flattering me? How effective were women in such middle class homes? Lady Lufton's widowhood might be regarded as a instinctively calculated convenience. Would a woman really sympathise in the way Fanny Robarts does? If she didn't, what then? Would the Crawleys get all these nice gifts (this reminds me of how those on the edge in Emma are always being sent complimentary little dishes).

Jill Singer (I use Jill's last name since we have two Jills whose last name begins with an S) writes about the beautiful analysis of successful marriage and its relationship to friendship in this book. Granted. But is this common? Have we one alienated, strained couple whose life is empty? I don't say we need to have bunches of such couples. But not even one? Mrs Crawley apparently loves her husband. Let's admit it: he's a tyrant to her, and a bitter corrosive one at that. He's justified of course (that's part of the flatter of this book -- our problems are so kindly understood.)

As some people on our list may know, my book, Trollope on the Net was recently reviewed in the Sunday London Times by Margaret Drabble. An Eminence :). One of the assumptions not so very latent in her review was the idea that Trollope is no artist. He doesn't get his prepositions right. He scribbles on in a hurry. He also comforts us. He certainly does that, even in the books which don't flatter us.

We may ask, Is Framley Parsonage the kind of novel that has meted out to Trollope the kind of condescension academics still give him. He is still the author you can leave off or syllabus or the one you assign because he's 'a mirror of his age'. Instead of a keen critic, which is what James Kincaid, A. O. J. Cockshut and many another writer on Trollope has also argued.

Think of the scene between Crawley and Arabin. It's moving, but it swerves away from the reality that Crawley cannot escape this abysmal corroding humiliating and poverty- ridden existence to make us think about the man as having a personal problem. The focus is on Crawley's pride. He needs to be more humble. Yeah. That'll help all right.

Playing devil's advocate,
Ellen Moody

From: "R J Keefe"

He clarified an earlier post:

What I meant to say about Rev. Crawley is that he occasions sighs only - very heavy sighs - and no laughter. However poorly I expressed myself, I certainly don't find him ridiculous in the least.

I agree wholeheartedly that Trollope uses Crawley to shape a critique of ecclesiastical administration. But he (Trollope) is I think almost constitutionally incapable of explaining Crawley to us so as to make his proud austerity compelling. I don't think Trollope's even interested in such explanations: Crawley is just Crawley, and look how he fits in or doesn't. Trollope's psychology is almost exclusively social. He sees his characters vis--vis one another even when, like Melmotte in his last hours, they're alone. Everyone in Trollope sits in judgment by God and man. In any case, Trollope never tells me anything about Crawley that would even make me repent my disinclination to sit next to him at dinner.

Best, rjk

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