A Text with Differing Divisions; Immediate Context, Original Reception and Later Popularity, A Summary of the Criticism

To Trollope-l

June 4, 2001

Re: The Kellys and O'Kellys: A Text with Differing Divisions

As promised, I have constructed a calendar for The Kellys and OKellys before our reading of John Caldigate has come to an end. The Kellys and O'Kellys is Trollope's second novel, and it is thought that Trollope wrote it between 1846 and 1847 while he and Rose were living in Clonmel Co., Tipperary, but no manuscript has survived.

This makes for a wee bit of a problem as there are two differing divisions of the text into Volumes and chapters in recent modern editions. Those who have the Trollope Society edition (or its reprint facsimile the Folio) have a text based on the first edition of the novel published in 1848 by Henry Colburn and consisting of 3 volumes of 36 chapters. This is the text used for the 3 volume 1981 Arno Press edition (introduced by Robert Tracy). Those who have the Oxford classics paperback edition (in its most recent reprint introduced by William McCormack) have a reprint of a 1929 edition founded on a later one volume Kellys and O'Kellys published by Chapman and Hall in 1859: it has 40 chapters because Trollope divided four of the original chapters of the 1848 edition into two. I have an annotation I wrote down (and whose source I no longer remember) when I was doing my research for my book and chapters on the Irish novels that the original division of the 1848 book (and hence the Trollope Society, Folio and Arno editions) is

Vol I: Chs 1-10;
Vol II: Chs 11-24;
Vol III: Chs 25-36;

which can be worked out for the 1859 book (and hence the Oxford paperback classic edition) as

Vol I: Chs 1-12;
Vol II: Chs 13-27;
Vol III: Chs 28-40.

It does matter where these breaks come. Trollope worked hard on this his second boko to make the turns (transitions from one place to another and movement in time) dramatic.

iF we follow our custom of having a week's break, we should begin The Kellys and O'Kellys the week of July 1st. If we took 8 weeks and read (or if you read more or less quickly simply talked about) 5 chapters a week except for the last when the group would have 6 chapters before us, we could follow the original divisions of the 1848 edition (found in the Trollope/Folio texts) thus:

1848/Trollope/Folio Society

Volume I:

July 1: Chapters 1-5 (1859/Oxford Classics Ch 4-5 = 4)
July 8: Chapters 6-10 (1859/Oxford Classics Chs 8-9 = 7)
July 15: Chapters 11-15

Volume II:

July 22: Chapters 16-20
July 29: Chapters 21-24 (1859/Oxford Classics Chs 23-24 = 21)

Volume III:

August 5: Chapters 25-30
August 12: Chapters 31-36 (1859/Oxford Classics Chs 37-38 = 34)

One week off for discussion in general and begin _Castle Richmond_ on August 26th.

The advantage of following the earlier text for us is that we would not take quite so long; we would be reading quicker since in 4 cases we would read twice as much text. Since I always do a break-out weekly calendar, and always include the first line of all the chapters, those people using the 1859 text (found in the Oxford classics paperback) would know where they are for that week, and at the end of Volume I and II we would all be together as Chapter 11 of the 1848/Trollope/Folio edition is Chapter 13 of the 1859/Oxford edition, and Chapter 25 of the 1848/Trollope/Folio edition is Chapter 28 of the 1859/Oxford edition. All would come clear each week by by my simple expedient of always typing out the first lines of each chapter beneath its number. Those people who have other 20th editions (there was a Lane in 1906, a Random House in 1937, and a Garland in 1979) need only look to see if they have 36 or 40 chapters. If you have 36, you have the 1848/Trollope/Folio text; if you have 40, you have the 1859/Oxford classics paperback text. From what I can see of the 19th century texts, there may be yet further numberings, and it may be that one of the above followed these, but I've an idea people will readily adjust and it will all work out just fine.

It is heartening to know that there have been so many editions of The Kellys and O'Kellys. During my research I discovered that like The Bertrams it was a book which eventually sold well in the 19th century and has been reasonably frequently reprinted in the 20th. I mention The Bertrams in the same breath as when people think or write about these two books, they usually regard them as somehow minor or not popular: in fact, The Bertrams outsold Dr Thorne before the 20th century, and The Kellys was among the Trollope books chosen in a selection for an American edition of Trollope novels in the early 20th century. The Kellys is an effective book.

Those who remember when we had our very first group read of The Macdermots will recall that we had similar problems. It was not easy for Trollope to get his earliest books published, and when these Irish books failed, he succumbed to pressures placed on him by his later publishers. In the case of The Macdermots he omitted three marvelous and important chapters of the book towards the end as well as omitting a central incident (Feemy's miscarriage) which must have made the text mystifying to anyone who was actually paying attention while they read. He also not only regularized the dialect but bowdlerized his text. The changes between the 1848 and 1859 Kellys and O'Kellys are just a matter of renumbering and much fewer less important changes in the language of the text.

We will actually be going through this text in a much briefer time than we have the previous three relatively unknown Trollope novels. We have taken nearly 3 months each for Is He Popenjoy?, Ayala's Angel and John Caldigate.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

June 22, 2001

Re: The Kellys and O'Kellys: Immediate Context, Original Reception and Later Popularity, A Summary of the Criticism

As we all know, we are returning to Trollope's earlier novels when we turn to The Kellys and O'Kellys. Written sometime between 1845 and 1848 and published as a three-volume book by Henry Colbun in 1848, it is Trollope's second novel.

All four essays I read tonight attribute several qualities to The Kellys & O'Kellys. Trollope carefully situates his story in a specific time and place: the trial of Daniel O'Connell and other prominent Repealers (politicians who wanted to repeal the union) in Dublin in 1844. Given the relatively short time Trollope had been living in Ireland, he is remarkably accurate in his suggestive depiction of several levels of milieus of Irish society at the time, and shows an intense interest in the dichotomies between "high" and "lower" society (the subtitle of the book was "or Landlords and Tenants"). The Kellys should be aligned not with genteel English depicters of manners and romanticists (Gaskell and Bronte) but with the Irish social novelists (Carleton, Griffin, Edgeworth). The four essayists talk (and a couple quote passages to show) how successful Trollope was in suggestively imitating Irish rhythms and dialect intonations, how subtle rather than crude or literal Trollope's text is. At the same time, this is the first of Trollope's many novels which has a multiplot design and we begin to recognize character types and situations familiar to us from the later comic-satiric novels in this one. But it does not just herald what is to come; it has the brilliance and effective drama of many of the later novels. says William Trevor, "Early as its place is in Trollope's canon, this novel is one of the best he ever wrote". Trevor's essay is the introduction to the Oxford classics; the other three essays I read & recommend are by Monika Rydygier Smith (in the Oxford Trollope Companion), Richard Mullen (in his Penguin Companion) and Terence de Vere White (in the Folio Society edition). Of these I would say Trevor and Smith are the most suggestive and fullest; de Vere White the thinnest or dullest (he talks in utterly stereotypical terms).

Trollope himself agrees -- or stubbornly insists -- his second novel has real merit. He says the plot of the Macdermots may be better (by which he probably means the story which moves swiftly, is tragic or poignant, and knitted closely together), but the Kellys is superior in the "mode of telling". I suppose he refers to the art of the book: the design, the texture of language. He is stubborn because like the first book this one was an utter commercial failure until years later when his name was known and could sell a later edition of the book (see An Autobiography, Chapter 4).

Not that it was ignored by reviewers. It was praised more than The Macdermots had been: "though not more powerful, it is less painful"; "all those readers who dislike to be wrought up to a pitch of strong sensation, and at the same time wish to be positively amused by a novel, will find the present work very much to their taste". Mullen says that the book testifies strongly to Trollope's love of Ireland which de Vere White seems to think explains the book's failure: "the truth is unavoidable: Engish people are bored by Irish politics. The majority of novels with Irish settings that have sold well outside the country show the upper class laughing a tthe antics of the natives (Charles Lever?). This charge can never be brought against Trollope, but his dislike of heroics made him always underrate the power of nationalistic ideals". If this is true (and de Vere cannot prove it), I hope he is not suggesting that Trollope ought to have harkened to tribalism. At any rate, Trollope held out against this taste repeatedly throughout the rest of his career: for he tried a guidebook, wrote Castle Richmond (where we will find a ringing defense of writing books set in the Irish landscape and milieu) -- although he was told specifically Irish novels wouldn't do, and not to write such or any novels again. Later in his career Trollope returned to Irish novels twice, and from time to time made his central most sympathetic heroes Irish-born (e.g., Phineas Finn). His last researched book takes place in Ireland, is remarkably contemporary (set precisely in the time it was written, with relevance to laws and controversies and violence going on).

If The Kellys did not sell at the time, and if Michael Sadleir can be found still kowtowing to this idea that Ireland is boring, unimportant, the book did sell well later. When I wrote my book I discovered that in the early 20th century it was repeatedly chosen as one of the books reprinted in various US sets, and its printing history is much healthier than that of The Macdermots. Laurence Tingay in his Collector's Catalogue does not list any translations, but there were 5 separate editions of the novels in the 19th century (the 1859 going into 10 impressions); there have been six editions in the 20th century (if we count the Trollope and Folio printings as a single edition). I expect most of us will have either the 1992 Folio or Trollope Society edtion or some reprinting of the 1929 Oxford classic paperback (most recently reprinted in 1992). Sig has the 1906 Lane (a New York City firm), and there were two further editions: 1937 Random House, introd Shane Leslie, and 1979 Garland, introd Robert Lee Wolff.

There are some remarkable characters in the book: the murderous brute Barry Lynch; the poignant portrayal of one of the book's two heroines, Barry's sister, Anty Lynch, older, ugly, poor, with a small inheritance (Mullen writes that that Trollope's "portrayal" of her is among the most interesting aspects of the novel); the magnificent Earl Cashel whose Machiavellian qualities look forward to the end of Trollope's career: Mr Scarborough; the really debauched but genuinely generous Lord Kilcullen; the hero whose story takes up much of the early part of the book and concludes it, Martin Kelly, a tenant: he has a delicacy and kindness that is heartening. There is a delightful semi-crook, Dot Blake, and a heroic vicar, Mr Armstrong. Also a cunning amoral ruthless lawyer, a bully, Daly. People have noticed that in Trollope's earlier novels he is far more realistic and satiric about lawyers than he is in the later ones. And we have the landlord hero, Lord Ballantine, and the very rich heiress, Fanny Wyndham, both of whom are characterized in ways that makes them real yet decent enough.

We are looking forward to a rich book.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

Re: Our Concise The Kellys & O'Kellys Calendar

I thought I would this morning post our The Kellys and O'Kellys Calendar so that people can see when we will begin our next novel by Anthony Trollope. As promised, I have produced complete equivalency calendars for the two different divided texts and have added the 1906 Lane edition as another 20th century book which contains the revised 1859 text.

Thus first here is:

A Concise Calendar for The Kellys and O'Kellys using the original 1848 text as written and planned by Trollope. This one has been recently reprinted by the Trollope and Folio Societies and in 1979 by Garland Press. (I had originally thought the facsimile editon of the novel was an Arno Press product; it may be called Arno in some places.)

A Calendar for those who have the 1848, Trollope, Folio Society or Garland (Arno?) Press edition:

Volume I:

July 1: Chapters 1-5
July 8: Chapters 6-10

Volume II:

July 15: Chapters 11-15
July 22: Chapters 16-20
July 29: Chapters 21-24

Volume III:

August 5: Chapters 25-30
August 12: Chapters 31-36

A Matching Concise Calendar for The Kellys and O'Kellys using the revised 1859 text in which Trollope divided four of his original chapters into 2 in order to make 40 chapters and a three volume set which would resemble the usual one volume reprint of Mudie sets and thus sell better. This one was reprinted in 1906 by John Lane and and in 1929 by Oxford; it still serves as the text for recents in the Oxford Classics paperback series. If anyone has the 1937 Random House edition of The Kellys, they probably have the 1859 text.

A Calendar for those who have the 1859, 1906 Lane or an Oxford Classics paperback edition:

July 1: Chapters 1-6
July 8: Chapters 7-12

Volume II:

July 15: Chapters 13-17
July 22: Chapters 18-22
July 29: Chapters 23-27

Volume III:

August 5: Chapters 28-33
August 12: Chapters 34-40

Then one week for discussion in general and we begin Castle Richmond on August 26th.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

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Page Last Updated 11 january 2003