Near the Edge; Florian as Inadequate Male; Lucy Graham, "The Telegraph Girl"; Jobs which are Not Acceptable; Sympathy for Florian; Anglicanism and Catholicism; Rachel and Florian and Mr Jones (Daughter and Father; Son and Father); Working wome & Artists in 19th Century Novels; The Sobbing Boy and the System; Literary Depictions of Working Women: "Corinne" Syndrome

To Trollope-l

January 27, 2002

Re: The Landleaguers, II, Chs 17-23: Near the Edge (I)

This week's chapters divide into two phases:

The first is this new style love story of Trollope's we have Rachel O'Mahoney and her father in London; she is trying to make a living as a singer, and her father is helping to keep them alive as well as politicking; to them comes Frank Jones who attempts to stop Rachel from living the way she does as an actress. By this is not meant that she should stop singing, but that she should cut all activities which include intermingling with men. The men now include Moss and LeGros, and in Trollope's perception of experience this necessarily involved the one and perhaps the other pressuring her to go to bed with them. Rachel says he has no right to control her conduct unless he marries her: only as her husband has he the recognized right to stop her from intermingling with men It's interesting that it is presented as "recognized" right: it has been important to her to tell people she is engaged to him for it is "recognized" that an engaged woman has a man in the background who is willing to marry her, and men therefore will (at least some of them) leave her alone. We see the operation of customs and mores. She also needs support: if he married her, and took her to Ireland, he would support her. Then she would grant him full control, become the obedient child. He says he cannot marry her because he cannot afford to; his father's troubles prevent him from taking her to Ireland. It's dangerous. She replies that only as her husband has he the recognized right to stop her from intermingling with men; she offers to compromise. He can take her father's place as her husband and she will support him. He starts back: "And live upon you?", to which she replies: "I should live upon you without scruple if you had got it" (Oxford Landleaguers, ed MHamer, Ch 17, p 141). This story brings into its purview our world today where women often make as much or more than the men they live with; where men can stay home. It does not take us into the recent turn of events where fewer and fewer people are bothering to marry when they go to live together -- at least at ifrst or until children come, and sometimes not then either.

This is the first heroine in a love story whose remunerative working life Trollope presents -- to whom Trollope gives a remunerative working life. Those we heard about who worked for a living or (horrors!) supported their men were usually marginalized mistresses and unchaste women. It's not that women didn't work before: the stage had, for example, been going on for quite some time, and since the late 17th century had had actresses and women singers. In it Trollope sees the direct connection between women having freedom and their making their own money, between women freeing themselves from a male's control (Rachel would obey this "recognized" right of Frank to control her, but it's clear this is voluntary submission). On Litalk-l we are about to read George Sand's memoirs, and last night I was reading a fascinating essay by Naomi Schor on the 1830s in France & 19th century women's writing. She quotes Sainte-Beuve as the first writer in print to recognize that Sand and other women (this would include Eliot -- and of course Frances Trollope) were not really writing as parts of "movements" called realism, romanticism, but rather ""the unfamiliar context of a singular moral and literary movement", the rise of women's writing: "Today, then, everywhere, women are writing: each has her own secret, her painful novel in support of the plea for emancipation, and each one betrays it". Whatever real value Domestic Manners has it's has this betrayal of a real active self of a woman.

Trollope doesn't belong to this movement, but he is responding to it in this novel of his -- by the 1880s it had become so strong as to re-shape the bourgeois realistic novel plot whose limitations included that you must tell a story whose center is (in Schor's words) "a representational mode wedded to the marriage plot and the binding of female energy." Rachel is offering to be bound, but she need not.

That's the great thing about her.

The depiction of her father is of great interest. Here is this male who wants to finds much better "uses" for "his time" than standing guard over his daughter. He'd rather go to a political meeting. He does not try to stop her intermingling with men. He has abdicated his "recognized right" to control her that way: why? Because she makes money. Hitherto our stories in Trollope have usually had at their center men with too much money to need this: who could afford this delectable right. O'Mahoney is one of them. Interestingly Trollope does not present him in a way that ridicules him as emasculated. The way he does this is to present him as quiet, silent, doing and saying very little, not getting in Rachel's way, not pressuring her to do anything. Indeed it is clear that if she wanted to go to bed with Moss or marry him, her father would do nothing to stop it. He limits his comments to the descriptive: Frank exits and he says, "At any rate you are now free", at which Rachel asks him to help her against Moss by telling Moss that she is free and "mean to remain so". He relies: "I have got nothing to tell him, my dear. You are so much better able to tell him everything yourself" (Ch 18, p. 154).

If a woman is going to be independent, then she can't turn back and lean on someone else to do her dirty work. She wants to exploit Moss's capacities to further her career, so she will have to keep to herself what in bargaining mode she knows Moss is after, what she implicitly uses as apparent lure. Dirty work may be objected to, so I'll soften the phrase as getting someone else to dominate the person you need to have dominated so you can get on to getting what you want and not giving out what you don't care to give out in return because it's not pleasant to you or not to your advantage.

With a love story like this at the center of a major novel (for that is what Trollope was meaning to write here -- although he didn't get further than an early full draft), what would he have gone onto next?

I'll talk about the other phase of this week's chapters, the boycotting separately.

Ellen Moody

Re: The Landleaguers, II, Chs 17-23: Near the Edge (II)

The second story is of boycotting. It is not often that a novelist gets to have as his central story a real series of events that gave rise to a new important word: boycott. The word was new and is important because it describes a new form of collective behavior. Last week I quoted Shelley's poem: we are many and you are few. The few can only control the many if the many submit to them; once the many refuse to obey or cooperate in schemes which leave them destitute, desperate, or simply socially inferior in a variety of stigmatizing ways, the game's up. Boycotting was one of the ways the many could and can continue to do this without the state being able to get a handle onto those who organize such behaviors. As was seen in the US in the 1880s, if you struck, the state or a group of employers sent out the police or versions of controlled violence (the "pinkerton detectives" are a famous group of such hired thugs in US history) because there was a living target to hit. If all the community simply refuses to buy someone's goods, refuses to sell something to someone, who is there for the government to jail? If they can make the case that the ringleaders are this or that man, they can try to concoct some law ("understood" or made literal in the books) by which they can put some individuals in jail, but that's not very effective once enough people have been aroused to boycott someone.

It is a form of scapegoating but instead of having it aimed at an individual, it is aimed at a group of people.

One of the interesting realities of such behavior is that individuals who are not themselves bad people get caught up in the meshes of what's happening because they are in a position which the rest of the community hates. Such as the Master of the Hounds. Daly could argue he is not rich; he is not one of the privileged. But he works for them; his tasks make their behavior possible. So he is targetted. You can only work through real people. Trollope has given us an exemplary landlord: this is one facet of some of the improbabilities of the novel. He just will not let Philip Jones have acted unjustly or unfairly in the slightest way -- as the law saw it. So our father figure does become someone who is being hit not for his personal behavior but because he belongs to a class of people and has spent his life acting in a way that exploits the powerlessness of the vast majority.

In our beginnning are our ends. Trollope's first book presents us with a hero who gets caught up and scapegoated as an individual when he in a fit of rage, partly at the man, but partly at the world, swings out at a corrupt police officer who has seduced and is about to elope with his sister who the officer has no intention of marrying ever. Trollope's first book is not a bourgeois novel centered on a courtship plot which binds women's energy. After this one he rarely wrote such stories (he didn't stop altogether) because this one failed in the commercial marketplace at the time. However, in his last novel he returns to this early radical use of the novel.

Beyond the chapters dramatizing and explaining the drama of boycotting as a phenomena itself; the boycotting of Morony castle, and the boycotting of Daly, we have the individual story of Florian. He is going to give evidence on behalf of the landowners, evidence which will put some of the ringleaders in jail since they have broken laws against the destruction of someone else's private property directly. He has been told that if he does this, he will be murdered. In fact, it's clear Lax is attempting to murder him before he gets to give state's evidence.

Trollope makes some revealing comments and gives his story a somewhat unexpected turn. The boy is naturally hiding out in the house and staying away from where someone could take potshots at him. This is the way of civil wars between those who have no power and no access to those whose acts they want to stop and those who have power, money, houses. Trollope uses that word "cowardice" which Bush used of the lunatic murderous people who did the suicidal mission of the planes on September 11th. It has been much argued over the US, some saying that whatever the act was morally, it was not cowardly. It seems to be a slur that comes naturally to people who are in power, a fragment left over from the old heroic code when two tribes of men really did meet face-to-face in a battlefield.

The turn is the demand made on the boy that he leave the house and go walking where he will be endangered. It is given a sort of probability by accompanying the demand with another reference to a set of values that belong to this heroic code: the great Captain comes and goes without fear, risking his life. The implication is we all have to in order to live. Certainly most of us can't hide away in a house from someone forever and while we hide it probably deteriorates and debilitates our state of mind. But that's not Florian's case. He's not just anyone. He is the boy who is to give state's evidence. The place is also not going to stay in this state of civil siege forever nor does he have to live there while it is. After the trial is over, he can be whisked away. That is in fact what people do. Very quietly (the stories only appear in small political journals and online, though surprizingly it was also reported in the _New Yorker_), the day after September 11th, the family of Osama Bin Laden somehow got on a plane and was whisked to safety. In the US regularly people who have to give evidence which puts their very lives in danger (and this happens), are guarded until they give the evidence and the people threatening them are put into jail and then they are guarded somemore.

Trollope instinctively (or consciously -- it's hard to say) that in such situations people do not take the person endangered and put him at risk. So he shows us the father going out with him and protecting him with his body. He reiterates this value about how you have to face the world. I suggest that there are a couple of motives actuating this turn in the story. First he is driving to the final crisis of Florian's destiny and has to get him out there. But more deeply I see in Trollope's depiction of Florian a continual distaste in Trollope. He seems to despise the boy -- it comes out as despising the boy's lack of "masculinity," the boy's trait of submission to others, that they can take over his personality. However in other novels he presents this sort of "inadequate male" (in his eyes) sympathetically. Here it is made queasy, held against the boy. It is made explicit a couple of times that the reason for this is the boy's disloyalty to his class and his parent. And Trollope puts such feelings of distaste towards the boy in the boy's father's mind. We mentioned this last week -- Jill quoted some more passages of it in her last posting last week. And again in this week's chapters Trollope connects the father's thoughts about how he cannot get rid of his anger, antipathy (call it what you will) at the boy with the father's thoughts that he hasn't the money to send him away and protect him. This is rationalizing. If Frank has the money to visit Rachel, his father has the money to send his son into safety. It is improbable that the Joneses have no connections whatsoever: in fact we see they have some: the O'Mahoneys. The boy would be safe in London.

In this past week's The New York Review of Books, there is a very interesting commentary on William Dean Howell's novel, 1890s A Hazard of New Fortunes, one where the story takes place in a really depicted New York City (the full place with all its immigrants, streets, working life, not just the "Washington Square" of aristocrats); it also centers on a strike. I'll try to write about A Hazard of New Fortunes later this week and compare its uses of the novel to Trollope's in The Landleaguers.


Re: The Landleaguers, II, Chs 17-23: Near the Edge (III)

I have called these postings "near the edge" to signify how The Landleaguers brings us to the edge of the Victorian bourgeois novel, a form whose presuppositions and mores came apart and began to be superceded by many novelists in the 1890s in the US and England and other Western societies. Trollope is breaking out of the form sexually and through presentations of political situations which threaten the basis of the state and apparently unqualified private property ownership.

Not all novels do this of course. Many still do not. In the 1890s and 1910s Mary Ward (Mrs Humphry) kept at the more quiet questioning novel so typical of most of Trollope's work (you question this aspect of life, that one, the other, but do not bring into question its bases). But what we call the typically modern novel which developed partly out of people like Trollope moved on, e.g., Gissing's The Nether World, Hardy's Jude the Obscure, the schools of American writers call "Chicago school" (Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie) and muckrakers or American literary naturalists (Stephen Crane, Norris's The Octopus &c).

Cheers to all,

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
Re: The Landleaguers: Florian as Inadequate Male?

Dear all

I'd like to thank Ellen for the deeply stimulating postings on The Landleaguers. I know the book is unfinished and still has some rough edges, and, like others, I do have problems with the portrayal of Moss in particular. But it still seems to me that this is potentially a great novel, wrestling with difficult subjects like the root causes of terrorism, and in some ways more modern than Trollope's other fictions. It seems as if he was reaching forward and towards new challenges even at the end of his life. I first read the book on my own a few months ago, and felt that Trollope portrayed Florian sympathetically, so I have been pondering Ellen's comments:

But more deeply I see in Trollope's depiction of Florian a continual distaste in Trollope. He seems to despise the boy -- it comes out as despising the boy's lack of "masculinity," the boy's trait of submission to others, that they can take over his personality. However in other novels he presents this sort of "inadequate male" in his eyes) sympathetically. Here it is made queasy, held against the boy. It is made explicit a couple of times that the reason for this is the boy's disloyalty to his class and his parent. And Trollope puts such feelings of distaste towards the boy in the boy's father's mind.

I would read this rather differently. To me it seems that Trollope does not necessarily share Philip Jones's opinions, and is sympathetic to the "inadequate male", Florian, here as he is to other weak characters like Harry Clavering. As I see it, Philip might be an improbably exemplary landlord, but he is far from being an exemplary father. He allows himself to become obsessed with the fact that his favourite son has defied him, and he seems to be partly subconsciously determined to go on punishing Florian even when the young boy surrenders to him and does what he says. (Having favourites is a mistake in itself, as Trollope tersely points out in the opening chapter, commenting: 'The father had made a favourite of the younger boy, and thereby had done mischief.')

As the novel goes on, there is a sort of driven, manic quality about Philip which reminds me of Louis in 'He Knew He Was Right'. He too knows he is right - and cannot find it in himself to forgive the 10-year-old boy who has inherited something of his own fatal stubbornness.

I think we are given a few important pointers to Philip's character as regards his family early on. In the first chapter, we are told "He had lately become quick and short-tempered, but always with a visible attempt to be kind to those around him." This sounds like a toned-down description of Trollope's father, who also wanted to be kind, but made his children's lives a misery with his uncontrollable temper.

On the same page comes this passage:

"There were two cares which sat near his heart: first, that no one should rob him; and secondly, that he should rob no one. It will often be the case that the first will look after itself, whereas the second will require careful watching. It was certainly the case with Philip Jones that he was most anxious to rob no one. He was, perhaps, a little too anxious that no one should rob him."

Here in a nutshell is Philip's character. He is determined that no one should rob him - and, when somebody does just that, by flooding a field, it becomes more important for him to catch the culprits than it is even to protect his own son.

In the passages where Trollope lets us share Florian's consciousness, for instance in chapter two where he is terrorised by "the man in the mask", I feel he is sympathetic to the young boy. He shows his weakness and vulnerability but certainly does not condemn it. In this chapter the description of the man in the mask is truly fearful, as is the dark reference to the murdered Mr Bingham, whose fate it is suggested Flory may share. "It's I'd be sorry to think you'd be polished off that way." I think Trollope's psychology is acute here when he suggests that Florian is flattered as well as frightened by these grown-ups taking him seriously enough to threaten him. This must surely be the sort of double-bind which helps to entice youngsters to join gangs or terrorist organisations - a mixture of threats on the one hand, and promises that they will be important and powerful on the other.

Philip is shown to become increasingly bitter and resentful against Florian as the boy continues to defy him, but I don't think Trollope expects us to share his view. Philip is seen telling a number of lies, or half-truths, to his daughters and himself. At first he says he will not question the boy any further because he does not want to endanger his life. In Chapter 4 he comments: "It would be better for me to let the whole thing slide. If they were to kill him!"

But he cannot let the whole thing slide. Instead he continues pressing the boy to tell him the truth, insisting that he is not putting him in danger by doing so, because he will send him away to an English school for a couple of years.

Yet, when Flory does put his life in his father's hands, finally admits what he saw, Philip suddenly decides he doesn't have the money to send him to safety. Ellen suggested that this excuse has a hollow ring, that the money could have been found - and I think Trollope intends us to see this hollowness. Philip could save his boy, but he won't.

At the end of Chapter 16 comes this passage: "He had rashly promised that the boy should be sent to England out of harm's way; but he now told himself that the means of doing so were further from him than ever; and that he was daily becoming a poorer, if not a ruined man"

The key phrase here is "he told himself". He is trying to justify his actions to himself, but the truth of the matter is that he wants to punish Florian - he is still full of anger against him. In the previous paragraph we have been told "...he felt that the boy had disgraced himself forever."

It is noticeable that nobody else shares Philip's harsh opinions of his son. In the heartrending scene in Chapter 16 where Florian breaks down and tells them the truth, Edith holds his hand and encourages him, but all Philip can come up with is hurtful comments such as: "He has changed his religion and ceased to be a gentleman" or "You are spoiling him by being so soft with him."

Captain Clayton, whose courage is not in question, rebukes Philip for his harshness, but the stern father does not really soften - and, when he does reluctantly decide it is his duty to forgive, in Chapter 22, there is no enthusiasm about his actions. "...he felt that all immediate warm liking for the poor boy had perished in his heart." This is a chilling reaction from a father towards a 10-year-old son.

Even more chilling is his haughty comment to Florian in Chapter 16: "You do not know it, but you are nearly sending me to my grave." In fact, with an irony Trollope surely intended here, it is he who is potentially sending the boy to his grave, by forcing him to confess a secret which will put him in deadly danger.

Although Philip feels the boy has "disgraced himself forever", Edith - one of the most appealing characters in the novel - does not agree, and in Chapter 12 she tells Ada: "There is something in all this that makes me love him better." She goes on to explain that he wants to identify with the Catholics because he feels they are downtrodden, and says: "In loving or hating him you've got to love him or hate him as a boy". That is what Philip forgets to do. He judges his son as if he were an adult, not a child.

Well, this is turning into an epic, so I'd better go!

Bye for now
Judy Geater Re: Lucy Graham, "The Telegraph Girl"

He does paint quite a sympathetic picture of a working girl - Lucy Graham - in one of his short stories "The Telegraph Girl". Admittedly there is a major difference of scale and class between the two stories. Lucy Graham is dependant on her employment as a telegraph girl - a job where there are many other possible candidates, but certainly not a "gentry" profession - whereas Rachel is "unique" or nearly so, and is mingling with the monied and upper class.

Rory O'Farrell

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
Subject: [Trollope-l] The Landleaguers: Jobs which are Not Acceptable

Yes but there is no question of Lucy's chastity. She is not working with males. All those who surround her are women. She shows no trait of independence to make a real living -- meaning good money - whatsoever. To do this she would have to break mores which she explicitly in the story abjures. It is a great trouble to her to have to live apart from her brother (the male).

It is true that Trollope is very sympathetic to Lucy. He is also curiously sympathetic to the woman who supports Sir George Hotspur (probably partly by selling sex is what is implied) although she does write the letter which we are told breaks Emily Hotspur's heart.

He is also sympathetic to Mrs Hurtle -- in The Way We Live Now.

It's not just the job that matters. Jobs can keep women in their place and unfree. That is Lucy's case. It is the job which frees women to act on their own among men who are not their family members or men they are going to marry. It's the sexual freedom Rachel has and her ability to control her body as she wishes. That's what is new to Trollope -- though not entirely as I say (there are others besides the Hotspur case and Mrs Hurtle -- the woman who lives outside marriage though pretending to in Dr Wortle's School). What is really new is the explicitness and dramatizing of her interactions with men and her father and supposed fiance in which she clearly calls the shots about sex.


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002
Re: Sympathy for Florian

I have been feeling sympathetic to Florian, and have not felt that Trollope wanted me to view him with disgust. I thought that perhaps Trollope made him ten rather than fifteen so that the reader would feel more sympathy for him. A ten year old would not be expected to understand all the adult consequences of his refusal to tell the truth. Certainly he wouldn't understand until it was too late and he felt set in his course.

Trollope also seemed to me to go out of his way to show that Flory had no idea how much the damage would cost his father, and to provide multiple threats which give him a good reason to stick to his lie. In addition to the scene in the cottage with the man in the mask, there is the woman who threatend him when he got home:

"You're one of us now, Master Florian." And she threatens him with the anger of "the Blessed Virgin....She held him in the dark, and he could see the glimmer of her eyes, and hear the whisper of her voice, and she frightened him with the fear of the world to come. As he made his way up to the hall door, it was not the dread of the man in the mask, so much as the fear inspired by this woman which made him resolve that come what might, he must stick to the lie which he had told." (p28-29 Oxford Wld. Classics ed. Ch. 3)

Here is a boy who is not deterred by the idea that he might be murdered so much as by a threat of damnation which he takes very seriously. He isn't afraid of death at this point, which to me suggest that he isn't meant to seem a complete coward.

Later in the book when the family are agonizing over Flory's safety Emily says; "Oh, Frank, I fear that I have been wrong in persuading him to tell the truth." "Not though his life were sacrificed to-morrow. To have kept the councils of such a ruffian as that against his own father would have disgraced him for ever." (Ch XX Boycotting p. 168)

I am not actually sure the reader is meant to share this opinion. Maybe I am just looking at it from a 21st Century perspective that Trollope wouldn't have had. Could he want the reader to think that a child's life is more important than a principle and that Frank is wrong to take this risk with his brother's life?


Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002
Re: The Landleaguers: Anglicanism and Catholicism

At 04:59 29/01/02, Ellen Moody wrote:

I agree the boy takes his religion very seriously: he is a serious convert. It's interesting how Trollope can enter into Catholicism not only in this novel and The Macdermots, but also La Vendée.

For nearly 40 years, there had been much discussion in the Anglican church (of which Trollope was a practising member) of migration to the Church of Rome. One can recall frequent references throughout Trollope's works inclinations to "Puseyism" on the part of some of his clerics. The Gothic Revival in architecture of Pugin had in part fuelled this movement, as did Catholic Emancipation in Ireland (1827?). So a thinking Anglican might well have a sympathy for much of the theology of Catholicism.

Rory O'Farrell

Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002
Re: The Landleaguers: Rachel and Florian and Mr Jones

In response to both Judy G and Ellen's postings about this week's chapters---I'm also struck by the comparison between Rachel and her father and Florian and his father. Rachel's father is very different from any father I remember from the period--not attempting to control or protect her--in fact she has to ask him to come to the theatre to fend off Moss. He relies on her to take care of herself--he makes me wonder if his standback quality causes her independence or viceversa, but it's more likely a chicken and egg relationship. How much is being American intended to make a difference here?--does Trollope think this is American behavior or extraordinary for even Americans? It's almost contemporary--she has to ask him to take time off from his "work" as an agitator, lecturer, to come with him to the theater.

Florian was his father's favorite until he joined up with the locals and changed his religion--but I wonder how much of his father's attention he actually had before. Now Mr Jones has lost his love for his son, because his son didn't show the proper loyalty to his father (read religion, family, etc in the word father too). Jones Sr. couldn't control everything his son was doing and feeling, even at ten years old--and the boy's status as the loved favorite was lost.

Both fathers seem like awfully cold fish to me, in their different ways--don't take this to mean that I wish them to be the dominating, controlling fathers who reduce their offspring to total dutiful obedience. Of course Trollope had to have had a lot of strong feelings and ideas about fathers. Judy Warner

Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002

Also going backwards ...

Much has been made of Florian's conversion. But, as Father Malachi in Chapter 13 would have acknowledged, "the boy had been altogether unable to see, by his own light, the difference between the two religions." (p. 89 of the Trollope Society Edition) At what other conclusion can one arrive, than Florian's conversion was rooted in his compassion for the less fortunate in his environs? Unhappily for him, he had lumped Pat O'Carroll in with the other unfortunates. While Mr. Jones may have regarded his youngest son as his favorite, it seems to me that Florian suffered from almost total neglect at the best of times. The haphazard nature of his education, the long periods of unsupervised time, both combined to reinforce a headstrong nature that might have been difficult to control under the best of conditions. How did Mr. Jones react his son's betrayal of him? By even further isolating him from the civilizing influences of family, giving Jone's enemies even more extensive opportunity to cement their work of turning the boy against his family.

Jill Spriggs

Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002

I agree heartily with your thinking. And it might have been compassion and/or perhaps love for those men who paid attention to him. Judy W

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002
From: "Judy Geater"
Subject: [Trollope-l] The Landleaguers: Working women & Artists in 19th Century Novels

Dear all

I've been interested in the postings about Rachel, and am wondering if Trollope was possibly influenced by George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, written just a few years earlier than The Landleaguers, when making his heroine embark on a singing career. Eliot's novel features a professional singer, Mirah, as well as a gifted amateur, Gwendolyn, who desperately tries to go on the stage in a bid to avoid the necessity to marry for money, but is told by an impresario that she is too old and does not have the necessary professionalism.

If Trollope was influenced by Deronda, it seems all the more ironic that his novel contains so much anti-semitism - although I have been wondering how much of this he expected readers to accept, since the sniggering remarks are almost all put in the mouth of Rachel. Her father contradicts her at times, telling her she is prejudiced. I'd like to think Trollope might have toned all this down if he had lived long enough to revise his manuscript.

Getting back to the subject of women's careers, I remembered that Rosa in Dickens's Edwin Drood is also training as a singer, but, looking at this novel, I couldn't find any suggestion that she intends to make it a career - for her it is a schoolgirl accomplishment.

Still, taking Rachel and Mirah as examples, it seems as if, by the 1870s/80s, singing was one field where a few middle-class Victorian women could make a living as an alternative to marriage. Apart from that the options were very limited, with little choice but to become a governess. There are plenty of working women from poorer backgrounds in 19th-century novels, ekeing a pitiful living as seamstresses or laundresses, but it is harder to think of women of higher social status who make their own living. Actresses (like Emily in 'Pendennis', although this is earlier in the century) seem to be regarded as morally suspect. There are one or two women writers as characters in novels, including Lady Carbury in our forthcoming read The Way We Live Now a character believed to be based on Fanny Trollope, and I can think of one artist - Helen Graham in Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall who manages to support her young son by selling her paintings.

However, both Lady Carbury and Helen Graham are seen not so much as artists, more as craftswomen tailoring their work to the market in a bid to support their families.

It's difficult to think of many women artists in novels of the period who are pictured as genuinely working at their art for its own sake, rather than for the money it will bring in. About the only one I can think of is Aurora Leigh in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's verse novel, who refuses to marry because she wants to concentrate on becoming a great poet - and even crowns herself with a laurel wreath! However, she goes on to discover the error of her ways and the value of romantic love.

I'd be interested to know if anybody can think of more women singers, artists and writers, or other working women, in writings of the period. I suppose what I'm wondering is how unusual we are supposed to find Rachel, who seems to look forward to the more independent heroines in novels by later writers.

Judy Geater

To Trollope-l

January 29, 2002

Re: The Landleaguers, II:17-23: The Sobbing Boy & The System I fully return the compliment to Judy G for her detailed, thoughtful and perceptive counter-response -- as well as all those who also wrote in on different aspects of this week's & previous weeks' instalments (Jill, Judy W, Clarissa). I tried to capture it all up into one umbrella heading. J

udy G and Judy W suggest a wide difference between the father's attitude towards Florian and Trollope's own: that is, they feel that Trollope looks at Philip Jones from a somewhat ironic and distanced standpoint. I'm just not sure about that: since Edith, the Captain and just about all the people who are Establishment are strongly for Florian turning state's evidence, even though Edith in particular shows more active sympathy, my feeling is both Judy G and my sense that there is something unacceptably bullying and cold (they withdraw their love) and dangerous (the boy is now at permanent risk) going on to the boy from his family and so-called 'friends" which matches the bullying and openly threatening behavior of Pat Carroll and his bunch is a modern take on the action. Where I see Trollope to some extent parting company with the father is when the father rationalizes his decision not to send the boy away, is given thoughts of anger and antipathy about the boy. On the one hand, Trollope shows the father to care and spend much more time on his property than just about anything else especially once his wife died and by implication suggests that as a result of the father's grief and the conditions of Ireland the boy was not watched over and neglected. This could by implication go against the father. But, on the other, Trollope explicitly builds sympathy for the man who is a loner and loved his wife so: we are never given any specific act of greed and avarice which passed the bounds of what the laws allowed; indeed the narrator goes out of his way to insist the father often let the tenants not pay their rent for periods at a time.

I don't feel the parallel with Louis Trevelyan works because that Trevelyan's stubbornness moves into madness and is grounded in his sexual anxiety and jealousy. He seems to be inwardly a wholly different type from Philip Jones who is a strong man. The parallel for Louis is Laura Kennedy's husband. Jones is not isolated from his society though emotionally he is a loner: Trevelyan is. Trevelyan has concocted a wild nightmare vision of adultery which is all wrong. Jones is (Trollope thinks) in the main correct in his assessment of reality and who's right and who's wrong in the situation at hand.

My sense of the boy's upbringing is Trollope feels the boy should simply not have gone over to the "other side" no matter what, and expects us to identify with those who act to put the violent landleaguers in jail, even though (like the astute realist he is), he gives us a psychological grounding out of which to understand the boy's apostacy. I agree with Jill and Judy W and Clarissa that Trollope makes us feel the boy's dread. He puts us in the boy's place as the faces around him threaten him -- also as his relatives pressure him. We can sympathize with his siding with the "have-nots", though again this is a tenuous feeling since we are given no one in this novel who is poor and miserable and innocent (as we are in Macdermots and Castle Richmond). All we see are brutal desperate murderous types. Father Malachi, the one priest we are to sympathize with, we are told, was himself not responsible for the boy's conversion, felt uncomfortable about it, but because it's his religion naturally went along with it and therefore defended the boy's decision. That is the one admirable Catholic priest is separated off from the others. Brosnian is to blame. Trollope takes a whole and early chaper to do this.

I realise I now need to find some quotes to support my sense of Trollope's distaste for the boy -- which I would be the first to agree is not a common one for him; usually he sides with the outcast, the vulnerable. I guess it's in my readerly sense of cringing when the boy so kowtows to the people who are bullying him as to frantically move to kiss the cross and allow them to put him in the position of being grateful to them for letting him do it. The scene in "The Man in the Mask" is brilliant: Florian acts as many an unfortunate hostage has; it is sometimes said that after being released from concentration camps and other state- and non-state terrorist places the reason many people will eventually commit suicide even if decades go by before they do, is they never get over the searing sense of humiliation they enacted before others in public.

The question for me is where does Trollope stand vis-à-vis this depiction. For me the "signs" are in the sentences interwoven here and there of how the boy was puffed up ("the boy's head had been filled with the idea of doing something remarkable and had himself gone to the priest"), that Florian is "doing a wicked injury", one not forgiveable on any count when he defies "what truth and loyalty ... and bonds ... should bind a family together" (p. 28) In the dialogue between Edith and Ada where Edith has sensitivity and perception on her side and Ada produces the regulation dismissive words, I'm not sure we are not to side with the father who finally puts his foot down and won't allow the boy in his presence (Trollope says more than once that one problem has all along been that the father was not hard enough, did not forbid the boy: "I think little harm of a boy for lying but I do think harm of those who allow a lie to pass unnoticed", p 37) and with Ada in statements like "There is something in it that almost makes me hate him". Edith loves the boy for his integrity to his professed ideal of religion (even if he doesn't understand it) and his sympathy with "the downtrodden", but Trollope does think the boy "is doing quite wrong".

What I was getting at is not that Trollope doesn't understand how someone can be humiliated and enforced into acting the weak suppliant, but that he uses it against Florian in this novel to enforce a political agenda he cares much more about: the private property system and the Anglican establishment in Ireland as it existed when he lived there. He, like Edgeworth (whom I have been reading) really believe in or want to believe that Irish Catholics are like children and would be happy if outside agitators and evil people didn't put pernicious false ideas in their heads. (When I read Edgeworth and some of Trollope's portraits of Catholic Irish servants I am reminded of US literature where African-American slaves are presented as child-like and workers presented as better off and innocent if only outside agitators would stay away.) Thus the boy's sycophany, self-conceit and lack of nerve, lack of resolution against strong natures and emotional blackmail and offered gifts as well as emotional bullying and threats is to the fore repeatedly, e.g., Edith trying to pressure him into giving her the full information which will justify her saying they can put him in a courtroom,

"your father will at once send you to some school in England, where you will be educated as becomes my brother.

The boy now was sobbing in tears. He lacked the resolution to continue his lie, but did not dare to tell the truth."

Judy brings up Harry Clavering and Trollope's vacillating heroes. The above statement does recall Harry's behavior to Lady Julia: but then my view is that we are to regard Harry Clavering with considerable distaste, and I have Margaret Oliphant as a contemporary reader on my side :). The father may have allowed Florian to become a sycophantic liar, but Florian had it in him to become that and we are shown this coolly because Trollope wants us to reject any siding with those outside the system of property, family, connections, money, gentlemanliness and the finally obedient chaste ladies which he grew up in -- for however "feisty" in the end Rachel submits. She is dragged there by nature, but she ends up the obedient wife which she offered to be from the very first. Just marry and provide for her. Florian is never allowed to present himself proudly in the way Rachel is allowed to in the scene with Frank Jones. In contrast with her father she is more dignity (though he is given a real measure of self possession). I agree Harry Clavering never emerges as anyone we can admire too. (To me the exemplary hero of The Claverings is Florence's brother.)

These are after all nuances. That we can argue them testifies to the density of the psychological presences and complicated circumstances we see them acting out in this book.

like Judy W's parallel between the fathers. I hadn't seen that plot parallel. Since Trollope is determined not to have us regard Rachel as potentially an outcast and wants her to work for her living, he presents her father's behavior enigmatically; there is no overt criticism of him, but both fathers have certainly moved away from their children and it didn't do Florian any good. The parallel breaks down under the detail as in the latter instance unless Rachel had worked, she and her father might have starved. He is a ne'er-do-well, feckless about money. He would have gone to the more expensive hotel and gone into debt to Moss. Rachel is older, and Florian is a child. She is the first heroine in Trollope who is not kept in child-like status to men (kept in by the father, superobedient to the husband) and who we are to believe chaste.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002

I never meant that Trollope viewed Florian with disgust. That would be way too strong. I never used the word disgust.

I suggested Trollope had a certain level of unacknowledged distaste for someone who is disloyal to his class and parent and this comes out in various indirect ways.

I agree the boy takes his religion very seriously: he is a serious convert. It's interesting how Trollope can enter into Catholicism not only in this novel and The Macdermots, but also La Vendée.


February 1, 2002

Re: The Landleaguers: Literary Depictions of Working Women: "Corinne" Syndrome

In response to Judy's interesting posting of a few days ago, I offer the following alternative explanation: Trollope's resort to the singing career has little to do with the realities of women's working lives in the bulk, and is rooted in a popular tradition of of stories which descend from de Stael's Corinne where the heroine becomes a much admired, almost semi-goddess figure as a singer. There is a long chapter in Ellen Moer's Literary Women which discusses a series of manifestations of this myth and the allure of this to the middle class women reader who wanted to dream of herself as having some tremendous gift which would all-powerfully catapult her into fame without of course sullying her chastity. Among the books discussed is Daniel Deronda and Moers focuses in on the scene between Gwendolyn and Klesmer as a rare moment of truth where Klesmer looks at her great ambition and thought she will rise to the top by telling her that what is so strongly praised in her drawing room is rooted only partly in her talent which is as yet mediocre and untrained. When he tells her of the years of training and hints at the uncomfortable situations she will no doubt have to bear (small salary, tiny rooms, little applause, lousy work for years and years), the collusions and submissions she will have to endure (poor music to be asked to sing but sing you must because it's what's wanted and men after you), she decides she hasn't got it in her even to begin. On Litalk-l we read a late manifestation of this tradition by Willa Cather -- The Song of the Lark.

Moers asks why is it literary women don't equally turn glamorizing the literary life. Some do: we find this in Meredith's _Diana of the Crossways_ where again a heroine is catapulted to the top by sheer talent and remains godess-like, admired; her chastity is not threatened by what she has to do to get on for a career for that is left very vague -- typical of such books. Moers' answer is the literary life is too close to the woman writer; she swerves away personally from telling it and knows it too well. Also the woman writer fears she will be identified as the heroine and perhaps other reviewers will in their sleeves hoot at the false idealisation. I'd add to these reasons the reality that the common reader is often not literary herself; this seems not as readily identifiable as singing and acting which are much more glamorous than writing at a desk or in a library. Beautiful clothes, applause of audiences, mucho money to be dreamt about.

Moers does not mention Trollope, but as Judy remarks, Rachel is not the only depiction of this super-success in the arts that Trollope attempts. There's Lady Carbury and as with Rachel Trollope does not idealize. Lady Carbury does not write masterpieces; she writes lurid books about Queens of England, and TWWLN opens up with three sycophantic, networking letters (which include muted threats if she cannot get what she wants as well as offers of payment in kind -- praise back) in which Lady Carbury is writing to editors and reviewers in an attempt to get her latest stew praised to the hilt in the right places so it will be positioned to attract readers.

There are increasing numbers of books on the real working lives of women in the 19th century, and probably on Victoria Judy could get a slew of citations. By the end of the century an explosion of office and technical positions (you need some skill like typing, being able to work the telegraph machine) had begun to offer women in some numbers for the first time real salaries so they could escape being in service: the factory, the laundress, and positions in family-owned businesses to be on their own. The 1880s sees the birth of the department store and the salesgirl -- and they mushroomed as a type of store. Trollope wrote an article on the daily working life of such girls in telegraph offices to accompany his story of "The Telegraph Girl"; I cite books you can find it in on my website.

Trollope sympathizes with these girls and he presents their daily drudgery very realistically. They worked for small pay at long hours. He is ambivalent because he really sees how the docility of the female character as trained by our society and partly as a result of biological dispositions leaves her susceptible to these imprisoning jobs. Women, it has been long known, are willing to do sorts of work men won't -- patient equivalents of the archetypal princess who picks out peas from mounds of straw. Yet he also sees they make some money, and his fear of their possible break-away from sexual domination by men and the family group is soothed by the reality that they are imprisoned and make so little.

Probably the ultimate appeal of the glamorous job of the singer/actress/supersuccessful writer is that the women reader thinks she will then surely be free -- by virtue of money and the admiration she dreams others will surround her with.

So Trollope's use of anti-semtism to blacken Moss and make sure we won't regard him ever as a legitimate partner for Rachel or anything she could be attracted to is instinctive -- he counts on his audience disliking the stereotypical Jew. He has done this before: he pairs Lizzie Eustace with Yosef Mealyus. Ferdinand Lopez is made more humane and torwards the end Trollope just about enters into Lopez's psyche as the outcast who is driven to suicide (we'll see this with Melmotte). Probably too the realities of Jewish life in the 19th century where for a long time they were subject to penal laws pushed them into occupations where aggression and talent did count -- for if you really can't sing, can't act, can't write, all the superb connections in the world and money is not going to make the audience come a second time. You do find Jewish people active in the arts; they have used their money to give their small proportion of the population more sway in publishing and the movies. Athletics in the US works the same way: that's why black people have come to dominate it. There's no substitute for some minimal talent -- unless of course the audience is completely uninterested in that as in rock singing or very popular kinds of movies where there is no room for acting to occur in. But I suspect Trollope went to "the disgusting greasy" antisemitic stereotype in Landleaguers for the same reasons he did in The Eustace Diamonds more than for any consideration of where Jewish and other outcast types could make a living irrespective of any prejudiced laws (phased out but still effective through custom and long- standing prejudice by the end of the 19th century).

I agree with Judy that the portrait of Rachel O'Mahony is unusual but adduce different reasons for this unusualness: the hard realities Trollope insists on (how much does the flat cost; how Moss tries to get her and her father into his debt; how he would like to go to bed with her and there's plenty of time and space and privacy for it) and the very coarseness of her nature. In Corinne through to The Song of the Lark the singer/actress/writer is idealised in the tradition of Aurora Leigh who, as Judy says, "refuses to marry because she wants to become a great poet". Aurora Leigh can never make a real comeback among readers outside the academy because of such patently unreal oppositions. Yes children get in the way (are more the stifling burden than the husband and house -- there have been studies to show that past 2 children it is rare for a woman to achieve anything outside what she can do in work and late in life), but who doesn't marry on the supposition she will not be able to become a great poet :). Trollope's Rachel is coarse, hard, aggressive. I have said I don't admire her particularly for that. Because a woman is loud that doesn't mean she's a rebel. In the end Rachel submits and dwindles into a wife. You may be able to go farther if you do so silently, quietly manipulatively and yes go to bed with the guy (this once good contraception has become available -- and the Dutch cap was available by the 1880s and family size had dropped precipitiously among growing numbers of people of Trollope's class from the 1850s on). But the loud tactless frank woman is a highly unusual, indeed slyly subversive portrait of a Corinne. Trollope is saying to the woman reader with Rachel and Lady Carbury (who is the quieter type who forges ahead): here is the reality. This is what you may have to be and to endure.

Ellen Moody

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