Lily as a Portrait of a Real Woman; Mrs Thorne (rich Miss Dunstable that was); Closings; Obliqueness; Ecclesiastical & Sexual Politics; La Vendée and The Last Chronicle of Barset: Written by the Same Man; Dalrymple/Van Siever/Madalina, or Subplot to Hand;

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 10:00:24 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle: Lily as a Portrait of a Real Woman

I have changed my view of Lily 180 degrees as I have aged from my 30's to my 50's. When young (relatively), I viewed her as a disgustingly namby-pamby wimp of a woman and totally unrealistic. But that was from a viewpoint of (a) every woman wants a man and (b) if you can't get the one you love, love the one you're with. Now in my 50's (after several life-changing shifts driven almost entirely by sexual responses), I realize that Lily is a woman I would like as a friend. She's funny, with-it and -- shock! -- truly independent. I believe she was, in the vernacular, incredibly hot for Crosbie in, as Ellen puts it more elegantly, an earthy way. And I think physical attraction is still a key criteria for her, in contrast to many other Trollope heroines with more aesthetic views of romance (or more practical ones). Hence, her inability to (at least at this point) fall in with everyone's ideas about marrying the estimable Mr. Eames -- she simply cannot see herself in his arms. In teen talk (and Lily speaks the teen talk of her time) -- doing it with Johnny -- like, ugh! gag me with a spoon!

In this week's installment, she encounters Crosbie, and I think her physical attraction to him genuinely dies at the same time she has been mentally exercising her ability to regard Johnny as a possible lover based on his praiseworthy behavior in everyday life (a real, not Victorian, lover). However, when she meets Crosbie, both of them perceive a change. He sees that although she is still lovely, she has grown "stouter." What a terrific adjective in context. Stouter is a description suitable for an aging O.M. and stouter is a word showing how much stronger Lily is. She sees that he simply is not as gorgeous as she remembers. Perhaps she realizes that she was not in love with Crosbie -- she was physically in love with her perception of Crosbie. Now she's not. And maybe the physically-passionate Lily is troubled by that change and fearful that any physical attraction must always weaken.

I'm being less than coherent, and perhaps my views will shift again before the end of this re-read. But our group reading of the series in succession has made me into a pro-Lily reader. I see her not as a moony young woman, romantically clinging to a past heart-throb (or as a crazed Miss Havisham (sp?)) but as a girl who has morphed into a strong woman, growing content with life as a single woman, recognizing the independence she can enjoy, but understandably saddened by the lack of the physical satisfaction she is so capable of feeling.

Jill Singer
Overland Park KS

Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 19:09:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [trollope-l] LCB: Mrs. Thorne

I enjoyed seeing Mrs. Thorne when Lily and her uncle were visiting in London. When we met her earlier in this book as she was having the conversation with Major Grantley I was a bit disappointed. She did not seem much like the same person I enjoyed so much in earlier books.

But now, I see she is her same wonderful self. The scene with her and Mr. Dale about the horse Lily was riding is a special favorite of mine. Mrs. Thorne is go generous and unassuming that when Mr. Dale approached her with his concerns about the horse the only thing that came to her mind was wondering if the horse was vicious, unfit for Lily to ride. Mrs. Thorne is certanly capable of dissembling when she chooses to, but I think she really had no idea in the beginning of the conversation that Mr. Dale's concern could possibly be about money matters. Her dissesmbling came later when she didn't choose to accept his offer but wanted to continue her hospitality out of her own purse.


I responded:

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 00:20:17
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barsetshire, Chs 49-55: Closings

I too found the chapter, "Near the Close" moving. Trollope is astonishingly good at entering into the mind of this vulnerable frail old man who seems to shrink so from any contention, abrasiveness, any self-assertion which threatens his peace. A few months ago we talked of how effective are his representations of old men in An Old Man's Love and The Fixed Period. This novel suggests that this empathy came well before Trollope himself grew old. The chapter actually circles around three old men, all of them troubled in some way -- for even if Mr Harding is sweet and all are kind to him, his inner life is one of disquiet, melancholy; there is a desolation in his getting old. Archdeacon Grantly is injust, but his injustice stems in part from his intense desire to live vicariously through his son. Bishop Proudie has had his self-esteem torn from him, and is as flat as Hamlet in his despair. "Near the Close" is about three old men, and how life often appears towards the close of life. Close is a pun with many resonances.

I thought the conversation between Mrs Grantly and Mr Harding very well done. How Mr Harding catches her out: "Then the kitchen-maid theory is sufficiently disposed of". How human it is of Mrs Grantly to end up arguing on behalf of a point of view which is actually making her existence a misery.

No one has mentioned the opening of this chapter, the one on family quarrels, how bitter they can be, how hard and painful and how people within families nurse them. There is great insight here into the tangled skein of passionate emotions which bond people together who find themselves dependent and relying on one another, judged by one another's conduct by others, in the way family members do. Trollope is examining the specific case of the Grantly's, but the generalisation includes us all. Let me speculate that openers like the one to Chapter 49 are what made Tolstoi admire Trollope so.

I agree with Dagny that Mrs Thorne (rich Miss Dunstable that was) is somewhat retrieved in the scenes at London. Among other things, note how she is ever attracted to the most sceptical and disillusioned of her world. The Harold Smiths, and now Siph. Freed of the Barsetshire set, she drifts towards the unconventional, those without cant.

Lily's meeting with Crosbie is done so well, and the insight into the truth that she was in love with an image of him is sound. So too her sudden deflation. I see all sorts of hints and innuendoes that she doesn't want to be an old maid because it is a deeply sexually deprived existence. Her eagerness to hear of John Eames, the reality that we are all influenced by others' respect for someone (as the world looks up to Eames) are all moving us towards moments when Eames could possbly win her.

I admit to finding the scenes at Mrs Dobbs Broughton more than a little distasteful. There's something so sordid about the tone. I wish Trollope had been able to write them frankly, and Mrs Dobbs and Mr Dalrymple simply get down on the floor and get on with it (sex). Part of the queasy atmosphere seems to me to be the result of his not being able openly to present a sordid liaison between Mrs Dobbs and Mr Dalrymple. The silly games she plays are just irritating; they are Trollope's substitutes for the kinds of real encounters he is not allowed to present to his English middle class public.

There is something so Victorian about the Lady Lufton scene. I find Trollope's depiction of Mrs Crawley utterly real -- and believe one might find an analogous response to an analogous situation today. But Lady Lufton is Lady Bountiful, noblesse oblige of an older world, and even though she tries to avoid it, inextricably condescending. Note how this figure is made to play fairy Godmother in Framley Parsonage and again in Last Chronicle.

We might say one sight of Crosbie brought to a close Lily's half-muted desire still to say yes to Crosbie at long last; the Crawley's destiny is coming to some kind of crisis or close as is the life at Dobbs Broughton's house. Near the close indeed.

Just a few thoughts at midnight,

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 11:53:04 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barsetshire, Chs 49-55: Closings

I think anyone caring about Lily and Crosbie (and who could not?) wonders what their encounter will be. Trollope does a wonderful job in staging this first encounter, with her having a chance to observe him from a distance before he is aware of her. I had no idea what her reaction to him would be, certainly not her love evaporating as it did when she saw the man and not the image. I hate it (in that I still hoped that they would somehow make it work) but it is a good and understandable resolution. Realistically she couldn't ever be happy with a man that her mother, sister, uncle, cousin all reject (but a part of me will always wish she married him anyway and that somehow they had found happiness together). Pat

To Trollope-l

August 29, 2000

Re: Last Chronicle of Barset: Obliqueness

I suggest that we find in The Last Chronicle a way of telling a story very like what is found in Cousin Phillis. In Cousin Phillis there is no explicit point made about Phillis's lack of a congenial confiding woman friend. We who are 20th century readers are not part of a world of books where women's friendships are central to the tales: we read only a very few Victorian novels and these in terms of the hum and buzz of our own era's view of the period. Once you see this lacunae in Phillis it reinforces or makes plain the theme of isolation, frustration, and the pain of being dependent precisely on those people least able (Phillis's mother) or disposed (Phillis's father) to understand your needs.

Similarly there is no explicit point made about why Johnny Eames visits Madalina Desmoulins. We are expected to pick it up. It is also important. We can see that he visits her because she welcomes him as Lily does not. If Trollope were more daring or this were a French novel, he and Madalina would be having sex, and I mean going all the way, not the partial experience we are to imagine Lily had with Adolphus Crosbie. As it is, Trollope can only suggest to us that the sex attracts Johnny, the alluring and somehow open and available sex. Why is this significant? It is the story of many a real Victorian bourgeois English (and other European) males. They often had mistresses or lived for years with a working class woman they never married. Why? They were more comfortable with them, and probably could enjoy sex more with them. Now Lily is awakened, and we have been given enough to see that if Johnny knew how to approach her, he could get her. Alas, he doesn't know how. That she is a woman of his own class and that he has been taught to see her as on a pedestal stops him. He leaves early. Lily herself is partly to blame. Her behavior to him is endlessly prickly and defensive. She does not know how to signal to him that she is frustrated, does not want to be an old maid (which when applied to a woman of her class for the Victorian meant having no sex), but does not know how to communicate this. How could she? All her education has taught her to repress it totally. When he leaves Madalina, we see him feeling soiled and absurd. He wanted Lily, yet went to Madalina. We are sometimes told that Victorian wives didn't mind their husbands going to prostitutes or having mistresses. Maybe some didn't, but in a climate like this where sex is taught as something degrading outside marriage, many did mind. They felt soiled by association. This of course on top of jealousy.

At the close of the story, Johnny does not win Lily. One of the reasons he does not win her is she is appalled at his relationship with Madalina.

Trollope is here presenting obliquely a reality with which bourgeois Victorian people had to live, one which directly got in the way of their fulfillment and which had strong repercussions on what they wrote, how they found other enjoyments. Bourgeois women were taught to abjure sex, and to keep the young man at a distance; the bourgeois male was taught an exaggerated respect for a woman of his class. All this partly to protect property and maintain the class hierarchy. When these young people grew up, their relationships would be twisted. Someone like Crosbie would choose a woman for her money who turns out to be frigid. Who wouldn't in the de Courcy household. Think about what we are told of Lady and Earl de Courcy as personalities and their relationship.

However, in a sense this is not the worst of it. The worst of it was the inner twisting, the inner repressions. John Eames is the Victorian male who cannot find a woman he can be comfortable with because he worships the one he longs for altogether too much. At the same time because he has been taught to look at sex as somehow dirty, something to be exploited and something which when gained outside marriage is a triumph for the male and degrading for the woman, he can never respect, much less love a woman who is willing. Amelia Roper was the depiction of such a working class woman as bourgeois males turned to. Cradell is positioned as a weak male in the world of both books because he married such a woman. Do note the six children though. There has at least been that satisfaction. Madalina Desmoulins as a character is used to show why Johnny cannot win Lily, and it is not just a matter of Lily's depression and inner maiming. It is also a matter of preconditioning over sex which keeps them apart.

Trollope is, unfortunately, not respected for this kind of treatment by people who write about and study the books seriously. Mostly I think because he seems to buy into the attitude towards sex which regards it as something distasteful, sordid, a triumph, an exploitation, polluting (&c&c) outside marriage. He clearly does buy into the class system and presents the women who are loose as working class or otherwise vulgar. Nonetheless the treatment is there, and what is valuable or interesting in the story of Lily and Johnny is not just a study of Lily's psychological damage and, as Karen Horney called it so long ago, "the problem of female masochism. It is a study of a repressed society whose members live maimed lives because they cannot get beyond the repression, who do things they know are absurd and self-defeating (like leaving Lily early and visiting Madalina) which make it all the harder for them to get what they want but don't know why.

Victorian novels like The Last Chronicle are huge rich books. They have a cornucopia of materials which we can gaze into as a mirror which is epic in its scope. The story of Major Grantly and Grace Crawley occurs in the same book as this of Johnny and Lily. The two seem to exist in different universes, but they don't, not really. Major Grantly is being urged not to marry Grace for reasons similar to those which drove Crosbie to marry Lady Alexandrina de Courcy. The lack of sexual feeling in Grace informs us as to why Lily who is we see allowed to mentor her and spend time with her tells us why Lily must behave in the repressed way she does. Johnny and Major Grantly meet on the train; they recognize that they are of the same species. They are.

The book to read on the Victorian period which 'opens up' books like Trollope's and Gaskell's is Peter Gay's monumental three-volumer which go under the names The Cultivation of Hatred (about how aggression was channeled into the culture), The Tender Passion (sex, with some chapters closely relevant to what we find in The Last Chronicle) and The Naked Heart (the title speaks to Gay's compassion for this segment of society).

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 12:04:53 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barset: Obliqueness

This is all so true. I am apparently still so naive that I never got the point that is obvious to Ellen and presumably others that Trollope presents this "sham" flirtation between Dalrymple and Mrs. Broughton because that's all he can do. I just thought it was an attempt to be funny; it often does come across as awkward and puzzling. One place where it is funny is later on when Dalrymple really is trying to work on his painting and Mrs. D.B. absolutely won't shut up and let him. Pat

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 14:40:08 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barset: Obliqueness

Thanks to Ellen Moody not only for her generous posting on sexual repression in The Last Chronicle of Barset but for the reminder of Peter Gay's 'bourgeois experience' trilogy: high time I got round to reading this study.

The other day, I finally got round to reading Effi Briest, Theodor Fontane's novel of 1895. It was perhaps in this discussion group that I read of Fontane's being considered as a German Trollope, and with the one novel under my belt I can say that the comparison is both as valid and as misleading as such comparisons usually are. Curiously, Fontane manages to be both less explicit and more forthright about sex than does Trollope. He takes a tragic view of sexuality that has passed almost entirely from modern consciousness (meeting the 'right' person is a matter of luck that hardly befalls everyone; the unlucky are drawn into complications that they don't understand and that can destroy their happiness; social conventions surrounding sexuality serve as much to protect as to disgrace.) He certainly does not share Trollope's faith in the institution of marriage - not in Effi Briest anyway.

Crosbie's inability to convince his friend Fowler Pratt that his warm feelings for Lily would sustain another attempt at her hand, coming at the very moment that, in Lily's eyes, he sheds the dignity and divinity of Apollo, constitutes a sweet revenge. "When she was alone she sat down in her habit, and declared to herself that she certainly would never become the wife of Mr. Crosbie. I do not know why she should make such a declaration." But of course he does, and he proceeds to tell us.

RJ Keefe

To Trollope-l

August 30, 2000

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset, Chs 54-55: Ecclesiastical & Sexual Politics

No one has mentioned the directly political chapter in this week's reading. "The Clerical Commission" recalls numerous chapters in Framley Parsonage, Can You Forgive Her? and Rachel Ray. Trollope thinks it doesn't matter what the particular content of a committee meeting (or business office), party arrangement, or courtroom scene is; what matters are the personalities involved, how they interact, and what is in the interest of each. Dr Tempest is the successful leader; Mark Robarts is the party man; Oriel is the person who is naive enough to try to vote his conscience, to think there is a right and wrong one can draw neat lines around; Mr Quiverful is the man of appetite, the man pressed by circumstances who knows these trump all; and Mr Thumble, well as Trollope says, he's a "poor creature" eager to jump on the rich bandwagon and vote for whoever will throw him the best crumbs, if only he can find out where this is. In the sense of political maneuvring, we watch how the conversaton is manipulated so that surface meaning are only so many counters. Robarts brings out that Crawley has not shown himself to be unfit because it suits his side to say that; he doesn't say it because it's true. Thumble points out that Crawley disobeyed the Bishop; not that he really cares, but that he is there as Mrs Bishop's man. If anyone on this list has ever gone to a committee meeting, it's always amusing to watch them from the point of view of personal manipulation. Dr Tempest, the strong man who never says what he need not gets a wonderful final line: "Dr Tempest carried his point exactlyi as he might have done had the four gentlemen been represented by the chairs on which they sat" (Houghton Mifflin Last Chronicle, ed AMizener, Ch 54, p. 444). Miss Anne Prettyman was not far off when she opined that "Dr Tempest is as hard as a bar of irion, and always was" (p. 438). He did win the contest with Bishop and Mrs Proudie.

And what of them? A couple of instalments ago Trollope admits to us he may have gone overboard in his depiction of Mrs Proudie as totally obnoxious:

"I fear that it may now be too late for me to excite much sympathy in the mind of any reader on behalf of Mrs Proudie. I shall never be able to make her virtues popular. But she had virtues, and their existence now made her unhappy" (p. 381).

In Castle Richmond Trollope has a couple of sleazy villains so contemptuous it is hard to get up any sympathy, but he tells us there it is always necessary to his method. In this novel too. In order for us to enter into the misery of this marriage which has finally carved out whatever strength of mind the Bishop had and made of Mrs Proudie a harridan (because she was too strong in the relationship), we have to feel for both. This week we see Mrs Proudie begin to soften. She is taken aback by her husband's sudden collapse. From a self-interested standpoint, she needs him, for without him she has no grounds upon which to tyrannize. She is also frightened at some damage in him she had not foreseen. In some ways his behavior is analogous to that of Crawley:

"As for him, he hardly left his own sitting-room in these days, except when he joined the family at breakfast and at dinner. And in his study he did little or nothing. He would smile when his chaplain went to him, and give some trifling verbal directions; but for days he scarcely ever took a pen in hishands, and though he took up many books he read hardly a page. How often he told his wife in those days that he was broken-hearted, no one but his wife knew.

"What has happened that you should speak like that?" she said to him once. "What has broken your heart?"

"You", he replied. "You; you have done it" (Ch 54, p. 440).

Sexual politics can refer to how Rev Crawley and Dr Tempest both refused to deal with Mrs Proudie; it can refer to how for years she has bullied her husband in their bedroom (in scenes better not imagined), but somehow it also refers to how Mrs Proudie has never understood because she wouldn't feel the way the Bishop does how slowly she has broken him. Now he is collapsed and she loses strength because she derived hers from feeding off his. Henry James uses this kind of relationship in his novels repeatedly. The last lines of conversation above are so real.

Did anyone else notice how short the chapter "Framley Parsonage" is in comparison with all the others of this week's instalments. A certain perfunctorinesss here.

Comments anyone?

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

September 4, 2000

Re: La Vendée and The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire

These two novels were written by the same man (honest), and there is a statement by Mullen which brings them together. Of La Vendée Mullen says that in it and and his later work is "the ever-present fear that one could so easily be flung from the comfort of a rectory or the luxury of a country house into the swirling world of misery and poverty that lurked around them." When Rev Crawley offers to give up his position, he is offering to to walk, with his wife and daughters, into that swirling world of misery and poverty. When Dobbs Broughton comes home drunk in the morning, he is fending off thoughts of how little keeps him and his Maria from that swirling world ...

Unlike Dickens, Trollope doesn't depict the desperate abyss outside the genteel world of the bourgeois very often. We glimpse it in a few short stories (e.g., "The Spotted Dog"), now and again in the Irish novels; here in The Last Chronicle on the edge of the brickmaker's hovels. He assumes we know it's there -- and that's why Dr Tempest's words should resonate in our ears about just how self-destructive, suicidal Crawley's giving up his income and position is. It also should point up how inhumane and vicious was Mrs Proudie for trying to get him to give it up early in the book.

Ellen Moody

From Tyler: Re: The Broughton/Van Siever/Dalrymple Subplot

Hello Group, I

had to leave again for about a month. I got a new job and moved from Michigan to South Carolina. Then I had trouble reestablishing my online connections so I have only just been able to rejoin. I have missed the conversations on The Last Chronicle, but I have been keeping up with the reading.

I wonder if anyone has discussed why Trollope even inserts the Broughton/Van Siever/ Dalrymple subplot. It seems pointless, and I felt nothing when Dobbs Broughton killed himself. True these characters have some reflection on Johnny Eames for his acquaintance with them, but they seem curiously out of place in the novel when they are the only new characters introduced, yet they have such a minor role that I continually forgot them until they showed up again. I was having too much fun hearing about my old friends to be concerned with such minor characters whose plot did not really intertwine with the two main plots of Crawley's guilt/innocence and Major Grantly and Grace's romance. Any suggestions - was Trollope simply filling space or did he have some deeper purpose for this subplot that I am missing.

It's good to be back.

Tyler Tichelaar

Someone answered Tyler thus:

We know that Trollope took an interest in matters artistic, and was friendly with leading painters (notably Millais and his wife Effie Millais, whose private life had been eventful before marriage to Millais); it is fairly certain that he would be au fait with the various gossip and scandals of the artistic scene (at least in conversation man to man or in the club, if not before the ladies).

Might the Dalrymple/Van Siever/Madalina scenes have been a rehearsal for an earlier The Way We Live Now - a plot to be based on artistic decadence, which insinuated itself into The Last Chronicle and thereby got wasted. They do serve to create a situation in which MD writes her anonymous letter to LD, thereby possibly precipitating Lily's final decision not to marry Eames; there would surely have been other methods to achieve that end had Trollope not had the Dalrymple etc subplot in hand.

From Mark Jenson:

I suppose it's a question of taste, but speaking for myself, I found the Dalrymple-Broughton-van Siever-M.D. subplot a welcome relief from the earnestness of the Crawley drama. I quite enjoyed the Sisera/Jael humor, and admire the way that, once again, Trollope takes seriously characters like Conway Dalrymple and Clara van Siever. Even Musselboro was interesting to me. (I especially enjoyed the moment when Clara van Siever hesitated before leaving her tyrannical mother's house.) These characters, too, are the centers of their own universes, and one can feel for brief moments Trollope appreciating (and estimating) their take on the world. I agree that the plot occasionally creaked or was forced, but found that this subplot really did add a meaningful example of the ways in which Johnny Eames falls short of what he would have to have been in order to capture the heart of Lily Dale. (I was unable to share Trollope's sympathy for Johnny Eames -- a difficulty that he anticipated, to judge from his asides.) In my opinion The Last Chronicle of Barset would be a much weaker novel without this subplot -- though it's true that Dobbs Broughton himself doesn't inspire much interest. I wonder why Trollope chose not to do more with his death. Perhaps he felt that it would threaten to divert interest from his principal story?

Mark Jensen

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 23:35:19 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle: Dalrymple/Van Siever/Madalina, or Subplot to Hand

Sometime ago I asked a person who has been reading Trollope for decades about a couple of the 'other' most unidealistic subplots that are to be found in the Palliser novels, e.g, in The Eustace Diamonds, the very harsh and disillusioned Lucinda Roanoke/Mrs Carbuncle/Sir George de Bruce Carruthers story; in Phineas Redux the somewhat coarse comedy of Adelaide Palliser/the two Maule males/Spooner story; and in The Prime Minister, the story of Ferdinand Lopez/ EmilyFletcher which dominates the novel for long stretches. He suggested that Trollope had (in Rory's phrase) 'subplots to hand'; that is, very like Alexander Pope, who could spin out character sketches, satiric dialogues, descriptions, as initiating matter for poems, and then when in the midst of another poem, suddenly see how to fit the separate matter into the big Whole. The subplot to The Eustace Diamonds fits it in mood, and its triangle makes a parallel to the triangle of Lucy/Frank Greystock/ and Lizzie, but you really can detect where the major LucyMorris/FrankGreystock story leaves off and the Roanoke/Carbuncle/Carruthers material is tucked in; the Palliser/Maule/Spooner story has the same separable feel although it too fits the mood of the book it occurs in.

Like Mark Jenson, I looked upon the Dalrymple/Van Siever/Madalina as relief from the strongly idealizing terrain of Barsetshire. It exists at the other end of the spectrum from the Grace Crawley/ Major Grantly romance. When Trollope first brings it in, the feel (to me at any rate) was of the world opening up to a non-nostalgic contemporary milieu. The problem, though, was Trollope didn't sufficiently develop this story. We aren't given anywhere near enough of Dalrymple, and his relationship to Johnny Eames; the development of the Van Siever story is also suddenly truncated as Trollope drops the curtain on them towards the end. He just didn't enter into Mrs Dobbs Broughton's character sufficiently: here I suspected Trollope was unable to tell the truth about her sexual relationship with Dalrymple, so he curtailed the presentation to mere hints. More likely I suppose was he didn't have enough room. As it was his book had so much matter, and he doesn't stint a nuanced detailed presentation of Rev Crawley's story, phase by phase. Then he spends much time on Lily Dale and John Eames. I see it as the necessary antidote to the sweetness, vulnerability, and serious earnestness of the book's other three plots. It provides ironic undercutting and parallels for the story about paper money in Barsetshire too. Its mood recalls the psychological atmosphere of the people at the Dragon of Wantly: a hard anonymous world.

When you start to think about it, The Last Chronicle of Barset is by no means a book that is complacent or falsifies the realities of Trollope's world, both as they really were and as they were seen through the conventions of the time. It is sometimes suggested that The Last Chronicle is Trollope's strongest book, one of his big masterpieces. In his Autobiography he certainly seems to be very proud of it.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

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