The reader needs to know that at the time some of us were reading The Last Chronicle of Barset, we were also reading La Vendée
From Maureen Bixley:
In response to an item in Ellen Moody's "Trollope's Repetitions" -
After I had read the Barchester novels for the first time, I experienced a moment of delicious recognition when Psalm 127 appeared in our Anglican lectionary. The Psalm talks about the gift of children and says among other things "Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them".
Writing to this list from northwest of Toronto, Canada where it is currently snowing!
From Judy Geater: Re: The Oxford and Penguin Introductions to Trollope's Novels
"I thought McCormack's attitude towards Trollope egregiously prejudiced. To my way of thinking his assumption that Trollope is simply a complacent conservative-Tory Englishman shows he, McCormack, can't read or hasn't bothered to read with any care."
I couldn't agree more! The sneering tone in so many of the notes to the Oxford edition of La Vendée really got on my nerves. When McCormack sees a repeated phrase, it doesn't seem to occur to him that Trollope may be repeating that form of words quite deliberately and because it is important to the theme - it must be laziness.
I was also irritated by his comment (in yet another intrusive footnote!) on Michael Stein's name not sounding French - surely Trollope has chosen a German name on purpose here, to make Stein stand out from his neighbours, emphasising that he is different from the rest. (The meaning of stone also suggests Stein's immovable quality.) He could easily have chosen a French name if he had wanted, as he did with Denot.
Sadly, if anything, the introduction to the Penguin edition of Last Chronicle of Barset is even worse! In the copy I have, the notes by Peter Fairclough are fine, mainly sticking to useful background information - but the introduction by Laurence Lerner is awful, at least in part. Basically, he quotes a famous passage from the Autobiography about Trollope writing against the clock, looking at his watch to ensure that he writes 250 words every quarter of an hour -and comments "The serious reader, now as then, can only feel repelled by this."
Well, as a journalist, I'd have to disagree - I have seen people writing furiously while glancing at their watches every day of my working life! Often, when writers have to work quickly, they have been thinking over what they are going to write for some time before getting it down on paper, as Trollope did.
Lerner then proceeds to look for signs of hastiness, slipshod work, etc, and quotes the story about Mrs Proudie's death from the Autobiography as ospel - simply accepting that of course Trollope wrote this because of the two clergymen he overheard chatting in the club, not because of the demands of the story. Surely, one look at the novel should tell him otherwise - Mrs Proudie's death is essential to the plot and gives rise to some of the most powerful writing.
Worse still, he seems to have no appreciation of Lily's character at all, and says that, when Johnny is with her, "she joins the indistinguishable, the alas not anonymous throng of pretty and sexless dolls." Is the same Lily in my copy of the book?
I'm not saying that all introductions to classic novels should be full of gushing praise of every single word in the book, but it would be nice at least to feel that the critic has looked at the text carefully and without prejudice! I do like many Oxford and Penguin introductions but was rather disappointed by these two.
Bye for now, Judy Geater
From Angela Richardson:
Re: Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames?
Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames? I've been asking myself this since I finished Last Chronicle without much to drawn for an answer. Does Trollope write in his Autobiography of his feelings for this character? Is he defended by Trollope anywhere? (Perhaps he never came under attack like Lily?)
Were we meant to feel he ended the novel as a broken hearted man? We are told he weeps and that he doesn't marry. But the final scenes with Madalina are meant to be read as comic surely? Difficult to make Eames seem tragic in this context.
From Dagny: Re: Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames?
"But the final scenes with Madalina are meant to be read as comic surely? Difficult to make Eames seem tragic in this context."
I thought the initial part of John's final scenes with Madalina was a mix of comedy and tragedy. But I have to agree that once the mother showed up (finding John with Madalina in his arms) and especially when John is calling out the window to the policeman it all seemed highly comic to me.
The beginning of the scene though when Madalina was trying to trick John into a proposal of marriage struck me as quite sad. Sad that Madalina had to resort to such tactics and sad that she actually would resort to them; and sad that John might be caught up in them and shanghaied against his will. I thought he was in danger of being trapped for sure when Madalina fell into his arms and Mom burst into the room.
But when Lady Demolines mentioned locking him in the house so he couldn't escape--that was my first big laugh of the scene. When John went to the window to call to the policeman at first I thought he was going to climb out of the window and make his get-way in that manner.
From Judy Geater: Re: Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames?
" Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames? I've been asking myself this since I finished Last Chronicle without much to drawn for an answer. Does Trollope write in his Autobiography of his feelings for this character? Is he defended by Trollope anywhere? (Perhaps he never came under attack like Lily?)"
I don't know if Trollope defends Johnny anywhere else, but I was struck by the fascinating passage in Last Chronicle Chapter 76 (pages 787-88 of the Penguin Classics edition) where he does stick up for the character, suggesting that the reader "may, perhaps, think that a young man who could amuse himself with Miss Demolines was not worthy of Lily Dale". He goes on to deny this: "If so I may declare for myself that I and the reader are not in accord about John Eames."
However, Trollope has in fact raised the question about Eames' worthiness while seeming to dismiss it - subtly putting both sides of the argument at once.
This passage includes the beautifully ironic line "My old friend John was certainly no hero - was very unheroic in many phases of his life - but then, if all girls are to wait for heroes, I fear that the difficulties in the way of matrimonial arrangements, great as they are at present, will be very seriously enhanced."
This is common sense - but, of course, Lily did want a hero, which is what the "Apollo" figure of Crosbie seemed to represent to her back in The Small House at Allington, and she isn't likely to fall for "an affectionate, kindly, honest young man," as Trollope goes on to describe John here. We are told in the next breath that "most girls" would do well to take him - but, as we read, we must surely be aware that Lily is not "most girls".
The paragraph ends with the phrase: "Whether he was wise to ask assistance in his love-making so often as he had done, that may be another question". I think this deadly line is John Eames in a nutshell - charming but at heart immature, always seeking a shoulder to cry on, somebody to help him win over Lily, when he should realise that nobody else can give him the key to her heart or win her on his behalf.
It's telling that he dallies with Amelia in the first book and then again with the ludicrous Madalina in the second. Seems to me that there's less excuse for his "romance" with Madalina - with Amelia, he is much younger than her and easily led, mainly falling for her charms when he has had too much to drink. But with Madalina he is just seeking a sexy distraction behind Lily's back, quite cynically.
I think basically Trollope wants us to like Johnny and even be charmed by him, but also to see the weakness in his character which stops him being the man for Lily.
I'd been searching everywhere for my copy of John Sutherland's book of puzzles in classic fiction, "Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?" because I seemed to remember that he had something in there about Johnny Eames' name. Now I've finally found the book (large as life, on a shelf where I've looked a dozen times!), and thought I'd just pass on the bit about John's name - forgive me if this has been mentioned already, but it's taking a long time to read through all the archive discussions!
"Johnny Eames... is so called, I believe, in deference to that favourite Horatian tag of both Thackeray's and Trollope's: "servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet." Eames is faithful to Lily Dale ad imum (' to the last')."
In a footnote, he translates the Latin (luckily for me!) and gives a little more detail, as follows: "The Latin, from Horace's 'Ars Poetica', 126-7, means: 'As it unfolded from the beginning, so let it remain till the end.' It is quoted on the title page of Thackeray's Henry Esmond and in Chap. 8 of Trollope's An Autobiography.
From Wayne Gisslen:
Re: Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames?
I thought the scene with John Eames escaping from Madalina was like nothing so much as Bertie Wooster making good his escape from one of the many girls to whom he was briefly engaged.
R. J. Keefe now wrote in:
Re: Just what does Trollope want us to make of John Eames?
When Angela Richardson asked if Trollope might have written of John Eames' character outside of the Barsetshire novels, I pulled down An Autobiography. I quickly found the famous passage in which Trollope insists than fans who have begged him to let John marry Lily would not love Lily so much as they do if she accepted him. There was nothing about Johnny's character, but Trollope dismissed Lily as 'a French prig.' (Chapter X) Adding this dismissal to the whirl of views in the novels themselves, I'm refreshed by the idea that Trollope's art is not paraphrasable. It really won't do to reduce Lily or John to types, because they don't stand still long enough. We should appreciate the story of their romance all the more because Trollope gives both characters unprecedented freedom while withholding the happy ending that blesses his more conventional lovers.
It may be that neither Johnny nor Lily is suited for marriage with anybody. (I agree that he, at least, is certainly not ready for it by the end of Last Chronicle) Or it may be that only Lily could have saved Johnny from his inner hobbledehoyhood. I think we can take it on faith that one positive word from Lily would have put an immediate end to Johnny's other frolics. By curious chance, I happened to read The Three Clerks last spring on my own, just as we were beginning Last Chronicle and the remarkable congruences between Charlie Tudor and Johnny Eames sometimes made it difficult for me to distinguish, for example, the office personnel in one novel from the other's. Anybody who wants more of John Eames will find The Three Clerks a rewarding read, and its picture of Surbiton Villa rivals that of The Small House for charm. John Eames is a more developed character in every way, which isn't to say that he's more interesting than Charlie Tudor, just that Trollope spends more time examining him, and from a greater number of angles.
Without wanting to come down on the man's side of responding to Johnny's finale in Last Chronicle I will say that the keynote line for me follows Lady Demolines' remarkably-attired entrance upon the scene. "And John was stricken at the moment with a conviction that her ladyship must have passed the early part of her life upon the stage." This is very cruel and very condescending - or it is burlesque. (Which is not to say fanciful - I find the entire drama utterly realistic, and blush to report that I fell into circumstances insufficiently unlike John's when I was about his age.) The difference lies in the tone of our response. The resonance and sophistication of the novel will keep the argument going indefinitely.
October 3, 2000
Re: Last Chronicle: The Significance of the Sorry Mr Eames
I'm with Angela and Judy about the nature of the comedy in the last scene in which we see Johnny Eames. It may be that here we have ones of those divides where men will tend to respond to the scene with sympathy and identification with the male while women with sympathy and identification with the two females -- for I can see that not just Angela and Judy but a couple of the other women on our list who have been reading the book and posting about feel the way I do about Madalina: she is a human being, no matter how false, shallow and desperate and, because readily available to Mr Eames sexual advances even when he is laughing at her, despised and distrusted by Trollope.
I saw the final scene in this novel as one which justifies Lily's decision not to marry this man. I pointed out two places in last week's tryst where Trollope gave us wording which allowed us to see that Johnny was (to use a crude Americanism) feeling Madalina up and perhaps proceeding to further heavy petting, viz.,
"now and again there might be some more potent attraction, when she would permit him to take her hand -- and the like" (Houghton Mifflin Last Chronicle, ed AMizener, Ch 75 p. 614). "The like" here refers to Madalina's what: her breast? her cunt? And then just before he leaves after she has behaved so distastefully and he has laughed at her her, we are again told: "Then, having probably taken momentary advantage of that more potent attraction to which we have before alluded he left the room very suddenly" (Ch 75, p. 615)."
Trollope is right to tell us that in his indirect fashion that most young men who are debarred from sex with a girl they might actually like "the difficulties in the way of matrimonial arrangements, great as they are at present" will have sex with whom they can get their hands on. Lily herself has remained lily-white except of course with Crosbie; we have seen that she has because of the sexual code of the period been so traumatized by whatever sex she had with Crosbie that she regards herself as spoiled, as used, and feels dread at any more risks, prefers no sex, tranquillity with the harmless mother to trying again.
Yet Trollope does mean us to see this scene as ignoble comedy, as Eames getting just what he deserves. Lily called Eames "light of heart"; he must be without depths of emotional insight, how else can we explain Trollope's comment that as he left Madalina's house that night under the protection of a policeman that he "was rather proud" of this escapade. John Eames remains a boy. He is the man who would boast of this: over dinner we are told how he talked of Madalina to his friend Boulanger (Ch 80, p. 645), and how he intended tonight "to follow out that little game". Had he really encountered a woman with a depth of understanding who had had sexual experience, and was decent -- say Mrs Hurtle -- would he have behaved to her as in a game. We are given enough in this chapter to suppose he would. There is a moment during the scene with Madalina when he thinks to pass off all that is happening as "a joke" (Ch 80, p. 649). I agree it's funny, but not merry or happy or therapeutic funny. It's funny the way farcical playing with emotions is funny. And if you don't see the humour of it the scene has something mean running through it. Johnny himself perceives himself as "ludicrous" when he hypocritically agrees with Madalina that she is a "finger-post" (pp. 648-49). The word takes on salacious connotations in context. Note that the mother rushes in when Johnny has caught Madalina by the waist. In Victorian code language this was about to become one of those scenes where Madalina's potent attractions might again be riffled with. The scene that ensues between Madalina, her mother, and Eames is clownish -- I did suppose that's why the Trollope Society decided to put in that badly-drawn picture, since it did present the action as distasteful. Note the name of the place: Porchester Terrace. Pork, pigs, a sty of flesh on offer Mr Eames could not keep away from.
It justifies Lily because it shows that Eames has no sense of what she has gone through. There is something scanty, insipid, callow about him -- it's psychologically acute. The fact that he is this way kept him from falling into Amelia's hands; the more emotional vulnerable Cradell has had 6 children with her. The realities of life teach us that the duller ones do better. And Trollope -- as well as his chorus of characters -- have argued that Lily should marry him not for him, but so that she shall fit in, have a husband. Make do, dear Lily, says Mrs Thorne. To which she responds, why should I? What do I have to gain? On top of this, what does he have in his heart that would give me intense joy? Only someone who could understand why she grieved so could reach her psyche and bring forth from it solace and happiness again. Eames is not the man. Note what he says to Madalina at one pont: "That sort of thing is fatiguing, I dare say. I don't know whether we do not lose more than we gain by such strong emotions" (Ch 80, p. 646). What would be his response to the real Lily when the troubles of life came upon them or when they were in bed together and she looked for something more from him to match her own nature.
It will be said, why be such an idealist? Most people aren't. Most people resign themselves to getting what's usually on offer. But Lily has been presented as someone who would be hurt by having to live with such a man after her experience with Crosbie. Trollope does not persuade me that after marriage Eames would not go to such women. Victorian men did. But Lily wouldn't take that easily. We see that in her response to the letter.
Trollope has presented John in a low light and knows he has -- that's why he says that if a young woman would turn from this young man, she's not going to find anyone any different most of the time. I suggest that intuitively he has shown us why Lily chose not to take this young man, why instinctively she drew back after the blow she has received.
And what is the last we see of Johnny in this novel. The last we saw of him in The Small House was a sympathetic scene. He was sitting alone eating his chop. He was young then; the trysts with Amelia are understandable. In this novel his character has become more fixed -- and like Crosbie -- no better for this. The last we see of him, he is again proud not to have answered any of Madalina's letters. We hear him talk with Conway Dalrymple, and John who is not and never will be an asture psychologist, predicts Peter Bangles will end up another Cradell, a Martyr to his (excuse the expression) penis. Dalrymple is the sharper man:
'I'm not so sure of that', said Conway, who had heard something of Peter Bangles. 'There are men who have strong wills of their own, and strong hands of their own'.
'Poor Madalina', said Johnny.
'If he does beat her, I hope he will do it tenderly. It may be that a little of it will suit her forward temperament' (Ch 84, p. 676).
Well, yuk. Beat her tenderly?
n the concluding sequence of this novel Johnny Eames as a character becomes part of the milieu in which we have met Dalrymple, Mrs Van Siever, the Dobbs Broughton, and we leave him there. He can make it; he's "light of heart".
The larger reading which takes us away from moral analysis of the characters is probably the best: Trollope has shown us the twisted repressive attitude towards sex and equally the twisted hypocritical attitudes towards money in the bourgeois of the period. He has shown us how they lead one young man (Crosbie) to marry utterly for money (a de Courcy) and abuse the girl (a Lily) he was engaged to. How they encourage him to triumph over her, to regard her as easy. He has shown us how these attitudes crush the girl: she is shamed, deeply shamed, and can neither marry the young man when the woman dies for he would again half-despise her nor can she get herself to go to bed with another man who has sex lightly. He has shown us how the third man (Johnny) remains a callow boy -- and lucky for him too as it will make life's bumps easier to him. He won't end up a Crawley -- or a Crosbie who I suspect we are to see a kind of Burgo Fitzgerald, someone who is heading for self-destructing.
Trollope writes adult comedy. Rather than P. G. Wodehouse I would compare the comedy of Eames and Madalina to some of the comic sex scenes in Anthony Powell's _A Dance to the Music of Time_: Widmerpool with the sugar pouring down over his head; Jenkins having sex with the butch young woman in the antique shop; the allegorical charades at Sir Magnus Danner's castle. That's the parallel for me.
From Howard Merkin
Re: Johnny Eames
It seems that most readers of The Small House and The Last Chronicle mistake Trollope's portrayal of John Eames and Lily Dale. For Lily to describe Johnny as 'light of heart' is grossly unfair. He has clearly been in love with her all his life. Every time he spoke to her of his love, he was summarily pushed aside, and told that she was still in love with Crosbie, or that she was determined to be an old maid. In the circumstances, to regard his amusements with Amelia Roper and Madalina Demolines as being anything more than a distraction from his evidently unrewarding love for Lily seems grossly unfair. It was clear that both young (or rather not so young) ladies were in the business of seeking or entrapping a husband. Johnny knew this as well as anyone else, and he conducted himself so as to avoid such entrapment, with the result that they each finished up with a less estimable husband in the persons of Cradell and Bangles. Johnny and the two women were in it for what they could get, and if Johnny emerged with the kisses and endearments that Trollope gave me to understand that he got, or the greater rewards that Ellen believes that he obtained, he successfully avoided the final trap in both cases.
It is perfectly clear from reading a wide range of Victorian novels that flirting was a normal practice, both in society and outside it. While most novelists seem to have been expected to disapprove of it, presumably because of the influence of Mr. Mudie, it seems to have gone on without a great deal of condemnation. In Chapter LI of The Small House, Trollope's remark about young men doing their flirting in good company seems to make it clear that the act of flirting itself was not considered objectionable. So what is the objection to the way in which John Eames behaved? He could only be accused of flirting outside his class, and this was probably truer of his conduct with Madalina than with Amelia.
Lily Dale, on the other hand, presents a different picture. She first appears as a pert, pretty girl, who makes fun of 'Apollo' Crosbie. Then, in the course of less than a month, she appears to have fallen passionately in love with him and they have become engaged. I can accept that within the limitations imposed by Mudie, Trollope has made it clear that there was a strong sexual element in their mutual attraction. Her shock and despair when he abandons her for the dreadful Lady Alexandrina is completely understandable, and she undergoes the mandatory illness for a Victorian young lady in her position. When she recovers, instead of taking the attitude that one might have expected from the Lily of Chapter II of The Small House of regarding him with contempt and loathing, she continues to regard him as her 'husband', and herself after his marriage as 'widowed' ( SHA Chapter LVII).
Moving on to The Last Chronicle, after Lady Alexandrina has died, Crosbie writes to Mrs. Dale to ask if she thinks that he can see Lily again. Lily reads his letter, but decides that she does not want to appear to have forgiven him, because he would condemn her for it!. When she sees him by chance in London, she realises that he has become bald and fat, and clearly any residual love flies away. Nevertheless, she shows no interest in John Eames after he has returned triumphantly from his Italian jaunt. One can believe that there is no sexual chemistry, but there doesn't seem to be any for anyone else. I can understand her not saying to Mrs. Arabin, a much older woman, that she did not fancy him, but I would have expected that she could have said that, or whatever the Victorian equivalent was, to Emily Dunstable, when they were discussing an 'it'. There must have been many eligible young men at Mrs. Thorne's parties, which Lily would have attended while she was in London. Did none of them attract her at all? Apparently not, because, as Lily says, 'Things have gone wrong with me.' She appears to be softening towards John Eames, until she gets Madalina's anonymous letter. Instead of laughing, and showing it to Johnny, as Emily suggests, she decides that his knowing someone who could write such a letter condemned him out of hand. Her resolution to return to Allington and rejoin her mother in 'widowhood' is reinforced, and this is what she did.
I rather suspect, that like Aunt Ada Doom in Cold Comfort Farm, Lily had decided that Crosbie was her 'something nasty in the woodshed', and she was determined to milk it for the rest of her life. One can see her great-nephews and great-nieces whispering to each other 'Aunt Lily was jilted when she was nineteen, and has never got over it. But you must never mention it to her.'
In An Autobiography Trollope describes Lily as 'somewhat of a female prig', and I think that he was probably right.
October 3, 2000
Re: Last Chronicle: The Dyer's Hand and Mr Eames (I)
I like controversy because it creates talk. Most of the time no one changes his or her view; basically we bring forward our readings of the text and others read them and everyone who listens and those who engage can get new insights into how others read the book. Before I defend my view of Eames, I would like to say we should remember he is not a person. He is a character. I wasn't grossly unfair to anyone since no one for real exists about whom we are talking. There once was a man named Anthony Trollope and he wrote books in which he put forth a brilliantly complicated perception of experience. One of his means was to persuade us there are real presence in his text which he manipulates in this direction and that, sometimes turning them into puppets for the purposes of the story and his meaning, sometimes allowing them to become larger than the story in the psychological insights his personations of them offer to us. It's testimony to Trollope's power that people can get excited over what others say about characters.
RJ as ever seems to read the same text I do but have a different response to it -- probably a result of our very different backgrounds and in this case our gender. My response to his argument is he takes it from other texts, not from this novel. I read what Trollope the man wrote in his Autobiography many years after writing this novel as his irritated response to readers who sentimentalised Lily Dale into a saint. Some of the commentary of the time I have read turn her into a sexless paragon. Trollope means to deflate them. He was, on the other hand, mocked by some readers, often males, for his delicate sensibilities over Lily. The result was his coarse parody of his own work in imitation of Bret Harte -- meant I think to satirise Harte more than his own work. Neither tells us much about the feel and tone of this chapter or the trajectory we experience over the course of two long novels. Nor does the presentation of Charlie Tudor; I would be willing to agree that Charlie resembles John Eames in the very beginning of The Small House. Charlie always, though, remains essentially an innocent. We never see any scene between him and any woman such as we have had for two books long between John and Amelia (with whom there were similar phrases about what potent attractions she had); Charlie is more good-natured, more a poet (remember he writes a novel). He is contrasted in The Three Clerks with Alaric and Harold, and comes out as tender-hearted; remember the (to some modern readers) crying close, his romance with Kate. It won't do to find analogies and then argue from another book and character what we have in this book. Each book creates its own tapestry and the character is a piece of that.
RJ says at the end that he remembers scenes in which he was a sort of Johnny Eames. My problem here is it is still not acceptable for a woman to say she remembers scenes where she was seduced, used, and then dismissed. Methinks perhaps men still have the advantage :). But I am not a Victorian lady; I do remember such experiences, and although I can't identify with Madalina because she is presented as so mean and false nor Lily for complex reasons I can't go into in a few paragraphs, my sympathies are not with the male who feels proud of himself when he left such a scene. Trollope tells us Johnny felt proud. In that line I see in Trollope a distancing of the narrator from the character and in from line I draw my word callow, and think Trollope did mean me to draw it. So I recognise the comedy, but don't find the burlesque therapeutic. Rather I laugh in the way I do at 17th century poet Rochester's satire of a young man who goes to woman and when he's done with her 'makes his little jest and walks away'.I did say I think how we regard Johnny and Lily at the end of the two novels will drive a faultline whose divide is gender as well as attitudes towards sex and marriage and vulnerability
One thing this read has taught me is we can read The Small House and The Last Chronicle as twin novels in the manner of Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux when it comes to the story of Crosbie, Johnny and his women, and Lily. We can read Framley Parsonage and The Last Chronicle as twin novels when it comes to the story of the Crawley; but that's another posting.
Re: Last Chronicle: The Dyer's Hand and Lily Dale (II)
Howard thinks I am hard on Johnny. Perhaps I was austere and took a hard line, harder certainly than Johnny would have taken, but not harder than Trollope himself gives us ample room for in his presentation of Johnny over the course of this novel. Johnny has hardened; we see this in his behavior with Cradell, with Raffle Buffle, and now with another meaner woman than Amelia. The portrait of Madalina presents a presence capable of malice (remember the anonymous letter) we don't see in Amelia; but then Amelia is younger; we are not to think she has had quite the affairs Madalina has (which include Dalrymple). Johnny has taken on the coloration of the people he is living among. Shakespeare puts the conception Trollope, I submit, has been bringing forward over the course of this book as we see Johnny in the London scene: it occurs in his brilliant sonnets where he says of himself that ''tis true I have gone here and there/And made myself a motley to the view ... sold cheap what is most dear' and in a companion sonnet: 'my nature is subdued/To what it works in, like the dyer's hand/Pity me'.
For I pity Johnny -- as I pity Lily. He has lost out. He is to spend his life among the Dalrymples and Cradells, with Christmas at home with the limited if decent Lady Julia.
I also differ significantly from Howard on my attitude towards the other women in this novel. I quite agree with him that Trollope is dismissive of both, and particularly ugly over the second woman. But remember you can prove anything if you can make up the evidence. Trollope has created Madalina malicious -- as he created Ferdinand Lopez mean and treacherous and then of course allowed people who wanted to to see this as typical of Jews. However, because he has developed the second female to be malicious does not ennoble the male who visits her -- far from it. In fact it makes him less excusable. And I submit to those who are reading the book if you look at Trollope's presentation of Johnny in these scenes he comes out badly -- and Trollope means him to. Trollope knows what he is doing when he ends The Small House with a sympathetic picture of Johnny and when he ends The Last Chronicle with hard one of Johnny with Dalrymple. Johnny didn't deserve to lose Lily, but that he didn't gain her was the result of what was not in him.
Johnny is a kind of everyman in these books -- as is Mark Robarts and in the Phineas books Phineas Finn. To call a spade a spade and say what is the source of the humour in the scene and what the moral inferences is to come away from the fiction with a the best ethical outlook one can.
The alternative is to participate in anti-feminism -- for that's what this idea of women who live to entrap men suggests. We are not ourselves Victorians. Surely we are capable of understanding the circumstances of such women and seeing them otherwise. The females in this book are not so presented, but to come away with the a moral that upholds a vicious order and leave it at that is not what I would want to do. I hope Trollope is better than that, and leaves us room for seeing more than Johnny Eames through his narrator and his presentation of the scenes.
I would make and have made the same comment on the classism involved in the story of John and the 'low-class' women.
There is in the novel through the whole design a reading which criticises the twisted attitudes towards sex which made for the misery of a Crosbie, Lily and Johnny -- and yes, Amelia, Cradell and even Madalina. That it is counter- crossed and contradicted by Trollope's own ambivalent attitude towards women of his own class having sex outside marriage is simply the result of the era and the man who lived through it. Trollope in his novels shows fear of women who are passionately sexual -- that's part of the reason his portrait of Lily is so good. He has gone beyond his own narrow preconceptions.
And why? Because he doesn't uphold the demand that all people be dense, mean, prosaic and hard. Again and again in his novels the heroes and heroines are the people who have not the selfishness, density and egoism to accept what the world throws at them and throw it back at others. The touchstone as ever is Mr Harding, Plantagenet Palliser and in this novel the Rev Mr Crawley and Lily Dale.
As to the remark about her being a prig, see my previous posting. Though I will say one can see her having become that way; if she has so become (as a result of her experiences with Crosbie), at least she is now protected from such experiences as I remember having had.
I called this post the 'dyer's hand'. Shakespeare's sonnet also applies to Lily. Her nature too has become 'subdued' by what it has 'worked in, like the dyer's hand'. But different lines in this pair of great sonnets bring before us the hurt of Lily Dale -- who also lost out. Shakespeare says also that someone who has made a motley of himself before others has 'received a brand', 'drunk strong infection', and the only way to expel it is to take 'potions of eisel' (vinegar). He says he will find 'no bitterness that I will bitter think' and therefore 'pity me'. Scholars who have interpreted this pair of sonnets (110 and 111), both Stephen Booth who did the standard scholarly edition and Helen Gardener who wrote a great book on them recently say Shakespeare is talking about how he feels about writing his plays and playing on the stage. The second opens with the statement that it is due to "Fortune" who "did not better for my life provide/ Than public means which public manners breeds". In Shakespeare's day to be a player was to be considered low, and it was to lead a life among the unsavoury. Scholars suggest Shakespeare wanted out much earlier than he got out. Lily wants out too -- for that matter, the man who would have made her happy had he not allowed his society to twist him, Crosbie wants out as well. Lily and he are both branded and shamed. Some of the best essays on the Barsetshire novels take Crosbie as the most interesting character; I see it as I see Sowerby as the most interesting character in Framley Parsonage.
In the presentation of Lily Dale as in the presentation of Crawley I do not see an Everyman or Everywoman. For Johnny Eames the group's idea of what is good about life is good enough. He sees no further. For Lily and Crawley, not so. I see in them a strong criticism of society as then constituted on the part of Mr Trollope -- against the money-driven world, against the church as then constituted, against despising things which are not marketable as luxury goods (Milton). As ever I don't read characters as people, but see them in a design where I look for the author's best perception of life to enrichen and to cheer mine. That someone could portray a Lily Dale with such deep understanding, empathy and sensitivity is cheering; that someone could make the comedy of Johnny's last scenes so queasy shows he knew how awful had been the life he led as a young Victorian man.
Maybe I should have called this "The Dyers' Hand and Adolphus Crosbie" (III) :)
Cheers to all,
I appear to have lost two series of postings. Two were by Catherine and Judy speculating on why many modern readers are reluctant to open, much less read, a Barsetshire book.
To Trollope-l Re: Last Chronicle: Popular Prejudice Against the Barsetshire Chronicles
In response to Judy and Catherine, I would say one thing this read through the Barsetshire novels has taught me is they are much better than people often say. While I was writing my book again and again I would come across books which began after Trollope finished the Barsetshire chronicles. Cockshut describes them as Trollope's "juvenilia" -- understandably unsubtle and complacent to please his instalment readers. I remember coming across P. D. Edwards and others talking apologetically. Or they are love stories. There has been but one published book on the Barsetshire series as a whole in this decade; the rest of pieces of the introductions to the editions (often reprints) or essays, most of which are somewhat older. There have been several books on the Palliser series, and the list of articles coming out is an arm long each year.
We talked about this when we began the books. I am reminded of what D. W. Harding said about Jane Austen: from what he had read about her, 'gentleman spoke of reading her' in their old age, during national crises, a refuge for gentlewomen, everyone returning to her novels with relief and thankfulness. That's the way many critics speak of Barsetshire. I now think either they haven't read them, or they haven't read them very carefully, or the admittedly reactionary, complacent and nostalgic elements in the book stood out in their minds so they couldn't see these are actually smaller than one thinks and often presented intermingled with much finer apprehensions about life, even if the result is unresolved conflicts and ironies. The better introductions -- come closer to Trollope's greatest contemporary critic, Hutton who comparing them to Austen pointed out how Trollope showed a vast complicated fast-moving and hard community with many fascinating portraits. The best of the modern essays are the single ones like Frank Robbins who brings the two series together and shows how one grew out of the other and how the chronology is consistent and contemporary with when Trollope is writing -- unusual for the more widely read respectable Victorians.
Judy talks of the poetry of Barsetshire. I remember reading Halperin's book on the politics of the Pallisers: he makes fun of Juliet McMaster for writing a book in which she traces just such imagery and sensitive perspectives as you point out. He wants his Trollope coarse and muddled, certainly not a graceful poet. But Trollope is -- and of place as well as the heart.
It's true the series developed as it went, but Trollope genius remembered back and encompassed the whole; by the time of Framley Parsonage he knew he was writing a cycle and began to meld and connect and weave. That's why we have the twinning of FP and Last Chronicle and Small House and Last Chronicle and overarching characters. The hero or still turning point is Mr Harding who began it all -- an ironic moral fable with tragic patterns says David Skilton. Not everyone underestimates the series. The comic figures are there too, though there are less and less of them after Barchester Towers, and those who are left are treated more realistically. But it ought to be more often read, and read carefully & slowly and in a row as we have done.
Irish writers too have their set views on Trollope, and it's very difficult in the present climate still to give him his real place in Anglo-Irish or Irish fiction.
Cheers to all, Ellen Moody
There were postings which picked up on Howard Merkin's genuine reply by dwelling on the incident as so much "flirting:" this way of using a word Trollope uses differently in context (as coded language) trivialized the whole debate about Eames by describing it as mere "flirting". I cannot find them :).
October 4, 2000
Re: Last Chronicle of Barse: Mr Eames and Frustrated Impulses
I don't know why people are using the term flirting for what Eames and Madalina get up to -- or Eames and Amelia. Groping would be the more accurate term. We are told Johnny reached out for her "potent attractions" which included "her hand -- and the like". What are we to suppose "the like" refers to? Her knees?:) I called Johnny Eames a boy because this is the level of sex going on here; it reminds me of President Clinton's "sorry" (a word I used for Eames) and seen in an adult light most undignified and even comical doings with Miss Lewinsky. The difference would be that Eames only groped Madalina; Madalina didn't grope back. Miss Lewinsky did, and many a story in the newspaper talked of how she sought financial advantage by so doing (in our day it is a fancy job rather than marriage which ambitious young women seek).
I have no doubt that Trollope was dramatising aspects of his own sexual experiences as a young man in London in Johnny Eames. He does say so in his _Autobiography_. What we see in Eames are the frustrated impulses of the male who has found a female who never learned to play hard ball (to use a metaphor) with the males she met. There is a clear analogy with our era here. I'm afraid girls like Madalina are still despised by those who take advantage of them. Now she will marry and perhaps be beaten -- that's the last we hear of her. The overlay of caste arrogance in Trollope can be seen through to the essentials of the endless play of domination and submission in human experience here. He was an astute psychologist.
However, this is not the level I would read the story upon. Rather it's a story of how repressed sexuality emerges in grotesque forms. In a society as money-driven and hierarchy-driven as ours and Trollope's, the two intermingle.
Cheers to all,
Re: Last Chronicle of Barset: Fantasy Wish-Fulfillments & Discomforts
As an addendum to my posting in response to Judy and Catherine, I want to agree with Catherine's perspective which is that of those critics who see in Barsetshire 'marmalade' in a basket. In comparison with the philistinism of some aspects of the portrayal of Crawley's final appearances with Grantly and some of the obtuseness of Trollope's attitudes in the London and Eames scenes, I don't mind the marmalade (Major Grantly and Grace) so much. The girl who is submissive in the right ways to males wins Mr Right.
In this connection one could mention Freud's argument that what readers seek in books are wish-fulfillments. They look for what they want to dream exists or once existed; they don't see what interferes with that. They want to make up for their own losses. It would be this impulse in those who have read the Barsetshire books this way since they were first published that puts the line on Trollope's plaque in Westminster Abbey "Creator of Barsetshire". Those who write for publication about these books seek to dissociate themselves from such fantasizing. I can understand why so many turn from Trollope; why he has until recently not been on college syllabi; why he is sometimes in great irritation called 'stupid' (by Henry James among others).
One could say that in this dissociation is another form of the intense discomforts of our society. Freud's essay on the place of fantasy in reading is worth reading with respect not only to Trollope's books but reader responses to them.
Cheers to all,
I have lost Wayne Gisslen's under the following heading:
Re: Last Chronicle: How Very Disagreeable a First Plunge May Be!
I agree with Wayne that the title of Chapter 83, "Mr Crawley is Conquered" is more than a little ironic. Trollope has not forgotten the previous 668 pages of this book nor the previous two in which Mr Crawley first made his appearance. While Crawley first emerged in Barchester Towers as the young friend to Arabin whose low salary, few prospects of advancement, yet fine intellect, high idealism and hard work were part of Trollope's way of criticising the injust and (as he saw it) counterproductive hierarchy of the church. From the very opening of the Barsetshire Chronicles in The Warden, the Archdeacon has been the man to whom the church is a fat living, his property, something he deserves without ever examining why; a caste-man, Michael Sadleir calls him. Here seen last we are told of him stilll:
"The archdeacon, moreover, loved the temporalities of the Church as temporalities. The Church was beautiful to him because one man by interest might have a thousand a year, while another man equally good, but without interest, could only have a hundred. And he liked men wh had the interest a great deal better than the men who had it not" (Houghton Mifflin, The Last Chronicle, ed AMizener, Ch 83, p. 669).
If we are reading the words in front of us, we see here Trollope has not moved one iota from his original hard conception of the narrowness of outlook of this character. Mr Crawley in his black coat still stands for the man with no interest -- the stigmatized one.
However, as the novels went on, in Framley Parsonage and now very greatly here, Trollope brought out from within Crawley another vein he delves again and again in his novels, one we find as early as The Macdermots: the man who shows us how the group or society is wholly inadequate to contain (will not let in) anyone who doesn't conform to an equally narrow but differing set of criteria. These have to do with inner character. A psychological approach to social fiction of Trollope's sort brings out not only his sympathy and identification with those who are pariahs, of low status. Thady Macdermot starts it, Lady Mason carries it on; at the time of the composition of The Last Chronicle Trollope's other novel is Nina Balatka, and Anton Trendellson is a variant on Crawley. He looks into why these others are rejected, why they don't want to compete, why so many characters in his novels are insensitive to values that have nothing to do with 'interest'.
Throughout Trollope himself displays unresolved conflicts. It's clear he identifies, and many of these characters are versions of himself as a boy, a young man, of his father. He can go so thoroughly into the moods, enact the loneliness, the austere morality, the lack of a sense of self-worth, the indifference to competition, dislike of it, the sexual longings of such characters (when they are women), he gives them sanction. Further these characters are often the heroes and heroines of the tales. Yet his most frequent shaping of the stories' patterns is one which at the end can leave the reader with the moral that they are 'socially maladadjusted' in some 'morbid' way. This is true of how many readers have seen Crawley and Lily. Is this because as a Victorian novelist he saw his role as the one who is to 'buck' the reader up, make him or her accept what society is, urge them on to fight some fight, the earnest struggle, and then having found or created a niche, live a life of peace apart from others when they are able. Perhaps. I suggest rather he has not totally thought this thing through for himself -- though this pattern of the creating of an asylum within once you achieve success against the group which in Trollope's case he used to write and to read is found in his Autobiography.
What saves this particular 'happy ending' from the strain of condescension and trivialisation of Mr Crawley's case that we see in the final scene with the Archdeacon are the many moments in these chapters in which Trollope still enters into the real difficulties the Crawleys have. Trollope does not laugh at the problem of not having a good enough coat or adequate dress. He does not think his reader will laugh. It is impossible for us to escape the sense of scorn others place on those who don't have such visibilia when one doesn't have them. Major Grantly is contemptuous of anyone who having been outside of society for ever so long has difficulties getting in again, but there is our narrator with that plangent line: "Perhaps the major did not know how very disagreeable a first plunge may be!" (Ch 82, p. 667). How could he? The rich elegant son of the Archdeacon, went to the best schools, never an outsider. What I like here is Trollope has told us a story wherein we can see how anguished this man was when he thought he had to go live in Pau. We are I think not going outside the story to extrapolate from this scene the idea that had the Major gone to Pau for years, lived in the edge, and then been invited back, he might have seen that first plunge differently.
And then the Archdeacon's letter. It is lousy. Everyone sees it is lousy. His wife does. He wants someone presentable -- what this is about we all know. Not a word in it of his own to say he is offering the position based on Crawley's merits. It is not oversensitive in Crawley to see that; it was meant to be seen. Crawley will have to crawl a little more yet if he wants the safe good spot. Again Trollope does Crawley's feelings justice from the point of view of practicality and what he knows he owes to others, and how little this crawling will cost -- remember it's in a letter and that always provides distance -- when the wife coming to him, aware of how the Archdeacon has maneuvred the thing so Crawley must accept it on the basis he is to be grateful for some gift, and so know his 'place' against his 'betters', we get this dialogue:
'Josiah', said his wife to him, when they were alone, 'you will not refuse it?'
'Not willingly, -- not if it may be accepted. Alas! you need not urge me, when the temptation is so strong!'" (Ch 82, p. 668).
The compassion and understanding of the book, its strongest moments are employed on behalf of Lily, Crawley, and to a lesser extent, Bishop Proudie and John Eames. I have argued John Eames is presented differently in this book than he was in The Small House, less sympathetically. To be sure, there is a strong vein of what I'll call anti-feminism in the depiction of the Eames's story at the end, and in the relative lack of sympathy for Lily. A man has asked her to marry him. Women exist to be married and if one is not available, they should take another who the group says is acceptable -- especially if he adheres to group values, has money, poise, place, upholds the hierarchy. All this Johnny does. In this novel women are the property of men; their honour is identified with their sexuality, and it should be saved for one possessor. They are to be obedient once they are 'bought' (Lady Glen's word for marriage). Lily has refused to submit to the system; on the other hand, Trollope does all he can in her case at least to show how the system itself ravaged her. Still Trollope shows much less sympathy for her, you could come away using the word morbid more readily for her than you can for Crawley. And he shows almost none for Mrs Proudie who won't obey. The profound shaming of the Bishop comes in here -- before himself as well as other men so deeply has the male patriarchy's demands on him, on what it is to be a respectable male, sunk in. It is a shame to read the books as enforcing these values that rip women and men up even if society's abilty to stay at peace (that people are not at one another's throats for sex and power and luxuries) depends on them. Though many have and do read them that way, and Trollope has been accused or praised for allowing, encouraging, even wanting his readers to do this. As I read the portraits of Crawley, Lily, Johnny, Bishop Proudie, I cannot agree that Trollope did want his readers to do this. The man who threw himself so strongly into their gripping stories and felt with them all their complicated emotions couldn't have.
There's a fascinating essay by Freud in which he discusses the artist in society. He suggests the earliest works of the artist show us him or her working out deep traumas and losses: in the novel these would come from social troubles. This is where Trollope began in The Macdermots: it rehearses the story of his mother and father at Julians Hill. Freud talks of the artist's dreams, the material from which he draws his work. This he says is wish-fulfillment, and that the happy stories of our society come from the artist using this material. In his Autobiography Trollope tells us he made up for his loneliness, isolation, profound mortification by dreaming of castles in which he was the hero, saving all. Johnny saves the Earl from the bull; he gets on the train and brings back Mrs Arabin: our dea ex machina who caused it all because she would keep her money separate. But Trollope goes into Johnny deeply and shows us where he has been stained by the dyer's hand, wherein he loses too. He only finds his niche by his conforming spirit. This too recalls Freud in his Civilization and Its Discontents. And then we have the deeper portraits of males which examine society's definition of normality and discover it to be a cover-up to protect the powerful. Here is Trollope at his best.
Why did Trollope write endlessly? Why couldn't he stop himself when he was successful and was told he was ruining his own market? When his books began not to sell so well? When he had to put them away in the drawers because he had so many? Why did he fear death because people in heaven might not want novels? He in effect tells us in his Autobiography that it was a substitute gratification and compensation for his failures in the real world, for his sense of isolation and difference, and that he wanted to teach us lessons out of that. He also tells us how proud he was of his work. In the 19th century we find it most often in novels and narrative poems: he opens a master key to teach us what are the bargains our society forces on us; it is done to ease our hearts. He doesn't always share the emotions he portrays; he can place them against an analysis of society at large and its structures through his dramatic scenes, stories and psycholoanalysis of his characters all the better for that.
And what is the value of the Barsetshire and Palliser series beyond the singletons or separate books? That they as a whole work through these intense conflicts because Trollope keeps coming back to these archetypal moments and types that meant so much to him. To see Eames, Lily, Crawley and in the later books, Plantagenet and Lady Glen over a stream of time is to do more than offer up clever inventions spun out. How far did Trollope see into himself that this was his function -- to put before us what we are. Maybe he is saying that when he talks about the importance of giving the reader real characters to believe in.
How very disagreeable must have been Trollope's many first plunges. He did learn that if he kept his carapace on tight, he would do much better than survive. No one would bother him very much. So too must Mr Crawley learn this lesson -- now that Mr Harding, our other deus ex machina, and the character with which these stories began handed him a place inside where it's warm and the food & wine not bad. I think Trollope was one with Catherine in her saturnine view of Major Grantly. I would never have wanted to be a Miss Grace Crawley: we first saw her on her knees supplicating, remember that; it was Trollope's choice for the picture.
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2000 12:17:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [trollope-l] LCB: Eames's remark about the beating of Madalina
Eames and Conway are discussing the fact of Madalina's marriage to Peter Bangles:
First, I thought John's remark about "another Peter the Martyr" was cute.
I did not take his remark that he hoped if he beat Madalina it would be tenderly seriously. Is there something about Peter in the book earlier that I missed, a propensity for violence? Maybe Conway's remark about strong hands refers to this. Otherwise I just took John's remark to be one of those offhand remarks people make from time to time without meaning it to be taken literally; just that maybe he would be able to overcome Madalina's will and rule her with an iron hand (which would not actually be made of iron except possibly in case of accident).
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2000 15:41:56 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] LCB: Eames remark about the beating of Madalina
Stopping my work for a moment I would reply 'Many a truth said in jest'. Trollope often works that way, and men did beat their wives in this period. The law and custom were on their side. The remark also fits the psychology of Madalina as represented -- she does give. It also fits why Major Grantly is such a good catch: he would never beat his wife, would in this case in point (the submissive Grace) never have to.
I hadn't noticed Conway's remark about strong hands.
Trollope does have numbers of other novels where beating comes into play in just this marginalised way -- which leaves it up to the reader to see it: the Signora in Barchester Towers was crippled; Lady Carbury & Mrs Hurtle & also Ruby Ruggles in The Way We Live Now (beating as well as other hard truths is almost a theme there.) In the less visible women we are to assume it happens to them as a matter of course, this is especially true of women who have been unchaste and therefore are seen as unprotected, women the reader will not sympathise with, so the implicit moral to the 'good woman' reader (don't have sex outside marriage, marry the man your parents pick for you) is reinforced. I think of Jane (whose last name we are not told) in Can You Forgive Her?, the woman who supports George Hotspur in Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite.
Date: Sun, 08 Oct 2000 15:57:19 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Our Barsetshire group read: What has This Experience Been Like?
Now that we've come to the end of our weekly reading, I wonder if anyone would like to say what at this point memory says the experience has been like as a whole.
For those who have stayed the course or kept up sufficiently, has the experience of reading these books in a row changed your view of them?
Where there things you didn't expect?
Having crossed, the terrain of Barsetshire, do you think there is any key or best book of the series? There's a tendency always to rate long more complicated works more highly than short simple ones -- the epic was once seen as the highest of poetic narrative forms. There's an argument The Warden remained the key. In bookstores where Trollope is found, the book usually there is Barchester Towers. Dr Thorne brought him his first real profit. In popular writing, Trollope was always looked to as the man who the sort of novel Framley Parsonage represented. The Small House has rarely fallen out of print. Ask scholars to cite some of 'the great quintessentially Victorian novels, it won't take long to hear The Last Chronicle of Barset.
Any characters stand out in your mind?
Any places or scenes?
Subject: [trollope-l] Our Barsetshire group read: What has This Experience Been Like?
Aside from one short story I had never read any Trollope when we began the reading of the Barset seriers, hence I had no expectations. Naturally I hoped I would enjoy the series, and I did.
Ellen mentioned that the long books are often more highly rated than shorter books. One can see why this could be. There is more material, more stories, more to sink one's teeth into.
I'm not sure though that this holds true on a strictly individual basis all the time. Often the first book one reads by a writer becomes a favorite. The Warden started me off on my Trollope experience and it is a favorite. But I think I liked almost all of them, say four out of the six equally. Having read them so close together for the first time I lose track to a certain extent as to which book is which for the minor characters.
It is easier for me to pick my least favorite and that is Barchester Towers. But there is no use asking why, I doubt I could verbalize it; it's a combination of things, beginning with the death of Bishop Grantley of whom I was hoping to see more. Yet, that didn't put me off the book, it was just sad. I didn't care for than bunch that returned from Italy--see I can't even recall their names. That is probably the main reason that Barchester Towers is my least favorite, just too many characters that I didn't care for. I read for enjoyment. (I'm way too old for anything I read in a book to make me a better person.) I don't like to miss a book in a series though, too much missed background may mean less enjoyment of the following books. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy B.T., I did, it had lots of parts that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is just easier to point to a least favorite book in the series than a favorite one.
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 20:54:50 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Reactions to the Barsetshire novels as a whole
In response to Ellen's request for comments on favorite novels in the series and favorite or memorable characters, I would have to say that my favorite was Framley Parsonage because it was so much fun to read, although The Small House at Allington was in my opinion the best novel. I marvelled at how Trollope could make me one minute hate Crosbie, then the next minute feel sorry for him. And I was greatly impressed by Trollope's allowing Lily to remain single through two books.
Memorable characters - I love Miss Thorne of Ulathorne because "genealogy was her favorite insanity" as it is mine. I don't think I will ever forget or cease to feel sorry for Lady Scatcherd and I remain angry at Trollope for not having let her show up in the later novels. I love and admire Mr. Harding, while I love to dislike Lady Dumbello. I think I most relate to Mr. Harding, although I am afraid I have some tendencies toward Archdeacon Grantly. It is so hard to pick a favorite character. They are all so very lifelike.
When only two people answered I tried again:
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 09:37:39 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Our Barsetshire group read: What has This Experience Been Like?
I hope more people tell us about what they felt they gained by reading these six books in a row in a group setting, with these conversations going along. What was unexpected, which book or books seemed key, which characters stay out in their mind as particularly striking, which scenes or chapters, which characters? How did the conversation affect it? For those who are doubtful about a similar journey through the Pallisers, this might create enthusiasm for such an experience.
Cheers to all,
Monday, 09 Oct 2000 08:04:38 -0600
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire
In answer to Ellen's query of what we think after reading all of the Barsetshire novels, I think I can make a few comments. Actually my reading through them this time did not change much my opinion of the group as a whole. But then this is my third or fourth time through all of them. I've always preferred The Last Chronicle to all the others, and perhaps this time I began to see more quality in Barchester Towers and Dr. Thorne. Still, The Last Chronicle wins out, perhaps because of its scope. Again, I look at the characters. Mr. Crawley was one of the best characters I have come across in anyone's literature. Mrs. Proudy (as long as she lasts) stays as a good character, just as she was in Barchester Towers. John Eames and Lily Dale have generated so much discussion in our group that I don't want to add much to it. I liked the young Johnny, the hobble-de-hoy character. As he got older, I kept thinking he should know better. By the time he was an established gentleman, Lily Dale had turned him down so often that he should have seriously been looking elsewhere, not trifleing with the landlady's nasty daughter or the dreadful Madeline, if that was her name. Johnnny had to grow up, and because he didn't I got a bit weary of him. Trollope does tend to offer us subplots which are sometimes a distraction, such as the Stanhopes in Barchester Towers and the painter and his companions in The Last Chronicle.
But running through all Barchester novels at once was an worthy experience. I'm glad we did it, and I do wish that one year we shall run through all of the Palliser novels in one fortunate swoop as we did with the Barchester series.
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 19:40:32 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Reactions to the Barsetshire novels as a whole
I'd agree that Framley Parsonage was my favorite, but I liked Dr. Thorne quite a lot too. It doesn't really seem to fit with the others but I felt more involved with the characters. I love to hate Mrs. Proudie and enjoyed the comedy of the Senora Neroni scenes. I thought The Last Chronicle of Barset could have used a bit more comedy, and like others who have written, was getting quite annoyed with Johnny, and more sympathetic to Lily. The first time I read The Small House I had no sympathy for Lily at all--I'm not sure if it was the discussion that changed my mind or just a second read. I enjoyed the Stanhope family and always am happy to see Miss Dunstable (that was.) What a wonderful read--I'm ready to start again! Judy Warner
I answered my own question:
Re: Reactions to Barsetshire as a Whole
This was my first time through in a row, the first time I actually read (not just listened to) Framley Parsonage. It was certainly my first time through slowly. Unexpected: I think critics are wrong to dismiss it as complacent.
I shall always be fondest of The Warden. I know The Small House is the greater as a novel; Dr Thorn is perpetually dramatic, and Sir Roger Scatcherd is an astonishing creation. Sig is right about the sweep and scope of The Last Chronicle: it's all there, the Victorian world. Still despite its real flaws (Trollope's depiction of the old men, less important the stilted party) I have not yet tired of reading Mr Harding's book, and I have read it many many times.
I have too many favorite characters, but I can single out Mr Harding, Bertie Stanhope, Miss Dunstable (that was, and not Mrs Thorne), Dr Thorne (in his own novel and not in the later books), Mark Robarts (in Framley Parsonage), Lily Dale. These characters I liked. Bertie and Mark are the sexiest males in the series; they might just be fun ... :). I found fascinating: la Signora Neroni, Adolphus Crosbie, Sir Roger Scatcherd, Nicholas Sowerby, Josiah Crawley.
Favorite chapter: Mr Harding's long day in London. Favorite line: Mary Thorne's plangent cri de coeur, just about the last line in the penultimate chapter of Dr Thorne.
Favorite Pictures: from The Small House: vignette by Millais, Mr Crosbie Meets an Old Clergyman on His Way to Courcy Castle (reprinted in Hall, AT & Illustrators, Plate 32), also a vignette of the house we are to think Crosbie lived in with Lady Alexandrina de Courcy; full-page, 'The Board'
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 08:49:58 +0200
Subject: [trollope-l] Reactions to Barsetshire as a Whole
I think the one I enjoyed most was Framley Parsonage, I felt I could relate to Mark Robarts a lot, and I was very fond of Lady Lufton. Like everyone I had a lot of time for Miss Dunstable.
I know that it was more intersting of Trollope to keep Lily Dale an OM but in my heart I still wanted her to marry Johnny Eames, I'm afraid she still annoys me, it strikes me she has an "attitude problem".
What a wonderful series though; I am looking forward very much to re-attacking the Pallisers.
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 06:18:22 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire
As a parasitic lurker, I want to thank all the generous regular posters who have made the Barsetshire read-through a deeply satisfying, enriching and happy project. I treasured these books before, but our paced and annotated group read have brought them alive. Thank you all, and especially Ellen for her steady substantive and administrative care.
I cannot choose a favorite book, but I have no trouble choosing a favorite character, actually a pair of characters truly become one in wedlock: Theophilus and Susan Grantly. Watching their marriage at work is an inspiration. And watching it against the background of other marriages -- romantic, practical, horrific -- only increased my admiration. The Barset books may be read as marriage manuals, and today's brides and grooms, and husbands and wives, could do worse by way of marriage counseling than a dose from Mr. Trollope.
On the other hand, after this meeting with Johnny and Lily, I no longer feel sad that they have remained single. In fact, I think they may both be quite cheerful as perpetual bachelor and O.M.; Johnny's boyish charm and Lily's feisty slang may be better preserved outside the give-and-take of marriage. Anyway, for the first time, I not only don't feel frustrated at her refusal and his screw-ups, I think they will really live happily ever after.
I also have tried to trace another thread through the novels as we read them: Trollope's recognition that moral decisions are rarely black-and-white and generally involve a struggle. In each book, we see characters facing some sort of "what is right?" and "can I do what is right?" situation. Some come through with highest marks, e.g., Mr. Harding, and some fail miserably, e.g., Crosbie.
Other favorite characters include: Madeline Neroni, Ms. Dunstable and Dr. Thorne, Lady Lufton (Sr.), Lady Julia De Guest, Mary Bold, and Mr. Toogood.
Overland Park KS
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 06:43:49 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire: Septimus Harding and Josiah Crawley
I agree with Ellen's theory that the key to the Barchester series is The Warden. Finishing Last Chronicle, I was struck by the almost "bookend" parallels and contrasts between the Septimus Harding and Josiah Crawley stories and how the characters responded to their problems. For example, in The Warden, Mr. Harding finds himself in trouble because of too much income from his church position (and in possession of money others say is not rightfully his) and resolves his problem by resigning his Hiram's Hospital position and becoming Vicar of St. Ewold's, following a trip to London (one of the best-written scenes in the series) and a visit with legal celebrity Sir Abraham Haphazard, during which Mr. Harding opts for the moral rather than the legal action. In Last Chronicle, Josiah Crawley finds himself in trouble because of too little income from his church position (also in possession of money others say is not rightfully his) and resolves his problem by resigning his Hogglestock position and (ultimately) becoming Vicar of St. Ewold's, also making a trip to London and a visit to a lesser-legal-light but truly great attorney, Mr. Toogood and also rejecting legal assistance. There is a satisfying symmetry in the plot mirroring.
But the contrasts between the two men is also intriguing. Mr. Harding's simple sweetness in his adherence to what is right makes him beloved by his literary community and readers of the novels. Mr. Crawley, erudite, stubborn and prickly in his morality, is never a comfortable person to either his fictional colleagues and relatives or the reader. The two men thus become opposite ends of the congeniality spectrum even though they share the same sterling moral core.
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 13:47:43 +0100
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire: Septimus Harding and Josiah Crawley
Thank you very much Jill for your bookends observation about Barsetshire. Its interesting how well thought through the last novel is, something I did not perceive at first when I felt annoyed by all the nudge nudge re-introductions.
Overall I join with Elizabeth Gaskell in wishing that I could go on reading Framley Parsonage for ever. I particularly liked the moments concerned with Mark Robarts debts and the circulation of the bills.
As Ellen has remarked, the label of complacency is not deserved by the Chronicles, when the author puts his characters through the moral wringer in these ways.
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 07:59:51 -0600
Subject: [trollope-l] Mrs. Proudie
In a recent posting I included Mrs. Proudie among my favorite characters. Not one of my betters who posted their conclusions about the Barsetshire series shared this viewpoint. And, of course, as one of our readers said, she is a delight to hate. But there is a touch of pathos in the many descriptions of Mrs. Proudie. She honestly believed in a fundamentalist view of Christianity. From the viewpoint of AT and from the viewpoint of the rest of us, she was wrong. How can a religion of love be warped into such a religion of hatred? But Mrs. Proudie for some reason saw herself as the bringer of news to the rest of the world. The news was the fundamental truth of the fundamentalist view toward Protestant Christianity. The fact that she stood alone did not deter her. She was consistent with her beliefs to the end. Therefore, I look on her as a strong character, one whom I always enjoyed reading about, and one of my favorites.
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 13:09:13 -0400
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire: Septimus Harding and Josiah Crawley
I had never thought of the parallels Jill points out between Mr. H. and Mr. C and the plots of the two novels. Very perceptive points; thanks. Pat
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 11:28:14 EDT
Subject: [trollope-l] Johnny Eames Cuts Out His Initials and Lily's from the Place on the Bridge Where He had Carved them Earlier
It is impossible to choose a favorite scene or character from Trollope, but one scene that stays with me and that I always look forward to is the scene where John Eames takes out his knife and cuts out his initials and Lily's from the place on the bridge where he had carved them earlier. This struck me when I was young and first read it as the perfect expression of heartbreak. The despair, self-pity, and the urge to do damage are all there in this one act in this beautiful setting. Now that I'm older and probably immune to this kind of heartache, the scene still comes to life perfectly and evokes the feelings of hopelessness and loss.
Rereading the scene from a much older viewpoint adds dimension, of course. Now I see that one of the points of the scene is that Lily Dale is an adult character and could not be happily married to this boy who is still an adolescent in the expression of his feelings. Trollope, who is able to make the reader long for John to be happy -- such a nice boy he should have what he wants -- at the same time shows why Lily can't say yes to him.
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 22:00:31 +0100
Subject: [trollope-l] Lily and Barsetshire
I know there are quite a few Trollope experts on this list... so I was just wondering if anybody happens to know just how much of Last Chronicle Trollope had already plotted out when he wrote The Small House at Allington?
The reason I ask is that I noticed a place in The Small House where Lily seems to look ahead to the events of the later book. In Chapter 57: Lilian Vanquishes Her Mother, Lily tells her mother that she still loves Crosbie, even though he has married Lady Alexandrina. Lily says: "If she died, and he came to me in five years' time, I would still take him. I should think myself constrained to take him."
Of course, in Last Chronicle, which I think is about four or five years later, Alexandrina has indeed died - and Crosbie does "come to" his old love, though by writing a letter rather than arriving in person. However, Lily does not "feel herself constrained to take him" - showing just how much she has matured through her experiences since the jilting. I just wondered if Trollope already had the later plot developments in his mind when he wrote this earlier passage.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the Barsetshire novels - I already had a soft spot for The Warden, which I'd read a couple of times before, but my favourites are Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage and, best of all, The Small House at Allington. I read these three more or less straight after each other, and just felt that they went on getting better and better. Given my love of The Small House, it's no surprise that Lily, Johnny and Crosbie are definitely my favourite characters... especially Lily! I also liked Dr Thorne and Dr Grantly in particular, but there are so many wonderful characters that it's difficult to choose between them.
Thanks to Jill for the "bookend" suggestion about the symmetry between the themes in The Warden and The Last Chronicle of Barset. What a great post. I loved your points about both Mr Harding and Mr Crawley each in turn becoming the Vicar of St Ewold's, and about all the contrasts between their characters.
RE: Barsetshire: The Women, Movement Across the Novels, & Closure
Sig says he enjoys Mrs Proudie: she is consistent; she is shown to have a heart, though much that she does destroys those she has power over. Had she lived she would have kicked the ending Trollope wanted to pieces. She is a strong character with a full life of her own.
A couple of weeks ago someone mentioned how Trollope is often praised for his insight into women. Although this is not particular to the Barsetshire books, I would say one problem I have with them is there is no female with whom I can identify. I can recognise their emotions as real, but what they infer from these and how they behave in response is rarely what I would do. Readers like to identify with characters. In his A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell has a famous setpiece where he ironically mocks his debt to Trollope but also seriously critiques Trollope's fiction. Among other things, he says the women are not real, or, he doesn't believe women behaved and talked to one another the way Trollope presents them. For me part of this is my sense Trollope finally always sees women from a man's point of view; he sees them as they relate to men, as secondary creatures, Simon de Beauvoir would say. But it's more than this: some of the females in the later books are seen in their own right (Alice Vavasour, Lady Glen), yet I can't enter into it. I sometimes wonder if this is a class thing (they are all upper class), a cultural thing (they are English), or something about 19th century novels where in general I have this problem (also in American books & more middling types). I identify with heroines in 18th century novels. It has been suggested that the 19th century novel represents a retreat from the female point of view which reigns strongly in later 18th century novels and comes out again in the early 20th century. I suspect this is so. What women wanted to say about their lives, what they felt was 'placed' as lachrymose, sentimental, unacceptable in all sorts of ways, and they assumed the perspective of women as seen by men. This is even true of Oliphant and Gaskell, and George Eliot -- though not of Charlotte Bronte.
I bring this up partly in response to Sig's comment on Mrs Proudie who I find very alien though real, but also because I think this identification is one source of emotional investment in novel reading. That I can't invest in Trollope's women in this way always finally keeps me at a distance from his fiction. I wonder if other women on the list feel this way. My husband who has read all the Pallisers and several other of the novels, says the men are idealised, and their sex life kept from us, but believable. In other words, he can recognise them and identify in numbers of cases. Then he's English & went to a sort of public school. I don't mean to start a sex or culture or class war, but rather to share our experiences of these characters truthfully.
Judy asks when did Trollope plot his Last Chronicle. He did leave notebooks and there are essays on these notebooks. Sutherland has studied the plans and plotting of The Way We Live Now which underwent interesting changes. From Mary Hamer's study of the notebooks it seems sometimes Trollope did plot ahead and even in detail, and sometimes much less so. He would query people on details (say the law in Lady Anna) before writing something. But there is a limit to how far ahead he did this. A number of novels and a number of years came inbetween The Small House and The Last Chronicl; I have never read any study of the notebooks of The Last Chronicle. However, there is a fascinating article by Frank Robbins which points out just the sort of thing that Judy sees: the years across the series dovetail; in an earlier novel Trollope half-predicts what happens in a later one. I think we have to fall back on the reality that people don't write everything down they have in their minds, don't leave records of everything. Then too when writing a book, when you get to a later part, you turn back to see what you said in an earlier part. At least I do. You can get ideas for a later part of the book from an earlier one: again I do and think other people do. I do see evidence everything in The Last Chronicle of Trollope tying up all loose ends, bringing back and providing closure. He does this for the Pallisers in The Duke's Children too. In that novel he kills off an important woman character because she would have gotten in his way, kicked his novel to pieces, not let him get away with ambivalent peaceful closure.
I thank Jill and all who have thanked me. I am commemorating this long read on my website, and have now thought of a name: Barsetshire: Thoughts in a Green Shade.
Cheers to all,
Re: Mr Harding's Funeral
This was quite a poignant chapter. The Warden was the first Trollope novel I ever read so I have a very sentimental attachment to Mr. Harding.
There were two touches which I thought were especially magnificent in this chapter.
One was when Harding's body was carried through the passage and between buildings, just over the same route he himself travelled so many, many times. And it was wonderful to see all the crowd of people that came to pay their respects and have a last remembrance of him.
The other part that especially struck a chord with me was the fact that the sexton and the verger brought one of Mr. Harding's old inmates from Hiram's Hospital to the cloisters. This was possibly the last survivor from the days of Mr. Harding's authority and care.
From Judy Geater Re: Lily and Barsetshire
I had a feeling there were one or two "repeating phrases" associated with Lily, so I've been looking back through both "he Small House at Allington and Last Chronicle of Barset to find them. As a result, I'm more impressed than ever by how beautifully Trollope has plotted this whole love plot through these two long novels, not only with phrases in one book which are echoed in the other, but also with vivid images and scenes which counterpoint earlier moments.
IOne of the most moving moments in The Small House for me anyway, comes in Chapter 9 when Lily, so confident and teasingly happy in her love for Crosbie, curtsies to him as he enters with Bernard. "At last the two heroes came in across the lawn at the drawing-room window; and Lily, as they entered, dropped a low curtsey before them, gently swelling down upon the ground with her light muslin dress..." Later in the same passage, Trollope as narrator says: "I think there is nothing in the world so pretty as the conscious little tricks of love played off by a girl towards the man she loves, when she has made up her mind boldly that all the world may know that she has given herself away to him."
IThe curtsey shows Lily's vulnerability - how completely she has "given herself away" to this man who won't know how to value the gift... or won't know until it's too late. Instead of being moved by Lily's trust, Crosbie is embarrassed that she has shown her feelings in front of others - and even now he is thinking that "it might be safer" if their engagement isn't quite so public.
IYears later, in The Last Chronicle, chapter 59, Lily bows to Crosbie again, when he salutes her at the picture gallery. But there is no low curtsey and no smile this time - "she turned her face full upon him, and bowed to him." It's a bitter moment which brings back the memory of that earlier curtsey only to negate it.
INow to those "repeating phrases"... in the Small House, when the young Johnny forlornly tells Lily of his hopeless love for her, she tells him that she loves Crosbie "better than all the world besides." She repeats the same words when he comes back to propose towards the end of the book - and the phrase is echoed in The Last Chronicle when, as she turns John down for the last time, she tells him: "next to mamma, I love you better than all the world. Indeed I do." But she doesn't love John better than all the world "besides". That telling word is missing this time. I'm not sure if this phrase is a quotation, perhaps from a poem - does anybody know?
IThere's another memorable moment in The Small House when, as Lily turns Johnny down on his second visit, she tells him: << "Dear John, I will do anything, - everything for you but that." "There is only one thing," said he, still holding her by the hand, but with his face turned from her.">> This conversation is recalled in The Last Chronicle when Lily says of John: "He could not ask me to do a single thing for me - except the one thing - that I would refuse." The problem here is that the one thing is everything.
I In both books, John tries to console himself with the same snatch of song after being turned down by Lily, "If she be not fair to me, what care I how fair she be?" (An adaptation of 'The Lovers' Resolution' by Wither, according to the footnote.) But he can never even begin to persuade himself that he doesn't care!
II can't see Lily as a prig, any more than Johnny as a straight hero or Crosbie as a complete villain. As all three characters develop through the books, they seem to be so alive, in all their contradictions, humour and vulnerability. Trollope might have called Lily a "female prig" but I believe he also said she was the heroine he had loved best... so he must have had mixed feelings.
ITo be honest, I think that the Lily/Johnny/Crosbie plot is probably my favourite part of the Barsetshire novels - I'm sure we could keep discussing these characters forever!
Bye for now,
How are we to take John Eames? Redux
I agree with Angela - I was puzzled by the way Trollope left John Eames sort of "hanging" at the end of Last Chronicle of Barset. John has his flirtations with several women, some of whom are "lower class" when compared to him, yet he still has some kind of pure or noble love for Lily Dale. I don't think that John is worthy of Lily. After the happy ending where Reverend Crawley gets a new black coat and is found to be "a gentleman" after all (what a relief!) and the from dullsville Grace and the Major enter into wedded bliss I admire Trollope's courage in keeping Lily and John apart. Trollope always does something to make the reader uncomfortable. I did not like the Niobe-like weeping of Mrs. Crawley, or the Dickens-like comedy of Mr. Toogood. A Unitarian minister I know says his job is to "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." So it is, I say, with Trollope. There are many admirable things in LCB, but many sentimental things as well. I can't wait until we read Is He Popenjoy? because there is bound to be some lively disagreement here, thanks to Trollope, the afflictor/comforter.
[trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barset: Mr Crawley is Conquered
"Mr Crawley is Conquered," reads the title of Chapter 83. But I find a little irony in the title, as well as in the final statement that "the archdeacon has hit his bird on both wings." (Or is it only wishful thinking.) Mr. Crawley, it seems to me, remains prickly to the last, even in submission. Certainly at the dinner he is still stiff and righteous, responding to the remarks about fox-hunting as would Crawley of Hogglestock, not Crawley of St. Ewolds. When the next day he is "conquered," it is with the gift of a book, not of something more materialistic, which never would have done. Receiving the book, and the compliment with which it is presented, he is ever mindful of the difference between his social standing and that of Mr. Grantly, even in the acknowledgment that both he and the archdeacon are "gentlemen." Ellen is surely right about the "philistinism of some aspects of the portrayal of Crawley's final appearance," but why should not a new coat, to one who has never had clothing to shield him from the weather, and food on his family's table at long last help so smooth some of the rough edges of a man who has had such a surfeit of rough edges. I think he will remain a man of rigorous principle, but one who is perhaps a little easier to live with.
By the way, I can imagine the gleam in Trollope's eye as he put these words about his beloved fox hunting into the mouth of Mr Crawley: ""I have been informed that in these parts the fox is greatly prized, as without a fox to run before the dogs, that scampering over the country which is called hunting, ... is not relished by the riders. Of the wisdom or taste herein displayed by the hunters of the day I say nothing."
[trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barset: Fantasy Wish-Fulfillments & Discomforts
I love the intense discussion that the Johnny-Lilly affair continues to stimulate. Ellen says that most of the time no one changes his or her view, but I find myself refining my views with each post (perhaps refining them into a perfect muddle). It seems to me that our own views are inevitably colored by our own lives, our memories of and reactions to early loves, our experiences with social class, and of course whether we are male or female. I know that when I read these chapters -- and these posts -- I am bringing my experiences to them, and trying to be objective goes only so far. (I don't imagine many of us would care to preface our remarks with a portrayal of our relevant personal experiences, by way of full disclosure. Not I, at any rate.)
It's a tribute to the complex portrait that Trollope drew that can evoke such reactions
Subject: [trollope-l] Last Chronicle of Barset: Mr Eames and Frustrated Impulses Having sparked off the Eames discussion, perhaps I should also add that of all the aspects of the Madalina/John story, I found that little reference to her being beaten very very chilling.
Whether 19th century authors are pro or anti feminism is something which occasionally gets discussed on the Wilkie Collins list. Like Trollope he draws strong female characters who can stand out against convention at some points in the life of the novel in which they are featured. Inevitably, there is a tidy ending and Marian Halcombe for example, in the Woman in White, brave and intelligent though she is, sinks into the background as an aunt figure.
Some readers find this disappointing in Collins but others rejoice that he could create such robust women, compared for example, with Dickens. Although I've not read as much Trollope as Collins, there are similarities here. Angela
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2000 13:39:13 -0000
Subject: [trollope-l] AT home in his world
Thank you, Ellen, for the thoughtful post about Trollope and Freud. Trollope was a contradictory person in many ways. He "seemed" quite open about his life and his work in his autobiography. In letters and memoirs of people who knew Trollope, he comes across as a bluff, boisterous, generous fellow. But he did maintain what Ellen so astutely calls "a carapace." On the one had, Trollope wanted to be accepted by "good" society. The adult who as a child wore tattered clothing to school and was virtually ignored for long periods of time, wanted to have a place in the world - to be accepted. His books are the result of a rich interior life, one he started building, populating and inhabiting from a very young age. Trollope kept long story arcs going in the Barsetshire books with great skill. I think Trollope lived with his characters, and that is the reason he carried this off. Mr. Harding's funeral was a tour de force. It was almost orchestral in its playing of notes and sounding of chords, creating a great harmony. Trollope did not shy away from saying that to a certain extent, he was a technician. He writes about "cudgeling (his) brain" to find plots. At times we see a bit of Trollope the technician, the man who grinds out the set number of words per day. Grace and the Major are an example of this. The scene where Grace and the Archdeacon have their confrontation, and Grace "behaves beautifully" and (sort of) wins the Archdeacon over to her side, was a great bit of craftsmanship. As well written as this chapter is, I still find the entire situation contrived. I can smell the midnight oil. (Also, it seems that in Trollope's books, if a young woman wants to get the guy by end of the third volume, she must "behave beautifully." Is that a saying unique to Trollope?) Trollope turned his "castles in the air" to good advantage. He was a phenomenon, when you think about it.
Dagny again on the comment on beating:
Maybe Conway's remark about strong hands refers to this. Otherwise I just took John's remark to be one of those offhand emarks people make from time to time without meaning it to be taken literally; just that maybe he would be able to overcome Madalina's will and rule her with an iron hand
I suppose, in this context, it could have a meaning from riding - still don't like it very much though.
Subject: [trollope-l] John Eames a parallel to Adolphus Crosbie; Lily Congratulated
I noticed that by the end of LCB Eames has morphed into a version of Crosbie. He seems like a prematurely middle-aged clubman, and a snob, too, by the time the book is over. Was this transformation an ironic statement? Was Trollope trying to make Lily's rejection of Eames more palatable? Or was it neither. This is the third time I've read LCB and this is the first time I've noticed that Eames turns out to be cynical and worldly at the end. There is no doubt in my mind that he was "carrying on" with other women, whether they be barmaids, or members of the arty set. I congratulate Lily on her choice to remain single.
Catherine has the last word here.