Introduction: Publication, What Trollope Said in His An Autobiography; Translations; Linking Themes in Barsetshire Series and Religion; Three Critical Essays; Which Novel by Trollope Have You Reread Most? What is Your Favorite One?; Frequently Reread Books; The Need for a Community and Fathers; Dorchester and Dorsetshire so Barchester and Barsetshire but the title is The Last Chronicle of Barset

To Trollope-l

June 9, 2000

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire: Concise Calendar

This is not one of Trollope's lesser known or hard-to-get novels. The publication history is not as full and continuous as that of The Small House of Allington, but counting just from 1960-89, in A Trollope Catalogue, L. Tingay lists 6 different editions beyond the Trollope Society one. I own the Houghton Mifflin 1964 book edited by Arthur Mizener and the Oxford Paperback Classic edited by Stephen Gill. There is a Penguin introduced by LLerner and edited by Peter Fairclough, a Pan Books, a Heritage Press, and a Folio edition with new illustrations. The Trollope Society edition contains 12 of the original full page illustrations (there were 32 full page pictures and 32 vignettes). There have been translations into Dutch (1869), Swedish (1945), Norwegian (1952). Scandanavia went for this one.

In An Autobiography Trollope wrote of it: 'Taking it as a whole, I regard this as the best novel I have written'. While confessing that the plot develops cumbersomely, that its initiation in the circumstance of the Rev. Josiah Crawley having forgotten how he got it and a friend giving him one in the third person are somewhat unbelievable, nonetheless, says he,

'I claim to have portrayed the mind of the unfortunate man with great accuracy and great delicacy. The pride, the humility, the manliness, the weakness, the conscientious rectitute and bitter prejudices of Mr Crawley were, I feel, true to nature and were well described. The surroundings too are good. Mrs Proudie at the palace is a real woman; and the poor old man dying at the deanery is also real. The archdeacon at his rectory is very real. There is the true savour of English country life all through the book' (Oxford An Autobiography, ed. MSadleir and FPage, introd., notes PD Edwards, Ch 15, pp 274-75).

Others argue it was written at the height of his powers and displays his distinctive gifts, what readers who love him most love him for. That it was published in a new or experimental format does suggest the publisher worried a bit about sales: Trollope writes

'the shilling magazines had interfered greatly with the success of novels publshed in numbers without other accompanying matter. The public finding that so much might be had for a shilling in which a portion of one or more movels was always included, were unwilling to spend their money on the novel alone. Feeling that this had certainly become the case in reference to novels published in shilling numbers, Mr Smith and I determined to make the experiment with sixpenny parts.'

However, we should remember that, truthful as ever, Trollope also admits the enterprise 'was not altogether successful'. I forget the figures but I remember reading somewhere that despite the acclaim by reviewers for the main plot (not the subplot which was not liked) and the hum and buzz of talk, Smith didn't make what he wanted or planned or thought he should. The first edition is a beautifully gussied up one (more next week on illustrations and such), no expense spared. I have myself examined a copy of the 32 numbers bound together: those numbers which didn't sell originally were bound and sold as a single book. So this is the only novel by Trollope to have been produced in this weekly way, every 7 days mostly another 3 chapter installment. Trollope wrote it between 20 January and 5 September 1866, and it was published from 1 December 1866 until 8 July 1867. It took 9 months to write and 8 months or so to appear.

Since we are reading it as part of a planned Barsetshire series hard upon The Small House, another thing to keep in mind is that Trollope wrote 7 other novels between these two, including the first of what we now call the Palliser novels (Can You Forgive Her?). Mullen adds that The Last Chronicle was 'a product of [Trollope's] most hectic and most productive period:

[Trollope] was also involved in three important new ventures: launching a new career as a writer of anonymous novels, establishing a the _Fortnightly Review_ and writing many essays for the _Pall Mall Gazette_. He was, of course, still a senior official in the Post Office ... He also wrote it during a period of intense political debate about the Second Reform Act ...' (The Penguin Companion, p. 274).

I am fascinated to think that the novel which immediately precedes The Last Chronicle was Nina Balatka, supposedly so different until you realise the scene where Rev Crawley has to stand in front of Bishop and Mrs Proudie, & the latter attempts to cow him has an exact analogy in Nina Balatka where the Jewish hero (whose initials are A. T.) has to stand in front of the grasping Christian relatives of Nina, a shrinking man and bullying woman, & the latter attempts to cow him. The novel right after The Last Chronicle is The Claverings and there the Proudies have been instrumental in depriving the Rev Clavering of whatever self- respect and enjoyment he could get from hunting.

We'll begin June 25th. This past week was supposed to be sum-up and final thoughts on The Small House and Barsetshire so far. We have had a wonderful post from Catherine Crean; I wrote one; maybe others would like to join in. On June 17th, I'll provide an introduction; and then the first double installment will be 'due' June 25th. I have not divided the novel into 6 chapters for each week but rather religiously followed the original divisions. Some weeks readers got just 2 chapters, and others they got 3. For one week in order to end on a climactic ending, they got 4. So we'll have some weeks, where we read just 5 chapters for 2 installments and some weeks where we read 3 installments in order to get 6 chapters, and thus end early in October. It looks like we won't begin Is He Popenjoy? until the middle of October. So anyone who has ordered a Popenjoy? or AyalaThe Last Chronice of Barsetshire is One Big Book

Volume I:

Volume II

A week or two off to recuperate. Then we'll start our most unBarsetshire pair.

NB: We had elected to read Is He Popenjoy? and Ayala's Angel as a contrasting pair directly after we finished The Last Chronicle: they contrasted in and of themselves, and they contrasted to the Barsetshire novels.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 09:39:13 -0600
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire: Linking Themes & Introduction Referring back to an earlier posting by Ellen, religion does in a sense unify the Barsetshire novels, but only on the surface. Most of the major characters in these novels are members of the Church of England, and some are high officers in that Church. There are enough Church of England people portrayed so that disputes within the Church can be highlighted. In the Barsetshire novels we see very little of the differences in dogma between C. of E. and Roman Catholic or between C. of E. and Judaism. These are matters which Trollope on occasion treats elsewhere. Jews and Catholics do not appear in the Barsetshire novels, or if they do, I don't remember them. But the disputes within the Church are very important, and what is more, should be familiar to many of us in the final year of the 20th century. Today we call this schism "Liberal" and "Conservative," and in the C. of E. during the 19th century the antagonists were labeled "high" and "low". The familiarity is there. Trollope's low Church stood for fundamentalism and his high Church was a bit more progressive. In our forthcoming Last Chronicle we will read about the supporters of the palace and those who do not support the palace.. It's the same old argument. The palace, which of course means the Bishop's Palace and not the Queen's Palace, stands for fundamentalism, and the Grantly party does not.

There is so more to say about The Last Chronicle before we even begin. Mrs. Gaskell wanted Trollope to go on writing Framley Parsonage forever. In a sense he did. The Last Chronicle stands as a sequel to Framley Parsonage, but it also is a sequel to Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne and The Small House at Allington. Those who have not read The Last Chronicle should be delighted to see how many familiar characters turn up with their characteristics unchanged. It's quite a galaxy. The book has a plot, of course, and what is of interest to me is how many familiar people react to the events of this plot. Of course all of these familiar people are a bit older. But they are much the same as they ever where.

I think The Last Chronicle is one of my favorite Trollope books and also one of my favorite novels among the many I have read. Who else has given us a sequel to four other books yet which contains its own plot? Those of you who have not read The Last Chronicle are in for, I think, the supreme treat of your Trollope-reading lives.


Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 19:23:36 +0100
Subject: [trollope-l] Barsetshire: Linking Themes

At 16:39 00\06\11, Sigmund Eisner wrote:

"Religion does in a sense unify the Barsetshire novels, but only on the surface."

It does indeed, but it is important to distinguish, as you do in your post, between the "politics" of the Church of England, which motivates the Barsetshire clergy, and the "theology" which distinguishes the different churches (i.e. of England and of Roman in the first instance, and then the finer subdivisions of the various Protestant churches). When I said in my earlier post "religious expositions", I should have said "theological expositions".

To give Trollope his due, he was remarkably broad minded on religious matters for a mid Victorian Englishman. One can usefully compare his treatment of Irish Catholicism of the period in his writings with that of Mrs Elizabeth Smith ["The Highland Lady in Ireland" by Elizabeth Grant (her maiden name)], writing at the same period. Mrs Smith, a well-meaning and generous lady, approached the religion of the local peasants from quite a strict Protestant, evangelising, viewpoint. Trollope, on the other hand, was prepared to live and let live, and even numbered some Catholic priests amongst his acquaintance.

Rory O'Farrell

To Trollope-l

June 18, 2000

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset: Some More Introduction

My way of looking forward to reading The Last Chronicle of Barset was to read three general essays on the book. I have read this vast novel, I confess, only once before. When my husband, I, and two daughters visited Rome one summer (maybe 7 years ago now), during the long hot afternoons when we stayed in our apartment, I read The Last Chronicle of Barset for the first time. I am not one who enjoys vacations; I dislike intensely the wrench of having to leave my house and known environs; I detest airports; when I'm on an airplane the whole experience has is like being in a live bad dream; I mean, Are we all mad or not, with these absurd trays in front of us, tied down to chairs? I have learnt there people like me who don't like vacations, but since this is not in our 20th century socially acceptable, don't say so, except in whispers. I simply prefer to stay home & to stick to my daily routine. Now especially when one has to take children, I couldn't ignore the stress they caused on top of all this. The Last Chronicle helped me keep my equilibrium.

So I first read _The Last Chronicle_ on long very hot Roman afternoons in August in a cool dark bedroom looking out through a window at what's left of the great walls which used to surround all of Rome. I wished it would never come to an end. After the Protestant cemetery in Rome and a couple of other experiences, the coloseum, walking in the campagna, it was the best thing about this 3 weeks in Rome. I read it in a battered old Pan edition. I have skim-read it for its letters -- which are very great. And I have listened to it once: and here I recommend David Case's dramatic reading of The Last Chronicle to those who are going to join in and do time daily in their cars, buses, trains, or planes. (My particular prison is a car and just now a 45 minute drive to and fro twice a week to GMU.)

How many others on our list have read The Last Chronicle before? In what circumstances?

How many times? I was thinking the other day, Is there a Trollope novel that I have read as often as a couple of the novels of Jane Austen. The Warden comes close. I can't count how many times I have read in it or read it through. It is brief. If Trollope's novels aren't reread as often as Austen's, it may be partly put down to their larger size and the large number of them. I wonder which is the most frequently re-read novel by Trollope amongst us? After The Warden the novels I have most frequently reread are Can You Forgive Her? and Phineas Finn. Until its final 2 cop-out chapters I think CYFH? is one of Trollope's honest books about love I have assigned Phineas Finn twice to classes and that accounts for my many rereadings. When I assign a book to a class, I make it my business to know it.

Rereading is the true test over whether you like a book -- unless of course you must reread it in school or some other institution where it's a matter of coercion to punch some social ticket.


Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset: Three Critical Essays

I read three critical essays on The Last Chronicle as part of my "preparation for this read.

The least satisfying of these three was by Ruth apRoberts. It's in The Oxford Companion to Trollope. She must have written it for this volume. She was just so flinchless. Never a peep of anything of herself as she kept her beat of cheerful turn in a plot after turn up. She is overtly bored by the assertions that Crawley is a picture of Trollope's father. She cites Hall's comment on this, and just about says, well, ho hum. It didn't seem to matter what happened to the characters as we read along, as long as acceptance, integration, prudence are the lessons inculcated in an upbeat and implcit way. She does cover Crawley centrally and says he is the core of the book, but has placed him morally in a pattern that says here is a lesson for us Basically apRoberts retold the plots too much. Most of her several pages was a retelling of the plots. I just get so bored with her upbeat optimistic normalizing. Such perspectives falsify reality and Trollope's texts.

The end of her essay does carry a bit of a reward. apRoberts cites a couple of people writing about 2 decades after Anthony's death. One credited the Barsetshire series as the first blockbuster. Frank O'Connor said it put him in the big league. Its immense control and many strands show how the Victorian novel is not a loose rambling baggy monster. We get Gordon Ray's famous essay about how the true Trollope book is the one written at 'full length'.

apRoberts's own view is the importance of the Barsetshire series in literature was that it established in English literature for the first time the roman fleuve. She says Trollope does not appear to have been influenced by Balzac; he was just doing the same thing apparently. Trollope was then imitated by Galsworthy and Anthony Powell among others. (I'll add Margaret Oliphant.) She says the Dobbs-Brougton sequences in the book have not been much admired; she agrees they are unpleasant. (This is a Bad Thing?) However, she argues for their function in the book, how they analogously point up themes in the other plots. The great scenes in the book after those involving Crawley are the death of Mrs Proudie and all this leads to in the depiction of the Bishop and the death of Mr Harding and his funeral.

Mullen's essay on The Last Chronicle in The Penguin Companion is better. Not because he is the better critic (apRoberts is as good a critic, and has written brilliantly on Trollope elsewhere; she now writes regularly for a periodical called The Studies in Literary Imagination). Rather The Oxford Companion is a made book; again and again its entries show hurry, or thinness, the kind of thing where you know the person is writing as an assignment to fill space; or the entry has mistakes. I recommend Mullen's entry on The Last Chronicle: his is as long and full as apRoberts's without just going over the story blow-by-blow. It is more deeply considered; he has spent much more time in the preparation for writing it. He sets The Last Chronicle in the political and social milieu of its year; the world was changing, becoming more complicated, and the Barsetshire books were beginning to feel obsolete. That's why Trollope may have brought them to an end.

Some of Mullen's smaller points as he talks include: the way all the characters but Mr Slope from the previous books are brought back, older, not necessarily wiser at all (even Mr Slope is at least mentioned); the way the characters are allowed to speak for themselves, their own feelings and opinions without Trollope's maneuvring them; unlike apRoberts, Mullen is taken by the portrait of Crawley as a poignant and sympathetic portrait of Trollope's own father, one recreated here to have wide-ranging general application for the reader who identifies; the book's way of dealing with the question what is a gentleman; its situational ethics (though Mullen would not use this term); Trollope's anger at how little money so many hard-working people in the church made and how egregiously luxurious were the lives of the upper class aristocratic churchmen (Trollope's Clerygman of the Church of England was during this period fiercely attacked by Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury); how the book works like a symphony; the deep-musing moving depiction of Eames, Lily and the sharp understanding of Crosbie; the subsidiary rich depiction of London, including the sweet Mr Toogood and the unsavoury mean Dobbs-Broughton group; women's roles which are not just as cyphers. Mullen agrees with apRoberts that Trollope's story of why he came to kill off Mrs Proudie is an exaggeration as it's clear he was moving towards this in the whole book and her death as well as Mr Harding's ends the cycle. He too is deeply moved by the death and funeral of Harding and says a religous strain of emotion comes into the book at this poignant close. Finally there are fewer personal allusions in this book than there are in many, but they are there and important still: Crawley as Trollope's father, and little plants like Dollands: Eames buys Lady Julia her spectacles where Anthony Trollope brought his own collection of glasses).

You can't do better than Mullen for an introduction.

However, you can do nearly as well if you read Stephen Gill's introduction to the Oxford paperback classics. His essay is shorter than Mullen's (Mullen gets room by having two columns per page), but he makes a few of the same points and some others as well. Gill argues that it's not true that Trollope has no style. Trollope's style has slow-moving subtle psychological rhythms which allow us to move inside the minds of the characters and their individual worlds; the narrative style of the book as a whole is a great sustaining achievement which holds everything up, keeps it going, and blends it. Gill quotes apposite passages which show this. Gill is slick and says that another remarkable thing about this style is it helps Trollope to persuade us "his 'neutral- tinted view of humanity' is a true one". Gill does not say he thinks it is true; he says Trollope has persuaded readers it is. How brilliantly does Trollope deal with marriage in this and other books, says Gill, and its deepest moments of empathy and patience. He agrees with apRoberts and Mullen that the novel is centrally about the 'lonely ordeal' of Crawley and his 'isolation', but points out how it is set in a world in which all others are connected -- or at least most others. Gill goes over the denouement of Mrs Proudie's story and Mr Harding's funeral simply by quoting a few of the great passages.

Like the others he highlights Crawley's staged encounter with the Proudies which Crawley wins, and its repeat with Dr Temple whose refusal to participate finally rouses the Bishop to refuse to be bullied and manipulated by Mrs Proudie any longer. I love both these scenes. They are as important and a more unusual lesson in the ethics of human intercourse than you will ever find in any novel anywhere. Yes Trollope's portrayal of an interlocking community is important and qualifies and colours our response to these scenes as we shut the book, but the moments remain. Private life and personal integrity of a high kind as necessary for individual survival and sanity is vindicated. Gills ends on Bunce, a beautiful, indeed haunting moment at the close of the book. Perhaps here Trollope's a little makes up for the classism of his caricatures of the old men in the first book of the series The Warden.

As Sig said, we are in for a real treat.

Ellen Moody

Jill Singer answered first:

Sun, 10 Jun 2000 09:53:44 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Frequently Re-Read Trollope

Like Ellen, the Trollope works I have re-read the most times include Can You Forgive Her? It is one of my favorites, and I have for years sought someone willing to focus on a movie version. I find it a wonderful feminist work, making its point in an effective, generally non-confrontational manner, and I really can see it translated to cinema format (even mentally casting characters). Does anyone on our list have ideas about finding a screenwriter (correct word?) willing to undertake the task? (After all, copyright is not a problem. :-))

The other book I have re-read most often is Orley Farm. Trollope on lawyers and law is always dear to my heart. I am looking forward to a very nice lawyer (and excellent role model) in Last Chronicle.

Jill Singer
Overland Park KS

P.S. Thanks, as always, Ellen, for your thorough and enlightening intro comments. I have read the Gill intro and will certainly read Mullen in light of your post.

From Dagny:

Ellen wrote:

"If Trollope's novels aren't reread as often as Austen's, it may be partly put down to their larger size and the large number of them.

Yes, Ellen, I think that is probably the main factor. I know when I started reading all of Balzac's Comedie Humaine, I didn't want to contemplate rereading any of them until I'd read them all at least once. Where there are so few books as Austen's and some other writers it is much quicker to come full circle. Some of Trollope's are so long as to equal two or more books by other authors.

Since I am new to Trollope, I have no rereads yet.


From Rory:

At 15:59 00\06\18, Ellen Moody wrote:

"Anyone else want to say if they have read any of Trollope's novels a number of times."

I have read the Barsetshires and the Pallisers perhaps six times each. The other novels I reread less frequently - often taking one away as a travel book, depending on what I feel like reading at the time.

"Is there anyone who has reread The Last Chronicle of Barset more than once? Or frequently parts of it? Does anyone want to say in what circumstances he or she first read The Last Chronicle of Barset.

I have re-read it perhaps six times, and cannot recollect just when the first time was, except that it was in the correct sequence - I started by buying Barsetshire Towers, and reading from the cover notes that it followed on from The Warden, I purchased that as well, to read in sequence. Then I was hooked... "My name is Rory, and I am a Trollope addict..."

Rory O'Farrell

Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2000 14:53:40 -0500
Subject: [trollope-l] Frequently Re-Read Trollope Novels?

I have read The Warden and Barchester Towers three times each, for the very simple and unliterary reason that for a long time (i.e. since college) they were the only Trollope novels I owned (bound together in a single-volume Modern Library edition). It was my third time through this volume, combined with a reading of Glendinning's biography, that convinced me it was time to treat myself to the rest of the novels. (The next one I read was Phineas Finn, but I don't remember what led me to it as my next choice, unless it was Glendinning's approving commentary on it.)

Wayne Gisslen

From June Siegel

Re: Frequently Re-Read Trollope Novels?

Joan Wall writes,

'Yes, Ellen, I'm on my third trip through TLCB. I was just thinking that it's like sitting down to have lunch (or tea) with old friends. I want to ask them all what they've been up to and how they feel.'

For me, rereading Trollope is a lot like that, and there are other joys as well. I've never kept count, but other people's lists of frequently reread Trollope novels is a lot like mine: with Can You Forgive Her' and Orley Farm probably heading the list. I tend to re-start the Barchester series over and over, but quit somewhere in the middle to go on to something else, so I've reread The Warden many times, sharing Ellen's feelings, down to the same favorite chapter, and Barchester Towers, and most recently, Doctor Thorne.

I've been ill for a period of some months recently with a disease that has required, among other things, frequent trips to the laundry room, and as I trundle my full shopping cart to the elevator, inevitably read as I walk, but since it's a short walk, I don't get very much reading done. One recent evening, I opened to the top of page 46, and there I was, overhearing Lady de Courcy and her sister-in-law "sitting quietly in the latter's dressing-room, discussing the unreasonableness of the Squire...."

Barely time for the girls to get their teeth properly looked at! But, Arabella, what does he say?

I stopped reading right there because I don't think I had ever before been so struck by what I feel certain must be one of Trollope's greatest gifts: writing dialogue that rings absolutely true. It was the intimacy of their low voices, and of being transported to a different time and place, momentarily leaving behind the endless rounds of laundry, meds, doctors' appointments, and my symptoms, that made me so happy.

I know that there is probably no more severe label affixed to fiction than 'escapist' but if I were strapped down in a plane with a tray on my lap, or imprisoned in the back seat of a car that is hopelessly, endlessly jammed in cacaphonous traffic, or, for that matter, arriving home after fleeing the terror of an impending tornado, anything that comes to hand that would get me somewhere else fast I'd welcome with floods of gratitude.

At the same time, there is the equally great pleasure of new discoveries. It was only on the most recent rereading of Orley Farm that the tone and content of the delightful opening paragraph disclosed to me its function as a means of setting tone and attitude for the novel to come. And a second reading of the opening paragraphs of The Three Clerks during a long bus ride one afternoon recently made apparent a complicated and wonderful narrative strategy at work that I had entirely missed the first reading.


I responded:

Subject: [trollope-l] Frequently Re-Read Trollope Novels?

It's interesting to know that Jill Singer and I share one novel we have frequently reread. I too see Can You Forgive Her? as an implicitly feminist book: it examines erotic and ideal love and marriage from the woman's point of view honestly. I can understand why someone who is a lawyer would enjoy Orley Farm immensely. So while I am firmly in agreement with Dagny that the relative brevity and small number of novels by Austen is partly why her devoted readers read them so often and why she has so many devoted ones, still here we have two long novels frequently reread.

My other was the short one, The Warden. To me it contains so much, is suggestive as well as concise, not about love, but politics, human, social, political, economic. I also love Mr Harding as a concept and presence in a book. The book contains one of my favorite chapters in all Trollope: Mr Harding's long day in London.

Anyone else want to say if they have read any of Trollope's novels a number of times. Any so frequently you can no longer count how many times you have read it? Which ones? I remember someone once told me his favorite novel by Trollope is The Kellys and O'Kellys. That's intriguing because it is unexpected. Someone else once told me she reread Ayala's Angel many many times.

Is there anyone who has reread The Last Chronicle of Barset more than once? Or frequently parts of it? Does anyone want to say in what circumstances he or she first read The Last Chronicle of Barset. I doubt it is an assigned book in high schools or colleges. It's too long. It is sometimes said to be the longest of Trollope's books; the only one nearly or as long is said to be The Prime Minister (I haven't counted so don't know if either assertion is true.)

Teachers also assign what they know, what they have read, and my daughters nowadays seems to have as teachers of literature people who have ended up teaching literature in high school but are not among those who have read older classics beyond those they came across on syllabi they were forced to follow. However, I would rejoice to hear that someone was assigned this book in a course.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Re: Favorite Trollope novels

From: Sigmund Eisner

Ellen has asked us to name our favorite Trollope novels. I think the question breaks down to this: supposing someone who never has read Trollope asks you for the title of a single book to serve as an entry to the world of Trollope. Anyway, that question has been put to me a number of times. I usually name three very unlike novels in this order: 1. Orley Farm, which does not depend on other books and tells a rattling good story. 2. John Caldigate, which is as good a detective story as I know. 3. The Way We Live Now, which is an unsentimental look at the pushy people of any era. Others, of course, will choose others. And, like Ellen, I would like to read what they say.


To Trollope-l

Re: Favorite Books, Fathers, and the Need for Community

To chime in -- and with the hope we will hear from yet other people on our list -- sometimes it feels somehow wasteful to reread a book when life is so short and there seem to be so many wonderful books I have yet to get to. Yet I reread, and not just because I am teaching a book once again or mean to write something on its author. Some books just seem to call out for rereading to get even their primary meaning, and some seem so much richer as time goes by. I can no longer count how many times I've read Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Mansfield Park and it is getting that way with Northanger Abbey.

Daphne Du Maurier is another writer who works in the vein of women's literature I was attempting to describe. I have not read all her books, but I have reread a couple of them.

I too have many different areas, kinds of authors and books I like to read, am interested in different eras. I also love pictorial art. Someone asked about Scott: I think he is making something of a come-back. More of his books are coming back into print: recently I bought a beautiful new Penguin edition of his The Antiquary. I agree with Mike's choice of good books about Scotland, though if you can whiz through the famously unreadable first six chapters of Waverley that is a superScots novel. The opening of The Legend of Montrose also evokes Scotland superlatively. Jeanie Deans is certainly uncompromising but I wouldn't have thought to compare her with anyone who is ruthless. She is super-moral, very loving, a heroic Fanny Price who takes a walk to end all walks to save her sister from death.

One reason I am such a fan of Books-on-Tape is that for me listening to a book works best when I've already read the book on my own. This enables me to reread without feeling guilty ('At my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot drawing near ...'). This reading aloud by another individual always brings a new interpretation to bear upon the book. Tones I hadn't myself imagined are used and the textures of a book's scenes are reshaped in my mind. Sometime the book seems to come more alive. For those who mean to read along with the group Is He Popenjoy? and Ayala's Angel, Books-on-Tape has Donada Peters reading the latter. And she is wonderful at that book.

Todd and I share an experience. As I wrote in the introduction to my book, my re-engagement with Trollope which led me to stay with him and read all the fiction and become deeply involved in a list and write about Trollope occurred around the time of my father's death. The two events were connected. It was my father who brought The Vicar of Bullhampton to me when I was in hospital after a bad car accident; he said I should try it because Trollope was 'very wise'. In her review of my book, Margaret Drabble confessed that her father loved Trollope too, and she connected her reading of Trollope to her relationship with her father. I wonder how many people have books or authors who mean a great deal to them because it was through these books or authors they experienced a good relationship with a real live friend or close relative. Books are a way of communing together.

Which gets me to the comment about this list and others a few people have made. It is hard to read in a vaccuum. While reading remains a solitary activity, one which which allows us to escape the world and its mores, and have feelings and thoughts validated we see spoken of frankly no where else, still we like to do it in a community. People are gregarious animals: we herd together. Although my career has been that of a teacher in colleges, most of my life I have rarely had anyone to talk to about what I was reading. I have very few relatives who respect books or are readers; only in graduate school did I begin to meet people like myself who loved to read, and there was precious little time to talk about books disinterestedly. The Net allows us to beat space and time and find people who have our interests but live on the other side of the earth. Can two places be more far apart than the East Coast of the US where a number of us post from and Australia where a number of other people on our list post from?

It is also true that even when people share reading interests they often just don't talk about it. My husband and I do over dinner a lot, and we used to read to one another (the latter activity ended years ago). I find conferences sometimes very disappointing because they are so filled with politicking. The writing self -- which is what we find on these lists -- is a different person from the talking self. We will say things in writing we won't in talking; we are freer; and here on the Net we can't interrupt one another as we write posts (as we might on a phone). Each e-mail letter is sent in by itself and then someone else responds with one of their own. The lag in time allows for lingering developing of ideas that usually remain inchoate when we are together in the flesh. An e-mail is a kind of letter with some of its advantages -- and of course some of its disadvantages. I would say that my interest in Trollope was partly developed by finding people on a list who also loved to read his books; Austen moved from the margins of my academic interests to the center because of time once spent on Austen-l and now Janeites. I mourn the lack of literary lists about Italian literature.

I'll sign off tonight with the 'score' for our autumn books thus far:

Up to nine people would like to read Is He Popenjoy? and Ayala's Angel next and in tandem: Beth, Catherine C, Joan, Dagny, Todd, Angela, Marian, Lisa and me.

A couple of people would like Pallisers but willing to wait or read on their own: Catherine J and Tyler

Tyler also casts a vote for _The Three Clerks_ as a singleton

Rory says he has no preference.

Again I hope others will tell of their reading interests or something about themselves so we can feel ourselves more of a community together. Can we hear from some more people who have rarely posted and those who have never posted at all too?

Ellen Moody

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset

A typo and some explanation of a super-minor point. Rereading the posting I just sent off I found I typed a couple of extra letters into one word in my final sentence. It should read:

"Perhaps here Trollope's a little makes up for the classism of his caricatures of the old men in the first book of the series The Warden.

The word in question is classism. I typed classicism. I probably just invented this word 'classism' as I was writing along (though I may have seen it in theoretic literary criticism). So I will explain its meaning.

What I mean by classism is the more than occasionally crass depiction of lower class people throughout Trollope's novels. We have had an instance of it in the scenes at Mrs Roper's boarding house. We saw instances of it in his depiction of the young Louis Scatcherd in Dr Thorne. The point of view is part of the background for the depiction of Slope as greasy and uncouth. The case in point for the end of The Last Chronicle is Trollope's similarly-derived unfair and unsympathetic depiction of the old men in The Warden, one which caricatures them as ridiculous, distasteful, and just plain stupid. It derives from Trollope's sense of his class which makes him assume people beneath the class of gentleman are somehow not quite as dignified or as complex, or, not to put too fine a point on this, as human as he. I wouldn't call this snobbery; I would call it caste arrogance.

That The Last Chronicle ends on Bunce does and beautifully does a little make up for the egregiously dismissive depiction of the miseries of the old men in The Warden. For someone like me (with my background) I would have to say that my grandfather shortly before his death probably resembled Bunce or Trollope's old men far more than he would have any other characters in Trollope's Barsetshire series. Not when he lived in Poland of course. Then he was a tailor. But we know how Trollope's Victorian readership was supposed to regard tailors.

Ellen Moody

Me again: To:
Subject: [trollope-l] Frequently Reread Books -- and Sheer Length

One of the few more learned periodicals I subscribe to is called Studies in the Literary Imagination. It is a publication of the organisation of scholars that was set up in opposition to MLA. It was not only the theoretical and deconstructionist tendencies of the MLA which disturbed, but its servicing of the job market and advocation of various political stances. I don't know much about the organisation or its conferences, but its publication is interesting. The last one I got had a piece by Roger Shattuck called 'Sheer Length'. It was a defense of Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. Along the way he also discussed Balzac whose Comédie Humaine, taken as a whole, is enormous. He argued the same kind of art or view of art was involved in both -- and in modern cyclical books (I'll cite Dorothy Richardson as well as Anthony Powell).

It made me think of Trollope because we are about to set out on The Last Chronicle of Barset. If this book is superlong as a novel, the Barsetshire series is even longer. Consider it as a whole, and we have been exploring this 'book' or cycle since last June and will finish up in early October. I rejoiced to hear that the college Clarissa went to had teachers who assigned The Last Chronicle. Increasingly, teachers are loathe to assign such long books because students won't attempt such 'sheer length'. It makes a real problem when you want to introduce Trollope to them. I left out three volumes of Trollope I have frequently reread, all three went over very well with them: An Eye for an Eye, the Early and Late Short Stories edited by Sutherland. The first is a poetic masterpiece, Irish fiction, but they were also all willing to attempt it because of its brevity. They read the short stories happily enough and found them anything from refreshing to packing a wallop, to touching and moving, to comic, to all sorts of things. But I had real trouble with Phineas Finn. Those who would try, and got into the book, did like it. African American young men particularly identified with Phineas. But many would not try. They special ordered Cliff Notes.

This is a problem people on Victoria often also discuss who are teachers.

As we read The Last Chronicle I suppose we might think about what is the justification for weaving 5 different novels together -- for there are around 5 plots here (unless I'm miscounting which I may be). There is one. What is signified to the reader by a such a book in the first place: leisure and peaceful time itself?

Just a few thoughts,

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset

June 11, 2000

This e-mail registers the happy situation that we now have nineteen people who would like to read Is He Popenjoy? and Ayala's Angel after we finish The Last Chronicle of Barset because Howard has joined us. Here are the names thus far: Beth, Catherine C, Joan, Dagny, Todd, Angela, Marian, Lisa, Wayne, Thilde, Sue, Tyler, Adele, Roger, J udy, Clarissa, Pat, Howard and me.

Why then is it labelled The Last Chronicle of Barset? Since I don't mind in the least tactful correction. Howard's right: why type an unneeded 'shire' for months on end? I can also use the occasion to say how difficult it was for me as an American to distinguish Barchester from Barsetshire. Years ago when I first read Barchester Towers I kept saying Barsetshire Towers or would talk of the county as Barchester -- all the while knowing I hadn't quite got it right. Then my husband said the analogy was Dorchester and Dorsetshire. He and I had stayed in Dorchester for a night and a day in a lovely inn; had eaten there. I understood it was a small city. We had driven through Dorsetshire. I understood it was the surrounding countryside. I probably still add the 'shire' as it is part of how I remember the distinction.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated 11 January 2003