The Ambition of his Life; A Correction to His Mother's and other books; First Phase of Trip; Through English Eyes; Different Editions; Prohibition (Different Laws in Different States); Still in New England/Trollope's Book Not Respected

Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2002
Chapters 1 - 3
Trollope's North America

Dear all

Tomorrow we officially start our subgroup read of 'North America', and, first off, I'd like to thank the list member who suggested we should read Fanny's book first, then Anthony's - I think it was Ian who suggested doing this and it has definitely proved to be a good idea. From the very start of 'North America', it is clear that in some ways he sees his book as a corrective to his mother's, aiming to present a fairer and more considered picture.

I was struck by the opening words of the book:

"It has been the ambition of my literary life to write a book about the United States..."

I suppose to modern readers of 19th-century authors, the novels are usually the thing and we often tend to regard travel books as an optional extra - Fanny Trollope is an exception to this, with 'Domestic Manners' one of the few titles which is in print and easily available.

But, clearly, from this, Anthony Trollope did not regard travel books in this light. To him, writing an account of his visit to America was not a break from his real writing but an important challenge in its own right. I suppose one reason for the ambition was probably that he missed out on the years in America with Fanny and Henry in his youth, and didn't even pay a shorter visit like Tom and his father. By this stage of his career he had already proved himself as a great novelist - but this was his chance to prove that he could write a memorable travel book in a very different vein from his mother's work.

In her wonderfully detailed and wide-ranging posting on the context of 'North America', Ellen has already quoted Trollope's passage about his mother's book near the start of 'North America', where he describes it as essentially "a woman's book". I get the feeling he slightly damns with faint praise, suggesting that she achieved "a good result" as far as her book goes, but that she does not go far enough, concentrating on domestic detail rather than presenting a broader picture. However, he is tactful and kind towards her book - 'North America' was first published while Fanny was still alive, and he has to walk a tightrope here, not wanting to offend either his mother or the American public, yet wanting to make his own views clear.

I think he manages to perform this difficult balancing act successfully, but his comments in 'An Autobiography', written some years after Fanny's death, are more forthright - and more negative.

Here, he writes (in Chapter 2):

" 'The Domestic Manners of the Americans' was the first of a series of books of travels, of which it was probably the best, and was certainly the best known. It will not be too much to say of it that it had a material effect upon the manners of the Americans of the day, and that that effect has been fully appreciated by them. No observer was certainly ever less qualified to judge of the prospects or even of the happiness of a young people. No one could have been worse adapted by nature for the task of learning whether a nation was in a way to thrive. Whatever she saw she judged, as most women do, from her own standing-point. If a thing were ugly to her eyes, it ought to be ugly to all eyes, - and if ugly, it must be bad. What though people had plenty to eat and clothes to wear, if they put their feet upon the tables and did not reverence their betters? The Americans were to her rough, uncouth, and vulgar, - and she told them so. Those communistic and social ideas, which had been so pretty in a drawing-room, were scattered to the winds. Her volumes were very bitter; but they were very clever, and they saved the family from ruin."

The comment about Fanny judging "as most women do" grates, of course - but I don't think this is actually how Anthony regarded all women writers, if you look at his sensitive criticisms of Jane Austen and George Eliot, for instance. If you take out that phrase, the rest of this passage from 'An Autobiography' is acute as criticism of 'Domestic Manners' and reflects what several people have said during our discussion of the book, that Fanny never allows for another point of view. If she dislikes something, then nobody else should like it. We'll see that Anthony also finds plenty to criticise at times, but he tends to take a more measured view, and look all the way round a subject, rather than simply dismissing a custom as "ugly" or "vulgar". He also seems more aware than Fanny of the youth of the country he is visiting - he does not always take the "drawing-rooms" of London and Paris as his ideal.

At the start of 'North America', Trollope says he had already intended to visit the US before the Civil War broke out, commenting: "I have not allowed the division among the States and the breaking out of civil war to interfere with my intention; but I should not purposely have chosen this period either for my book or for my visit."

Again, the account in 'An Autobiography' is rather different, and suggests that Trollope did "purposely choose" the period, thinking a book on America would be more saleable at this time.

I'll quote the relevant passage from Chapter 9, which again takes Fanny's book as a starting-point:

"In 1861 the War of Secession had broken out in America, and from the first I interested myself much in the question. My mother had thirty years previously written a very popular, but, as I had thought, a somewhat unjust book about our cousins over the water. She had seen what was distasteful in the manners of a young people, but had hardly recognised their energy. I had entertained for many years an ambition to follow her foosteps there, and to write another book. I had already paid a short visit to New York City and State on my way home from the West Indies, but had not seen enough then to justify me in the expression of any opinion. The breaking out of the war did not make me think that the time was peculiarly fit for such inquiry as I wished to make, but it did represent itself as an occasion on which a book might be popular."

There is more interesting background information in this chapter of 'An Autobiography', as Trollope tells how he had to ask Rowland Hill for nine months leave, and also gives a brief summary of his visit, showing his admiration for the American people he met. He says: "Nothing struck me more than their persistence in the ordinary pursuits of life in spite of the war which was around them. "

Still quoting from 'An Autobiography', he says he wrote the book "almost without a note", and is not much kinder to his own travel book than he is to his mother's. He describes the book as "tedious and confused", sums it up as "not a good book", and says "I can recommend no one to read it now in order that he may be either instructed or amused" - a harsh verdict! However, he is also harsh towards some of his novels, and I suspect/hope we will come to a different conclusion.

One area where he does stand by the book, however, is on its politics and its identification with the North, again something Ellen discussed in her posting.

Trollope says: "It was published about the middle of the war, - just at the time in which the hopes of those who loved the South were most buoyant, and the fears of those who stood by the North were the strongest. But it expressed an assured confidence - which never quavered in a page or in a line - that the North would win."

Bye for now
Judy Geater

To Trollope-l

March 10, 2002

Re: Trollope's North America, Chs 1-3: First Phase of Trip

I thank Judy for typing out the passages from Trollope's An Autobiography. We can see he shapes what he writes to his audience and time: it was not politic to write so openly of his mother's book that she was not qualified, too biased, and learning to reject socialistic utopias the hard way.

Even more impolitic would it have been to say openly that there was a sizable group of people in England who were really on the side of the South (Judy quoted an Autobiography as including this clause: "those who loved the South were most buoyant"). I don't know if we have any Civil War experts on our list. (A bye-the-bye to non USians: in the US to be a civil war expert is regarded as an acceptable "hobby" and the term is "civil war buff." The US Civil War was and still is a defining event in US culture and it makes exciting reading.) If we do have an expert, it would be helpful; I am speaking from memories of things I last read in 1989/90 when I taught a course called American Literary Masterpieces part of which I dedicated to Uncle Tom's Cabin, Frederick Douglas's autobiography and the US civil war.

So memory tells me that Trollope is being a bit disingenuous or overly literal when he argues that the English gov't was perfectly neutral: it wasn't. There were speeches by important or powerful English people sympathizing openly with the South's secession, and the South partly seceded and thought it could win on the expectation both England and France would come in on its side. Trollope's book caused a clamour in England because he said he was against slavery and on the side of the North and for union -- though it's an otiose assertion because equally he says that after the war the South will not be brought back into the union. Trollope's analysis of the conditions and differences of the combatants seems careful, truthful and diplomatic, and he does say that slavery was the key issue while admitting that the two sides had formed different cultures too. He is ever the pragmatist: if the South "be ultimately the successful, the fraud of which it may have been guilty will be condoned by the war." He notes the South's step is, constitutionally speaking, revolutionary, but then so are many civil wars revolutionary. It interests me to see how this term can be used rightly of a reactionary movement; the term "reform" is today used of reactionary movements.

Judy was struck by Trollope's attempt to replace (well, he says moderate) his mother's book; I see in this introduction some descriptions of what he thinks a travel book should be beyond fair and just to the people described. Trollope writes the writer of a travel book owes to his readers his first duty, and this duty consists mainly in "telling the truth" in a "readable way". He must not give offence to the people of the country even though "ridicule and censure run glibly from the pen" and sell well. But he also sees himself as a "pop" writer and says he must include in his book colorful dramatized incidents which entertain, though they might somewhat distort the picture of the place. These picturesque and amusing incidents are (as I saw in Chapters 2 & 3) central to his text and take up a good deal of its verbal space.

Trollope suggests such stories can convey abstract meaning about a culture better than a complicated disquisition, but he does seem to feel he's in a straitjacket having to produce vignettes which fit when he wants to be philosophic, a kind of English de Toqueville except that he is not theoretic, not abstract but is determined to base what he says on what he literally sees and experiences. He will record the realities of US economy, social life, politics (the lineage here would be Defoe's two volumes touring Britain in the early 18th century). He notes the complications of states, each of which has a governor and its own legislatures so has its own peculiar laws. At the time "universal suffrage was not the rule throughout the United States". He means men of course, though I believe women had the vote early in some of the far southwestern states. Now we have a Constitutional Amendment to make sure all states allow equal suffrage, but there are many areas of life where state governments have control over the people who live in the particular state.

Thus far Trollope also shows himself aiming at a mild anthropology. Sometimes he is the neutral outsider studying the culture of the people among whom he travels. The he writes funny vignettes: like the one about the waiter standing over him pressuring him to eat quickly; his comments about attitudes towards time in US hotels. More frequently he shapes what he is looking at from his English point of view. So we get an interaction between the two specific cultures at the time. He refers several times to England as "the mother country" -- which is not done in our present multicultural period -- and calls US people the "cousins" of the English. He is not adverse to finding US culture "wrong" as when in railway carriages, there is no first class because railroad companies feel US people would be offended at a lack of egalitarianism. Trollope argues if money can buy a better carriage, it ought to be allowed to. He goes further and argues against the value: if non- egalitarian customs prevail in the privacy of homes, they ought to be allowed to prevail in public places. I suspect he liked Boston so much because it is one of the more Anglo-philic cities he went to: it was closer to England because of its early history and the kind of people who founded it, and because it developed a Brahmin "high" culture. NYC has always been an immigrant town; other places out West Trollope goes to had long lost their close affinity. He did sit down with some very clever people in Boston too.

This early part of the book -- Trollope's trip to Maine and back to New Hampsire and Vermont, and next week's portion about Canada -- interested me especially because I have been to New England and lower Canada. Similarly I enjoyed Howell's book about his wedding journey on a boat up the Hudson and into Niagara as that very boat trip is still going and I took it in the 1960s. In the mid-1970s Jim and I drove through New England and up into Canada and got as far as Quebec; we stayed in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine along the way On another trip (1977) we went to Cape Cod so drove through tiny Rhode Island and the capitol, Providence. In the mid-1990s we took both girls (one a teenager and the other still adolescent) to Maine, to Mount Desert Island and its environs. We saw Portland and it was then a lively if small city whose harbour was still a central element in the economy -- or so it seemed to the naked eye. I have been through the area called the White Mountains and it is indeed as pretty as the Alps (which I travelled through a couple of times, once in the early 1970s and again more recently, 1994 or so). Trollope's depiction of the "feel" of the countryside and nature of the culture while about a time more than a 100 years earlier seemed to me probably accurate and full of a feel of the culture, continually intelligently analytical and amusing too.

Small moments or matters of pleasure: Like Trollope I like wine: it may be wicked but supper tastes much better with it -- and it need not be sherry. Today in the US talking postively about drinking is no more acceptable than it was in the 1860s. An anecdote: my husband said of the Trollope Society dinner in the UK, the wine was excellent and the food very so-so; of the Trollope Society dinner in NYC, the US, the wine was very very so-so and the food excellent. He thought that "indicative". I can't say I noticed particularly (see above).

Trollope is alive to the beauty of autumn in the US. In England it grows colder sooner and quicker so you don't get this long slow season of the leaves turning colours and staying on the trees:

"The autumnal tints are fine with us. They are lovely and bright wherever foliage and vegetation form a part of the beauty of scenery. But in no other land do they approach the brillancy of the fall in America. The bright rose colour, the rich bronze which is almost purple in its richness, and the glorious golden yellows must be seen to be understood.

Since we have different editions, I'll mention my first three chapters are "Introduction" (Ch 1), "Newport- Rhode Island" (2), and "Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont" (3). In my book "Lower Canada" comes next week (4).

Cheers to all,

Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002

I agree that reading Fanny's DMOTA first was an excellent idea. It is especially interesting as this was her first book and written by a woman. AT's was written by a very experienced writer and a man. I think it shows. My first general impression is that Anthony's book is written for the Americans, Fanny's for the English. He is being ultra careful not to offend. She seldom thought about it.

It seems to me that there is an immediacy about DMOTA, which I must say I very much enjoyed. I am not sure that it is there in Anthony's book so far. Although his comments on hotels and dining habits are very similar, they are well disguised!

He went out with the avowed intention of putting the record straight. I wonder if he will succeed?


Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002
Re: North America, Chs 1-3: Through English Eyes

Teresa wrote:

"My first general impression is that Anthony's book is written for the Americans, Fanny's for the English. He is being ultra careful not to offend. She seldom thought about it."

I would argue for the opposite view: as I read Trollope seems continually to have the English reader in mind. He is continually informing the reader where things are very precisely; describing customs in detail, going over assumptions and laws -- none of which would be necessary were he talking to an American audience and none of which are to be found in travel books by Howells. Howells describing a place assumes you know the mores, the customs, how this city is a capitol even though it's small and that is the commercial center. Other travel writing by Americans I have read show the same lack of detail, of placement, of explaining things (e.g., Steinbeck). It is conscious with him.

It's not just the continual explanation that marks it as for people who have not been to America or only a small part, and have not read much. It's the attitude. I mentioned the references to the "mother country" and "our cousins". That would not go necessarily go down well at all. Memories of the war of 1812 were by no means gone. Up "north" in the 1950s I was not brought up to think the US was a detached colony :).

There is also the way of explaining everything: he begins with English assumptions and then proceeds to his English husband a passage which puzzled me and he immediately produced his knowledge of English attitudes at the time which would have looked at the US in the way described. The beauties of the autumn are known to US people; they don't know that the leaves are brown in England, and that passage is there to tell us about the beauty of the US fall. How many US people would have gone to the Alps; on the other hand, there would be a "snobbish" group who might like to hear they are getting just as good an experience by going to the White Mountains as they would were they to go to the Alps. But this reminds me of what Trollope says at the opening of "The Parson's Daughter at Oxney Colne": he begins with a loving description of western England and says no more beauty is to be found in Europe though the tourist will hurry there and never look around himself.

On the other hand, I do agree he is taking pains to be even-handed -- though not just not to offend. I get the feeling he wants to replace his mother's book. This is what Harold Bloom talked about. Now Fanny's book is still in print and Anthony's is hard to get; however, this may be because Anthony's novels are so valued, no one gets to the travel books. And it may be hers is livelier: he is not writing with real fluidity, and can't make up his mind what a travel book should have in it. He means his book to be serious and yet has to entertain. He opens his book with discussing this problem. What kind of travel book should he make? His ideal is not frivolous; it is to tell some truths, and he makes the point that it is his earnest duty to do that. I believe him. I don't think he's afraid to offend -- as he was so willing to do that in his fictions. Even to talk about the civil war was dangerous; he had to offend someone just to bring it up and he did.

The even-handedness is seen especially in his attention to English and American attitudes towards the civil war. He writes not to offend his English audience in not coming out more readily for the Union (we see him much stronger in his short stories). He also thinks about the different audience south of the Mason-Dixon line and north, though I would say what is here would infuriate southerners at the time. He is clearly saying England will not come in. He talks about the south's action as fraud.

I also agree that Fanny Trollope seems rarely to have thought about offending her audience. She seems to assume she will have a reader who thinks just like her: now that does not mean she will be frank about herself, far from it :). Not that Trollope is. He is careful to avoid the strongly autobiographical impulse travel-memoirs often manifest.


Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002

Hello all

Ellen has made the point that we have different editions of 'North America'. in future weeks on the calendar I will give the titles of the chapters as well as the numbers, just in case the numbering varies.

The first three chapters in my edition are the same as Ellen's -

"Introduction" (Ch 1), "Newport- Rhode Island" (2), and "Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont" (3).

I've mentioned that my edition (Granville Publishing, 1986) doesn't have footnotes, but what I'm really noticing more than this is the lack of illustrations, maps etc. Can I ask if the book was illustrated originally, and if so whether the Trollope Society edition reproduces the pictures? I'm finding it quite hard at times to visualise the scenery.

Still, I was lucky to find this edition, and at a reasonable price - my local library only has the Penguin abridgement.

Thanks to Ellen for the background information on the US Civil War and the attitudes of people in Britain at the time. The excellent TV series about the US Civil War has been shown on British TV too and I still remember it quite vividly. I especially remember a grainy clip of black-and-white film showing a group of old Civil War veterans marching - I'm not sure when this was but they all looked as if they were in their 80s or 90s. Although Trollope says in 'An Autobiography' that he was always convinced the North would win, it is certainly striking in 'North America' that he thinks the Union is gone for good and the South will secede one way or another. The best hope he sees is that "as separate nations they may yet live together in amity", as he puts it in Chapter 2.

I think Trollope signals his intention to write in a different vein from his mother early on in Chapter 1, when he tells the anecdote of the "very excellent gentleman" who said to Rose "I never yet met the down-trodden subject of a despot who did not hug his chains". This is just the sort of comment which features strongly in 'Domestic Manners,' usually together with Fanny's angry and sarcastic reaction. But Anthony says: "It comes to me the way of my trade to repeat such incidents; but I can tell stories which are quite as good against Englishmen". And he goes on to paint a bleak picture of an inn in the west of England where a Frenchman found himself on a wet afternoon, which sounds just as bad as many of the scenes featured in DMOTA.

Another passage I find interesting in the introduction is where he compares the North and the South to Mr and Mrs Jones, a couple who have fallen out and want their friends to take sides.

Idon't think this really works as an image of war, but, to go off at something of a tangent here, this account of the feuding couple is certainly a vivid picture in its own right of what it was like in 19th-century British society when couples did fall out and a divorce was almost impossible to get. There is always discussion on lists of the acrimonious Dickens break-up, but in a way it is even more chilling to read about the Hardy household, where Thomas and Emma led separate lives for years, hardly speaking to one another and passing one another on the stairs in icy silence. After Emma's death, Hardy discovered a manuscript she had written called "What I think of my husband", full of all the hatred she had bottled up. He burnt it

In Chapter 2, Trollope revisits the sort of scene which often features in 'Domestic Manners', a large hotel where people live rather than just staying for brief periods - but, where Fanny found these hotels packed with customers, her son finds the one in Newport almost deserted, with just 25 people in a building made to take 600. Presumably this was due to the war. I was interested to see that here Trollope criticises the idea of hotel guests eating with their young children at table rather than sending them off to eat "mincemeat and potatoes" under the care of a nursemaid, as he remembers from his own childhood. Here

America was clearly ahead of Europe - I suspect few children on either side of the Atlantic would be packed off in this way nowadays, and I have to say the behaviour of the young American children he describes, eating their meals politely like miniature adults, sounds fine to me. I wish my offspring would have done this at four or five!

The account of bathing is interesting, where he complains about men and women bathing in "decorous dresses", and, if I'm reading correctly, suggests he prefers to swim in the nude ("hampered by no outward impediments"). I always had visions of 19th-century swimmers wearing impossibly constrictive costumes and using those bathing machines, but, clearly, men were sometimes able to swim with greater freedom if women were not around.

Something I found surprising in Chapter 3 is the Maine liquor law. I had vaguely thought prohibition started much later, around 1920 - does anybody know whether it was common for individual states to bring this type of law in before that? It sounds as if it wasn't working very well, in any case, since the landlady could give Trollope a bottle of porter with his meal but not charge him for it. After mentioning the US Civil War TV series, I'll say we also had a recent documentary series on British TV about prohibition, a series which I expect was bought in from America - I remember this being interesting, but the details have faded in my mind.

It's good to hear from Ellen that the White Mountains are still as beautiful as Trollope's description suggests. Although Trollope is keen not to write a guide book, his enthusiasm here must surely have tempted some of his readers to make the journey, especially since he also includes costings. I was surprised to see that there was "universal (male) suffrage" in New Hampshire - but it quickly transpires that this was not in fact universal, since you had to be able to pay poor rates in order to vote.

Does anybody else have thoughts on these opening chapters?

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002

I have certainly found chapters II and III of NA much more interesting than Chapter I. I am using the roman numerals which I assume Trollope used, and which are used in the Trollope Society edition. I am not sure whether I care which number system is used, since until we get to numbers like XCIV I can recognise either variant instantly. In the Trollope Society edition we only get as high as XX in the first volume and XVI in the second. Do other list members have any strong views on this, or should we confine ourselves to the, presumably, instantly recognisable arabic numerals? Reverting to my opening sentence, I thought that Chapter I, comparing the views of the Northern and Southern States, and suggesting that they were comparable to the divisions in Ireland, was not very instructive. It may be that I always find that when Trollope writes about politics, rather than politicians, he is never at his best. I found almost the whole of The New Zealander, which I have only read once, pretty unconvincing.

I did enjoy Chapters II and III, and am hoping that the descriptions of places and peoples continues to be as interesting. I share with Judy her surprise that there was a form of prohibition in Maine in the 1860s. I should be interested to know how long this lasted, and whether it developed in the same way as prohibition in the 1920s. Trollope comments that the Maine Liquor Law was the law of the land throughout New England, but was not actually put into force in the States outside Maine. He also indicates that the ways of circumventing it were very little different from those of the 1920s, although we don't learn whether there was a nineteenth century version of bootlegging.

Dealing with Judy's other query, the Trollope Society edition has no footnotes, but the division into chapters seems to correspond more or less with Judy's , although to be pedantic, the chapters are entitled :-

I Author's Introduction
II Newport, Rhode Island
III Maine-New Hampshire, and Vermont

I am always amazed as to how trivial differences in punctuation creep in - the variation in uses of commas and dashes is rather extraordinary.

Regards, Howard

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002

Dear all

Just a quick line to thank Ellen for the interesting background information on prohibition. I did not realise there were still similar laws in some US states today. I've just found a long article on the history of prohibition, with a lot about the 19th century, at this address:

I haven't yet had time to read this in detail but it looks interesting.

I hesitate to say cheers:)

Judy Geater

Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002
North America, Chs 1-3

Hello all

Sorry not to have been around over the last few days - however, I have been following the comments on 'North America' with interest. This is by way of being a catch-up post to respond to a few points people have made, but I'm referring to the first six chapters rather than just the first three, since tomorrow we're due to move on to Volume 1 chapters 4 to 6.

Teresa wrote:

My first general impression is that Anthony's book is written for the Americans, Fanny's for the English. He is being ultra careful not to offend. She seldom thought about it. It seems to me that there is an immediacy about DMOTA, which I must say I very much enjoyed. I am not sure that it is there in Anthony's book so far. Although his comments on hotels and dining habits are very similar, they are well disguised! He went out with the avowed intention of putting the record straight. I wonder if he will succeed?

I would agree about the immediacy of 'Domestic Manners'. There is an invigorating freshness about the writing, especially in the earlier part of the book. However unfair and biased Fanny may be at times, she is always extremely readable, and the little details she notices, from the pigs eating excrement in the street to the snippets of overheard conversation, are all vividly described. I can see why the book was such a bestseller - and also why it sparked such fury from many of its readers!

Fanny's forceful personality comes across very strongly in DMOTA. By contrast, from the first six chapters of 'North America', I feel as if Anthony is being rather cagey about his personal reactions, and at times this gives a strangely stodgy flavour to his prose. He often refuses to tell us exactly what he saw or how he felt about it because he claims that nobody will be interested, or he does not have a gift for describing landscape (something which I'd say is triumphantly disproved by the lyrical descriptions of the wild coastline in 'An Eye for an Eye').

For instance, in Volume 1 Chapter 4, he rejects the opportunity to describe the Falls of Montmorency because he says: "I do not know that I am particularly happy about describing a waterfall and what little capacity I may have in this way I would wish to keep for Niagara." There's a disarming charm about his modesty, but it is also frustrating, leaving me at least longing to know how he would have described *this* waterfall. Instead, he contents himself with describing the "horrible little wooden temple" nearby, and tersely recounting the story of "an old woman, a boy and a cart" who fell into the water when a bridge collapsed.

Ellen responded to Teresa's suggestion that Anthony was writing for the Americans, and commented:

I would argue for the opposite view: as I read Trollope seems continually to have the English reader in mind. He is continually informing the reader where things are very precisely; describing customs in detail, going over assumptions and laws -- none of which would be necessary were he talking to an American audience and none of which are to be found in travel books by Howells.

I also feel Anthony is mainly aiming at the English reader, but I have the feeling he is always glancing at the Americans out of the corner of his eye, trying to make sure that he is not being unfair, as he clearly feels his mother was in her book. Ellen went on to say:

On the other hand, I do agree he is taking pains to be even-handed -- though not just not to offend. I get the feeling he wants to replace his mother's book.

I feel as if that very even-handedness can at times have an almost paralysing quality, as he makes a point, then doubles back to look at the other side, then returns to his first viewpoint, and so on. This sort of argument with himself can bring the narrative to a halt, but it also shows us one of Anthony's great strengths, which lies in seeing all sides of a question, worrying around it and working his way to the crux of the matter, rather than coming up with a memorably cutting comment and moving on. For instance, when he describes hotel workers who show a lack of respect, he is irritated by this, just as Fanny would have been - this passage from Chapter 5 sounds very like some of her criticisms in 'Domestic Manners': "But when one personally encounters their corduroy braggadocio; when the man to whose services one is entitled answers one with determined insolence; when one is bidden to follow 'that young lady,' meaning the chambermaid, or desired, with a toss of the head, to wait for the 'gentleman who is coming,' meaning the boots, the heart is sickened, and the English traveller pines for the civility, - for the servility, if my American friends choose to call it so, - of a well-ordered servant."

Fanny also objects to the use of "gentleman" and "lady" to describe servants. But the difference is that Anthony immediately sees the argument the other way - as soon as he himself says "civility", he realises that others may interpret it as "servility". He goes on to give a sensitive and psychologically acute account of how a man being paid poor wages and wearing shabby clothes may feel himself forced to assert his political equality in this forceful way because he looks inferior in appearance. You can feel the determination to see all points of view in this moving passage:

"But the blow at the moment of the stroke is very galling. I confess that I have occasionally all but broken down beneath it. But when it is thought of afterwards it admits of full excuse. No effort that a man can make is better than a true effort at independence. But this insolence is a false effort, it will be said. It should rather be called a false accompaniment to a life-long true effort. The man probably is not dishonest, does not desire to shirk any service which is due from him - is not even inclined to insolence."

I'd say Trollope is writing primarily for British readers here, but it's also noticeable that he is writing for readers of his own class, who might be irritated by uppity servants - he is not expecting the servants themselves to read his words.

Howard commented on the use of Roman versus Arabic numerals. I have no strong feelings either way and tend to use Arabic numerals all the time as a matter of course, but don't have a problem with the Roman versions, though I sometimes have to think for a minute when I get to a number like LXVII. Often modern editions of Victorian books seem to use the Arabic numbers. Does anybody else feel strongly about this?

Thanks also to Howard for the information on the Trollope Society edition - it sounds like a lovely book to own and I'm interested to learn that in this version our weekly segments come to about 65 pages. In my 1980s Granville Publishing copy it's only about 40 to 45 pages per week, so this suggests that you must have nice wide margins and larger print in your edition! It's a pity this edition hasn't got footnotes either, but do you have maps and illustrations? As I read, I find myself longing for pictures of the scenes Trollope describes.

I'd also like to thank Rory for the information on nude bathing, though if I ever manage to visit Ireland I don't think I will make a beeline for the beaches he mentions!

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002
North America, Chs 1-3

South Carolina is also completely dry. North Carolina has state run liquor stores but wine and beer are available at the supermarket. I was surprised at this when we moved from New York to North Carolina. When we first came to look at North Carolina 21 years ago, it was still dry but a liquor bill was passed the following year and allowed restaurants to serve wine and hard liquor if they had already been in business as a restaurant for 6 months. This is still true today. My neighbors are Baptists and never drink and this is true of many of the small sects (not the Baptists).

The move we made to the South from the North was looked on by many of our friends as going into a morass. They could not believe there would be anything to do, see or experience in the South. I can remember feeling the same way when I was younger.

Trollope made me laugh out loud when he started critisizing the residents of Newport, Rhode Island, for not having their landscapes up to snuff. Did he really feel that with a war going on within the country that this was an important point? It reminded me of Samuel Johnson on his voyage to the Hebrides when he kept complaining about the lack of trees in Scotland and why hadn't they planted them instead of fighting the silly clan wars.

I also loved the complaint about straight streets. From my experience trying to find my way about Ealing near Angela's home, I loved the look of it but was almost completely lost all the time. One afternoon coming back to Angela's in the dark in a taxi from Kew Gardens, both the driver and I were lost. I hope this trip I do a little better! Then he starts to object to the time we take vacations. Did he really think that Americans should do everything just like it was done in England?

The trip up to Maine brought back to me as to Ellen many happy memories of the White Mountains, but I wonder what happened to the Green mountains that I remember as being as beautiful as the White ones. The hotel that was closed in the Catskill mountains would never be closed today or even 65 years ago. I spent many summer vacations in the Catskills at a working farm--probably where my love of gardening comes from--and also travelled up and down the Hudson on the steamers that still ply the waters. On 9/11 those steamers were bringing people from downtown Manhattan over to New Jersey for safety.

I'm enjoying this book immensely now because of the memories but I hope later because of what I'll read of an Englishman's view of travel in our still fairly primitive country.


Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002
North America: Different Editions

Dealing with Judy's query on North America, the Trollope Society edition does not have any illustrations, but is printed in what looks like 12-point type, with about 9 or 10 words to the line - a nice, comfortable read for those of us whose eyesight is not as good as it used to be. The margins are certainly more generous than in the Trollope Society edition of AT's novels.

I have looked at the Trollope Society edition of Lance Tingay's The Trollope Collector, and this does not refer to any illustrations in any of AT's works. I see that in her email of 2nd March, Ellen says that her Knopf edition 'has illustrations from contemporary sources, but is somewhat abridged'. Does this imply that the illustrations were chosen in the 1950s, and bear no relation to what might have been included with the original edition?

The two modern guides to Trollope both have a short article on 'Illustrations'. It is clear that their authors/editors do not share N John Hall's and Ellen's passion for this subject. Mullen does refer to the illustrations in How the 'Mastiffs' Went to Iceland, and then goes on to say that 'Trollope's other travel books had folding maps'. There is no sign of these in the Trollope Society edition, and I should be interested to hear whether they appear in Ellen's Knopf edition, and what they look like.

Regards, Howard

To Trollope-l

March 16, 2002 RE: North America, Chs 1-3: Prohibition

I don't know the detailed histories of the states and prohibition, but can affirm that the Prohibition movement starts well before the 20th century. When Judy asked about women's colleges in the US in the 19th century I was able to find a site and knew myself about the Seneca Falls conference: it remains a landmark meeting not only of women who were suffragettes, and men who were for equal rights before the law for women, but also a meeting where prohibitionists met. They were often the same people. As a kind of joke it is sometimes said the US is nine countries: it is certainly different culturally across 1000 miles one way and 3000 the other (nowadays with Alaska and Hiawaii thrown into the pot). Trollope is aware of at least three cultures: the North, the South and the West. He also sees subdivisions: Brahmin Boston v New York brashness and modernity. But prohibition did cut across boundaries and laws to control drinking are not local. At the same time each state has the right to control its own education, voting patterns -- and drinking.

This is still so. Today there are states which have little or almost no control of liquor sales, and there are states which are still completely dry. And there are inbetween states. Virginia is inbetween: there are no private liquor stores in Va; bars are illegal: what we have are gathering places which are places which must have a restaurant and serve food before they can serve liquor; no hard liquor in the supermarkets. NY has private liquor stores and bars. The last I heard both Tennessee and Kentucky had strong anti-liquor laws. Someone once told me Tennessee was wholly dry (meaning you can't drink at all -- that sounds too strong, but it may be). People in the US are used to crossing state borders to do things like marry younger or buy liquor. Perhaps someone can find on the Internet a list of which states are dry, which wet, which inbetween and what the specifics are. It might also give earlier histories.

There is a strong Protestant fundamentalist tradition in the US. Trollope remarks on the bravery and idealism of the puritans. They had a strong tradition of self-control. Drink was sin -- like sex. Not that it stopped people from getting roaring drunk if they wanted to. Trollope's comment that prohibition is not a law that is easily enforceable and his likening it to sumptuary laws is correct. You can't prohibit what kind of sex people have in private either.


Re: Prohibition in the US

Dear all

Just a quick line to thank Ellen for the interesting background information on prohibition. I did not realise there were still similar laws in some US states today. I've just found a long article on the history of prohibition, with a lot about the 19th century, at this address:

I haven't yet had time to read this in detail but it looks interesting.

I hesitate to say cheers:)

Judy Geater

North America
March 17, 2002
I too will respond to some of last week's responses to Chapters 1 -3 and today's to Judy's on Chapters 1 - 3.

First I'd like to say Happy Saint Paddy's Day to All. Hic. If you go into Old Town Alexandra tonight you will see three central bars with huge lines of people waiting to get in, the bar itself flooded with a crowd, hear Irish music coming out the door, and see flags everywhere. Lots of noise, lots of gaiety, lots of life and colour. Jim and I and Isabel (who really comes with us just about to all that we go to) don't go to these bars on Saint Paddy's Day as they are madhouses, but I do find Irish food consoling, Irish whiskey smooth, and Irish music the loveliest and liveliest there is. To sell liquor in Virginia you must be a "gathering place:" that means you must sell food and offer meals at the same time. The effect is to make such a place more "family" or group oriented. You don't see the kind of bar familiar to the New York City person: the row of men drinking steadily at a single thin bar in a long room. "Gathering Places" also often have music. So the law does work to stop sheer drinking. They also have hours they must close by, and can't open before certain hours.

Now I remember in Leeds there was closing time. Hurry up please it's time. And pubs opened and closed in what seemed to this New Yorker in mysterious patterns. So British people also have their forms of control of alcohol.

All this to introduce my wee comment to Joan: I was unwilling to trust to memory, but I really remember people who live in different states in the south and west telling me of different kinds of struggles to get liquor which testify to different sorts of limitations which the ingenuity of the state residents then promptly works hard to get round. Trollope says liquor laws are as unenforceable as sumptuary laws. Not quite because everyone must wear clothes, and you can police what stores are open, what they sell, and their hours. My relatives in Kentucky tell me you can go to a bar and drink, but you can't buy a cartoon of liquor. Here in Alexandria, you can bar a cartoon of liquor from the state-owned liquor stores but it is hugely expensive so people drive to DC and "haul" the stuff home in the trunks of their cars. I have friends in Tennessee who tell me they must stock up from across the state borders if they want to have liquor at a home party.

Yet I would not say that when Jim and I went to live in the south anyone said it was an uncultured boring place. Perhaps Joan went earlier: we moved here in 1980. Also Virginia is more north. At any rate nowadays the South is modernized -- "up to a certain point" as Dorothea Brooke's uncle would say. We have very good theatre in Alexandria, get all the movies you see in NYC (well not the festivals, but the new ones). Another factor for Viriginia is DC: there are a large number of northerners and westerners who live all around Northern Virginia for they work in DC. On my block there are three of us from New York City, two from England; in fact there are fewer southern Virginians on this and the block across the street, and both sides of one block down than there are southerners and Virginians.

Trollope's imagined audience is probably a mix. To the USian's eye -- I see Joan agrees -- it does seem so strongly an English person's view of the US. On the other hand, I have to say Trollope perpetually keeps in mind an American reader who is riled with England for not taking sides. Back and forth he goes trying to adjudicate the English position vis-vis the South and North and his own too.

Judy and Howard asks about the illustrations to original or early editions of North America and the 1951 Knopf, a copy of which I own. Like Howard I own Lance Tingay's useful thin book about the editions; most of the time he tells the reader enough, but in this case he doesn't say much. However, I also own a copy of Michael Sadleir's Trollope: a bibliography which does describe the first and very early editions of most of Trollope's texts in detail. According to Sadlier, the 1862 edition had a large folding map printed separately and facing p 1 of Volume I. I agree with Judy that maps are superimportant in travel books. Yet it's common to find wonderful travel books where the publisher has balked on providing decent maps. Trollope's North America had such a map. However, it did not have illustrations beyond this. Sadleir says the few later 19th century editions were cheaply produced and he mentions no illustrations or maps. So we must conclude there were none.

The illustrations to the 1951 Knopf are clearly new ones. A number are dated 1859, but I have noted others dating 1858, 1861, 1867. It's not clear whether they were chosen by Smalley and Booth or an in-house editor of Knopf; the first is a caricature print of Trollope himself. Howard teases me about my passionate interest. When I went to college, I took a number of art history courses and have found myself very interested by how an artist can enrichen and interpret a novelist's words by choice, visualization and style of drawing. What I am drawn to, though, are drawings which to my mind attempt to be faithful to Trollope's conception: Millais attempted this, so did Marcus Stone (his illustrations for He Knew He Was Right are very good), Arthur Frazer, Mary Ellen Edwards, Miss E Taylor, and even Henry Woods and Lionel Fawkes (despite poor execution). I have not mentioned the illustrations to the 1951 edition because they are impersonal and comic. They are not chosen by Trollope himself though one for this section does show us an enormous room for a train where all types of people are travelling together. I wish the Knopf people had provided us with a map: one drawn from 1862-4 and one which traced Trollope's route. That's what you find in the editions of Darwin's Voyage to the Beagle and they signal real respect for Darwin, his voyage and his book.

I suggest that Trollope's book gets nowhere the same respect. It's not read in the same light with the same attention. So what it has in it is somewhat unknorn or ignored.


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