The Dashing Captain; Hero and Heroine; Sexuality; Sexually Inadequate Hero and Aggressive Heroines; Is He Popenjoy? and Mansfield Park; Thwarting Your Reader's Expectations; A Hard Rough World; Petticoats; Just say no to Pallisers!; Trollope's Young Sexually Inexperienced Women (was "Trollope's Late Period?"); Mrs. Houghton's breathtaking cynicism; George (?)

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] The Dashing Captain

And now we are meeting the dashing Captain Jack LeBaron, who has all the attributes of a rogue, a seducer, and a genuinely devilish fellow. Of course he reminds us, who have read He Knew He was Right , of the equally dashing and devilish Col. Osborne. LeBaron is younger than Col. Osborne, and there is more reason to suspect his attentions to our Mary than there was to suspect Col. Osborne's attentions to poor Emily. But rest assured, gentle readers, that both Capt. LeBaron and his flighty cousin, Adelaide [was that her name?] are up to no good. Trollope is not very fond of what we later called the matinee hero, the Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks type of hero. Burgo Fitzgerald was another one. These people are simply too beautiful. As Snuffy Smith in the old Barney Google cartoon used to say: "A purty face with nought behind it."


Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] IHP: Hero and Heroine

Hello all

It has taken me a little while really to get into Is He Popenjoy? (perhaps at first I was missing Barsetshire, as some other list members have found too) but now I'm really enjoying it and love the very witty, ironic tone of voice.

I know Beth has criticised those first two introductory chapters, and at first I felt that way too... but personally speaking I found the "boiled mutton" quite tasty once I got used to it!

A comment I found intriguing comes near the end of chapter two: "Now I have finished my introduction - having married my heroine to my hero..." Of course, in many and perhaps even most novels, including many by Trollope himself, this apparently happy turn of events would happen not at the end of the introductory section, but at the end of the whole book! He must surely mean us to realise this when he makes this tongue-in-cheek remark.

In a way the whole novel is happening *after* the traditional marriage ending, and we are discovering whether this couple really can live "happily ever after".

Thinking about this, it struck me that in some ways Mary and George, as they appear in the opening pages, could be presented as a typical fairytale romantic couple. He is older, handsome, melancholy, a nobleman, with a bitter disappointment in love in his recent past. She is young, beautiful and has had no romantic attachments, just vague daydreams. You can just see this pair walking off into the sunset together at the end (not the beginning!) of a stereotyped romance by a lesser writer. (Barbara Cartland wrote this type of ending a few trillion times.)

But, of course, Trollope sees things rather differently. As he forces us to see from the very outset, this is not a love match at all, but basically a bargain struck between the families. And it soon becomes apparent that the married bliss will be anything but, as the age gap and differences in outlook between the couple become ever more important rather than dwindling, and the older sisters help to sour the atmosphere at Manor Cross. However much Mary "tries" to fall in love with George, you can't help but suspect that having to "try" at all means she won't succeed!

Bye for now,
Judy Geater

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Is He Popenjoy?: Sexually Inadequate Hero and Aggressive Heroines

Sexuality seems to play a more important role in IHP than in any other Trollope I've read (not that I've read that many!). The sexuality wasn't obvious to me on first reading in the scene Ellen mentioned, where Mary puts her hands on George's arm during their conversation about her dress. But, as the story goes on, it becomes much more apparent, even to someone relatively dim about how such things are expressed in the 19th century. :)

First, there's Mrs. Houghton's injury, that places her in a bed in her ex-lover's house. When he visits her privately: "...there was a feeling on him that he was doing something in which he would not wish to be detected." They play a little game in which Mrs. H. holds all the cards (and which she internally muses isn't worth the candle), and while George doesn't go so far as to make love to her, he feels pleased and flattered by the attention.

George does seem, to me, to play patsy to the women in his life. Mrs. H. plays her love game with him and he has little clue what's going on, his sisters have charge of their home's tone and atmosphere, and Mary, while purportedly obedient to her husband, is definitely the boss as far as the property in London goes. Even the dunnage in the London house, the china and crystal and so on, is hers.

Mary takes sexual initiative on the train to London, "inviting a caress" after she talks of how they'll be alone in the house there. George doesn't appear to be particularly responsive to her, or sexually assertive himself, and in his attitude towards her too often takes the role of an overbearing, humorless boss, which Mary (unsurprisingly!) resents.

Moving away from sexuality, the Dean's kind of busting loose now that he doesn't need to set a good example for his daughter! He's a bit reckless--going out hunting and taking an aggressive/defensive attitude when questioned about it by his peers. "What's so wrong about it?" is my interpretation of his response. The "power of the press" shows up a lot in Trollope's works, doesn't it, and questions as to whether one should respond to allegations the press makes? The "press" involved in "the Dean's creek-jumping scandal" is a tiny one, but still has an effect!

There's a lot of tension in this novel, and little outbursts every now and then--for example, when Mary stands up for her father when Susanna calls the Dean "indiscreet"--and I wonder when (or if) things will explode.

Beth J

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Sex

Beth J. - The first time I read Is He Popenjoy? I couldn't believe how explicit Trollope was being about adultery! There is a lot of sex in this book - sex in all its many manifestations. But as Ellen Moody has said before "Trollope starts with the marriage." Indeed he does. I maintain that Trollope's first chapters were more than a setting-up-the-story deal. Trollope was actually ushering us into the central war intelligence office and showing us where the troops were, who the adversaries were, and what the battlefield looked like. And lo and behold, the ladies are found clustered around a bed, that Queen Elizabeth may or may not have slept in. How many important life events happen in a bed? Conception, birth, illness and death are the biggies. But there is also pillow talk between husband and wife and family cuddles - the social glue of the family. Is He Popenjoy? is an incredibly rich book. It deals not only with sex, but with money, social status, and the dangers of straying "out of bounds." This book is such a page turner, that one almost must read it more than one time to see everything Trollope has put on the canvas. There are lots of surprises ahead, too!

Catherine Crean

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Is He Popenjoy?

I feel a bit restrained about responding to the messages, since I got so caught up in reading I went way ahead. I'm finding I'm much more interested in the plot than I usually am with Trollope--I want to know how it's going to come out. George is hard for me to understand--he seems so totally passive and perhaps dumb. Adelaide and Jack seem unable to resist the temptation to seduce the innocents. They remind me a bit of the Crawfords in Mansfield Park---seduction just for the fun of it. There is definitely a lot of sexual attraction---and "trying to be in love"--or not sexual attraction--going on here.

Judy Warner

Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Is He Popenjoy? and Mansfield Park

For some reason, Is He Popenjoy? reminds me of Mansfield Park on this reading. (5th time!) I can't quite articulate the reasons, but here are a few observations. Trollope's hunting scenes are always splendid, but the hunting scene in chapters 7 and 8 seemed to have a double significance. We see the Mary Crawford figure, Adelaide Houghton, doing something naughty. She is not only hunting against her husband's wishes (bold as brass - just about in his field of vision) she is riding a frisky horse. She is "going outside the boundaries" when she leaps over Pugsby Brook and comes to grief. Look at the title of chapter 7 -- Cross Hill Gate. This use of gates and barriers like a brook, a gate, or a newly ploughed field remind me of Austen's use of landscape in Mansfield Park. I harken back to the scene in Mansfield Park where Maria quotes from Sterne ("I can't get out, the starling said.") Fanny and Maria are hemmed in my gates and haha ditches -- by visible and invisible boundaries. Fanny stays behind the gate and warns Maria to wait until her lummoxy fiancé gets the key. Maria can't wait, and goes around the gate. In IHP? Lady George - Mary is the good girl, the Fanny Price. Her husband does not want her to hunt, so Mary stays "inside." One could make a case for Lady Sarah as the Aunt Norris figure. My favorite Aunt Sarah sentence so far is "Lady Sarah was potent enough to quell even Mrs. Houghton." The sneaky, sexy Mrs. Houghton (Mary Crawford figure) is trying to play fast and loose with Lord George's hospitality. She won't get far as long as Lady Sarah is around. (Personally, I like Aunt Norris and Lady Sarah.) Finally, we will come to the parallel between the play acting of Lovers' Vows when Mary dances the kappa-kappa. I'm still working it out in my mind, but I do think there are even more similarities between Austen's Mansfield Park and Trollope's Is He Popenjoy?

Catherine Crean

To Trollope-l

October 23, 2000

Re: Is He Popenjoy?, Chs 6-12: Thwarting Your Readers' Expectations

We've had so many interesting posts these past couple of weeks on this novel. In its unostentatious way it provokes comment.

My posting is really a take-off on Judy's: she mentions how if you think about it Trollope has immediately reversed the order of things in the novel by beginning with a marriage; then undermined the usual implied ethical scheme of novels by showing the marriage as a bargain, loveless to begin with, but one which appears to be all it should be to outsiders because the insiders think it's just fine and attempt to play their roles. Talk about dramatising the blandness of the hypocrisies of our lives and how we get away with them in front of ourselves.

She also commented on how George and Mary are in a way ideals: handsome hero, titled; rich heroine, innocent. However, delve just a bit and Trollope has thwarted our expectations. Trollope is doing this at every turn, and by so doing interesting us. Even within the conversations of the characters, things take what seem to be odd turns. Their conversations with one another show them thwarting one another, unexpectedly getting along (Lady Sarah and Adelaide). Who would expect Adelaide to try to seduce George; who would expect him to accede to her implied statement that he has chosen what he didn't want; she also gets him to admit his egotism and desire for her still: he has something to be ashamed of because she refused him. Mary, the heroine is astonishingly "cool" (in the modern sense of tough and disengaged) for a heroine. Lady Sarah is beginning to emerge as a kindly decent if narrow woman; the farmer Mr Price unexpectedly turns up trumps.

There is intense sexuality suggested, and especially in the story of Augustus Mildmay on the market again. Hers is the story of the woman had who takes the blow and gets up again. Austen has no such heroine because Marianne self-destructs. We have to go to the French for something like this, and yet how cool she is too.

This is another striking element -- unexpected and thwarting. Trollope's characters are all in control of their emotions, and seem to have not much trouble not showing or acting on flights of idealism. They expect others to be cold. In most novels what is implied is people care about one another; there is often an intense emotionalism. Here we have the mammal's phlegmatic selfishness and lack of altruism accepted as a fact of life by all. Perhaps here is the most subversive element of the book thus far: subversive of the genre itself.

Ellen Moody

Re: Is He Popenjoy?, Chs 6-12: A Hard Rough World

No one has mentioned the Marquis of Brotherton. Is there anything to compare with this? He demands his mother and sisters get out of the manor house forthwith. Not a syllable of regret, kindness, courtesy. They say hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. He pays no such tribute.

Worse, far worse: he wants them out of the neighbourhood, and he doesn't give a damn where they go. When he hears they are planning to live in a house they have every right to live in, he attempts to bribe the man who lives there now to refuse to get out. This man, Mr Price, is himself no paragon of virtue or conventionality. Lines and words everywhere hint at his having women in his house as well as gambling, drinking, and all the rest of the usual entertainments a man in this period could get up if he had the money and didn't care about the neighbours. He doesn't care about public opinion. But there are things that are too low for him even.

Brotherton is perhaps the most repellent of all Trollope's male characters. There are some females who come close to this: Lady Ball in Miss Mackenzie, Mrs Bolton and Aunt Staubach in John Caldigage and Linda Tressel, but none of these gets the chance to wreck the damage he can, and each has some emotional reasons for wanting to control someone else, some rational which they persuade themselves is just, reasonable, or understandable. He has none. He is loathsome. He makes Jack de Baron look very good, and Sig is right about Jack. Thus far he is heartless, useless drone, a handsome enough object to a woman who looks for nothing beyond the transient surface.

Note: does George Germaine fight his brother on his mother's behalf? Is he not just caving in? Angela quoted Margaret Oliphant on how women novelists in the period often ended up presenting pallid men. Trollope, we know, knew how to present strong men. Lord George is weak, hemmed in by his obedience to convention. He values convention over true morality -- something Mr Price can see true distinctions in.

Is there a decent male in sight? People will cite Dean Lovelace. But he sold his daughter to get a genealogy for his grandchild. He seems dense in numbers of ways: he holds out a lollipop for her to suck on (London) as long as she eats that boiled mutton for the rest of the year. A psychologist might say he keeps her as his woman (daughter- wife) by giving her to an inadequate male. George is under the needles of his sisters.

In contrast, Lady Sarah comes out well. In these chapters her mettle comes out. She doesn't believe in running away; she's no coward. She will not slink off to some corner and be miserable. She will stay and keep her mother and sisters where they are comfortable, can do some useful work in the world, would get a minimum of respect. There is not all that much real parallelism between this woman and Mrs Norris who is vindictive, an extraordinary study of obsessive hatred and spite, of desire to hurt others, take from them. Lady Sarah is hard, but then she knows this is a world where one must stand and fight -- or be knocked body blows. She treats Adelaide decently. Lady Sarah pours poison in no one's ear, destroys no one's psychic peace (as does Mrs Norris -- and as would Brotherton if he knew how)

The theme of standing and fighting is repeated in the Dean's response to the newspaper ad. The advice he gets from the Canon made me see an analogy with list flame wars. The canon says you should not notice such spite; 'what's the use of fighting when there is nothing to win'. The Dean says he fights 'to let them know that I am not to be cowed'. In the next paragraph we find Mary sticking up for her father, not running, fighting. She fights her husband, fights bullying by his sisters'. One might for a minute remember back to Dr Thorne's newspaper struggles with Dr Fillgrave, a merry comedy: there was something gay amid the ferocity of the columns. In Lovelace v Mr Grease it is a matter of trying to get out from under meanness for the Dean.

We can bring the hunting in here. This is a rough novel because the characters live in a world they assume is rough and are willing to be rough with one another. Every one is very physical. I find few sensitive souls here. For my part I find nothing in Mary which would have led me to think she would enjoy _Aurora Leigh_. She hasn't got the inner yearnings at all. What she wants is to be in at the kill -- just like Adelaide. We were invited to see a direct parallel between Adelaide who insisted on hunting and Mary who wanted to insist.

I suspect others will not see the women insisting on their right to hunt in this light. I cannot sympathise with the desire to be in at the kill. It's a metaphor for the strong sexuality of Adelaide and Mary's equal possibilities in that line. It fits their characters as drawn by Trollope. Probably he means the reader to have an ambivalent attitude towards the women defying the men, half-admiring the women, half-disapproving.

The hunting also had a great deal of explicit sexual interplay. Adelaide's fall did give her great pain. This does foreshadow what is to come in the manner of the gate in Mansfield Park.

Thus far my favorite character among the women is turning out to be Lady Sarah. I see possibilties for sympathy with Gus Mildmay. As for the men, Mr Price seems decent. I would be the first to agree that Trollope has created a cast of believable characters. People really do behave in just the ways they are pictured here.

Mr Harding would not be able to breathe in this book. One could argue that each book has a figure who gathers into him or her the currents of the book's world, who epitomises it. Who could be that figure here?

This not to say I don't like the book. It's fascinating. It reminds me of Les Liaisons Dangereuses not in its details, but in its hard mood and a certain repellence seaping through it. I can see why a couple of people have named Mansfield Park. An uncomfortable place.

Ellen Moody

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Is He Popenjoy? and Mansfield Park

I wrote my message about the Crawfords before I read yours-I was glad to see you also thought of the similarity. I'm intrigued by the other parallels--but so far, Mary is innocent like Fanny but I don't think they're much the same in other ways. It's hard for me to predict how Mary will change or develop as the story goes on. Judy W

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Petticoats

Is He Popenjoy? shows us a glimpse of the upper-class philanthropy of the Victorian period. One of the onerous duties Mary must perform is the sewing of petticoats for the tenants and neighbors of her new family. You may recall that in Framley Parsonage Lady Lufton is involved in the distribution of petticoats. In the Victorian era, petticoats were practical garments. Those of us who have only seen petticoats on dolls, or in a Laura Ashley store don't appreciate how important the petticoat was to Victorian women. First of all, a petticoat helped keep a woman warm - it was an layer of insulation. (Trollope now and then mentions flannel petticoats which were worn in cold weather.) The petticoat also protected the outer garments from body sweat and oils. Sweat is very hard on clothes, and clothes were hard to come by in the 19th century. A middle class woman might only have two or three changes of clothing. Dresses from the Victorian period were formidable constructions, usually lined and interlined so that they would stand up to wear and tear and the strong detergents and beating and scrubbing that were necessary to wash the clothes. Making a petticoat involved a great deal of "straight sewing" whilst pushing around heavy unwieldy masses of cloth. The cutting out of fabric for a petticoat is tedious. And I'll bet that Lady Sarah, like the thrifty Aunt Norris, was quite keen to cut the cloth so as to get the most use out of it. (Which would involve more fiddling with scissors and pins.) The hand stitching in 19th century clothing is tiny and precise. What sore fingers those women must have had. It is tiring to sit in a straight backed chair making those small , even stitches while trying to manage yards of fabric. I think it is hard for modern day readers to understand what a bore, what pain, what a drudgery the sewing of petticoats was. The people who received the petticoats were happy to have them (as a necessity, not a luxury) but as Mary logically points out, the petticoats could be purchased. Why should the family be forced to make petticoats? (Although we are told the "Lady Sarah's stitches never gave way.") Trollope is quite precise about the clothing his characters wear. I have heard Trollope's expertise attributed to Rose, but I wonder if this is so. We know that Rose was an expert needlewoman and had an interest in fashion. (Although I have read a few catty remarks from Rose Trollope's contemporaries about Rose's fashion sense.) Poor Mary! Even with a modern sewing machine, it is a monotonous business to make a petticoat.

Catherine Crean

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Petticoats

Catherine's well considered thoughts about petticoats are interesting, but I have a few others. Our family does quilt projects, usually as gifts for new babies and those being married. I've had a number of well-attended all day quilting bees at my home. I think that the work, as a morning labor, would not have been terribly onerous to people used to handwork, especially if the company were congenial, or if someone were reading out loud, as was often the case. Granted that the work of making identical petticoats would have a certain monotony, it would not have been so very dreadful if Mary had had a happy relationship with her sisters-in-law. But she did not, and the enforced togetherness was more than a trial to her. I find her way of dealing with it really amusing. At seventeen I doubt I would have been so resourceful. I would have sewn and seethed. Mary solved her problem calmly and effectively.

On another point, I wonder whether anyone else was amused by the metaphor in chapter one in which "woodcocks, caviare, or maccaroni cheese" are representing "abnormal brightness" and a sort of exotic interest as compared to "boiled mutton". Mac n' cheese is pretty pedestrian to most of us (even homemade varieties which may be delicious, but feel like nursery food) whereas I have never eaten boiled mutton and I would be greatly surprised if I've ever met anyone who has.I did wonder whether list members from the UK would react as I did.

Kristi from Ohio, land of cows and Indian corn

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Petticoats

Perhaps I should also add that I have sewn (on a machine) many enormous petticoats for my daughters when they were active in Hungarian folk dancing. It isn't fun!


From: "Catherine Crean"
Subject: IHP: Just say no to Pallisers! Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 21:35:00 -0000

The Is He Popenjoy? discussion is off to a great start! Isn't it wonderful? I salute Ellen for having the guts to suggest and promote "off the beaten track" books by Trollope. Just say no to "Pallisers"!

Catherine Crean

From: R J Keefe
Date: Wed Oct 25, 2000 11:12am
Subject: Trollope's Young Sexually Inexperienced Women (Was "Trollope's Late Period? ...)

The first thing that I want to say in reply to Ellen Moody is that I understood her good humor. While trying to sound those comic tones is generally inadvisable in cyberspace, Ellen has acquired the skill of imparting to her postings the body language that clues us into jokes in real territory.

Now let me try to spin out my fantasy of Trollope's fin-de-siecle career. It has little to do with the frank discussion of sexual encounters; I can't imagine Trollope's ever relinquishing a decorum that was still in force when I was a boy. No, I'm thinking of the nature of love as experienced by young, sexually inexperienced women. Let what I mean by 'sexually inexperienced' be very clear: my idea of sexual experience is nothing short of cohabitation. A little petting on a garden bench may be exciting but - am I about to sight another gender divide? - probably not very informative. Trollope's young women, no matter how many more novels he lived to write, would continue to marry intact.

The real problem for Trollope's young women is love: how will you know when you've found the right man, or, more correctly, when the right man has found you? How will you know that spending the rest of your life with him will be bearable? Girls like Lucy Morris and Mary Thorne just know, and Trollope makes a virtue out of their cloudy epistemology. If they had to think about it, they'd be false. They're both helpless and fully developed: there is nothing further that they can bring or do to their love.

With characters like Mary Lovelace we see something new: a young lady trying hard to love her husband. Trying hard to love someone implies a frailty in such love as has been mustered. To say, "I will try to love him," also means "but I don't right now." The earlier Trollope would have punished such bootstrapping: look what happened to Julia Brabazon. The very fact that Lord George altogether lacks Lord Ongar's odiousness suggests a new dispensation. Lord Ongar was simply unlovable. Lord George might be lovable, given the right woman. So far, Trollope has taken great pains to show Mary' great pains. She seems to operate on the wise principle that a happier man is easier to love, so she tries to make him happy. She offers to renounce the house in London simply for the sake of her husband's happiness. Does this make her a martyr? Not quite. She's gambling that the renunciation will increase her husband's affection, and possibly win his support in her conflicts with his sisters. Perhaps it might. Her father forbids her the bet. Trollope presents us with the picture of a woman trying not so much to save a marriage as to get it off the ground. I'll be grateful to hear of other examples; at the moment, I can't think of any.

RJ Keefe

Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] ISP: Mrs. Houghton's breathtaking cynicism

I would just like to comment that I find Mrs. Houghton's cynicism rather breathtaking. I wonder if there are any other Trollope women who go quite as far. To cite a couple of examples from Chapter 12, she says (of Mrs. Montacute Jones), “She’s the ugliest old woman in London, but I’d be as ugly as she is to have her diamonds.” I found this very modern-sounding. In my world I hear people make this kind of comment practically every day. I don't like it, but it is commonplace. Hearing it in the context of Trollope's world seems shocking. Then we get:

“If a girl chooses to have a heart, let her marry the man of her heart, and take her mutton-chops and bread and cheese, her stuff gown and her six children, as they may come. But if she can decide that such horrors are horrid to her, and they they must at any cost be avoided, then let her take her Houghton when he comes, and not hark back upon feelings and fancies, upon liking and loving, upon youth and age."

The contempt with which she regards traditional family life is unbelievable, coming from a young Victorian woman, isn't it? The contempt she has for her husband ("a Houghton") is -- really -- rather sickening. This is not to say I can't laugh at it, but it makes me uneasy.


Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Subject: [trollope-l] IHP?: Fox Hunting

I enjoyed the segment on "riding to the hounds." This isn't to say that I am a proponent of fox hunting just that is this the first account I have read of the actual hunt itself. I always see them in the movies and on tv with the master in his red coat and the dogs milling about, but then they go riding off and that is the end of it until they return to the manor. Therefore, I enjoyed the talk about the various hunts, guessing which fox it might be, the dogs, the routes, etc. Someone probably mentioned IHP? when we had the discussion some months back on fox hunting, but this is the first time I have read the book.


Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] ISP?: Mrs. Houghton

Mrs. H. is hard, outspoken, worldly. And yes, she did not at all appear to subscribe to the cultural ideals of Victorian Society. Yet I am sure she was not terribly unusual. There were probably many many women of that time forced to make the sort of decisions she did. Or who imagined themselves to be so compelled. They certainly could not earn their own way very easily.

And making that sort of bargain will certainly harden a person, and bring out a sort of envy (which may be intense and bitter or just mildly cranky) of those who have not made it, and at the very least a slight desire to spoil their pleasure. (But I don't really mean to imply that AH was not "hard" before her marriage.)

Louisa May Alcott, a very Victorian writer, with very traditional ideals of family life, would not have espoused the point of view of Mrs. Houghton, but she had characters who were junior versions of Mrs. H., even in her most famous work, Little Women, if you consider the chapter "Meg Goes to Vanity Fair".

have not read any Trollope except some of the Barchester books, and am finding this very refreshing. He so well hits the nail on the head, I think, in his assessment of people's true motivations, and the way they half hide them even from themselves. The book's flavor is like the scent of vinegar which is envigorating and enlivening rather than sour. (All that oxygen, I guess.)

I would recommend Susan Tweedsmuir's (wife of John Buchan who wrote the Greenmantle books among others, and was governor general of Canada) trilogy of Victorian life which begins with Cousin Harriet. Tweedsmuir was really an Edwardian in her youth, but part of her purpose in writing these books was to set the record straight about what Victorian life was like.(She wrote three volumes of memoirs, too.) The best characters have the same forthright self-awareness and conscientiousness as the characters of whom we read in Is He Popenjoy?. But the points of view and events dealt with are not what I generally used to consider "suitable" for a Victorian. Cousin Harriet, for instance, deals with the manner in which a very highly principled and intelligent young woman (living at home, and concealing the dilema from her dear father) helps a cousin whom she doesn't even find very likeable, when that cousin becomes pregnant out of wedlock. It isn't handled in a scandalous nor a romantic way. It has some of the flavor of IHP?.

Kristi Jalics

Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] IHP? Illustrations for Instalments 5-8; George (?)

Thank you Ellen for your always excellent illustration posts.

This book is very interesting to me. I find myself with more curiosity (wanting to read ahead) about what will happen to various characters than with the Barset books, probably because their paths are harder to predict.

Ellen wrote:

George hoped to control Mary more. He didn't count on the Dean's strong-handed management.

George should have been tipped off by the Dean's insisting on Mary having a house in town. Also it seems he should have known that someone supplying money will also like to direct things. Even though Mary has money of her own it seems like the Dean is willing to give freely for specific purposes.


Re: IHP?: George

Dagny and all:

George is a character I've not completely figured out yet. He doesn't appear to be money-grasping, but he knew he needed to marry money. He takes things from the Dean with an apparently grateful attitude, but I can't say he's taking advantage of his situation. He doesn't seem such a terrible man, but he does seem corruptible. I'll be interested to see what becomes of him.

I have been surprised by all the undertones in this book. The sexuality was a real surprise, for some reason. I suppose I've not read enough Trollope to expect such, and still have the proper Victorian mind-set when it comes to the literature, but this is an entirely modern-feeling novel. I found the same thing, though, in reading Fanny Trollope's 'Vicar of Wrexhill.' It likewise had some very dark undertones, both as regards sexuality and religious fanaticism.

I would love to read contemporary critical reaction to both these books. I wonder if there's a website with links to such critical works, of these and other Victorian writers? Does anyone know of such?

Lisa Guidarini

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