Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] The First Week's Illustrations
Each week I'll describe the illustrations in the 1998 Folio Society edition of Is He Popenjoy?. These were drawn by Kate Aldous. I have no way of knowing who engraved them. The idea is to see how the visualizations of the novel when dropped into the text and meant to add and to interpret it add to our enjoyment and instruction. I will wherever possible and relevant type out the text by Trollope.
For Instalments 1-4: 'Oh, indeed', said Miss Tallowax'.
This is a comical rendition of the scene in which the ladies of Brotherton take Miss Tallowax to see the family pictures. We see Miss Tallowax looking up at an absurd picture of a knight with a bemused slightly appalled expression on her face. The Brotherton ladies hold their bodies absurdly pompously with their chins thrust forward in tight frowns.
That the parade was chosen seems right, but not the dismissive distancing caricature nature of the art. The drawing and mood recall the 1890s Hugh Thomson's illustrations for Austen's novels. Thomson's pictures trivialise the Austen books, turn them into a cotton candy world. The approach is not uncommon in illustrations of older classic novels and tell us something of the way publishers expect a reading audience to talk about a book, even if that's not necessarily how an individual reader has responded to it at all. Kate Aldous's picture is not quite as unreal as Thomson's but approaches the same doll-like quality; Millais and those who originally illustrated Trollope's novels were careful to draw the figures realistically, monumentally even. The whole idea of this illustration seems to be to amuse the reader with some robust child-like charm for Miss Tallowax and buttoned-up, pursed-up puritanism for the Brotherton ladies who in this rendition seem of course no threat to us at all, irrelevant. As we've seen though, for those of us who have posted, the comedy of this scene, or its ethical implications, is not obsolete.
The lines opposite the picture follow hard upon Miss Tallowax's question, 'Does anybody ever go to the bed there?'
'Nobody, ever', said Lady Sarah.
'Now we will go through to the great dining-hall. That's the portrait of the first earl'.
'Painted by Kneller', said Lady Amelia, proudly.
'Oh, indeed', said Miss Tallowax (Folio Society Is He Popenjoy?, ed. DSkilton), Ch 5, p 35 and facing illustration.
October 27, 2000
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 5-8
This week's illustrations by Kate Aldous highlight the scene at the hunt just before Adelaide Houghton charges into Mr Price and Mary Lovelace's first encounter with Jack de Baron. Both are redolent of aggression, sex, and feature moments of what the modern reader associates with high society or rich people. It's interesting to me how often modern illustrations of Trollope choose hunting scenes; modern readers associate Trollope with the wealthy classes of his time, and his novels therefore with hunting. Yet of all the hundreds of illustrations for his novels, most of which he chose the moment for only 4 are of hunts.
We have had some talk of Mrs Houghton. She pictured gleefully pushing her horse as hard as she can after Mr Price. The caption is "She allowed him to rush with her through the mud". He in this case is the horse; horse-riding was in the fiction of this period often a metaphor for sex. I found Todd and Kristi's commentaries fascinating: I can add to them that we can read this novel as presenting to us voices, each one tells of a point of view, embodies an outlook towards reality; yet the reality does not much differ. One difference between Mary Lovelace and Mrs Houghton (to revert to RJ's commentary) is that Mary is muddled, she lies to herself, tries to kid herself over why she has married, cover it up; Mrs Houghton tells the uncomfortable truths no one wants to hear. We can relate this to our own lives. Is there anyone amongst us who married without all the considerations Mrs Houghton took into it, anyone who didn't make a bargain, and rather cool one, as well as satisfy personal longings?
Here is the scene Kate Aldous depicts as it appears in Trollope's text:
Mrs Houghton's horse was going strong with her. More than once the farmer cautioned her to give him a pull over the plough. And she attempted to obey the order. But the horse was self-willed, and she was light; and in truth the heaviness of the ground would have been nothing to him had he been fairly well ridden. But she allowed him torushwith her through the mud. As she had never yet had an accident she knew nothing of fear, and she was beyond measure excited (Folio Society Is He Popenjoy?, introd. D.Skilton, Ch, 8, 'Pugsby Brook', p. 60 and facing illustration).
The picture's landscape is well-done. The words recall to our mind that Mrs Houghton is going to pay for this excitement she so longs for. What is it we want out of life? Excitement or status? To choose a hunt fixes us on the status; to chose this moment of the hunt fixes us on the price of these things. As Burgo Fitzgerald's behavior to his horse early in Can You Forgive Her? tells us how he would have eaten up a woman sexually and otherwise, so this scene of Adelaide Houghton and her horse foreshadows what will happen to her by the end of the book. It's interesting to me that she isn't angry in the manner of the book's other defiant figure, the Marquis of Brotherton; she takes the pain, and she is in bad pain afterwards, with gallantry.
The second full-page illustration shows us an exquisitely richly and fancily dressed quartet: Mrs Houghton introduces Jack de Baron to Mary Lovelace. The caption is: 'He smiled in his peculiar way, and Mary thought his face the most beautiful she had ever seen'. Jack is blonde with an attractive mustache; he looks into Mary's eyes lingeringly as he gives him her hand to kiss. To the side we see standing stiffly, with an uncomfortable frown on his face, Lord George Germaine. Lord George is certainly paying a price too, in his case, as with Mrs Houghton, for the money his bargain got him. The difference is Mrs Houghton knew what she was about, faced what she would have to do to cope with her husband; George hoped to control Mary more. He didn't count on the Dean's strong-handed management. We might ask why the Dean got this husband for his daughter. I suggested to gain an exalted genealogy for his grandson. The ending of this novel, and all the fuss about Popenjoy will bear this out. However, there is something else. As the Dean wants himself to hunt, to have the excitement of personal release beyond social conventions, without of course too endangering his position in society, so he wants for his daughter something similar: had she remained merely the daughter of a country dean, the granddaughter of a candlemaker and a man who kept livery stables, would she have been such a star at this ball, would Jack de Baron have been so allured by her?
Here is the scene Kate Aldous depicts as it appears in Trollope's text. The introduction of the moment by the narrator is important:
In spite of all these troubles [his betrayal of Miss Mildmay and its inconveniences] Captain de Baron was a very popular man. There was a theory abroad about him that he always behaved like a gentleman, and that his troubles were misfortunes rather than faults. Ladies always liked him, and hsi society was agreeable to men because he was neither selfish nor loud. He talked only a little, but still enough not to be thought dull. He never bragged or bullied or bounced. He didn't want to shoot more deer or catch more salmon than another man. He never cut a fellow down in the hunting field. He never borrowed money, but would sometimes lend it when a reason was given He was probably as ignorant as an owl of anything really pertaining to literature, but he did not display his ignorance. He was regarded himself as being very far from blessed, knowing that thre must come a speedy end to the things which he only half enjoyed, and feeling partly ashemd of hismelf in that he had found no better part.
'Jack', said Mrs Houghton, 'I can't blow you up because Mr Houghton has not yet condescended to show himself. Let me introduce you to Lady George Germain'. Then he smiled in his peculiar way, and Mary thought his face the most beautiful she had ever seen (Chapter 12, 'Miss Mildmay and Jack de Baron', p 94 and facing illustration).
Here we have a set of typical Trollope questions: What is a gentleman? For what do people really value one another? Jack de Baron is not after all a monster; he is partly ashamed of himself.
The pictures in a novel when done right retell and enrichen the novelist's story, point up things of which he has not been fully aware. Trollope himself said of Millais's pictures they made him understand his texts better and he wrote in response to Millais's pictures after he saw them. Thus far we have had three scenes: one centering on the ironic parade with Miss Tallowax at the center; one centering on the hunt, with Adelaide Houghton at the center; and now this in the creme de la creme of 'good society' with Jack de Baron at the center and the woman hovering around him. The thing to do is see how this relates to our lives. Jack may be our politican, our popular person, but who is Adelaide? I suggest this sort of individual and all the character stands for is still something not socially acceptable, a reality we don't want to admit lives in ourselves.
RJ asked for a woman character like Mary: I nominate Lady Glen and say she is more truthful than Mary, much closer to Adelaide Houghton in her disillusioned understanding of why and how people marry.
Cheers to all,
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustration for Instalments 9-12
There is but one illustration for this past week's four instalments. As with the three previous, it swerves away from what the reader may feel is the important intense action of the main plot and the central characters' immediate dilemma.
To recap: in the first four instalments, we got no picture of Adelaide and Lord George when young, no picture of Mary, the Dean, or Brotherton: no we gazed at Miss Tallowax gazing dubiously, but with proper awe, at the family pictures, while the legend of the empty sumptuously-kept bed was discussed. I suspect were we to have modern illustrations for The American Senator Dillsborough would be depicted; Trollope wanted to call that novel "A Winter's Chronicle of Dillsborough". The literal place doesn't matter, except as it is boring -- and as RJ suggested symbolically exhausted.
In the next four instalments, there was still no picture of Mary, or anything visualising her struggle against her sisters-in-law or relationship with her husband,. No this time we got Adelaide riding hell for leather after Mr Price into a ditch, and Adelaide introducing an elegant Jack to a luxuriously dressed Mary, he leaning down to kiss her hand. The room announces itself as rich.
Now to this week. We have talked of London, the pretty house, Augusta against Adelaide and Jack de Baron, of Adelaide's dinner party. Nothing of these. These are (again) the nubs and literal landscape of the plot. Once again we have gone to a 'side picture (I use Ronald Hutton's apt language -- he was the best critical reviewer of Trollope's novels). Not the Dean publishing against the church establishment to allow himself the right to hunt. That might have been the choice of the Victorian illustrators; Trollope's original illustrators love to depict people at desks writing. Kate Aldous has chosen to give us the public assembly of the Disabilities.
What's interesting is the angle and who is depicted in detail as well as the change in mood from Trollope's text. Aldous has not given us a gross comic caricature; no Baroness looms down at us. She is considerably toned down since we see her at a distance. The picture shows us a hall which we see from a corner in the back. The figures closest to us and most clearly drawn are upper class genteel women with pretty flat hats; they wear good but not over-rich dresses. Closest to us is a very old lady, grey bun, hat tied firmly under her chin (very old fashioned in comparison with the other younger women); we can see a grim expression as we glimpse the side of her face as she looks intently at the speakers on the raised platform. There are men in the audience. One younger one looks up alertly; he has a blonde mustache. In the distance we see a square figure; a woman with her left hand raised high to make a point; she is dressed in a dark coloured dress; her hair is tightly pulled against her head. All around her are other women (tiny figures) looking up at her. The caption is: 'de manifest infairiority of de tyrant sex!'.
The full text opposite the picture (pictures are supposed to be visualisations of the text next to them when placed properly):
The baroness, though addressing a mixed audience, seemed to have no hesitation in speaking of man generally as a foul worm who ought to be put down and kept under, and merely allowed to be the father of children. But after a minute or two Lady George found that she could not understand two words consecutively, although she was close to the lecturer. The baroness, as she became heated, threw out her words quicker and more quickly, till it became almost impossible to know in what language they were spoken. By degrees our friend became aware that the subject of architecture had been reached, and then she caught a word or two as the baroness declared that the science was 'adaapted only to de aestetic and comprehensive intelligence of the famale mind'. But the audience applauded throughout as though every word reached them; and when from time to time the baroness wiped her brows with a very large handkerchief, they shook the building with their appreciation of her energy. Then came a rolling sentence, with the old words as an audible termination -- 'de manifest infairiority of de tyrant saix!' As she said this she waved her handkerchief in the air and almost threw herself over the desk. 'She is very great tonight -- very great indeed', whispered Miss Doctor Olivia P. Fleabody to Lady George (Folio Society Is He Popenjoy?, introd. DSkilton, Ch 17, 'The Disabilities', p 132 and facing illustration).
Earlier this week RJ referred to Henry James's The Bostonians; I certainly see the comparison; there is even a similarity of names: Olivia Chancellor is the lesbian-old maid fierce feminist there. However, James is nowhere as pointed as this. As someone who has studied medieval and Renaissance literature, I am impressed by Trollope's going to the heart of the matter. In treatise after treatise before the French revolution, one read of the manifest inferiority of the female sex, of how women's minds had no capacity, no comprehension. Trollope uses the adjective 'old', the 'old words'. But these old words were not applied to males; they were applied to females -- and he knows it. Trollope was a great reader, especially of the older drama and there this theme of women's sexuality, of their inferiority mentally, of their intense energies which will 'go to the bad', become evil, if ever she is liberated are central to many a drama. He is himself wiping this away, dramatising this age-old rhetoric as it now emerges from the crowd in reverse.
I know I am supposed to laugh at the woman who calls herself 'Miss Doctor". She is that insecure that she must put her Ph.D. in her name; she is that uptight that she must insist on her "Miss". In today's world -- and on lists -- I continually come up against women who dislike the "Mrs" intensely (a chattel word); I have met and on the Net seen many a woman who wants to shore herself up with "Dr". I am indifferent myself to this business of names. My troubles in this world have had (as I see it) nothing to do with the way I have been named. But I can feel for those who seek to use such symbolic sounds to barricade themselves. Trollope cannot.
The old lady in Kate Aldous's picture is not in this book, but she is the serious reason for such meetings. Too bad language matters so little to the crowd.
Cheers to all,
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] Is He Popenjoy?: Illustration for Instalments 13-16
We did have a scene in this past week's chapters which could have provided a pleasant picture: the walk in Kensington Gardens. It's a pretty park. There is also some oblique satire on the Albert Memorial, oblique because (alas) we are not what wise-cracks Jack de Baron emits to Mary Lovelace as they walk about the huge allegorical figures. One of the reasons we don't feel this potential picture to be witty and picturesque is we watch Mary and Jack through the eyes of the uneasy Lord George who lacks a sense of humor altogether, and is intensely jealous and anxious to come upon his wife and this potential lover walking together laughing quietly to one another without his ever having known she had this date. Still, there is perhaps a joke here when the Dean says of the enormous figures:
"'I think it's the prettiest thing in London", said the Dean, "one of the prettiest things in the world"
"Don't you find it very cold", said Lord George, who did not at the present moment care very much for the fine arts" (Folio Society IHP, introd. DSkilton, Ch 19, p. 147).
Pretty is precisely the wrong word for such enormous figures, so sanctimonious, so allegorical, so frozen. In other books Trollope makes fun of frozen allegorical figures. In this scene he somewhat identifies with Lord George.
However, this is not the scene chosen by Kate Aldous. It could have been, because it is somewhat to the side of the main story, and she has hitherto been chosing scenes which were not part of the main plot. Maybe this time she thought it necessary and the potential picture too dramatic to waste.
The picture does not quite have the effect it's meant to have in the same way as the original illustrations often don't have the effect they are meant to have. As Ruskin said of these book illustrations from engravings, it's so hard to make the facial expression subtle enough. We see an elegant drawing room. A handsome richly dressed gentleman with a curly dark beard and longish hair leans over a baby which is held in the arms of a nurse. The baby doesn't look ill, and it's not dark, not swarthy. There are no shades in the face, the hair colour looks light brown. It is rounded, biggish. It does look sour: it looks up at the father with uncomfortable eyes, the mouth drawn down in a frown. It is very large, obviously ought to be put down so it can walk. If this child is legitimate, the Marquis has to have been married at least 2 years, if not longer. The handsome man is Lord George; his eyes look slightly distressed or perturbed and he too has a slight frown. The nurse looks complacent, she is comfortably dressed in solidly expensive nurse clothes. To the back we see the Marquis. He has a moustache, but is made thin; he's stick-like, looks weak, to my eyes, rather unsexy, or worn, his body without the solid weight of Lord George who has good strong thighs under those expensive trousers, and broader rounder chest. The captain highlights a line by Lord George which could make us sympathetic towards him: '"My poor darling". The whole text facing reads thus:
'"May I be permitted to see -- Popenjoy?" The Marquis paused a moment, and then rang the bell.
"I don't know what good it will do you, but if he can made fit he shall be bought down".
The courier entered the room and received orders in Italian. Aftrer that there was considerable delay, during which an Italian servant brought the marquis a cup of chocolate and a cake. He pushed a newspaper over to his brother, and as he was drinking his chocolate, lighted a cigarette. In this way there was a delay of over an hour, and then there entered the room an Italian nurse with a little boy who seemed to Lord George to be nearly two years old. The child was carried in by the woman, but Lord George thought that he was big enough to have walked . He was dressed up with many ribbons, and was altogether as gay as apparel could make him. But he was an ugly, swarthy little boy, with great black eyes, small cheeks, and a high forehead -- very unlike such a Popennoy as Lord George would have liked to have seen. Lord George got up and stood over him, and leaning down kissed the high forehead. "My poor little darling", he said (p. 185 and facing illustration).
Curious, no? Does Lord George feel sorry for the specific child in front of him? Because he's going to have to fight to declare it legitimate? Or some larger sorrow? There is a strong impulse to Freudianise again: Lord George had this miserable childhood and here this child will have one again. One could come away thinking that looking at the picture. But it's not Trollope's kind of meaning. Trollope's not usually interested in children as children. I wish other people had the Folio Society edition so they could see the effect this picture has in this text: it swerves us around to consider Trollope's text and half-hero, Lord George, in another light. It's not a caricature. It's a serious scene.
The room is lightly etched in, but enough is there to make it realistic: we have a large mirror over the fireplace against which the Marquis leans; a clock on it. A screen in the back, fancy couches, a table with coffee cup, a high chandelier overhead -- as there was in the picture of Mary giving her hand to Jack de Baron to kiss, only there it was an exquisite expensive glass kind of object; here it's cupped shades in a pattern, more sombre and everyday but still rich. Poor baby. Yet he has the title and potentially owns the room. I'm sure there are people who have read the book thinking why Trollope didn't warm to his material. He didn't. He presents it coldly, unsympathetically, satirically. The book may of course also be read as an outbreak of something angry in Trollope too.
Cheers to all,
November 18, 2000
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 17-20
This past week's instalments again include just one picture which visualises a moment that bears upon the central story in such as way as to create sympathy for Lord George. As I argued in my book, a good illustrator will often retell the story of the book from a slightly different perspective, bringing out elements which the reader -- and writer -- might overlook. Trollope wrote that Millais's illustrations for Orley Farm led him to develop implications in his characterisation of Lady Mason he hadn't seen himself; if you look at some of the original sets, you find the artist emphasising the more sentimental and hierarchical aspect of the storys: in Orley Farm from the pictures you would think it is the story of a how a young gentleman lost his property and place; the same is true of Ralph the Heir.
One problem with modern illustrations, though, is there is a strong tendency to trivialise the story -- to distance us from it by turning it into quaint comic figures. This is noticeable with many of the recent illustrations for Trollope's novels -- as well as Jane Austen's. In Austen's case this is put down to the Janeitism, the desire to please that part of the audience which wants to make these books into something cozy, comforting, long ago and sweet. But I wonder since this sort of comic illustration is found among many classics. Is it that such illustrations are easier to draw? Less effort to make something intense, really realistically drawn, something adult? Does it tell us something about the modern attitude towards book illustration? Or how much book illustrators get paid? Or what publishers think is the best method of seducing readers to buy classics? The comic illustrations of Trollope's period (by Phiz and Cruickshank and Thackeray) were anything but cozy: they were fantastic nightmare wild pictures, often sardonic in intent, highly satiric and contemporary.
Whatever the cause, the reality is the original illustrations by Millais, Holl, Mary Edwards, and Francis Arthur are all much superior to any modern set. They are monumental, make the figure seem full and real, the dramatic moment seriously significant. This is called the idyllic style and Trollope preferred it. I bring all this up so that people will not misunderstand and attribute more value to the actual technique or drawings at hand; what I describe is the story element in them which are of real interest as another 'read', especially as they are dropped into the novel in just the manner illustrations are meant to be. In comparison with Millais, Holl, Arthur and Edwards, Kate Aldous' figures are too thin, they don't carve out the bodily space necessary to make a reader take the figures as seriously as Aldous's choice of pictures encourages.
For this week Kate Aldous chose just that moment when George and Adelaide are deep into an intense conversation, they have embraced, she is sobbing and then a foot is heard on the stairs by her. The caption highlight his forethought or trepidation even before the footstep is heard: 'He was thinking how it would be with him and her should the door be opened."
We see Adelaide sitting on the floor, her hands over her eyes, and the figure seems slightly to tremble. At this point the crying is not manipulative; the sense of self-consciousness registered by Trollope when this moment is over is not yet inside Adelaide. George sits on a plush stool with a soft high backing; he leans over, his hand on Adelaide's head, both attempting to comfort and to shush her. The expression on his face is neutrally depicted: he looks startled, anxious, worried about her, but the slight rigidity of his features invites just that touch of the absurd we find in Trollope's text. We are not to sneer, yet be aware of how incapable of mastering the scene this man is. Behind them we see a table with an elegant cloth on it (fringed), pictures, a plant partly obscured by a curtain on the right side of the picture. The curtain is very much a Van Dyke, 17th century motif: it theatricalises the scene as if it were a stage.
Most interesting of the decor is the painting or framed picture just above them. It's lightly sketched in. We see a male figure, clearly a mythological god; he stands on a rock with a bow and arrow which he is aiming at a nymph or goddess fleeing by him. Kate Aldous is highlighting the archetypical in the scene. Her version is one which shows the male as in command: we may see it as incipient reinforcement. After all Adelaide is bored; she does want a lover; she did once love George; when the husband comes in we see how she deflates him. We may also see it as in ironic counterstatement: it is Adelaide who is shooting arrows into George.
The text just opposite the full-page illustration runs:
'"I will not say that I do not love my wife", he said.
"No; you are afraid. The formalities of the world are so much more to you than to me! Sir down, George. Oh George!" Then she was on her knees at his feet, hiding her face upon her hands, while his arms were almost necessarily thrown over her and embracing her. The lady was convulsed with sobs, and he was thinking how it would be with him and her should the door be opened and some pair of eyes see them as they were. But her ears were sharp in spite of her sobs. There was the fall of a foot on the stairs which she heard long before it reached him ... (Folio Society Is He Popenjoy?, introd. DSkilton, Ch 29, p. 230 and facing illustration).
Cheers to all,
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 21-24: George & Mary
Kate Aldous's illustrations for this past week's chapters concentrate on the story of Mary and George in the way we have been doing this week. The first comes early, the second midpoint of our Instalments.
The first appears in Chapter 32: 'Lord George is troubled'. We see a young woman in a rich dress. The style -- as have been all the others -- is of the 1870s. The folds of the skirt are drawn up around the waist; there is a mild bustle in the back of the dress; it does have a high neck and long sleeves. She wears pearls. Her hair is drawn up into a high sort of sweeping bun. She is reading a letter which she holds gingerly in her left hand -- with the edges of her fingers. Her right hand fingers her pearls in a very stiff kind of way: the lower arm hugs her shoulder, and there is something angular about the way her head looks down. She is put off; it's a movement which suggests someone in a knot. I would call the expression on her face rigid, very still. It is young, unlined. Her eyes tell us she is reading the text intently.
Behind her we see a luxurious curtain, a many-paned window. The thread on Victoria also asked for uses of windows; while Trollope includes no window in his text, there are two windows in this picture. One a small vanity oval shaped one, near which we see a brush. We see nothing in it. The other is one which sits across a carved table and it mirrors the window and the few small leaves we see hanging outside. An essay on Millais's illustration for Framley Parsonage suggests that Millais uses leaves to suggest sexuality and nature. When I look at the empty mirror, nothing imaged, I think about how Trollope rarely goes into Mary's mind, how we are not given what the thoughts of such a woman would be, someone who married someone else because she was told to do so, that someone else uncongenial, unknown, and in her estimation dull.
The first line of Trollope's text is the caption:
She read it twice, and then stood motionless for a few minutes thinking what she would do. Her first idea was the she would tell her father. But that she soon abandoned. She was grievously offended with her husband; but, as she thought of it, she became aware that she did not wish to bring on him any anger but her own. Then she thought that she was start immediately for Berkeley Square, and say what she had to say to Mrs Houghton. As this idea presented itself to her, she felt that she could say a good deal. But how would that serve her? Intense as was her hatred at present of Adelaide, Adelaide was nothing to her in comparison with her husband. For a moment she almost thought that she would fly after him, knowing, as she did, that he had gone to see his brother at Scumberg's Hotel. But at last she resolved that she would do nothing and say nothing till he should have perceived that she had read the letter. She would leave it open on the dress-table, so that he might know immediately on his return what had been done. Then it occurred to her that the servants might see the letter if she exposed it. So she kept it in her pocket ... (Folio Society, IHP, introd. D. Skilton, p. 251 and facing illustration.
The text is telling: her first idea to tell Daddy. She is grievously offended. She wants to bring her anger on her husband; it should be all. Then she think she will go pour her hatred on Adelaide, but how will that serve her? She will follow him. No, she will wait. It is interesting that at no point is there any thought of her own relationship with her husband which surrounds this letter. As I argued earlier this week, Trollope shows George's male sexuality not simply as inadequate, but an inadequacy brought on by social pressures and their mutual inability to establish any emotional or sympathetic ties.
The second illustration focuses on Mary's sexuality . It comes inbetween two remarkable dialogues. In one Mary threatened to leave him if he so much as intimates any distrust of her; this is too insulting to bear. He must tell her that he suspects her of nothing. Then she says, he may lock her up (he has not threatened anything like that), but she can write her father; he says he trusts she will do nothing of the kind. He is now the bully here. She says if she does not tell her father, who is her friend: '
"'Who is to be my friends, if you turn against me? Am I to be all alone among a set of people who think nothing but ill of me?' '
I am to be your friend?'
'But you think ill of me.'
'I have not said so, Mary.'
'Then say at one that you think no ill, and do not threaten me that I am to be taken into the country for protection. And when you tell me of the bold- faced villany of that young woman [Adelaide], speak of her with the disgust that she deserves; and say that your sister Susanna is suspicious and given to evil thoughts; and declare that your brother is wicked slanderer against the honour of your wife. Then I shall know that you think no ill of me; and then I shall know that I may lean upon you as a friend.' Her eyes flashed fire as she spoke, and he was silenced for the moment by an impetuosity and a passion which he had not at all expected (Ch 34, 'A Dreadful Communication', p. 269.
This is strong eloquence. It is bold -- had Emily Trevelyan spoken this way in He Knew He Was Right that couple would not have shattered one another over their misunderstanding of sex, his sexual inadequacy, her lack of responsiveness. Trollope has returned to the same situation of the earlier novel, but this time given the young woman words with which to protest the way she is treated. She is perhaps unafraid because she feels nothing for de Baron for real (her heart belongs to Daddy) while Emily was drawn away from Louis, and to the other man. In the former case there had been one child.
Kate Aldous' illustration shows us Mary standing in a tastefully furnished room near the door. Her hand is on the doorknob. Millais managed to make it clear that Emily kept the front part of her body (her bosom) away from Louis, twisted away in a deliberate movement which signified her unwillingness to respond to Louis's held-out hand in a closely similar scene (see Trollope Society Edition, He Knew He Was Right, illustrations facing pp. 7 and 43). Mary just twists her body to look at her husband with a hauteur on her face, a controlled self-distancing, very cool, a look of waiting or expectation that the other person will speak. Poor George stands still with his hands on his hips, looking at the ceiling. He looks cross, highly uncomfortable, very rigid. He is elegantly dressed: white tie, stiped trousers, elegant gentleman's shoes. There is a large piece of furniture between them, ceiling high, the sort of thing that holds fancy knick-knacks people show off; to the other side of him is a small table. Mary wears the same dress (or another one of the same type) as in the former picture. The caption this time is: 'He was greatly surprised by her strength and resolution, and now hardly knew what more to say to her'. The dialogue has continued and he has just asked that she 'drop de Baron's acquaintance, she refused because she will not allow that "the slightest stain" be implied about her; she says she and de Baron are friends, she likes him very much; she will not act as if there is anything wrong (meaning sexual) about this "intimacy": she will do 'nothing myself to show that I am ashamed'. He can take her to the country, tell all his friends she is behaved wrongly, listen to calumny,' and then the scene as pictured:
"'but if you do I will have one friend to protect me and I will tell Papa everything". Then she walked away to the door as though she were leaving the room. "Stop a moment", he said. Then she stood with her hand still on the lock, as though intending to stay merely till he should have spoken some last word to her. He was greatly surprised by her strength and resolution, and now hardly knew what mroe to say to her. He could not beg her pardon for his suspicion; he could not tell her that she was right; and yet he found it impossible to assert that she was wrong. "I do not think that passion will do any good", he said.
"I do not know what will do any good. I know what I feel".
"It will do good if you will allow me to advise you".
"What is your advice?"
"To come down to the country as soon as possible, and to avoid, as far as possible, seeing Captain de Baron before you go".
"That would be running away from Captain de Baron. I am to meet him at Mrs Montacute Jones's ball".
"Send an excuse to Mrs Montacute Jones".
"You may do so, George, if you like. I will not. If I am told by you that I am not to meet this man, of course I shall obey you; but I shall consider myself to have been insulted -- to have been insulted by you". As she said this her brow become very black. "Yes, by you. You ought to defend me from these people who tell storeis about me, and not accuse me yourself. I cannot and will not live with you if you think evil of me". Then she opened the door, and slowly left the room (p. 270 and facing illustration).
The value of illustrations is to make us pay attention to specific still moments, read the text carefully, look at the visualisation and contemplate a bit. We see in this latter scene the over content hinges on Mary's sexuality and an implied insult she is courageous enough to bring to the surface and refute. There is something noble here, so noble he doesn't know what to say since he is tied up with the venal entanglements of the social world and its pressures. She gives him no comfort and is apparently unable to because she has not been taught to express herself physically, and this is one of the sources of his inadequacy. He is a pathetic male, but the pathos is not one meant to make us rise in contempt but rather see how what he has become is the result of his obedience to his world, ironically his meaning so well. He is taciturn, stiff, unable to articulate his case. That's his problem. So he comes out shallow to Mary -- and perhaps to the reader. But not to Trollope who returns this exactly this kind of male inadequacy and anxiety and this unresponsiveness in women taught to hinge their pride on absolutely not a word said against their chastity.
It is often said that Trollope is wonderfully frank and deep about female psychology. I offer the idea that is he equally deep if in a more hidden way about male sexuality in our society -- for our society is not so different from this one.
I wonder if Jane Nardin in her He Knew She Was Right ever read this book. If she did, I doubt she paid attention to George for real. It was in the 19th century rare for a male novelist to present this perspective on the problems of male living in society in the vulnerable way Trollope does. The reason I bring Nardin up and have quoted at length is I think many readers today turn away from such realities in Trollope too. Or speak of it briefly with startled half-laughter or puzzlement or disdain depending on the mood of the novel in which the male is found.
Cheers to all,
December 2, 2000
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 25-28: 2 Climaxes
As one of this week's instalments two illustrations is a visualisation of the caption, 'She was in truth waltzing with Captain de Baron', it is important to know how waltzing was regarded in the 19th century. From what I have read elsewhere, and what Sutherland and Mullen write, it was seen as very sexy indeed. The older dances, referred to in the text as the minuet and country dancing (a form of what we in the US call square dancing), left the man and woman standing apart. They would face one another, their hands would touch; they would twirl about one another in patterns. But she would not lean on him; he would not put his arm around her waist. This arm around the waist was seen as an intimate physical gesture in this period, one only an engaged couple could indulge in in public.
The Kappa-kappa was particularly 'dangerous' as the rhythms were very fast; Sutherland describes it as 'a farrago of polkas, waltzes, and galops'. That means the lady had to hang onto the gentleman, and the music turned them into single bound-together energetic presence apart from others. There have been numbers of threads on Austen-l and other places where the coming in of the waltz from the continent to Germany and the excitement this dance caused, disapproval, and sense of intense allurement are discussed. Sutherland argues that the moment of Mary's near fall -- from the intense excitement she is feeling, far more than she has apparently known in bed with George -- are 'on the brink of adultery, the ultimate marital rebellion' ('Introduction' to IHP, ed. J. Sutherland, 1986 Oxford Classic paperback, p. xiii. Unlike most of us who have actively participated, Sutherland does not find George's fears and anxieties unreal or absurd. He takes seriously all the undramatized encounters, appointments, unwritten 'nonsensical' talk Mary and the Captain have been having for weeks in London:
'Mary is fascinated ... Their affair gets to the point of drawing-room flirting, slangy conversation, close dancing, and some equivocal invitations on Jack's part'.
Sutherland argues that there is a parallel between Adelaide's fall at the hunt, and Mary's on the dance floor. Adelaide really does fall, but Mary is only inches from falling herself. This ties up with Mary's separating herself from George, her going to political rallies, and would have been seen as aspects of a serious rebellion (p. xiii-xiv). I'd add the 3 scenes, also undramatized, just referred to, where she outright refuses to leave London with him are Isenist; she is Nora -- with a father to back her up.
It is revealing that Trollope doesn't dramatise Mary's outright rebellion against George in these scenes. Perhaps they would have been dynamite in the period.
But we do get the scene which led up to her rebellion, and Kate Adous has depicted it, though not very well. We see two couples dancing to the front. One is clearly the Captain, whose blonde hair and moustache without beard, signals him out. Mary's hairstyle is the one we have seen several times so we know it's her; she has a big bow on her backside. As in the earlier picture of her meeting the Captain, she is seen from the back. It's hard to tell who the other couple are: the man may be the Count and the woman Madame Gigi. Behind these two couples are others whirling away. Aldous gets the excitement and hubbub, but the figures are too short, too stubby; the drawing lacks intense energy; there are not enough lines. Not enough money has been spent on the engraving, and the effect is slightly buffoonish, especially in the distance where lightly sketched we see the Dean (who wears glasses in all the pictures) looking on complacently, with George, his body uptight, intense as he looks on. Trollope's text reminds me of Austen's in Persuasion when Anne Elliot first sees Captain Wentworth after eight years; there is an intense excitement, one in which the female presence or consciousness at the center is is overcome by the presences all around her, by her extremely erotic response to it, everything swirls about her; so stirred has Mary become, she loses her balance, falls onto Jack. This is too much for George, who is also intensely excited and out of whose mind we see the dance whirling. When Mary begins to fall, he can no longer contain himself, works his way to her, presses through, grabs her, and pulls her away.
The text placed next to the picture is too long to type so I include just the salient points depicted:
'Faster it grew and faster; but still they had all done it before, and done it with absolute accuracy. It was now near the end Each lady had waltzed a turn with each gentleman. Lady George had been passed on from the count to Sir Harry, and from Sir Harry to Lord Giblet. Aftrer her turn it was his lordships's duty to deliver her up to her partner, with whom she would make a final turn round the dancing-space; and then the Kappa-kappa would have been danced. But alas! as Lord Giblet was doing this he lost his head and came against the count and Madame Gigi. Lady George was almost thrown to the ground, but was caught by the captain, who had just parted with Lady Florence to Sir Harry. But poor Mary had been almost on the floor, and could hardly have been saved without something approaching to the violence of an embrace.
Lord George had come into the room very shortly after the Kappa-kappa had been commenced, but had not at once been able to get near the dancers ... when he first saw the performers could not tell who was his wife's partner. She was then waltzing backwards with Count Costi; and he, though he hated waltzing, and considered the sin to be greatly aggravated by the backward movement, and though he hated counts, was still somewhat pacified. he had heard since he was in the room how the partners were arranged, and had though that his wife had deceived him. The first glance was reassuring. bu Mary son returned to her real partner; and he slowly ascertained tha she was in very truth waltzing with Captain de Baron ... (Folio Society, IHP, introd. DSkilton, pp. 303-4 and facing illustration).
The second illustration is that of the Dean suddenly attacking the Marquis de Brotherton. As we have talked enough about the lead-up to the scene, I will simply describe the picture and quote the text. We see a room similar to that in which Lord George met the Marquis. There is an elaborate mantelpiece, with a clock, and porcelain objects on it. Over it is a mirror. To the side there is a curtain -- this is very like 17th century Van Dyke and is the third depiction to use the curtain as a way of indicating a stage. Peeking out from the curtain is a large plant on a column. Behind the Dean and the Marquis is a plush armchair, very elegant figurations on the satin. Doubtless the one the Marquis was sitting upon just before the Dean pounced on him and pulled him out of it. Before is an elderly man with glasses; he has a clerical collar; on his face is a fierce expression. He holds a thin frightened elegantly dressed man by the neck. His body looms over the elegantly dressed man's; the Marquis crumbles before the on-slaught. The trouble with the picture is the Marquis's face: its surprise is overdone so it feels comic. Still the rush of one body on another is felt. To the front is a round slightly battered or soft clerical hat sitting which has fallen onto the rug. In the next instance we can feel out this strong older cleric will whirl the gentleman about and slam the gentleman with all his might against that inner chimney which is also depicted. The whirl here parallels the whirl in the dance floor.
The text reads:
The dean, as I have said, had been standing about six feet from the easy-chair in which the marquis was lolling when the word was spoken. He had already taken his hat in his hand and had thought of some means of showing his indignation as he left the room. Now his first impulse was to rid himself of his hat, which he did by pitching it along the floor. And then in an instanet he was at the lord's throat. The lord had expected it so little that up to the last he made no preparation for defence. thedean had got him by his cravat and shirt collar before he had begun to expect such usage as this. Then he simply gurgled out some ejaculated oath, uttered half in surprise and half in prayer. Prayer certainly was now of no use. Had five hundred feet of rock been there the marquis would have gone down it, though the dean had gone down with him . Fire flashed from the clergyman's eyes, and his teeth were set fast, and his very nostrils were ablaze! His daughter! The holy spot of his life! The one being in whom he believed with all his heart and with all his strength! (p. 329 and facing illustration).
I again suggest the word 'harlot' for its intense ancient associations, for the feel of some sacred taboo broken, a taboo around the 'pure' and 'unpolluted' object whose staining is felt to be such a horror that adherence is invested in it to the point that if it is broken the individual breaks out in atavistic savagery. By no means have such feelings gone from men about their women today. As either Judy or Lisa (or someone else remarked) there is a parallel between George pulling Mary away from the dance floor and the Dean's behavior against the Marquis. The Dean is luckier: there is no one to ridicule his depth of feeling; the author of the book, somewhat unrealistically, lets the man survive. In Trollope's first novel, Thady McDermot murders the police officer who has impregnated his sister. Here is a primal scene Trollope returns to throughout his career: John Crump almost murders Felix Carbury over Ruby Ruggles in a similar manner in The Way We Live Now.
Cheers to all,
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000
Subject: [trollope-l] IHP: Illustrations
Thanks for your illustration post Ellen. I see that they chose two of main action scenes, the dance and the Dean's visit to the Marquis.
Someone wondered earlier about what the Kappa-kappa was like that Mary could almost fall. From the descriptions Ellen gives I can certainly understand it. I tend to think of the waltz as a rather slow and dreamy dance but when I see it in old movies the dancers were really moving fast, and with large steps. And apparently the Kappa-kappa was even faster. Certainly an unexpected collision at that fast pace would throw anyone's balance off.
I think George did go too far though in his treatment of Mary and dragging her unceremoniously out of the dance. He was so mad about the fact that Jack was her partner--he didn't seem to pay any attention to the fact that she wasn't dancing with Jack when the collision occurred, he just happened to be close enough to catch her. If he'd kept a cool head he should have rushed up, grabbed Mary and then thanked Jack for saving her. It would have put his stamp of approval on everything and put a lot of rumors to rest.
In the next illo, the Dean and the Marquis--I had pictured the Marquis as heavy whereas in the picture he is thin. Probably I thought he was heavy because he is so sedentary. That might help explain why he was not more severely injured than he was when he was thrown down by the Dean, less weight.
And yes, Rory, the Marquis did repeat the word again in the presence of the doctor, policeman, hotel manageress and staff. I thought that was a big mistake on his part but I'm sure he was not thinking clearly at the time--or again, maybe he just didn't care. For myself, I cheered when the Dean threw him down!
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 29-32
For this week we have three illustrations: they continue to focus the reader on the story of George and Mary. Well, really they focus on George: he appears in two of them; the third shows us a confrontation between two people, Lady Sarah and the Dean, one of whom, Lady Sarah has come in place or on behalf of George in her attempt to wrest Mary back to Cross Manor. From the point of view of the illustrator, George is the quiet center of this novel: he appears in more pictures than anyone else; when he is not there, it is some action of his that is actuating the figure we see. He is, after all, going to be the next Marquis but one, and it is his genes which permit Mary's baby to be that longed-for thing, another Marquis. The title of the book is appropriate, an indirect allusion to and hit at the characters' adherence to civilisation in the form of subservience to titles. It matters not what the quality of the person inhabiting the role; what matters is his legitimate right to it since if he hasn't got the law on his side, someone will grab it from him, unless of course he conveniently dies. We have focused on the baby and his (to the Germaines) unattractive darkness, but it is George who is the one needed to make another. The Dean knew that.
The caption to the first illustration is 'He was so surprised he hardly knew how to greet her'. The text facing the illustration reads:
On the day of her arrival Lady Sarah knocked at the deanery door alone. Up to this moment she had never put her foot in the house. Before the marriage she had known the dean but slightly, and the visiting to be done by the family very rarely fell to her share. The streets of Brotherton were almost strange to her, so little was she given to leave the sphere of her own duties. In the hall, at the door his study, she met the dean. He was so surprised that he hardly knew how to greet her 'I am come to call upon Mary', said Lady Sarah, very brusquely' (Folio Society IHP, introd. DSkilton, Ch 46, p. 366 and facing illustration).
Here's the picture:
We see two figures facing one another in a kind of quietly drawn confrontation. Behind them is a wall of books, a desk, a small ladder which would enable someone to climb high to reach a book. A wide doorframe frames them with an elderly somewhat stout woman in front of the left side of the frame, and a man about the same age in front of the right. We are drawn to the vexed look on her face, lips down, eyes looking hard, slightly grim, a down-turning nose. This woman was never pretty. She stands stiffly. Lady Sarah holds her hands in a firm clasp; there are light twirling lines to suggest they tremble slightly behind an umbrella hanging from her wrist. She trussed up tight: very high white collar around her neck, with a sort of bow signalling (as the modern tie and bow do in our society), unavailablity, conformity, control, in other words, no sex here. Lady Sarah wears a hat which looks like a pancake with flowery stuff on it; a dark jacket like top; a long white skirt. Her umbrella has seen better days.
The dean has a more open look on his face; his features turn upwards, he leans over from the top of his body slightly towards her. He holds his hand out towards her, but not too obviously. We all know that except when the male animal within is provoked by the Marquis, the dean knows when to be cordial and when not. His letter of invitation to his son-in-law is a masterpiece of family politics. His eyes are simply bright and alert, slightly surprised; in his other hand he holds a book -- he was reading. The dean does wear a cleric's outfit, though under his topcoast there seems to be sort of comfortable sweater looking affair. He has no collar this morning.
Kate Aldous has given us a visualisation of the way intense family conflicts look from the outside. The two antagonists here are the intelligent forces in their respective families.
The second illustration serves as the book's frontispiece. The caption is 'The touch of her hand was pleasant to his arm'. The text cited in the index (p. 391) is the page-long description of George and Mary's walk out together through the village; it is written from the subjective point of view of Mary and then of George. We get Mary's as an eager, anxious child-like woman, someone who is proud to be seen with George, likes to pout in public, pretending to differ with him over what ribbons she should buy; she feels it as 'terrible' there should be this quarrel, 'terrible to her that the would should think so'. So she is 'gratified' to be seen with him. We are told how 'heavy' the weeks in her father's house have been; 'heavy with the feeling of disgrace'; about how she tells herself she 'had endeavoured to do right', how she was so 'fond of pleasure, how she has told herself she will 'never walz again'. Trollope tells us she 'yearns' for George's company, and that, oddly, 'during much' of this day abroad, 'she was actually happy, in spite of the great sorrow which still weighed heavily on them both'. How paradoxical and thin the experience of happiness, its fleetingness and odd sources are before us. But the caption comes from George's meditations:
And he liked it also in his way [this walking in public together]. He thought that he had never seen her looking more lovely. He was sure that she had never been more gracious to him. The touch of her hand was pleasant to his arm, and even he had sufficient spirit of fun about him to enjoy something of the mirth of her little grimaces (p. 391).
She is telling stories of what her father said about Mr Groschut, how she hates Mr Groschut ever so much more, can never forgive 'the nasty man': 'Don't you see that his face always shines. Any man with a shiny face ought to be hated'. Indeed so too ladies who 'paint frightfully' (p. 260, Mary on Adelaide Houghton). Are we supposed to find this charming? (Irresistible contemporary politic note to those keeping up with the US election: let us imagine what this young woman might have said of the Florida State Attorney General [not sure that is the exact title, anyway she's the Republican appointee of Jeb Bush, the Florida governer], Katherine Harris whose make-up has caused more mocking acid comment among the generality than her use of the law.)
The illustration is one of the pleasantest in the volume. We see a picturesque village street. The day is pictured as quiet and perhaps bright -- the lines in the sky suggest barely-moving clouds; there's a lot of white. To back of the picture, where is the vanishing point we see a pseudo-gothic cathedrale front; along the sidewalk are pretty shops. Old-fashioned glazed windows, many panes; to the front one has circles suggesting porcelain inside. Three sketched figures walk in the street to the back of a lady and gentleman who are drawn with many lines. We can recognise George by his beard, Mary by the hairstyle. He is very elegant, top hat. Under one of his arms is a large square well-wrapped package; Mary clasps his other arm with two of hers, leaning on him, looking down. She has an elegant triangular hat with feather, sumptuous two-piece dress with the middle not drawn in. A kind of loose-waist-coat jacket splays out, with a suggestion of large breasts inside. She is, of course pregnant. She looks down to the ground, dreaming; his eyes are fixed on her. We, of course, have seen their inner relationship, and have an idea of what their life in private has been, and its non-existence right now. Kate Aldous visualises how the world sees such a couple to provide the contrast with how Trollope presents their thoughts as controlled by that world. Whence after all is this morning satisfaction? The exhilaration of walking, of dramatizing oneself in front of others to fulfill their admiring ideas of you? Mary is clearly on display.
Since there are three illustrations, I will divide this week's posting on the pictures here.
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Illustrations for Instalments 29-32 (II)
The caption to the third illustration reads: '"Get out, will you?" he said ... "And don't trample on me more than you can help". Kate Aldous has visualised the chance encounter between Lord George and the Marquis on the train. l like to think that Trollope would have approved of chosing this scene to dwell upon. The page-long text facing the picture brings us again into George's mind. He is uncomfortable and perplexed. He succumbs to his emotional yieldingness and speaks first: Not only that he asks the brother who has thrown him out of the house, how he has been, hopes the Marquis finds himself better. I don't feel contempt for George here; I feel sympathy. The Marquis declines to say how he is: 'I've not much to boast of. I can just travel that's all'. 'And how is -- Popenjoy?' The dash tells us that Lord George doubts the legitimacy. The Marquis can't say; he never seems very well. George tries the acounts, this 'with solicitude'. The Marquis answers with a question, 'Coal and blanket accounts?' You get no mileage out of this man. But it seems that George has something he must know; he must know if the Marquis is going to Cross Manor, for then, he, George, must stay at an inn, and we get the precise moment Aldous visualised:
At the end of five minutes he plucked up his courage, and asked his brother another question. 'Are you going to the house, Brotherton?'
'The house! What house? I'm going to a house, I hope.'
'I mean to Manor Cross'.
'Not if I know it. Ther is no house in this part of the country in which I should be less likely to show my face'. Then there was not another word till they reached the Brotherton station, and there the marquis, who was sitting next the door, request his brother to leave the carriage first. 'Get out, will you?' he said. 'I must wait for somebody to come and take these things. And don't trample on me more than you can help'. This last request had apparently been made because Lord George was unable to step across him without treading on the cloak (p. 395 and facing illustration).
What troubles me is the thought that some readers will simply respond emotionally out of a heritage of aggression in our genes, and despise George. They will hate the Marquis, of course, but sheer away from detaching themselves and offering a sympathetic understanding to the underdog here. George is the underdog not because of who he is (his title); he's the underdog because all his impulses are decent emotionally bonding ones. As I have remarked before, were these characters chimps, George would be at the bottom of the tree. That's not to indite George, but say what Trollope wants us to grasp about the nature of human relationships.
The picture is done in great detail. We see the inside of an expensive coach. To the left there is an elegant thin gentleman with a sort of supercilious expression on his face. He has an elaborate checked cape swathing him. On a rack above is a hat and umbrella. His thin hands point to the side. The lines on the face suggest a set sneer. On the floor is this rich man's luggage. An expensive bag (very fancy material); two baskets of food; a large book. The man seems to take about 2/3s of the seat. George is bigger and takes as much room on the right of the seat, but he seems to move away as if worried he will touch the other man. He looks uncomfortable, harried, vexed. He wears the elegant gentleman's outfit of trousers, white shirt, waistcoat, tie; there's an umbrella in his hand. The door is to the other side and certainly George is in danger of tripping over the bags which fill the floor.
Who is the Marquis of Brotherton today? Where do we see him? I would have at one time unhesitatingly suggested that no one today would be so obvious, but times have changed, at least outwardly and perhaps such egoism and half-obtuseness to how the world must behave to such as he, serve him, would only be somewhat less unashamed.
At any rate, in terms of the story: here are the brothers. Lisa mentioned how Fanny Trollope favored her son and how this relationship probably works into Trollope's presentation of figures like George. As I gaze at this scene I can't help but wonder how Anthony himself, often so messy, his clothes crumpled up, the younger less favored one, might have felt at times when he faced his much more apparently suave older brother, the man who ran the Villa Trollopino (was that the title, I forget) filled with rich objects, who had the wife with the shady past and money: Theodosia was probably the daughter of her supposed mother's daughter, one Harriet Fisher. Harriet lived with her mother and her mother's second husband who doted on Theodosia and was said to be and probably was Theodosia's father. Tom's one daughter by Theodosia was born late in his life; there was a scandal here throwing doubt upon her parentage. Evidence suggest this particular inference was unfair; Tom Trollope was Bice's father although he was often hard and cold to her, somewhat estranged after he married Frances Ternan (sister to Dickens's mistress). In the hardness of Guss Mildmay and Arabella Trefoil's life (Arabella is the anti-heroine of The American Senator) many have said we have a portrait of Bice. Anthony & Rose were kind to Bice: it is out of this perspective he looks askance at how Mary fails to appreciate the source of her happiness in social life comes from the reality she need not get her bread and roof through her efforts on the dance floor.
Too bad Trollope could not present to his audience something closer to the realities of upper class life in England at the time. His novels would be then be charged with intensely; as it is, all we get are these oblique fragments to contemplate.
Cheers to all,
To Trollope-l December 15, 2000
Re: _Is He Popenjoy?_: Closing Illustrations (I)
This must be an abbreviated version of my weekly postings on the illustrations. As I told everyone a couple of months ago now, my husband, younger daughter, Isabel, and I are going to Paris this coming Wednesday, and I am suddenly pressed for time. I was delighted to be a new sophomore level literature course I've never done before, but of course it takes enormous amount of work to do a new course; my grades for this term must be in on Tuesday, and the new term begins on January 16th, a full week and half earlier than usual. And I could no more forget nor totally neglect JA and Bath than I once could Trollope on the Net. So this will be a general survey of Kate Aldous's choice and drawings of last and this coming week's illustrations for the Folio Society edition of Is He Popenjoy?.
A bird's eye view, when taken together with all the choices and the kind of drawing that Aldous did throughout the book reveals that there is an real attempt on Aldous's part to make some facsimile for the content of Victorian illustrations. Aldous's style is not idyllic (a kind of monumentalism through lines) nor picturesque in the psychological 18th-19th century way; she continually verges on slight comic caricature; she also does not choose the brooding reverie scenes, though, fascinatingly, like many of Trollope's original illustrators she illustrated scenes of letter writing and quarrels over letters. Where she is most like the Victorians is in her choice of the domestic, in her emphasis on the erotic, familial, and sentimental. The contemplation of pictures -- the way to read illustrations -- is by seeing what they highlight in the narrative, what strand they bring out, and contemplating the picture in the light of a facing text.
For this past week, she chose the erotic and familial. The first illustration is of a now clearly pregnant Mary (the seated female figure has her hands poised around the bottom part of her upper body which is now bulky), very prettily dressed sitting near Jack de Baron under a tree. He looks yearningly at her; the lines of her thighs are brought out under the dress. They sit on a bench under a tree; nature is very feathery. The caption: 'Jack was of cousrse quite willing to sit under the cedar tree instead of playing croquet'. The facing text is one of those where Mary seems not to recognise the intense flirting all the while objecting to Jack's engagement to Augustus Mildmay (Folio Society, IHP, and facing illustration).
About the middle of our read Howard Merkin pointed out that Anthony Juckes had an intriguing essay on Is He Popenjoy? in a Trollopiana (No. 46, 1999, pp. 13-23). Either Juckes or someone else on the editorial staff of Trollopiana chose to place in a facing position to Juckes's theory of George's sexual inadequacy a startling picture of Jack de Baron, one which bears out an assumption that modern readers read these Victorian novels in a far more puritanical, unsexed spirit than the Victorians. Aldous's Jack is blonde, looks sweetly yearning; in earlier scenes in the book, he is small, slightly comic at times, never sensual or the rake. In this actually late Victorian illustration we see a Jack with dark hair, tall, looming over a woman with salaciously flirting eyes (presumably not Mary), and the captain there is the one which called Jack one of "The bored jackals of London Society" (p. 17 and facing illustration). One could claim that while Aldous has enough integrity and perception to bring the Mary-George-Jack, Jack-Gus-Mary triangle out, yet she emasculates what is the strength of Trollope's theme: Mary's deepest desires have been thwarted; she has been coerced slowly and not so gently into sublimating what she wanted and then trapped or brought biologically along by her pregnancy. Whether we think it a good thing that Mary has been thwarted of the lover she really wanted or a bad thing is irrelevant. The older illustration was franker in its visualisation.
The second shows us the Germaine family sitting at table with Mary and the Dean. The two figures to the left of the picture, drawn the largest half facing one another dominating a round table are the Dean and Lady Sarah. A nice touch is both Lady Sarah and the Dean have glasses on their eyes which are on a line with one another. This pricks our memory back to an earlier illustration in the book where they confronted one another. Instead of war, peace has been declared and there is a cordial look in bent of their heads towards one another. The other sisters and Mary are drawn in more sketchily around the back (to us) of the table. The room is as luxurious as the earlier ones have been, and again we have an allegorical picture. A goddess holding a staff (Athena?) looks down at a healthy young child. The genitilia are obscured so I cannot tell what its sex is. Cupids usually have these little gentilia. An allusion to the Germaine's not knowing what sex the child will be as will as an allusion to what has brought this family together again. The rationale for this picture is probably that it is an allegory of education. Many a Renaissance rich cleric hired his Titan to draw voluptuous women and the rationale was they were an Aphrodite.
Trollope is not the only English novelist to use the dinner as an emblem of the nature of social existence. George is beginning to look more the handsome figure we saw in the first picture and sits at what would be the equivalent of the head of the table. There is a loud hint in this week's concluding chapters that Mary has at last warmed to him and his sexual performance much improved ('No man is better satisfied with his wife ..., Ch 64, p. 508), though Aldous has still given some lines to George's face to suggest a sensitivity and slight withdrawness (I invent the word) even here where he is now Marquis and a soon-to-be father. The caption is 'Lord George came, and in a quiet way the dinner was a success' (p. 453 and facing illustration).
I'll break this posting here to indicate that the next two are the illustrations for the last chapters (which I would have written next week but cannot so place them on the list now).
Re: Is He Popenjoy?: Closing Illustrations (II)
Kate Aldous' concluding illustration for Is He Popenjoy? is an attempt at sentimental comedy.
The caption is 'Dear Mamma! He was gone away -- beyond all trouble!" (Folio Society IHP, introd. DSkilton, p. 453 and facing illustration). We see a group of women on the edge of tears or weeping. Near us to the left (again figures on the left have seen the Renaissance been seen as the lead or dominating figures of a painting) are Lady Susannah and Lady Amelia: they clutch one another around the waists, and look on at a scene. To their left is a curtain pulled back. Again the 17th century Van Dyke effect. Deep in the room in one chair is a woman very thick in the middle also holding a handkerchief. To the far right is an elderly woman on her knees to a very old woman; the kneeling woman is Lady Sarah; the very old woman in the chair has a comically dismayed expression.
Aldous has seen in the Marchioness of Brotherton an equivalent to Jane Austen's Mrs Musgrove who kids herself that she misses her son so she can luxuriate in the emotion while never having known him at all, in fact being better off now that he is dead so he can give her no more trouble (the novel is Persuasion). Trollope saw as clearly as Austen into exactly how far people will carry their pretenses. The text shows the Marchioness's absurdity as coolly as Austen's on Mrs Musgrove.
Aldous is giving us a visual equivalent of Trollope's attempt to end his novel comically first by reverting to satiric comedy, caricature of the Baroness Banman and then offering shallowly modelled sentimental comedy as a way of distancing us from the people so that we will see them as fitting in their roles. Only at the very end of the book does Trollope in the figures of the Dean and Mary bring back some stronger justifications of themselves and intense passion (Mary's rejection of Adelaide letter ends the novel -- that's very curious, very odd).
I don't know if Aldous's picture quite comes off. I suspect many 20th century readers would not look at it carefully or compare it to the text and see the comedy. They would be embarrassed by seeing one figure kneeling to another. Margaret Markwick and many other feminist writers like to inveigh against the depiction of women kneeling to men which we find in Victorian illustrations (including those to Trollope's novels); the truth is in these novels women kneel to woman and men at least bow to men. This was a society which demanded subservience, and a middle class reader would find their sense of security reinforced by such images.
Let us concentrate on the caption: 'Dear Mamma! He was gone away -- beyond all trouble!". Surely, Aldous would have done better to take the words seriously, literally. The picture is a deviation, a flight from the words.
There is a melancholy undertow in this latter part of the novel which adds to the sudden warmth of the structural comic close and jokes and justifications (the Dean is given one which is anti-hierarchy, would dissolve it, but that's another posting). Part of this recalls the madness and shattering of Louis Trevelyan in He Knew He Was Right who towards the end of Is He Popenjoy? the Marquis of Brotherton comes to resemble. Yes the Marquis is now at peace, beyond all trouble. Lady Sarah is a presence given great intelligence. She and the Dean and the Marquis stand out this way. We have seen enough to know that Lady Sarah knows whereof she speaks. As I was sorry that Aldous did not draw the a picture for Jack and Mary trailing around the Victoria and Albert Memorial, so I wish Aldous had pictured the Marquis or Italy. Then we would have had a visual equivalent of a significant center of Trollope's novel which is not insofar as it has power sentimental, familial or even erotic. If anything, it is anti-erotic.
Marcus Stone had the courage. Those who have the Trollope Society edition of He Knew He Was Right can look at the illustration of Louis at the end of his tether (or rope, the Marquis would like that metaphor) in the illustration facing p. 700 (Trollope Society HKHWR, introd. Robertson Davies). Make the man much thinner, more sneering, sardonic, desperate and you would have the figure at the center of the carpet of Is He Popenjoy?.