Anthony Trollope is one of the greatest nineteenth-century novelists with who (oddly) the majority of readers come into contact on their own -- that is, without first having been assigned to read a novel by him in school. Unlike the nineteenth-century American novelist Herman Melville, or James Joyce, about both of whom it has been argued they are today classics and best-sellers (at least in college student bookstores) because of assigned reading in school, Trollope has survived in spite of how he has been treated or ignored. When I was a girl my father owned old sets of British 18th and 19th century realist novels published in the 1930s. Before I was fourteen I had read all sorts of novels by a number of the more famous English novelists: Oliver Goldsmith, Jane Austen, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Charles Reade, Richard Blackmore, Robert Louis Stevenson -- and of course Charles Dickens. But no Trollope. Trollope was never included in these sets. Trollope was skipped over.
Most of the time he felt impatience with people who wanted to take his picture. He disliked photography: 'I hate sitting for a photograph'. He would look at a photograph of himself and say: 'It looks uncommon feirce [sic], as that of a dog about to bite; but that I fear is the nature of the animal portrayed'. However, there was one ordeal he enjoyed whose results he liked. He wrote about Samuel Laurence's 1864 painting of him three times to George Smith. The first time Trollope said, 'Such a week I have had in sitting! Only that he is personally such a nice fellow, & has to so much to say for himself, I should have been worn out. I have been six times or seven I think, & am to go again. He compliments me by telling me that I am a subject very difficult to draw'. Then he wrote a second time, 'I did not tell you, I think, that my wife liked the portrait very much indeed. She seemed to have a fuller respect for me when she had seen it than ever before'. And he again returned to the picture in a third letter: 'The picture is a very good picture & my wife declares it to be very like . . .'
I have written a book recording how a group of people responded in cyberspace to a few of Trollope's books interwoven with essays by myself on the topics related to, and autobiographical, historical, and critical frameworks for, the books discussed. It seems to me appropriate that Trollope has become a novelist explored in an arena open to those who can get into the World Wide Web through a computer terminal somewhere on this earth. A voracious reader, he never went to university, and when he wrote a lively, intelligent and readable book on Cicero, he was laughed at by the learned. Like many an essentially unconventional man and successful writer, since his death he has been misunderstood and misappropriated.
On my site I have put as much information and analysis in an easily readable format as I can about Trollope's life and works and helpful books about him and his milieu. I have also included threads from various group reads on Trollope19thCStudies (previous name: Trollope-l as samples of what may be found as a reader in Trollope's books. I invite people who come to my site to use any or all of the following materials to begin or to continue a discovery or research of their own, and I ask that anyone who does quote or use any of it credit my site in the conventional manner (e.g., MLA style).
My book: Trollope on the 'Net
A revolutionary review of Trollope and why we read him: by Tyler Tichelaar, novelist, scholar.
My blog contextualizing Trollope on the 'Net
The Classical Trollope
Essays and Conversations on Trollope's Novels
Essays and Postings on Anthony Trollope's Novels by members of Trollope19thCStudies (previous name: Trollope-l):
Essays and Postings on Anthony Trollope's Short Stories by members of Trollope19thCStudies:
Essays and Postings on Anthony Trollope's Non-Fiction by members of Trollope19thCStudies:
Michael Powe's Website, trollope.org, includes selections of postings, threads, and essays from group conversations on