The Warden, Introduction
Serious Drollery, or Playfulness with a Point; Dr Grantly and Rabelais; Why Can Some People Not Endurer Dr Grantly?; The Art and Achievement of The Warden; Friendly Disagreements and Vigorous Debate

To Trollope-l

June 21, 1999

Re: The Warden, Chs 5-8: Serious Drollery, or Playfulness with a Point I am glad Gene posted his review and commentary on Trollope's attitude towards the clergymen of England before we began the book. From what he writes here and throughout his career, other books, the issues of how a man is chosen for the office of clergyman and what he is paid were issues Trollope really cared about. Later in his career -- and our Barsetshire series -- he will bring forth (I use the birth metaphor deliberately) -- the Rev Mr Josiah Crawley who is perhaps the greatest of his creations. We will again and again meet characters who exemplify the injustices of what we would call the scale of pay for clergymen. Trollope is repeatedly -- in comic and serious mode -- indignant and sympathetic towards the curate who is often made a genuinely religious figure. One of his more appealing and sympathetic religious figures in his novels is the Rev Frank Fenton of The Vicar of Bullhampton: the themes of this book include an examination of how difficult, indeed impossible it is to try to be thy brother's and sister's keeper, how people cannot get beyond their narrow points of view to have genuine charity for those who are most unlike them. The Vicar of Bullhampton delves into religion as the Victorians understood its workings in real life: through examining people's ethical behavior.

In The Warden Trollope is not much interested in religious belief as such. Indeed the only novel wherein he actually dares to examine belief is The Bertrams -- a novel worth looking into because of this and its examination in a context of looking ambition and worldliness (the novel includes a suicide). Richard Mullen's biography of Trollope is as much about Trollope as it was about Mullen (it is very common for biographies to be autobiographies in disguise -- a dialogue between the subject and biographer in which the shaping of the subject projects the values of the biographer). Still for such a conservative man (conservative in his literary approach as much as anything else) to delve at length into Trollope's publications on church politics and on the various controversies of the age and insist these are central for an understanding of Trollope ought to give us pause. Mullen argues that it was only later (after _The Warden_) that Trollope came to be fond of the Archdeacon; Trollope always disliked puritanism and fanaticism of any kind; he was sympathetic to men and women who went about their lives giving to others. Personally he liked to read religious controversy and responded to it though he would not himself publish anything which would tend to destroy belief (probably because he saw how easy this was -- he read Darwin); his inclinations remained towards High Church (partly a matter of class, partly a matter of disliking what he saw as bigotry, repression, small- and narrow-mindedness.) It is interesting he has Grantly reading Rabelais. That shows the man has passion, is alive. Yes he is a hypocrite because he hides his Rabelais, but Trollope likes the earthy impulse registered by this taste.

I introduce this week's chapters with some commentary on Trollope's religion and stance on the church because it seems to me that Chapters 5-8 concentrate on Dr Grantly and not in a sympathetic spirit. Dr Grantly is shown to be a materialistic man, a bully, one who will threaten and not understand he is insulting others because he deems these others subhuman. He is not a bad man if it be not bad to be utterly a creature of one's appetites and fervent on behalf of one's order (fellows) and income and status. In fact, most people are, and Dr Grantly is simply Everyman. That is not to say that Trollope accepts this. He exposes Grantly in these chapters, mocks him in his bed, at breakfast, and in his conscience. Henry James agrees with me that The Warden is simply a story about an old man's conscience; well, Dr Grantly doesn't get it. He doesn't have one that is sensitive to whatever wrongs he does to others. Everything he does is right, surely. Trollope is a more austere moralist than people think. His attitude towards Haphazard's opinion recalls his attitude towards the law in Orley Farm_. It never entered Haphazard's mind to consider what might be themorally right or morally wrong thing to do. Law is a game. Haphazard is paid to get his client off or keep his client in clover. And if he could do so by finding a technicality -- in this case Bold is suing the wrong person and it's not clear who he should sue -- that is winning. Haphazard would do fine in Chancery, and Grantly would see nothing wrong in the place -- as long as he, Grantly, is not on the losing side.

The church satire is continual in these chapters: Trollope descends to mocking portrayals of three ecclesiastical figures in the three Grantly sons. It is not true that Trollope is on the side of the fat cats at all, for to me it is clear he mocks Haphazard in his quest to humiliate the Irish nuns and demolish the Irish MPs through appealing to their anger. Whiston whom the Archdeacon damns so thoroughly was one of the scholars who protested the distribution of the spoils at Rochester. In this case it is not a matter of poor ignorant old men demanding money they don't know how to spend, but one group of upper class people fighting with another. The whole depiction of Plumstead Episcopi is a mock: it is a plum. The Archdeacon has more to eat for breakfast than a flock of people have in a whole week. His residence is plush, rich, without having any taste which might offend. The dullest of dull bores is what he wants to appear -- no wonder our narrator tells us that despite the solid luxuries of the place he never enjoyed himself there. To me Dr Grantly's visit to the hospital where he implicitly threatens and insults the old men and is strongly contrasted with our hero, Mr Harding who would have done anything to prevent this scene, not only distasteful, but also, as our narrator says, angering and disgusting to the men who had to listen. Dr Grantly is smart: he knows better than to answer the Jupiter. But he so despises those beneath him, he doesn't know that to provoke them is impolitic.

The church satire of this week's chapters is linked to the media satire: if there's anything Trollope cannot bear, it's the power of newspapers to sway people. He goes on about this at length in The New Zealander. Both are castes: media and church. Both have their bullies out to solidify themselves and their fellows. While in this week's chapters we still have Bold and Grantly playing the Warden's two tempters pulling him in opposite directions towards what each thinks is good, soon Bold will be replaced by Towers. The chapter, "The Jupiter" contains a central scene of the story. Mr Harding cannot bear to be so shamed; to him it is to be shamed. He is alive to it -- most people seem to be indifferent or at least obdurate to humiliation when some other prestige or access to luxury or money is at stake. We reach the 'inmost heart' of the book when we read the 'Jupiter' with Mr Harding and watch him walk outside and half-determine not to take this moral punishment. To him it's important. (I daresay Mr Harding could only survive on a moderated list on the Net -- joke alert, joke alert. Just think how the poor man would bleed within if he had to read a flame war. I hesitate to imagine it.)

Here again we reach an important issue for Trollope. He saw the average person as blind, mostly ignorant, driven by his or her passions, and judging everything very narrowly and personally. He argues that newspapers sway such people, have power which is bad for the state. They survive on slander. Think of Mr Clinton's sexual escapades on the one hand, and the attempted coup d'état we have seen in the US recently (it was a sort of coup d'état to attempt to unseat a popularly elected president if you could get up the votes). All was dependent on newspapers. Whitewater was actually the much more important issue in many ways; campaign finance; health care. But these are boring or not in the interest of those who run newspapers and need advertising to talk about. His chapter on The New Zealander is still relevant, and his presentation of the power of 'The Jupiter' simply a fictionalisation of his attitude.

Still (my tones above are really much too serious or unironic) what is inimitable about The Warden is the light, delicious, indeed droll tone in which everything is presented. This week's chapters are continually playful. For me the attempt to present Eleanor's party in the language of mock heroics, and to present the Archdeacon's aggressive way of playing Bridge doesn't quite work. It seems too heavy-handed. The latter is supposed to recall Pope? The former is Trollope's first real attempt at Fieldingesques (so to speak -- I am thinking of similar passages in Tom Jones and much more successful ones in Barchester Towers). I grow restless. Perhaps the play and drollery don't work quite as well in this part is there is no sting, no barb, no knife in the play. We don't care whether the men and women dance with one another; we don't care who wins at Bridge. But when the serious satire is presented playfully -- Grantly the cock of the walk, and all the innuendoes which mock his house, his children, Towers, Bold and at moments Mr Harding and Eleanor too -- the mixture is irresistible. We like to be amused by what we care about.

The effect is partly that of pastoral. To make us laugh about what we care about is to defuse it, de-sting the sting while making a hit. It is also to make the point strong through aesthetic enjoyment and play.

Our center is still our Warden. For the book Lisa repeated the word charming. I like Skilton's word sunlit. With Mr Harding's deeply moral spirit -- and his weakness against all others because he is so moral -- suffusing the whole, we get sunlit satire, sunlit drollery. How can this world starve Mr Harding? We feel it won't happen. All will be well with him --and us too. For after all if he can survive, so can we.

What care we if the world is mad and irrational (consider that Hiram's will is nowadays wholly obsolete as John Hiram's world is long gone), if those in charge have taken what they can, if everyone judges everything according to their own passions (this is how Eleanor responds. She doesn't care about the merits of the case in the least -- and in this looks forward to Mrs Neverbend in The Fixed Period at the end of Trollope's career. And yet Trollope is making us pay attention to how our world is organised and its prizes and pride given out.

Ellen Moody

Sigmund Eisner wrote in next -- here the reader needs to know that some of us were reading Dickens's Bleak House at the same time as we were reading The Warden

Subject: [trollope-l] Hello, again

From: Sigmund Eisner

While we were enjoying our second honeymoon in Hawaii, fifty years after the first, my laptop broke down in the midst of a message to the Trollope net. But we are home again, and all computers are repaired. Meanwhile I have been reading both The Warden and Bleak House, as well as most of the comments all of you have been making.

Back to an issue of a week or so ago: I think it's rather dear of Archdeacon Grantly to read Rabelais in the privacy of his own study. Keeping such a book hidden from his family, but not really hidden from his wife, shows a more human side of him. He is not always the worldly and stiff disciplinarian that he presented to poor John Bold. Rabelais is much more than the Romanist writer of salacious literature that he must have seemed to be to the ninteenth-century Anglicans. Actually he belonged to the counter Reformation of the sixteenth century. Take a look at his schoolmaster of the old school. Rabelais had definite ideas about education reform. He was able to see the faults of the Catholic Church which led to the Reformation, but he wanted to correct them within the Church. He did not agree with Luther, who wanted to separate himself from the Church, but did agree that the abuses of the Church needed addressing. I think someone has said this already, but then I am late in my comments.

On another issue, I still prefer Trollope to Dickens. Granted that The Warden is not one of Trollope's strongest novels (Barchester Towers is much better), and granted that Bleak House may be one of Dickens' best, I still like The Warden better. Dickens is a very good story teller, but he tends to draw on the reader's emotions much more than Trollope. The poor bricklayer is one such example, as is his visitor, Mrs. Pardiggle. Some may say that if Mrs. Pardiggle is insensitive, so is Archdeacon Grantly. But I can believe in an Archdeacon Grantly, where I have a hard time believing in Mrs. Pardiggle and her brood of nasty children. The Archdeacon has one nasty child, Soapy, but Soapy is much more real than Mrs. Pardiggle's kids. I think that's it. Trollope is much more realistic than Dickens. Both address the very poor (remember The Macdermots of Ballycloran), but Trollope's poor are better motivated than Dickens'. Dickens wants to shock the reader into sympathy for the poor. Trollope wants the reader to sympathize but just recites the facts so that the reader can make up his own mind.

We are going to continue with Bleak House probably right through Barchester Towers, and there will be many points of comparison as we go along.

Anyway, I'm very glad to be back with a functioning computer.


Subject: [trollope-l] Trol: The Warden: Dr. Grantly and I

From: John Mize

My annoyance with Dr. Grantly is primarily based on my personal experience, especially my 20 years in the US Navy. Grantly reminds me of the type of naval officer who so identifies himself with the Navy that he regards any opposition to himself as opposition to the Navy and the country. Thus anyone who disagrees with him is skirting with treason. I've always had a little trouble with such officers, on one occasion coming dangerously close to being courtmartialed for disrespect. My only excuse would have been that although LCDR X. is an officer in the US Navy, he is also a worthless excuse for a human being, and I couldn't bring myself to show him any respect. I don't think that would have been a successful defense. The officer in question was worse than Grantly and a little closer to Captain Queeg, but I always had at least a little low-level friction with those officers who closely resembled Grantly. I suppose my dislike of authority figures can't be blamed on genetic inheritance, even though I come from a long line of Georgia rednecks who had little respect for quality folks. I'll still blame it on them and call it a cultural, rather than a genetic, inheritance.

John Mize

Tyler Tichelaar concurred:

Nevertheless, I still dislike Dr. Grantly. I certainly understand where he is coming from in his treatment of John Bold, and I'm afraid Bold comes off as being wishy washy. I would respect Bold more if he stood by his convictions. Nevertheless, Grantly is acting rashly and only going to cause more trouble as a result. Yet, I sympathize with where he's coming from. Look at the Bishop, who wants nothing but to keep peace while he remains alive. If the Bishop is also so soft and wishy washy, Dr. Grantly probably felt he has to take on the burden of protecting the church and acting when no one else will.

Tyler Tichelaar

Then Laurie Guilfoyle chimed in after Tyler:

Nope -- the "annoyance' does not pass because he develops into a somewhat more variegated person later. In the interview he was bullying and even sadistic-knowing that he was in charge and clearly enjoying humiliating John Bold. Not nice!


Then Gene posted again:

As I read more of The Warden, I get the impression that Trollope was still in the process of perfecting his art. I'll guess that Trollope's intentions of writing this book were somewhat like these:

1. To tell an interesting story that people would want to buy.

2. To use the well-known background of church abuses as a plot.

3. To take an even-handed approach to both sides of the issue so as to present the public with believable, three-dimensional characters.

4. To point out that there were press abuses also.

5. To portray an ideal character.

I think he failed in No. 3.

"The carrying out of the satire on Bishops Blomfield, Phillpotts, and Wilberforce may strike some readers [such as Henry James] as being rather heavy-handed," writes Hugh Hennedy in Unity in Barsetshire. I find it more heavy-handed of Trollope to use Rabelais in a "secret drawer" as one more device to characterize Dr. Grantly as one of those on both sides of the hospital dispute as not having clean hands. (Mark that it is not the Rabelais, but rather the secret drawer itself, whatever it's contents might be.) Trollope has already shown that Grantly is irascible, domineering, and scornful (character traits any of us might share at times, but hopefully not as much as Trollope means for Grantly). Did he need to add the dirty little wink? And who among us has not had some "secret drawer" in our pasts? Trollope himself not excepted.

Again, with Sir Abraham Haphazard, can Trollope find nothing worse to satirize him than that bit about conquering "his enemies by their weakness rarther than by his own strength"? Perhaps our own times make us cynical, but I don't really think so because the entire history of England shows that [almost] all's fair not only in love and war, but also in law suits. Had Sir Abraham bribed witnesses, forged evidence, or tried to blackmail his opponents, it would have been different. But Trollope shows himself remarkably low of ammunition in trying use Grantly and Haphazard to counterbalance the saintliness of Mr. Harding. Haphazard's job is to defend his client to the best of his ability, not to be the equitable judge and jury in the case.

Back to Grantly, Trollope is beating up on him without mercy. Ellen has well pointed out in several messages that we humans often are critical of others for doing the same thing that we ourselves do. I sometimes find it difficult to be judgmental of people for behaving like humans unless there is some direct hurt to others. I say "sometimes," because I know at other times I can be just as hypocritical as the next guy. I say "direct hurt" because, unless one is a saint, it is impossible to live without indirectly hurting others. Example: I was first introduced to massive poverty when I lived in Mexico. Walking through the streets, at first I found it pitiful, then numbing. You do get numb after a while. Yet at times I'd invite guests to a dinner, but 1) fail to serve them beans and pulque only so they could see how the other 90% lived, and 2) neglect to take the money so saved and give it to the inhabitants of some poor barrio to make a slight and very temporary improvement to their lot. I suppose my neglect was indirect harm. But I exclude such nonfeasance from my definitions.

Trollope is still laying it on with a trowel when he itemizes Grantly's breakfast. Rather sumptuous, yes. But what was Mr. Harding having for breakfast that morning? Or on a similar morning in the future, what did Mr. and Mrs. Phineas Finn have to eat? Or the Duke and Duchess of Omnium and Gatherum? Or Trollope's sympathetic character from TWWLN, Roger Carbury? Or Senator Gotobed? Or so many others that Trollope wants to portray as "good guys"? And, I wonder, hunting being such a strenuous and appetite-building sport, what did Mr. Trollope himself have to eat the morning that he wrote those words -- have you ever seen a menu from Victorian times? -- wow! As Ellen said, Trollope mocks Grantly "in his bed, at breakfast, and in his conscience." But considering that we are all no more than human, was Trollope being fair in singling out Dr. Grantly?

I think Trollope improved in his later novels in this aspect of character depiction.

Gene Stratton

To which partly replied -- as well as chiming in with Sig about Grantly and Rabelais.

June 23, 1999

Re: The Warden, Chs 5-8: Not Meant to Be Realistic

First on Rabelais: I think Trollope means us to find this bit of hypocrisy on Grantly's part somewhat endearing. It shows the man is made of flesh and blood. He's not actually masturbating :). Rabelais was also known as a kind of pagan, hedomist, subversive of religion. It fits the materialistic man who loves his breakfast, his comfortable wife -- all the plums that have through sheer luck come to him. The type that Trollope dislikes intensely is embodied in Slope, the repressed hypocrite, someone who would deprive others of the physical pleasures of life while getting some on the sly (the name alludes to a salacious character in Sterne's Tristam Shandy).

On this aspect of Trollope's sensibility I strongly recommend Christopher Herbert's Trollope and Comic Pleasure: Herbert argues that Trollope's basic quarrel with fundamentalist religion, evangelicals and all those cold hard mean women in Trollope's novels when they try to prevent whatever girl is under their care from marrying a man she loves is they hate and fear life (think of Mrs Bolton in _John Caldigate_, the monstrous Aunt in Linda Tressel). Grantly is a robust man who loves life, enjoys it, and there's nothing he likes better than a battle. It gets his juices up. In this he is contrasted to Mr Harding who retreats before life'sbattles; in this Grantly is like Trollope himself.

This morning I will disagree with Gene in a different way (I assume he enjoys vigorous debate which is not meant at all personally as much as me). I don't think The Warden is a book in which 'Trollope's art' has not been perfected because I would argue -- and could demonstrate -- that Trollope's art is highly varied. He wrote short books in a different way than he wrote the long ones. The short ones are not meant to be realistic; they are meant graphically to get at a single issue or situation. Throughout The Warden Trollope breaks realism again and again -- because he's not interested in it. Within the medium-length and long books he also uses very different kinds of techniques; he is always challenging himself. In fact I would say how remarkable are the first two Irish novels, one a tragedy in the vein of Wuthering Heights or Harding, and the other the first of the comic multiplot complex realistic big books. Not all of the literary devices work. The party is heavy-handed. Some people don't like the satires of Carlyle and Dickens. I think they are perfect and fit. But then I am not reading the book expecting it to be The Last Chronicle of Barset where realism is the name of the game.

Second, I suggest Trollope did not mean to be as even-handed in the way Gene suggests. Trollope means to hit hard at everyone. That's how he will reach his reader into having an emotional response against church abuses (embodied in Grantly's way of life), against busy-body reformers who don't know what they are doing and end up ruining instead of improving (embodied in Bold), against conscienceless media which is not held accountable (Towers), and yes against lawyers who work the law for money, profit and as a game without the slightest care about the morality. Trollope is austere; he is an idealist. In Orley Farm, Macdermots, Phineas Redux he inveighs against the court system. His point in Orley Farm is that law is manipulated to get the guilty off, that juries are made up of fools who can be deluded through appeal to their emotions; there is nothing Trollope loathes more than the attorney who bullies the person on the stand. He is not a compromiser on this; not at all. He detests Haphazard's exploitation of the stupidity and blind passions of the Irish MPs; there is a Swiftian outlook going on here. Trollope makes us laugh with Chaffanbrass because Chaffanbrass lets us know he has a real understanding of morality though he acts corruptly; he sends up Haphazard in the same spirit Dickens blames Chancery. Neither man is at all complacent or accepting of what they see as lies, as manipulation. The fact that Haphazard is paid for this, grows rich, is powerful, makes him all the more fitting material for Trollope's sharp mockery. The Big Man whom Mr Harding has to wait around all day to see.

But I do agree with Gene that most of us live our lives as best we can -- and Trollope knows that. It is impossible given the way societies are organised -- hierarchically -- that we do not bump into one another almost every minute of our lives in some way or other. I feel no guilt as I sit here on a Wednesday morning typing away and looking forward to a quiet day working on my teaching (half of it) and turning to my projects (the other half). Each of us finds ourselves where we are and live within the limits of our characters and circumstances as best we may -- unless we are revolutionaries. Then we may end up in jail for years and years -- I don't advise it. Or perhaps ourselves seekers after power and money. I don't advise that either for to my mind life as a flunky-courtier which is what such people often are until they get to the Top is exhausting, constricting, madness and not fulfilling as I understand fulfillment; also once you get to the Top everyone is trying to pull you down (yuk, yuk, yuk). As I understand Trollope's comment in An Autobiography Harding stands for the idea that we are thrown, find ourselves here and do our best. He writes: 'When a man is apointed to a place, it is natural that he should accept the income allotted to that place without much inquiry' (An Autobiography, 1980 Oxford ed, PDEdwards, p. 94). Who would not have taken the Warden job? Within his limits Mr Harding does his best -- though if you want to see Trollope beating up even on Mr Harding, the giving of tuppence a day extra is quietly a real hit at Harding. Look at the name: Hard. Mr Harding likes his tea too, and publishing music books he can't afford t publish.

Trollope's book is not meant to soothe us. It is meant to make us uncomfortable -- in a comic sort of way. That's just what satire is meant to do. The Warden is satire, sunlit satire, but satire all the same. The charm is in Mr Harding and the romantic landscape which is itself not realistic. Maybe what gives the book charm is it unites pastoral with satire. Other later novellas (the short novels) are pure satire and one fails (The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson) while a late one which is disturbing and openly Swiftian one (The Fixed Period) succeeds.

As he wrote in his An Autobiography he meant to make us stare straight at an issue which brings out the _irresolvable_ injustices of our world which stem from human nature as well as the way societies are organised and evolve over time. Do note that: irresolvable. He insists on this in An Autobiography and in The Warden. There is no solution where all are winners and all must have prizes. England was undergoing a strong social and economic revolution over the 19th century. In any social rearrangement, there are loser too. Someone has got to get hurt when power and luxuries are at stake, and by the end of this book all its old men lose -- all thirteen of them. Except of course Mr Harding who has a moral victory of sorts, and peace of mind. Doubtless some would call it a Pyrrhic victory and neither Grantly, Bold, Towers or Haphazard can begin to understand what Harding means by peace of mind. I agree with Judy that Harding is a variant on the sensitive moral consciousness we find in Plantagenet Palliser.


Then Judy Warner entered the fray:

From: "Judy Warner"

I felt in the beginning of the novel that much was being made of Mr. Harding's contentment in accepting the status quo without examining it. In this way, he's like the other clergy--it's always been this way or so it seems, and we're comfortable--it isn't until an activist like Bold comes along and stirs things up that Harding really has to examine the situation. He gave the extra bit of money to the old men, it's true, so he had a feeling that they were due more, but he didn't care to look closely.

There also seem to be contrasts made between the thick skinned---Grantly, Bold, and the thin skinned Warden, who feels the comments of others. It's not a game or contest to him, it's a personal attack. He's very much like Planty Palliser in this.

I'm interested in the Grantly children. I can't remember children being given so much space in any other book -- Ellen says they are "mocking portrayals of three ecclesiastical figures in the three Grantly sons." and that fits the boys I see, but what an odd way to do this.

Judy Warner

To which John Mize replied:

From: John Mize

Trollope doesn't appear to have much respect for any of Dr. Grantly's sons, all apparently destined to be church leaders. Charles James is clever, cautious and calculating, while Henry is a fierce, uncompromising bully. The worst of the lot is Sam, a lying, superficially charming weasel, who has earned the nickname, "Soapy Sam." In giving Sam that nickname, is Trollope taking a shot at Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, who had the same nickname?

Soapy Sam Wilberforce is best known for debating evolutionary theory with Thomas Huxley in 1860. Wilberforce tried to ridicule Darwinian evolution by asking Huxley if he were related to an ape on his father's or his mother's side. Huxley replied that while there would be no shame in being related to an ape, he would be ashamed to be related to a man like Wilberforce. The debate took place after Trollope had written the Warden, but Wilberforce was certainly famous in 1855, and given his nickname, not universally respected.

John Mize

From: Judith Moore

I agree that Trollope's satire of Dr. Grantly is relatively heavy-handed -- he'll do this sort of thing better later. It's hard to believe that Dr. Grantly keeps Rabelais in a secret drawer when he's already been indicted for having no sense of humor -- which surely would make Rabelais tedious reading for him. I also have a problem with using the children to satirize eminent bishops--the gap between the entities "children" and "bishops" is simply too wide, so that the little boys seem unfairly targeted.

I also agree that the mock-heroic description of the party seems to lack satiric point. Still, as my Gen-X son likes to say, "It's all good." When someone has the volume of achievement of Trollope, it's positively reassuring to see him learning how to be as good as he came to be.

Judith Moore

John Mize back to Dr Grantly:

From: John Mize

I suppose I disagree with Gene Stratton to the extent that I don't think Trollope is singling out Dr. Grantly and Abraham Haphazard so much as he is singling out Mr. Harding. Grantly and Haphazard are looking out for their own interests, just like almost everybody else. It's not very pretty, and it's not very admirable, but it is within the realm of the acceptable. Trollope seems to like Grantly more than he likes Grantly's sons, and Haphazard is just doing his job. Mr. Harding is the exceptional one. He is more interested in his conscience than his material comfort. He's a little like Prince Mishkin in Dostoyevski's The Idiot, and his life on this earth is bound to be just as successful as the prince's. I think the novel would be weaker if Grantly and Haphazard were actually breaking the rules rather than prudently bending them for their own interests. By the way, how bad was Rabelais considered then? Is that like a modern day family values conservative reading Ulysses or is it more like his reading Hustler magazine?

John Mize

Fearing Gene would be getting upset, I wrote a short posting I can no longer find in which I characterized all our talk as friendly disagreements and said vigorous debate was fun. This way we were writing in about the book.

Subject: Re: [trollope-l] _The Warden_, Chs. 5-8: Friendly Disagreements

From: "Ginger Watts"

Dear Ellen and All:

Yes, I do enjoy vigorous debate with 3 provisos: 1) that it never reaches an ad hominem level; 2) that it preferably be on facts rather than opinions; and 3) that I may be excused at times for not continuing a discussion once I believe that I've said everything germane and therefore have nothing more to say without ridiculously repeating myself. You and I would never reach an ad hominem/feminem level because it would be beneath us and because we're old friends. We don't always have our little friendly disagreements on the same plane because 1) you approach the study of Trollope more from a literary interest and I more from my interest in history, and 2) politics influencing so many human views, sometimes your liberalism shows just as sometimes my conservatism shows. However, re politics, I've frequently been amazed at how much your "liberal" views coincide with my "libertarian" philosophy, and vice versa, of course. You are definitely not a PC-er, nor am I a religious right-wing fanatic.

That said, let me thank you for bringing up Christopher Herbert's book Trollope and Comic Pleasure. I'll add that to Ginger's must-get book list. I haven't read it; however, I have the excerpt "Barchester Towers and the Charms of Imperfection" which is included in Harold Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations book on Trollope. This morning I read this excerpt. It is delightful!

Herbert starts off with a toast to Trollope's passage in his Autobiography about "love of money as a 'distinctive ... characteristic of humanity.'" Herbert obviously likes Archdeacon Grantly and his "frank love of 'the good things of this world.'" There follows a good bit pertaining to Barchester Towers so I won't go into detail now, but one of Herbert's observations seemed especially important and welcome to me: "The archdeacon's frankly worldly pleasure-loving nature is a virtue because it guarantees his immunity to the ranker kinds of intolerance, cruelty, and hypocrisy that go (as so many examples in the novel testify) with low-church fanaticism. Thus his presumed vice of worldliness is correlated throughout the novel with the fundamental goodness of character that he clearly possesses."

Thus, Ellen, although we started off with widely differing views of Dr. Grantly, I think we've clarified them enough so we can come around to a mutual endorsement of the above. I certainly agree with you when you write: "Grantly is a robust man who loves life, enjoys it, and there's nothing he likes better than a battle. It gets his juices up. In this he is contrasted to Mr Harding who retreats before life's battles; in this Grantly is like Trollope himself."

When you say you disagree with me about Trollope's art not being perfected in The Warden because Trollope's art is highly varied, I can't argue much. We would expect improvement as Trollope obtained more experience in writing a number of novels; however, it was not a linear improvement. I thought he tried too hard in The Warden to darken Grantly's character so as to balance two sides which were essentially not balanceable. As for hard-hitting, perhaps I'm wrong in thinking that Trollope wanted to be "even-handed" in his hitting at everyone. I don't feel strongly enough about my point to contest what you say. We're really not so far apart.

And for the most part I tend to agree with the philosophy of your last 3 paragraphs. You say you're not a revolutionary, and I say I'm not a crusader. We do what we must do, and hopefully (pardon the improper English) it's the best we can do. We agree that there are irresolvable injustices in this world, and there will always be some losers. But there's nothing like being addicted to Trollope to keep a good perspective on life, or at least so I think.

Gene Stratton

From: "R J Keefe"

Flesh and blood (Ellen Moody) - definitely! Sense of humor (John Mize), though; well, I don't see it. Does anyone still find Rabelais funny? Hearty, perhaps - and our archdeacon is certainly hearty. The last time I looked (admittedly a long time ago), I found an unappealing mixture of the tendentious and the grotesque. What I think the Dr. Grantly finds in Rabelais is the celebration of appetite.

As to Hiram's Will, I must defer to Gene. Straightforward and in Latin. I must have been thinking of fines.

RJ Keefe

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