Upcoming Discussions

Friday, 8/11/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Nathan Hill, THE NIX (2016)

 

THOMAS HARDY, THEN AND NOW

Friday, 9/15/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thomas Hardy, THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE (1878), first half

Friday, 9/29/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thomas Hardy, THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE (1878), second half

Friday, 10/20/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Damian Wilkins, MAX GATE (2016)

Friday, 11/10/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thomas Hardy, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891)

Friday, 12/8/2017, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Christopher Nicholson, WINTER (2016)

 

THE WINTER NOVEL

Friday, 1/12/2018, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

TBD

Friday, 1/26/2018, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

TBD

Friday, 2/9/2018, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

TBD

Friday, 2/23/2018, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

TBD

« A Follow-Up To Trollope's THE WARDEN | Main | Trollope, the Church of England, and the Evangelicals »
Monday
Feb142011

The Chronicles of Barsetshire

The novel we're reading now is actually the first one in a six-novel series Trollope wrote, all often lumped together as the "chronicles of Barsetshire." These novels are

THE WARDEN (1855)

BARCHESTER TOWERS (1857)

DOCTOR THORNE (1858)

FRAMLEY PARSONAGE (1861)

THE SMALL HOUSE AT ALLINGTON (1864)

and THE LAST CHRONICLE OF BARSET (1867).

Trollope is often considered the "British Balzac," partly because of his careful, realistic delineation of his own time and partly because he was so damn prolific: at least 49 novels (more have come to light recently), at least 5 volumes of travel writing, many volumes of short stories, several novellas, a couple of books on literary criticism, a couple of plays, two biographies (of Cicero and Lord Palmerstone), and an autobiography. Much of this while holding down a full-time job in the post office!

The Barsetshire novels are often used as a test case for what happened to Trollope as a writer. He began writing relatively late in life--or "late" in the Victorian age. THE WARDEN is an early production, his fourth novel, written when he was forty. Over the course of the Barsetshire six, Trollope's skill increases dramatically, his scope broadens, and his narrative voice becomes more secure. In other words, one can read the Barsetshire novels as a record of the growth of his artistic imagination.

While the Barsetshire novels have proved his most enduring, he did write another six-volume series, starting in 1864 and continuing through 1879: the Palliser novels, a set of novels about politics and the houses of Parliament, so named for their central character, Plantagenet Palliser, a hard-nosed, hard-working, no-nonsense, socially-maladjusted politician who begins as the heir apparent to the dukedom of Omnium, falls into a very unhappy marriage that lasts through five of the six novels, and eventually goes on to become a "coalition" Prime Minister when neither the Whigs nor the Tories can form a government. Interestingly, Plantagenet Palliser first arises as a minor character in the Barsetshire novels, in THE SMALL HOUSE AT ALLINGTON, where he has an unsuccessful dalliance with Archdeacon Grantly's daughter.

While it's tempting to see the Barsetshire novels as "about the church" and the Palliser novels as "about the state," it's actually more accurate to see the first set as "about the country" and the second as "about the city."

In his own day, the Palliser novels made Trollope a wealthy man. They proved so popular that they became a cultural touchstone, alluded to in ANNA KARENINA and lovingly invoked by George Eliot. However, it is the six Barsetshire novels that have had the longest run, the most popular novels Trollope wrote, not in his own day, but over the course of time.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>