Friday, January 20, 2012
January Classics Discussion: Anthony Trollope
November's Autumn's Classics Challenge involves saying something about whatever classic you're reading at the moment. This month's focus is on the author. I started reading Doctor Thorne a little while ago, so this post is about Anthony Trollope. I'm not far enough into it to get to Level 3!
Level 1 Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?
Anthony Trollope was born in 1815 in London. His parents were impoverished gentry, and Anthony suffered throughout his childhood from his father's ambition to live like a wealthy man when he had no money to do it with. The family spent time in Belgium to escape debt, but Anthony returned to London to take up a post in the Post Office. He wasn't very good at it. In trouble for debt himself, he took a post in Ireland, where things started looking up. Once he was getting established as an author he moved back to England so as to be near the publishing scene.
Trollope is most famous for his Chronicles of Barsetshire, which are the books I'm reading first. Then there are his Palliser novels and many others, for a grand total of 47. He was a very realistic writer and often humorous.
It's ridiculous, but the only sample of his handwriting that I can find is on this check!
In 1868, Trollope stood for MP as a Liberal candidate for the borough of Beverley in Yorkshire. This was something of a setup; it was a corrupt borough known for vote-selling, and the real aim was to expose Conservative vote-buying. I'm not sure Trollope had this figured out and it seems that he was a pawn in the game.
After Trollope's death in 1882, his Autobiography was published. It contained the awful information that he wrote on a strict schedule, and that he wrote for money, which was hardly the proper attitude for a writer (writers should be inspired). His reputation suffered with the critics.
Level 2 What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there are particular quote that has stood out to you?
I enjoy Trollope's writing quite a lot. His sentences are pretty straightforward for a Victorian, but he crams in a lot of background information and story. He likes to get confidential with little asides addressed directly to the reader. He is nicely humorous and seems to enjoy his story and to be fond of his characters--even the kind of awful people are human beings with reasons (if not very good ones) for what they do.