Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Goodbye To Barsetshire

The Barchester novels- taken as a whole- are enormously long (my copy of The Last Chronicle runs to over 950 pages) but nothing very much ever happens in them. A number of not very memorable young people get married, people die- but mostly in the course of nature- and when- in the final book- someone blows their own brains out it comes as quite a surprise. As someone says in Ibsen, "People just don't do that sort of thing"- and especially not in Barsetshire. The issues over which the characters agonise concern things like the wardenship of an alms house and the theft of a small cheque. After a while one accepts Trollope is less interested in story than in human nature- and that his plots are simply devices for putting people together and rattling them about. One becomes fond of his recurring characters- saintly and self-doubting Mr Harding, worldly but good-hearted Archdeacon Grantly, provokingly righteous and egotistical Mr Crawley, happy-go lucky Johnny Eames, unconventional Miss Dunstable- who can get away with anything because she's so rich- and passionate, independent, bossy Lily Dale who- I like to think- went on (outside the books) to become a theosophist or a children's author or a suffragette- and possibly all three.

So I'm finished with Barsetshire.  But not with Trollope. How many novels did he write in all? 47? OK, bring 'em on...
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