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Tony Grist

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Goodbye To Barsetshire [Jul. 19th, 2015|05:59 pm]
Tony Grist
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...

[User Picture]From: xiphias
2015-07-20 01:29 pm (UTC)
Are you familiar with papersky's book TOOTH AND CLAW? Jo Walton, papersky, is a science fiction and fantasy author, and she loves the Barchester novels, and Trollope in general. However, she thinks that the way that people in Victorian novels act are just silly -- if you are an unmarried woman who spends time with a man alone, you're spoiled and everybody knows it somehow, for instance.

So she decided -- what if all the people in a Victorian novel were actually dragons, and all those sorts of things actually happened just like that, because of dragon biology?

If you like Trollope, and you like, or at least are curious about, fantasy novels, it's a lot of fun.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-07-20 04:20 pm (UTC)
That sounds entertaining.

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