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Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Trollope’

Harry Clavering oh how I envy thee. Well, I guess after some internal deliberations, I don’t envy you that much.  But Mr. Trollope did take exceeding care in crafting you. You and your pitiful little love triangle; pitiful that is, until you became heir apparent. Harry is not the hero of this novel, nor do I think he was intended to be. Florence Burton is the hero of this novel. She sits and pensively waits for a majority of the novel to see if Harry will be true to her. She is also waiting, I think, for Hugh and Archie Clavering to die in order for Mr. Clavering to become Lord Clavering of Clavering Park. Though it isn’t stated I suspect she didn’t suspect anything of the kind to happen in the story. She is a good girl, too good some dummy might say. She is stoic in her patience and almost rejection of Harry.  Cecelia, her sister-in-law is wiser than Flo though and correctly surmises that the path to Harry’s heart is through his mother. His mother carries us, strictly in plotting terms, from Florence’s intended rejection of Harry to the death and surprise wealth that is bestowed on the rector and his eldest son. Florence and Harry go to Europe and leave the monstrously affected Julia Brabazon, Lady Ongar behind to deal with the misery of a loveless life. Though there is hope for Julia with her sister in mourning; they can only plan to look to each other for support.

 Comic relief is provided by Archie Clavering and Captain Boodle in their machinations to get Julia to consent to marrying Archie Clavering, the Lord’s impecunious younger brother and heir; after Hugh’s son dies of course. One must make her “know you are there” in the eyes of the humorously oblivious Captain Boodle in order to procure the hand of the well-off Lady Ongar.

The villains of the novel are Sophie Gordeloup and Count Pateroff. Supposed spies from the Continent, they merely foil Julia’s plans for a happy life and spice up the plot with a dose of treachery.

Here is the Gutenberg.org link:  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15766/15766-h/15766-h.htm

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it to be written in a masterly sort of way with little errors either in psychology or chronology.

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Anthony Trollope’s The Warden places a meek and mild man in the middle of opposing forces in Victorian England. First we have Dr. Grantly, the archdeacon for the cathedral.  Then there is John Bold, the independently wealthy man who is not only the Warden Mr. Harding’s chief agitator but also his youngest daughter’s love interest. 

To focus on Bold for now, there is a want of motives?  It seems he would have gotten the reformist spirit lodged in his throat.  His sister, Mrs. Bold, understands him fully when she tells him frankly “And for what? For a dream of justice…I understand that this is a chimera-a dream that you have got.”  Further on in the novel he considers it a “public duty.” Trollope stretches thin the skein of his motives further when he writes “To speak the truth, the reformer’s punishment was certainly come upon him,…he had nothing for it but to excuse himself by platitudes of public duty.” Dr. Grantly, in his and Bold’s inevitable meaning, excoriates Bold by saying “having somewhat ostentatiously declared that it was your duty as a man of high public virtue to protect those poor old fools whom you have humbugged there at the hospital.” Dr. Grantly, the “church militant” is the natural antagonist to John Bold.  I find Bold to be a privileged son and having nothing better to do, latches on to public sentiment and ultimately brings about the ruination of his future father-in-law’s fiscal well being.  I find his motives far from base, but there is a certain impropriety in his conduct.  Wearing this thin veil of reform does not sit well with Mr. Bold.

The most touching scene in the book is when we find the Bishop and Mr. Harding together for a meeting.  It is the general description of the thing which binds us to the story.  ‘Cause they “loved each other warmly.  They had grown old together, and had together spent many, many years in clerical pursuits and clerical conversation.” How can one read the entire passage that this clip is taken from and not be moved by such a tender description of such a dear friendship? Thankfully Trollope spares any drama between the two by having the Bishop support the Warden in his resignation.

Besides being a mild novel, mildly entertaining, dramatic and endearing, it is one of a person run afoul of the powers of his day.  The Jupiter, which sits in for the London Times, seems all consuming and formidable to a man of such meekness as Mr. Harding possesses.  He could have stayed on but for his mild temperament he has been brought close to ruin.  Trollope is getting at what some other writers do so blatantly.  That is to try and represent the purity of good, and somehow make it triumph in the forceful face of evil.

In its’ perplexing and gentle approach we still see Mr. Harding who is just precentor now, upholding all his virtue and meek strength, his obstinacy and delicacy for all of Barsetshire to behold.

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