By Andrew H. Wright
FIRST PRINTING.1983 collage of Chicago Press Hardcover. Andrew Wright, literary analyst of Jane Austen, Henry Fielding & William Blake, takes on Anthony Trollope, writer of the Palliser novels and The Chronicles of Barsetshire.
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If the archdeacon is to succeed his father as bishop he must be appointed by the present Prime Minister, a Conservative like himself; on the change of government, Dr Grantly will certainly not be appointed. He does ardently want to become bishop, and he has been made to think that he will be 38 Anthony Trollope: Dream and Art so designated by the outgoing premier; but he does love his father, and as the contrary emotions war within his thoughts, he gazed at that still living face, and then at last dared to ask himself whether he really longed for his father's death.
There is nothing to choose between the idle and dissatisfied Earl De Courcy, the tailor's son Gustavus Moffat, and the wastrel Louis Philippe Scatcherd, all three of whom play sufficiently discreditable roles in Doctor Thome. And when Raymond Williams compares Doctor Thome to Felix Holt, finding the latter more praiseworthy because it manifests a 'creative disturbance', he is comparing a comic novel to a novel with a purpose and thus making an unreasonable demand. 9 The highest and least sympathetic world is that of the Whig aristocracy, centring in the two castles, Courcy and Gatherum.
He did not understand certain capital facts about his work. And while one must agree with Asa Briggs that 'a more convincing impression of what everyday life was like in England in the middle Victorian years can be gathered from ... 101), the most enduring value of Trollope's novels surely rests on a broader base than that of faithfulness to Victorian actuality. For, as Robert Alter has said, the representation of society in the realistic novel is not only social criticism but the 'translation into a complex series of imagined acts and personages of the writer's deepest social frustrations, rancor, impulses to rebel' .
Anthony Trollope Dream and Art by Andrew H. Wright