Chronicles of Barsetshire
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Ok, to get the ball rolling here I'll ask a dumb newbie-type question (I'm reasonably new to Trollope, BTW) :P
Q. Is it necessary to read the books in the Barchester Series in the order that they were published?
I have read The Warden and am currently reading Barchester Towers. So, up next is Doctor Thorne, which I'm having trouble getting hold of, although I do have Framley Parsonage on back-order, which should arrive soon.
I would take a rest from Barsetshire, and read some of the ones that don't belong in a series like The Three Clerks, or The Way We Live Now, or Orley Farm. I think you can get pretty tired of the quiet in Barsetshire. The three clerks is about the struggles of young men trying to 'make it' in London; The way we Live Now is about social climbing and financial scams, and Orlely farm is about inheritance fights. (There are love affairs all over the place, but modestly described). They all should be available from your library. The way We Live Now was made into an English film with David Suchet playing the villain. If you can rent it, you might find it most enjoyable. By the way, all the Palliser novels have been filmed by the English, and they are fairly true to the books, if you are a film buff.
BUT - if you'd like a hiatus, I recommend The Kellys and the O'Kellys. It starts awfully slowly - you have to plow (or plough) through a couple of chapters on Irish politics which were probably of high interest in their day but are of none now. You should just skim them, with no harm done to the rest of the story. The novel really does get rolling once we encounter the villain, and it has some of the sharpest dialogue I've yet encountered in Trollope. It reminded me of the best exchanges in Barchester Towers. Trollope had an extraordinary gift for dialogue - none of the flowery 19th century declamations that become excruciating. And he captures the flavor and snap of Irish repartee without descending into mockery.
Next to BT, I'd say Dr. Thorne was the best of the Barset series, followed by Framley Parsonage. The Small House at Allington was the hardest for me to get through, as I found Lily Dale tedious beyond belief and Eames not much better. Its only saving grace was the boarding house subplot with its wild mix of characters.
There is that wonderful BBC miniseries "Barchester Towers" out on DVD now - it has 7 episodes covering The Warden and BT with Donald Pleasance as Mr. Harding, Nigel Hawthorne as my hero Mr. Grantly, Susan Hampshire as Mme. Neroni, Geraldine McEwan perfectly cast as Mrs. Proudie, and Alan Rickman in his breakthrough role as Mr. Slope. There is also a little extra about Peterborough Cathedral, where the series was filmed.
So check out www.trollope-apollo.com.
With a hiatus in there to read Deathly Hallows when it comes out, of course.
The only one you could skip and come back to later is Doctor Thorne.
I am reading the Penguin Classics edition of BT and fortunately the appendix provides explanations of the Latin. There are also a few other resources around which may help - e.g. the Trollope's Apollo site has a Latin vocabulary list at http://www.trollope-apollo.com/Vocabula/Vocabula.htm and also some discussion at http://www.trollope-apollo.com/Information/chapters.htm
The Barsetshire series are a terrific intro to Trollope, but I also recommend The Kellys and The O'Kellys, my favorite of his Irish novels. Has a terrific villain and good pacing. DON'T start with the Palliser novels. We don't want you scared off ;-)
#14/15 www.trollope-apollo is indeed an excellent resource if you don't have an annotated BT edition. You don't really need to understand the Latin tags or classical allusions Trollope freely sprinkles throughout his work, but it does add to the reader's understanding and enjoyment.
There's a guide to her novels called "Going To Barsetshire" by Cynthia Snowdon. It's okay - could have used more family trees. It's quite helpful overall. Has lists of people, animals and places mentioned. Sections include public figures 1931-1960, synopses of relevant Anthony T. novels, a Barsetshire chronology, comments and notes, a chronology of Angela's life, a list of all her novels, and "suggested itineraries" for reading the particular novels that emphasize selected characters.
I have been reading Angela Thirkell for quite a few years now, since I stumbled into Wild Strawberries quite by chance. I have also managed to acquire a few of her first editions (which, luckily, are quite affordable). I find her very entertaining, in spite of being snobbish etc.
Her books are, to me, what I would call "comfort reading", along with P.G.Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, and Van Reid (the only American of the four).
Struggled through the first third of TWWLN - it picks up later in the story.
> 20 I submit Barbara Pym for the comfort reading list.
Pym & Benson are both in my wishlist, however I really ought to get on with The Way We Live Now before I get side-tracked :)
Three Houses (1931)
Ankle Deep (1933)
Trooper to the Southern Cross (1934)
O, These Men, These Men! (1935)
The Grateful Sparrow (1935)
The Fortunes of Harriet (1936)
Coronation Summer (1937)
The earliest Barsetshire novel was High Rising (1933). After 1937, all the books were set in Barsetshire. There are 29 Barsetshire novels in all, ending with Three Score and Ten in 1961.
How fortunate we are that both ATs were so prolific!
My favorite Margery Sharp's are The Stone of Chastity and one whose title I can't remember, but it's about an English girl who goes to France, has a baby, and leaves the baby with its father and grandmother....
aluvalibri, thanks for remembering The Nutmeg Tree.
The whole scenario, of how the girl pretends love for the young man purely because he has an English-style bathtub, is so funny. So sharp.
Also, Phineas Finn was named as one of the top five novels about marriage in today's Wall St. Journal.
I think I'll start a "Trollope sighting" thread.
I don't think she can be compared to Trollope but, at the same time, I believe nobody wants to compare her to Trollope! It would be like talking about chalk and cheese.
Thirkell's stories are always tongue in cheek, her characters often funny, clumsy, absentminded and always very human.
Whole thing could have been cleared up with a quick cell phone call ;-)
p.s. Wow....Mrs Proudie is scary in this one!
> 51 digifish, go rent the movie of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet and (rrrrowww!) Alan Rickman. Anything but pallid.
I bought a boxed set of Austens last year. I read Persuasion right after The Way We Live Now and also struggled not to skim-read it. I think too much AT has made me fussy...
Oh, yay, I love Trollope!
The series started on Monday 17th March so unfortunately I've missed the first episodes, but, for what it's worth here's a link to episodes (which are available for 6 days after they are aired). Scroll down to 11.00 'The Barchester Chronicles' and click on 'Listen Again'