And what about the Pallisers?
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I liked Can you forgive her well enough, but I didn't like Phineas Finn all that much, leafing through the book more than reading in the end (maybe too much politics for me?).
The Eustace Diamonds were more my cup of tea again but now I am afraid that Phineas Redux will be like Phineas Finn again...
So my question is what are your favourites (and least favourites) amonth the Palliser novels and how do you rate them in contrast the the Barsetshire novels?
I hesitate to head into Phineas Finn now that I've seen your and aluvalibri's comments. I'm sticking with the non-series novels for a while.
What are your thoughts on Eustace Diamonds compared to Thackeray's Vanity Fair?
While I love Trollope, Vanity Fair is hard to beat!
And I've also noted Cyril Hare's book, I'm all too curious...
And I agree about what you say about Vanity Fair!
The phrase `Trollope lovers` might be a little unfortunate - in English English (as distinct from American English), it has a decidedly unliterary meaning !
Actually, trollop implies more of a commercial transaction over here.
Anyway, we`d better let the grown-ups get back to the sensible stuff.
They gave me a window on a world I knew absolutely nothing about.
When I discover an author I like, I don't read all his/her books at once, but spread them out to savour them. I first discovered Trollope in 1996 and have only read four novels so far (BT, CYFH, Phineas Finn, TED), but I never have so much fun as when I am tucked in with a 19th-century British moralist.
Lizzie is a "nasty, low, scheming, ill-conducted, dishonest little wretch," (Mrs. Hittaway's words) but she is a great fictional character. Her lack of self-awareness is what makes her so fun to read about--she thinks she is the victim of the endless problems which she herself has created. But Lizzie is just part of the fun. There's Lucinda's utter hatred of her betrothed. The way she cringes when he gives her her first kiss convinced me she was a lesbian, and I was quite sorry to hear that she lost her marbles after calling off the marriage. And what about Lord Fawn? I wanted to like him--after all, his mother and sisters are so generous and loving to Lucy Morris, and he has identified at least some of Lizzie's many faults. But when Lizzie calls him a coward, she has him pegged. The way that Trollope shows Fawn's moral cowardice, even while Fawn's position is completely defensible, is a beautiful lesson about people, and particularly politicians.
The subplot of Lucy and Frank is a little weak--it just doesn't do to have the perfect angel end up with such a compromised fellow. We never do get to see what there is to really like about him. And he is a bit too susceptible to beautiful Lizzie's charms. (It seems to me that it never was Lizzie's money alone that turned his head; it was the dollars combined with her beauty.)
The minor characters are fabulous: Mr. Gowran, Lady Linlithgow, the police investigators--all well-drawn in their brief appearances, and oh-so-funny. Trollope's antisemitism is very hard to stomach, and it is too bad that it has to mar the otherwise entertaining portrait of the self-satisfied preacher.
I heartily concur with the earlier-expressed opinion that TED can be read as a stand-alone. I'd say that all of the three Pallisers I've read can stand alone.
I've enjoyed looking at the Neither Barset nor Palliser topic, as it gives me some ideas where I might go next. But, with all the other books out there to read, the next Trollope will have to wait.
"It must be presumed that Lucinda Roanoke was in want of a husband, and yet no girl seemed to take less pains to get one. A girl ought not to be always busying herself to bring down a man, but a girl ought to give herself some charm. A girl so handsome as Lucinda Roanoke, with pluck enough to ride like a bird, dignity enough for a duchess, and who was undoubtedly clever, ought to put herself in the way of taking such good things as her charms and merits would bring her;—but Lucinda Roanoke stood aloof and despised everybody."
And later, when she declines to marry Sir Griffin, Trollope suggests that she will never marry him, or any man, because the prospect is too horrific.
The prudery of Victorian times often caused women to be afraid of men, but Lucinda does not appear to be afraid of anything, let alone men. Trollope repeatedly writes that, if the marriage were to take place, it would be Lucinda who gets the upper hand.
Obviously, my speculation is just that. But I think there is more basis for it than merely the fact that she cringed when Sir Griffin kissed her, even if I didn't spell all that out in the first post.
To be clear, I do not believe that a woman's rejecting of a man's kiss makes her a lesbian. But take a another look at the text, and you may agree that Lucinda rejected all men, not just Sir Griffin. Even that doesn't make her a lesbian, but it does make her a fairly unusual woman in Victorian literature. That's what I was trying, apparently unsuccessfully, to point out.
I announced myself as new to LT, and pleased to find like-minded people. I wrote a rather lengthy post addressing several characters and aspects of the book. Based on one sentence in one post, I was immediately accused of harboring attitudes found only in porn.
As is the case in so many virtual communities, we don't actually know each other, but I assumed, given our shared love, not just of books, but of a particular kind of books, we might cut each other some slack. Having found, in at least this one instance, that that is not the case, I will probably go back to the anonymity of being a cataloger only, and not a poster.
Sorry for having ruffled your feathers. Have a nice day anyway.
You're right, you were not successful in making your point the first time, but you came back and made it the second time. Good! OF COURSE people are going to challenge each other. That's what the boards are for. Slack is for people who can't keep up their end of the argument, and you don't seem to be one of those.
"If you haven't read Trollope, this is a good place to begin. Along with Can You Forgive Her?, The Eustace Diamonds is among the most delicious and contemporary of Trollope's Palliser novels, and like any great classic, it's crammed to bursting with characters who are remarkably like people you know. Well, maybe you don't know anyone like Lizzie Eustace—a young woman who cares more about money and jewels than anything else—but I'm afraid I do."
Emma Thompson also claims to be a Trollope fan.
Emerson notes that the Associated Press asked the presidential candidates what was the last novel they'd read, and got the predictable list of current thrillers (Grisham, Patterson, etc.). "If it were up to me to assign the pols summer reading, I'd put 'Phineas Finn' at the head of the list." He calls PF"an outstanding volume in an outstanding series" and "England's greatest 19th-century political novel ... that gives every side its say."
I finished THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS yesterday. AT had me wondering right to the end what fortunate (?) swain was going to land Lizzie. I agree with jyangelo's comment about Lizzie getting what she deserved, and also about the sadness for Lucinda. I was wondering, though, whether Lucinda's "madness" was feigned or real. I think she had enough strength of mind to pull off a staged breakdown (the Bible was a nice touch), and then to eventually recover once Sir Griffin was long gone. It struck me as wonderfully passive-aggressive retribution against her aunt, who was quite nasty. The whole grubbing for wedding presents episode was horrifying yet fascinating. AT shows once again he is a master of epistolary exposition. The notes to and from Mrs. Carbuncle are a hoot. His ambiguous naming of Mrs. Carbuncle was also amusing. She starts out as a valued friend (the precious stone definition) and ends as a grasping enemy (the yucky skin infection definition).
And while the Pallisers have a small role in TED, Lady Glencora certainly had her finger in the pie. What a busybody! I assume they will burst into ascendancy in the last two novels of the series and justify the eponymous title of the series.
Am now starting Phineas Redux.
Recently picked up a used Dover edition of Kept in the Dark from an independent bookstore over in Monterey (one of the last in the area!). It seems to have some elements of He Knew He Was Right, to judge from the back cover blurb.
Plantagenet Palliser is just not an interesting character, and I wouldn't recommend the whole Palliser series unless you were interested in advanced Trollope.
>26 shmjay: I agree, although I haven't yet tackled The Duke's Children (Neil Gaiman's American Gods is excellent and I'm flying along in it). The two Phineas volumes, which AT viewed as one very, very long novel, are the Palliser series' highlights.
Like you, I made several attempts at The Eustace Diamonds but once in enjoyed it for the most part. It became overlong and then the ending felt rushed.
Planty Pall is indeed a drip. I truly felt for Lady Glen, forced into a loveless marriage with this milquetoast. What a frustration for her high spirits, ambition and talents! She steals the limelight, as well she should.
I've been wracking what's left of my brains to try to remember which other AT has a similar plot of girl marries villain, villain dies, girl marries Upstanding Former Lover and it's happily ever after. In Can You Forgive Her? we get Alice Vavasor vacillating but John Gray does land her. In The Claverings, there's no remarriage. What am I thinking of?
Mrs. Finn, previously Madame Max, gets once more to kick some Palliser butt, and it's highly enjoyable to watch (i.e., read). She reminds me somewhat of Martha Dunstable, later Mrs. Dr. Thorne, but less puckish.
Major Tifto is a quite satisfactory heel, and Dolly Longstaff, now 35-years-young, gets a few aristocratic zingers in.
I guess God wants me to read them.
Right now I'm listening to a Jane Austen and I'm on the penultimate Aubrey/Maturin book so I'm thinking I'll wait to start the Palliser books. I really need to finish the Patrick O'Brians once & for all (although the later books aren't up to the same standard, imho).
I think I actually enjoyed the Pallisers more than Barchester overall. Well, the novels focused on Phineas, anyway. The Duke was a thumping bore.
I have to confess I'm kinda just forcing myself to finish the series for the sake of completeness. I've already decided to pass on 21, since O'Brian only wrote 3 chapters.
The Moonstone rocks!
God, that Plantagenet is a drip! How does Trollope manage to write six novels about him? I'm assuming Phineas Finn has more politics in it, and not as much women whinging. I did love Glencora, tho. I can only hope she continues to make life difficult for Planty Pal.
I was just reading Phineas' rationalizations for "running" for election in a district that is basically owned by his friend the Earl. Hilarious.
If you're ever in the states, look me up. Between Trollope & tennis, we would have lots to talk about.
CYFH isn't not too bad I guess.... and besides, how can I achieve 'Trollope completist' status if I don't finish it? ;)
I have a sudden craving for toasted bread & cheese. I'm uncommon hipped. Killick! Ho, Killick, there!
Man, was Phinny all that and a bag of chips for the ladies, tho, or what? Every babe wanted him. And then he ends up with his childhood sweetheart, how AT is that?
>61 littlegeek:-64 Thanks for the spoilers you two! ;P I will give Eustace a go next.
MORE SPOILERS FOR PHINEAS FINN, ONE OF THE BOOKS IN THE SERIES THAT IS MENTIONED IN THE THREAD TITLE. ;-)
Violet is a little inscrutable, I'll give you that, but I can understand why someone would reject Phineas. He's a little green, and Lord What's-His-Name has that bad boy thing going. I don't think we women have changed that much in the last 150 years.
Well, AT in his autobiography, seems to regret the choice of marriage mate for PF:
"It is all fairly good except the ending, - as to which till I got to it I had made no provision. As I fully intended to bring my hero again into the world, I was wrong to marry him to a simple pretty Irish girl, who could only be felt as an encumbrance on such return."
He writes as if he were forced to have Phineas choose MFJ at the end. I mean, he could have easily changed it!!
All that being said, I did enjoy the book!
I'm laid up with a newly reconstructed ankle so would appreciate as many postings as you collectively can manage as I'm already BORED OUT OF MY MIND but don't really have the concentration for taking on another AT just yet. Another 10 days of ankle elevated above the heart.
I got through it with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I couldn't read on vicadin.
I'm not sure what sort of reading you like besides AT, but Neglected books is a site that can keep my attention for several minutes at a time, and also sends me off on searches for obscure books of all sorts.
Arts & Letters Daily has some short articles and links that you might find interesting.
The Victorian Web also has some interesting tidbits on AT and others.
eta: There's always BBC radio 4 .
We get BBC America but not the "real" BBC here.
Well, I'm supposed to be gimping along the hall to restore circulation, not sneaking in here to post. I know, I'm whining, but I feel SOMEWHAT entitled. And I'm rather miffed that everyone took me seriously when I said not to ply me with sweets, as I was concerned about larding on the pounds ;-)
Here's hoping someone bakes you an enormous cake or batch of cookies.
Right now I'm reading Golden Fool (love Robin Hobb) and after that I'll probably read the new TC Boyle, which is burning a hole in my Kindle.
I'll get to it soon, tho.
CYFH? is the only Trollope book I have ever read, but I do love the Victorians.
BTW - you're the only person I've seen claim to like CYFH? ;-D
It was my introduction to Trollope.
BTW: highly recommend Alberto Manguel's A History of Reading.
A huge, living, daily increasing grievance that does one no palpable harm, is the happiest possession that a man can have.
This after a long discourse on the basic mindset of Conservatives. I guess things don't change much in 150 years.
I keep getting 'Frank', 'Frederic' and the 'Fawns' mixed up! And there is still another 500 pages to go... :P
This thread is the only thing keeping me reading at this point.
I will finish, just so I can get back to Phineas.
If anyone wants to point me to some decent chapters in the last half of the book that they think I must read, let me know. (Don't use page numbers, please, cuz I'm reading it on Kindle.)
I also missed my favorites from CYFH? Glencora has made one small appearance thus far. I can't wait for Eustace Diamonds. I will probably post again when I go back to Phineas.
Please do, Elizabeth. I'll be interested to know what you think of Phineas by the end of the book.
I do think its a little odd that this is branded the 'Palliser' series since they are certainly not central to the second and third books.
BTW, I've started Phineas Redux.
I think it wasn't until the 1920s, when birth control became more available, that women's life expectancy started to gain on men's. At least in the U.S.
I'm finding all these political machinations so terribly topical. It's really rather depressing. Then again, I think one of the points is that no matter how incompetent and self-serving our politicians are, they're not as important as they think they are.
Phineas is such a drip that I keep having to remind myself why all these women are ga-ga over him. Right, he's supposed to be gorgeous. It helps if I cast Orlando Bloom to play him in my head - gorgeous, but vapid.
It's not just AT; most authors always remind us when a woman character is a beauty, but if it's a man, it's once in the beginning and then you have to remember it. Why is that?
Possibly the Phineas attraction is also due to his being vapid - he's not as concerned with dominating the women he encounters, unlike most of the other male characters.
Naw, I think it's his looks.
And then there's Madame Max. She's a feisty one, perhaps her reasons for wanting to marry Phineas are what you're talking about? I don't remember the finer points of that plot point right now.
And then there's the politics, oy. I really enjoy how AT positions Phineas as the hero, and yet he gets himself into one scrape after another and is hounded by the press. The articles that Slide publishes are essentially true, at least true enough from a certain perspective. It gives me pause about all the political sex scandalmongering going on now. It's all a big game. (Not that the scumbags cheating on their wives don't deserve it.)
And then there's the Conservative PM taking on a Liberal viewpoint in order to remain in power. Sounds like modern neoliberalism to me.
I'm reminded of an incident my mother-in-law reported some years ago about my brother-in-law, a veteran police detective in a large city and Army Reserve major who has served in Bosnia and Serbia, among other hell holes. She came into their kitchen one morning to find him nursing his coffee and staring out the window. When she asked him what he was doing, he said, in all seriousness, "Waiting for (his wife's name) to tell me what to do."
Still, I think their heads are initially turned by his hunkiness.
I know those kind of men you're talking about, and the women who partner them. Those kind of relationships are as creepy as when the men are too dominant.
Frankly, I see Max getting pretty bored in a couple of years.
Madame Goesler had real romantic feelings. One could make a case for Mary, but her love for Phineas started with the teasings of Phineas' sister Barbara. I never could quite feel empathy for her. Mme Goesler, on the other hand, suffers and hopes as she writes the letter to the Duke. Her feelings felt genuine.
Word of warning, don't read the introduction - ever. Why do introduction writers feel they have to tell you what the plot of the book is before you read it? I have learned from experience to read the introduction only after you finish the book. I did that for this one (penguin classics) and it not only contained spoilers for CYFH? but for the following Pallliser novels. I quit as soon as I saw it coming; but, how stupid is that?
Unless I'm totally misreading current events.
btw, I voted for him. I just wish the health insurance bill did more for regular people.
Can You Forgive Her is also available (at Audible UK and iTunes, at least) and The Way We Live Now. I love Timothy West's narration.
Last year, I listened to The Eustace Diamonds and Can You Forgive Her as stand-alones, and they worked fine as stand-alones.
I really enjoy the legal imbroglios, and I confess that that's what is most memorable for me in the books. "Diamonds," with its hairsplitting over the legal definition and status of heirlooms was especially fun.
I just downloaded the Barsetshire novels, and plan to read those in sequence. Maybe a good Christmas break project.
Alternate doses of Mrs. Gaskell and Trollope are an interesting combination.
I'm sure you'll be fine. The main story is independent of the previous book, and Trollope tells you what you need to know about the characters who have appeared before. If you don't know much about Victorian politics, you might find the parliamentary stuff a bit baffling, but a quick read-up on the background to the 1867 Reform Act (Wikipedia, or something) should be enough to make sense of it all.