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Would love to have company if anyone would wish to join me for the read and post their responses.
FYI, after that I move on to The small house at Allington.
Thanks for joining me. I am new to AT and have lots to learn and enjoy.
LT is dictating my reading habits completely these days. Well, so far it hasn't let me down.
My two comments would be
1)his mention to the reader of explaining about the need for the crust of pie before breaking open the pie..or the heart of the story. Hopefully this thick crust will lead to a good story.
2)How interesting it is to watch the author take care of and reassure the reader as to point A or B that will or will not happen. Trollope doesn't want to shock or be disruptive to the reader and so continually reassures and points out aspects so that the reader's sojourn will be a comfortable amble. This style of writing or author's voice for me seems totally juxtaposed to so much contemporary fiction that is always jolting the reader by shifting time, place, and persona so as to keep the reader 'entertained' with one form or another of a type of shock and awe.
The Doctor and the daughter structure reminds me of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters....
You are Far more advanced than I, I promise you. For starters I confess that I am listening to the book on tape rather than reading it. Reading AT is really very difficult for me. I know also that I would not reread 4 chapters of a book in order to get on with it. I admire you greatly for doing so. But I promise it gets smoother around chapter 10 and starts picking up.
Just hang in there; a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled.
I am at the point where Sir Roger Scatchard has rewritten his will and one senses the direction of the plot.
I'm about 1/2 way through right now. All the class warfare stuff so fascinating to this 21st century American. They are so concerned with "blood" like it's a real human quality. Trollope seems to be on the fence about the topic. He makes his heroes of a lower caste, yet makes sure they really have money, too, so they can be rightfully admitted into the upper classes.
Another thing that strikes me is that many of Trollope's characters are so forgiving! Mr. Harding still respects Dr. Grantly while he goes completely against his wishes, Mary Thorne holds nothing against Lady Arabella, and Dr. Thorne still treats LA's cancer and hangs out with Mr Gresham, even though they have banned Mary from the house! This quality of forgiveness, or at least compartmentalization, seems to be the hallmark of all Trollope's heroes.
(I am at the point where Frank has just given a whipping to a certain somebody.......)
I find it interesting how AT focuses on various topics at length: the medical profession and the competition within same; the architecture of an estate; the electoral process and its fairness and lack there of, etc.
Another aspect of interest is how AT writes in such a way that he becomes a pleasant companion with which to amble across the verbal landscape. I mean in The Warden, and Barchester Towers he just seems to go on like some Shahrazad who can weave tales endlessly. I don't think that is an easy talent to come by and the fact that he has this ability as attested to in having written so many books is quite impressive. I mean we all know people who write a lot of books,- Barbara Cartland, Joyce Carol Oates, etc.- but with AT I at least continue to be interested.
While I am a little over half way through I am having difficulty seeing it with that perspective. If others out there know why it is so categorized then possibly they could tell me what to look out for as I continue my reading.
It's good, tho. Still the yummy characters. Poor Dr. Thorne really is in a pickle. Knowing AT, he'll come out all right.
>17 Seajack: I agree, Seajack! The first time I heard the names "Lambda MuNu" and "Omicron Pi" was when I was out walking, listening to an audio version of Barchester Towers through earbud headphones. When I heard the names read out I burst out laughing and almost tripped up .... who knows what the neighbours thought of me?! :P
In the introduction to the Dover edition of The Claverings Norman Donaldson states "Michael Sadleir, Trollope's chief biographer and bibliographer, has selected about a dozen of his fifty or so novels as particularly fine; of these, he considers three to be 'faultless books.' The are Doctor Thorne (1858) ...Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871) and The Claverings. 'In these,' he writes, 'there is not a loose end, not a patch of drowsiness, not a moment of false proportion.'"
Trollope's "skill in setting the scene," his "natural and convincing" conversations and his character analysis are mentioned as some of the reasons for considering The Claverings as "outstanding." (I would add character development.) But nothing else as to why DT or HH of H would be considered so.
I thought The Claverings was a great read. I didn't enjoy Dr. Thorne nearly as much, though it certainly had its moments, and I haven't read HH of H.
I would only add that anyone who does not want to read "must marry money" again soon should avoid Castle Richmond entirely!
The book reminds me quite a bit of The Warden. It's basically the story of Dr Thorne's conscience. He has every opportunity to do wrong by those who have trusted him, and every time he waits, bides his time. He is constantly tempted to tell the story of Mary's birth and possible inheritance and does not do so until everything has ripened and no one is left to be hurt by his indiscretion. He is forthright with Sir Roger about his conflicting loyalties, but Sir Roger elects to trust him anyway. He could at any time have been less than conscientious with Sir Louis, but is always the good doctor. (Not that he tries very hard to stop Louis from going over to Dr. Fillgrave.) He says nothing to that horrible snob Arabella. He doesn't even tell Mary about her parents until Louis is safely in his grave!!! He's almost too perfect, yet I, for one, love him for it.
It is ironic that even as AT takes potshots at the hypocrisy of the aristocracy, he allows his heroes to take full advantage of it in the end. I was also amazed at how he kept my attention even while the ultimate outcome was fairly obvious. Those last chapters, as the letter and Sir Louis' death wind around each other kept the tension high.
Again, great characters, even minor ones like Lady Scatcherd. I've downloaded Framley Parsonage and will begin listening to it soon.
>19 marise: Marise, thanks for your advice on Castle Richmond.... I've certainly had enough of the 'marry money' theme for a while :) But I hope to get around to reading it one day...
>20 littlegeek: I always enjoy your comments, littlegeek!
The cover of my audiobook talked of its wonderful humor, which once again passed me by. If anyone cares to point out all the humorous instances I would be happy to listen.
The Elizabeth Gaskell book Wives and Daughters takes the same theme of a single doctor and his daughter and the love the daughter has for the lord of the manor's son. It is an excellent book written about the same time and done far more effectively. To my way of thinking Elizabeth Gaskell is one of The Best Kept Secrets in British literature.
Without wishing to detract from our discussion here, I did find another analysis & discussion of Doctor Thorne at http://www.jimandellen.org/trollope/drthorne.show.html I'll admit to being too lazy (or disinterested?) in the book to read all of what's there ;-)
The Claverings is a much superior and much overlooked AT work. Perhaps its cold cynicism and sordid social underbelly is too much for many readers looking for BT humor or the more rosy romances (which is not to disparage either those readers or those works!).
Still haven't read that other "faultless" Trollope Harry Hotspur, but The Claverings will be hard to top.
I'm very fond of Miss Dunstable.
I have to say that Doctor Thorne is my favourite of the Barset chronicles so far, but this is probably because it is the fluffiest of them all.
Incidentally, Doctor Thorne is one of the very few novels in which Trollope didn't construct his own plot.
From Chapter VI of Trollope's Autobiography:
"I had finished The Three Clerks just before I left England, and when in Florence was cudgelling my brain for a new plot. Being then with my brother, I asked him to sketch me a plot, and he drew out that of my next novel, called Doctor Thorne. I mention this particularly, because it was the only occasion in which I have had recourse to some other source than my own brains for the thread of a story. How far I may unconsciously have adopted incidents from what I have read,--either from history or from works of imagination,--I do not know. It is beyond question that a man employed as I have been must do so. But when doing it I have not been aware that I have done it. I have never taken another man's work, and deliberately framed my work upon it. I am far from censuring this practice in others...."
The point, I think, is that Doctor Thorne is very much a conventional love story, in which we readers know all along that the hero and heroine 'ought' to get married, and that they, eventually, will. (In fact, isn't there in the book some passage where Trollope, as narrator, directly addresses the readers on this subject - and seems almost sarcastic?)
Whereas an idea which Trollope constantly uses in other books is: who is going marry whom - and is it a good idea for them to get married, anyway? (I suppose 'The Duke's Children' contains the most elaborate working-out of that theme.)
Or maybe, as #8 Urquhart points out, it's rather comforting to know what's going to happen next--there are no shocks or surprises or unexpected twists. Certainly not Dickens, where some weird twist is sure to have you sit up and take notice.
I did like The Warden and Barchester Towers better, but I was not disappointed in this book.