Dedicated to classics and hits.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

Victorian Style Furniture: You talk about Anthony Trollope, you talk about Victorian Style.

Book Review
The Last Chronicle of Barset
by Anthony Trollope
p. 1867

   I had this book downloaded onto my Kindle but while in Hawaii I actually saw a recent Penguin Classics edition of The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope sitting on the bookshelf of the owners bedroom of the house we were staying in and I was like, "That's a sign to read The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope."   Anthony Trollope was a successful, prolific Novelist, the Victorian equivalent in output and popularity to a Steven King or Thomas Wolfe.  His popularity has declined in recent centuries like the 20th and 21st.
Victorian Style Dress- modern version.

 The most important descriptor of Anthony Trollope as a Novelist is the word "Victorian."  No single writer captures the essence of mid-period Victorian literature like Trollope captures the essence of mid-period Victorian literature.  The essential Victorian-ness of his Novels has likely heard the long-term popularity of his work.

Victorian Style Hat

  If you want to know what I mean when I call Trollope "Victorian," just look at The Last Chronicle of Barset.  The Last Chronicle of Barset is the sixth volume in a six book series about life in a Church-dominated town in England (inspired by Salisbury.)  The Last Chronicle of Barset is over 700 pages in paperback form, and I'd imagine the other books are similarly lengthy.

Victorian Lady: Tattooed Style

   The Last Chronicle of Barset has three intertwined major plots (Like an "A, B, C" story line on a 30 minute sitcom or 60 minute television drama.) and numerous sub-plots that reference the prior five books in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. So we're talking about 5000 pages, more or less, of Novels written about life in small town England in the mid 19th century.   Trollope blends influences- the Vanity Fair of William Thackeray Trollope overshadows the third major plot while the main plot of Josiah Crawley and the stolen 20 pound check more resembles the Gothic/Sentsationalist novels of the mid 19th century.

Salisbury Cathedral inspired the Chronicles of Barsetshire and served as the model for the community depicted.  Salisbury Cathedral is a Gothic-style (Early English Gothic) Cathedral in England.

   Significantly, Chronicles of Barsetshire is one of TWO six volume Novel sets about contemporary British life that Anthony Trollope wrote between 1850 and 1870.  The other set, the Palliser Novels, is about the world of British government ministers.  Phineas Finn, which I read a few weeks back, is one of the Palliser Novels- the second- while The Last Chronicle of Barset is the sixth of six.

The Bishop's Palace, Salisbury Cathedral: Setting for the Barsetshire Chronicles- home of the Bishop.

  It's hard to mourn the passing of Anthony Trollope as a popular favorite.  Both the length, volume and subject matter of his books work against him, but he is certainly remembered by the English publishing/literary establishment and to a lesser extend by the British Broadcasting Company, who have produced TV (Palliser Novels) and Radio (Chronicles of Barsetshire) adaptations in the last decade.

No comments:

Blog Archive