I have finished "The Warden", and very glad to have read it. It actually doesn't seem a light work to me, though the tone is gently satirical. There is certainly a difficult ethical problem, one that many people today face (and many more simply ignore): how much is fair for what we do? Is my "public affairs director" position worth more to society than the rural teacher's? What are all those "advisors" doing while the maid cleans up the house? Mr. Harding is, no doubt, one of the most ethical persons in literature; most other people would have fought for their sinecure and simply shrugged the shoulders at the "Jupiter" (The Times).
I, who live in one of the most corrupt countries in the world, would like to go about smashing Mr. Harding's example on our politicians' heads, they who steal and cheat unashamedly. Mr. Harding's decision is surely idiotic to most people, but it is ethical and honorable nonetheless.
"The Warden" is, of course, a novel about a moral dilemma, but it also shows the power of the press in the mid-XIX Century and the difficult problems with religion in the UK.
Soon to "Barchester Towers"!
: Guillermo, I don't mean to presume, but I'm an actual
: Episcopalian (the US branch of the Anglican
: Communion), and I was unfamiliar with the Church of
: England ecclesiastical hierarchy that is so central to
: Barchester Towers. I found the following post:
: which was reasonably helpful in understanding all the
: different gradations of power surrounding the
: cathedral. It was helpful to know what, exactly, an
: "archdeacon" is, for example. In my church
: there are just rectors, deacons, and bishops. This
: vast hierarchy referenced in BT does not exist (so far
: as I know) in the American version. It may no longer
: exist in the Church of England. I have no idea.
: Anyway, I found this helpful.
: --Previous Message--
: I'm glad you'll be starting the Trollope novels soon,
: Guillermo. You read so much faster than I that we may
: finish at nearly the same time!
: The Warden is brief, gentle , and interesting. It
: actually poses a knotty ethical problem that remains
: fully applicable to this day (and perhaps always
: will). I enjoyed it, although I thought it a minor
: work. In my opinion, it would not really be worth
: reading except that it provides an introduction to
: Barchester Towers . While the essential plot points
: are quickly summarized in BT, I believe that the
: latter novel would be considerably less enjoyable
: without first making the acquaintance of (and learning
: the character of) several of the major players in the
: latter novel.
: I am finding Barchester Towers to be one of the
: funniest Victorian novels I've ever read. It's
: peculiar to me that in the 18th-century English novel,
: I much prefer the humorous ones (Fielding, Sterne,
: Smollett) to the serious ones (Richardson, for
: example). (It's odd to me because generally I'm not a
: fan of comedy in other areas. I don't read humorous
: contemporary fiction, or watch television sitcoms, or
: select so-called funny movies, etc.) Austen is also
: very funny in the transitional period of the Regency.
: But the Victorian novel is not nearly so funny. The
: Pickwick Papers is surely a comic novel, but I don't
: think of Dickens as primarily a comic novelist. He
: sometimes makes me smile, but I actually have laughed
: out loud reading Barchester Towers . Similarly, the
: satire in Thackeray may produce a smile, but I don't
: recall him as being all that funny. At least not
: compared to Fielding or Sterne. Eliot, the Brontės,
: Hardy--fine novelists, but scarcely a smile in the
: I understand that Trollope himself abandoned comedy
: following Barchester Towers . if so, that's a shame.