I also intend to read the rest of the Barset novels (slowly). I don't know whether I'll ever get to the political/Palliser novels. They are long and life is short. But maybe. Many critics seem to rank The Last Chronicle of Barset as the best of the series. Some even rank it as Trollope's best novel. I don't think that I want to jump straight to it, though, having discovered how important reading the first two novels in order was.
P.S. - God, no! Much as I was delighted by Signora Neroni, I certainly would not wish to personally fall into her clutches!
: I agree with you on every point.
: Characterization is certainly Trollope's
: strongest feature. Eleanor is truly an
: independent woman: she doesn't love her
: father because she is submissive, but
: because she recognizes in him both his
: virtues (true ethics, never hypocritical or
: accommodating) and his defects (one might
: say he is somewhat pusillanimous) and still
: adheres to him. She stands up to Dr.
: Grantley out of pure principle and risks the
: misunderstanding that gets her in trouble,
: and, above all, she stands up to Slope in
: the highest point of the plot, the
: well-deserved smack in the face. Signora
: Neroni is simply delightful (though probably
: not as a lover) and, as you say, she goes to
: heights of generosity in the middle of her
: But a very intriguing character is Harding.
: What to make of him? Is he a weak, indolent
: drifter, or a brave, ethical man? Can one be
: both? In this sense, "The Warden"
: is indispensable in order to understand him
: a bit more, for it is in that novel that the
: reader sees him in the middle of an
: agonizing ethical dilemma. He turns out to
: be right and also lucky in the end, but the
: struggle is not less hard for all that.
: I look forward to reading the rest of the
: novels in the series, slowly. Trollope is a
: novelist of a high order. Perhaps, as you
: say, he doesn't reach the literary altitudes
: of Dickens or Eliot. Dickens is an artist of
: extremes, of caricature taken to high art,
: willing to take enormous risks and sometimes
: disappoint; Eliot is firmly planted on the
: ground of reality and we don't expect her
: characters to equal Harding's ethical
: standards for such are rare. Trollope casts
: a humorous glance at the world without
: forgetting the serious part of the little
: battles we all have to fight and which are
: the greatest for us, and he succeeds.
« Back to index