1) I'm told that Trollope is not the author to go to for plots. He invents characters, sets up a situation, and then sees how it will play out. The Warden has a very intriguing premise in that the morality of the situation is very nuanced. Barchester Towers is also relatively complex. Doctor Thorne, by contrast, is a rather stock melodrama involving wills, illegitimacy, thwarted true love, etc. Much of the charm of the novel is in the contrast between the very "real," well-drawn, convincing characters and the creaky plot.
2.) Trollope is very funny. He actually succeeded in making me laugh out loud, which is very rare for me when reading.
3.) Slope is an actual villain in Barchester Towers. One of the charms of Doctor Thorne is that there are no villains. Not really. Lady Arabella, for instance, is genuinely trying to look out for the well being of her son.
4.) I continue to be charmed by Trollope's direct address to the reader. I've come to think of him as second only to Fielding in creating a charming narrative persona for himself. Perhaps it's because direct address by the author to the reader is so rare, especially post-18th century.
5.) I wish that more of the characters from the first two novels had appeared more prominently in Doctor Thorne, but I understand that he needed to broaden his world a bit. I'm sure that some of the characters introduced in DT will appear in later novels in the sequence.
6.) There was no character quite as memorable as the Signora Neroni, but Miss Dunstable comes close. A very unexpected and charming character.
7.) It is commonplace to compare Trollope to Dickens. In most ways, Dickens is an easy winner. He is a much stronger stylist and generally a deeper artist. Trollope, though, is the clear winner in the characterization of women. Or rather, young women. Dickens created a huge gallery of memorable older ladies, but his young women are unconvincing. Esther Summerson is sympathetic, but too good to be true. Mary Thorne (or Eleanor Harding Bold Arabin) is a very convincing person with strengths and weaknesses. They are fully the equal as three-dimensional characters of the men in the novel, a trick that Dickens rarely, if ever, managed.
: Well, as soon as you're ready, fire! I will
: answer with my thoughts later. I also
: enjoyed it a lot.
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