2017 Fall Lecture

Posted on: September 1st, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

We are pleased that Professor James R. Kincaid will deliver our Fall 2017 Lecture, on “Trollope’s Kindness.” Kincaid is a Trollopian scholar of much renown, and an entertaining speaker. More information here.

A Sad Note to Trollope Society Members

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 by Randy Williams

Every organization if really lucky, finds someone who is as gracious, charming and diligent as Midge (Mildred) Fitzgerald. She has been my right hand and good friend ever since the first few months of the Trollope Society, and has graced us with her time and talents all this time. Sadly, Midge died early on Monday August 28, in New Bern, North Carolina, after a short hospitalization.


New York Times: Should Critics Aim to Be Open-Minded?

Posted on: September 1st, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

In the Bookends column of the New York Times Book Review, writers Thomas Mallon and Liesl Schillinger take on the effects of criticism. Schillinger points to some observations on the topic made by Anthony Trollope:

In his 1875 novel The Way We Live Now, one of my favorite authors, Anthony Trollope (several generations older than Maugham and infinitely more indulgent of his fellow man), pointed out the hazard of a charitable critical approach: “Eulogy is invariably dull.’ There’s a distinct line between eulogy and fairness, but every critic knows you make more of a splash when you wield a bludgeon than when you bestow a bouquet.

Yet Trollope also recognized that brickbats too readily brandished lose their power to stun. If you’re a writer known for dispensing venom, he explained, your targets grow immune to your poison: ‘Censure from those who are always finding fault is regarded so much as a matter of course that it ceases to be objectionable,’ making the dependably whip-cracking critic a ‘caricaturist.’ Whereas an open-minded critic makes an enemy every time he or she lays down a harsh verdict: ‘Abuse from those who occasionally praise is considered to be personally offensive.’

(Read the full article.)

How Crestline, Ohio Got into a Victorian Era Bestseller

Posted on: July 30th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

RichlandSourceFrom the Richland Source, an article in the Richland Source on how the tiny town of Crestline, Ohio, made its way into Anthony Trollope’s travelogue, North America:

Crestline is not a significantly sizeable place: you can be in and out of town pretty quickly. This is especially true if you’re on a train. The significance of a place however, is hardly dependent on its size. It takes on considerably more significance if the train you’re riding drops you in the middle of town and leaves you there for four hours. With unanticipated hours to pass, Crestline can become quite significant: especially to a writer who has been sent to America with the expressed intention of searching out the character of the nation. Then Crestline becomes characteristic of the entire country.

This is exactly what happened in 1861 when the famous English novelist Anthony Trollope wrote about the United States in his two volume classic North America….

(Read the article.)

The London Economic: “Books that deserve original film series”

Posted on: July 30th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

TLEHubert O’Hearn writes in “The London Economic”:

“The other book I beg someone to film is Anthony Trollope’s comic masterpiece Barchester Towers. Just the other day David Mamet wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal proclaiming that Trollope was much the greater novelist than Charles Dickens. To which I can only say, David Mamet is a f*-ing idiot. However, I dearly love Trollope. He was the precursor to P.G. Wodehouse and J.B. Priestley … in some ways Kingsley and Martin Amis too, as writers of withering satire of English mores wrapped carefully in the softest cashmere of well-chosen words. The BBC made a series called The Barchester Chronicles back in 1982, however the material surely deserves a fresh update. If done correctly, this examination of a modest vicarage within the class system could and should be a new Father Ted or Vicar of Dibley.”

(Read the article.)

Forbes: What Anthony Trollope Can Teach Us About Finance

Posted on: July 28th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

ForbesMihir Desai’s new book, The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return, links the fundamentals of finance to several centuries of literature, history, philosophy, music, visual arts, theater, and comedy in order to make the subject seem less mystifying — more humanizing — to non-financiers. One of the examples in the book is how Anthony Trollope’s novel Phineas Finn offers useful lessons on risk management. Carmen Nobel recently interviewed in Desai, the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School, f0r Forbes magazine. In the article, Desai discusses his approach to interpreting financial concepts.

(Read the article.)

Austen and Trollope

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach


On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, 18 July 1817.

Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s Death

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

jane-austenJane Austen passed away on July 18, 1817. Anthony Trollope was but two years old at the time, though by the age of 19 years, as he wrote in his An Autobiography, he had already made up my mind that Pride and Prejudice was the best novel in the English language.” This belief held steady until Trollope encountered Thackeray, at which point Henry Esmond became his favorite novel.

Trollope still held Austen in high esteem for the rest of his life. In the late 1860s as he lectured across England, one of his presentations was a survey course in English literature entitled On English Prose Fiction as Rational Amusement.” Published privately in 1870 in a volume entitled Four Lectures, the lecture traces the history of the novel from its very beginnings with Sir Philip Sidney’s 1580 proto-novels through Thackeray’s Victorian classics. Though Austen was not widely read by the Victorians until the first posthumous republication of her novels in 1870, Trollope was an admirer of Austen as a “surely great novelist.” Following is an excerpt from Trollope’s essay extolling Austen’s virtues.


New Oxford World’s Classics Edition of “The Way We Live Now”

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach


Oxford World’s Classics has released a new edition of The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope edited and with an introduction and notes by Francis O’Gorman. This updated edition of The Way We Live Now includes a biographical preface, introduction, notes on the text, appendices on Trollope’s working materials and dates in the text, and 750 explanatory notes, making it the “go-to” edition for readers and scholars alike.

Francis O’Gorman is also the author of Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History, a singular study of the origins of our contemporary idea of “worry” as it emerged in the Victorian era, including in the works of Anthony Trollope. Published in 2015, this book is also highly recommended.

(More at Amazon.)

“Bibliophilia” by N. John Hall

Posted on: February 18th, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

BibliophiliaFrom noted Trollopian scholar and biographer N. John Hall comes a sequel to his 2011 epistolatory novel Correspondence: An Adventure in Letters entitled Bibliophilia: An Epistolary Novel of One Man’s Obsession with Book Collecting. Flush with $400,000 dollars from selling his great great grandfather’s correspondence with Victorian authors, Larry Dickerson, retired bank clerk, amateur editor, and literary neophyte, needs a creative outlet for his newly acquired funds and quickly escalating love of all things bookish.

In Bibliophilia, Dickerson turns his attention to New Yorker authors, with his determination to acquire growing with each new purchase. James Thurber, E.B. White, Vladimir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, and Dorothy Parker all find their way onto Larry’s shortlist, standing along previously acquired greats Trollope, Dickens, Thackeray, and Hardy. Being sensible, he approaches the biggest names in the rare book field with childish glee, and with refreshing brashness, finds himself handling copies of authors’ most coveted titles, touring the New Yorker offices, and then involved in one of the biggest scandals book collecting has ever seen. Will the thrill of the chase overwhelm Larry’s ability to see reason? Will his appetite outpace his resources? Join him on this journey as he discovers just how far he’s willing to take his obsession.

(More at Amazon.com.)

President’s Letter February 2017

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

Doug GerlachAs we embark into another year of Trollopian activities, I extend the Society’s felicitations and all best wishes for 2017! Trollopiana #106 is presently en route from the U.K. and members stateside should have it in their hands shortly.

We will welcome Benjamin Parker of Brown University as the speaker for our Winter Reception on February 20, 2017 at St. Bartholomew’s Church. Professor Parker’s talk is entitled “Does Trollope’s Psychology Follow Newton’s Laws?” You may reserve tickets on the TrollopeUSA.org website

A number of other activities are on the 2017 calendar. The Center for Fiction in New York will host a reading group of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, led by scholar and Trollope Society director N. John “Jack” Hall. Thackeray was Trollope’s idol and mentor, and this is sure to be an invigorating excursion for Trollopians. The group will meet from February through May 2017, and is $120 for members of The Trollope Society. Tickets are available here.


The Duke’s Children “Only Complete Edition” Published

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by Douglas Gerlach

TheDukesChildrenEveryman’s Library has set April 4, 2017 as the publication date for their edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children: The Only Complete Edition. This low-cost hardcover edition provides the restored text of the last of Trollope’s Palliser novels as it was published in The Folio Society’s 2015 collectible edition.

Trollope wrote The Duke’s Children, his final Palliser novel, as a four-volume work but was required by his publisher to reduce it to three, necessitating the loss of nearly sixty-five thousand words. A team of researchers led by Steven Amarnick has worked with the manuscript at Yale’s Beinecke Library to restore the novel to its original form. The result is richer and more complex, with a subtly different ending: a clearly superior book to the one that has always been published.

Amazon is presently offering pre-orders of the book for $21.24, a savings off the regular list price of $27.50. Your purchase using the link below benefits The Trollope Society (USA).

Order now.

New York Times: A Bookworm’s Travel Plan

Posted on: December 10th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

In The New York Times of December 6, 2016, Jennifer Moses writes about the joys of visiting bookstores while traveling. She traces her bookloving pasttime to a time when she lived in Glasgow and discovered Caledonia Books — and an author of particular interest and influence:

Finally, I busted out my umbrella, took to the streets and stumbled into a time warp consisting of dust and books. Piles of them. Whole mountain ranges of them. It was a veritable temple devoted to the past two or three centuries of first-rate, secondhand and antiquarian books: the Brontë sisters, the Mitford sisters, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Jones, Henry James.

And then I saw it: a small city, built entirely of the novels of Anthony Trollope, an author I’d never before taken up, though I distinctly remember my mother’s dear friend Jessica saying something like: “At a certain point past youth, if you don’t discover Trollope, there’s basically nothing to live for.” Trollope? You mean that bearded and bespectacled Victorian word-factory with his hemming and hawing and endlessly long sentences? I’d rather be stuck on an elevator. But there it was, beckoning me: “The Eustace Diamonds,” crumbling and stained. As if it were an abandoned dog, I couldn’t resist.

I walked home with it tucked under my arm, this massive Victorian book in this massive Victorian town. And for the rest of the year, whenever I felt low, or just needed to be in a place where the dust itself hinted of adventures, I’d be back at the shop, with its big front windows crammed with (what else?) books and the wonderful smell of dusty old books.

(Read more.)

London Review of Books: “Besieged by Female Writers”

Posted on: October 26th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

londonreviewbookscov3821John Pemble in the London Review of Books reviews a new volume by Frederik Van Dam, Anthony Trollope’s Late Style: Victorian Liberalism and Literary Form published by Oxford University Press. The Review‘s website includes this introduction (full text is only available to subscribers):

“For a long time Anthony Trollope was remembered as the civil servant who introduced the pillar box to Britain and wrote fiction in three-hour stints before breakfast, sitting in front of a clock to make sure he produced 250 words every 15 minutes. Most had heard of Barchester Towers, but few read it, and the rest was forgotten. Three-volume, double-plot novels about people in crinolines, gaiters and stovepipe hats had had their day, especially when their author was reputed less for quality than quantity, and more for observation than vision. But in 1927, 45 years after Trollope’s death, Michael Sadleir published a reassessment. He argued that Trollope was a writer with the rare gift of being able to produce memorable books without writing memorable sentences, and probe depths without seeming to move beyond the surface. Interest revived; the books were reprinted; academia took them up. Trollope made it into the canon and finally into Westminster Abbey, where a plaque was unveiled in 1993.”


Royal Gazette: “New book captures Twain, Trollope’s musings”

Posted on: October 2nd, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach


A new book by Horst Augustinovic, the world-class Bermuda philatelist, Recollections Of 19th Century Bermuda is a gallery of sketches of the island during the Georgian and Victorian eras. Among the authors excerpted in the volume are Mark Twain (who loved the island) and Anthony Trollope (not so much). The Bermudian newspapper, The Royal Gazette, published an overview of the book, especially the contrasting views of Twain and Trollope:

In marked contrast to the whimsical take on Bermuda presented by Twain, Trollope’s view of the island taken from his 1860 book West Indies of the Spanish Main is critical to a fault. He fulminates and thunders about Bermuda so incessantly, readers can be forgiven if they think they detect the sulphurous whiff of recently discharged lightning rising from the pages.

Hugely popular in his day for his seemingly endless Chronicles of Barsetshire series and other family sage novels, Trollope, nevertheless, continued to work as an inspector for the early British postal service even as his literary star was already in the ascendant. It was in his capacity as a postal employee that he was sent to the West Indies and Bermuda in 1858 to “cleanse the Augean stables of our post office system there”. He seems to have taken his instructions very much to heart and clearly would have liked to have cleansed Bermuda in its entirety.

Writing in the ponderous, overly ornate style that was the literary equivalent of High Victorian Gothic architecture, Trollope excoriated every imaginable facet of life in Bermuda. Despite saying at the outset that “it seems to me there can be no place in the world as to which there can be less said than there is about this Island,” he proceeded to devote more than 20 densely typeset pages of his memoirs to his two-week inspection of Bermuda. Trollope disliked the food and the climate, the insects and the entire administrative structure of the island’s colonial bureaucracy; he complained about the backwardness of local agriculture despite the opportunities afforded farmers, the islands having “many gifts of nature to recommend them.”

Read more.

That Trollope! Podcast

Posted on: September 16th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

thattrollope_sampleNicholas Birns and Steven Amarnick have begun recording a new podcast series, That Trollope! They plan to tackle Trollope’s works one by one, recording their conversations with the help of an occasional guest Trollopian. You can listen online or download episodes to your smartphone or computer. Episodes are available on The Way We Live Now and An Autobiography.

Listen now.