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.

Digital Journal: “AmazonPrime series brings 19th Century writer back to spotlight”

Posted on: September 12th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Digital JournalJonathan Farell writes in Digital Journal about the Julian Fellowes adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne:

Even if few in the U.S. have ever heard of 19th Century author Anthony Trollope, producer/director Julian Fellowes recognizes literary gold when he sees it. He is the producer behind AmazonPrime’s series “Doctor Thorne.”In fact, the full title of the new BritishTV-type of series is: “Julian Fellowes presents Doctor Thorne.” This is something that the New York Times in its initial review made clear to its readers, just to emphasize that Fellowes is a creative force to be reckoned with.
Fellowes wastes little time in resting on the laurels of his immense success with “Downton Abbey.” He has now put a seldom-highlighted 19th Century writer on the literary map of the American consciousness. Trollope, as he explained in the opening sequence of the first episode of season 1 for “Dr. Thorne,” was alongside the greats of his time, like Thackeray and Dickens. But Trollope fell into obscurity. Fellowes believes Trollope deserves to be restored to that rightful place once again. And what an outstanding job Fellowes has done to bring Trollope’s works to light for American TV viewers….

NYU Class on Palliser Novels

Posted on: August 3rd, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

NYUMargaret Boe Birns and Nicholas Birns are teaching a class in the School of Professional Studies at New York University on “Anthony Trollope: Exploring the Palliser Novels.”  The Palliser novels are one of the most famous series of novels written by one of the most popular and important of English novelists, Anthony Trollope. Centering on the aristocratic politician Plantagenet Palliser and his redoubtable wife Lady Glencora, these “parliamentary” novels explore the corridors of power in mid-Victorian England—but of equal significance are the love triangles, mysterious intrigues, and intriguing mysteries. In this course, two alternating instructors will guide you through an examination of Trollope’s penetrating insights on political and social issues, as well as his investigation into psychological motivation, sexual politics, and the complicated desires of an amazing range of characters. Readings include Can You Forgive Her?, Phineas Finn, The Eustace Diamonds, Phineas Redux, The Prime Minister, and The Duke’s Children.

The class meets on Mondays at 1:00 PM – 2:40 PM every two or three weeks from September 19, 2016 to December 5, 2016.

More information and registration details.

Amazon Prime Lands Julian Fellowes’ “Doctor Thorne” Series

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

The Hollywood ReporterThe Hollywood Reporter indicates that the US broadcast of Doctor Thorne, adapted by Julian Fellowes from Anthony Trollope’s novel, will be streamed on Amazon Prime.

Doctor Thorne, adapted by Julian Fellowes from the novel by Anthony Trollope and produced by U.K. banner Hat Trick, was picked up to stream on Amazon Prime from its North American rights holders The Weinstein Co. Announced Tuesday, the show — which already aired in the U.K. on ITV earlier this year — will be made available to Amazon Prime customers in the U.S. as Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne, capitalizing on the writer’s Oscar- and Emmy-winning U.S. credentials.

The series is already available for viewing at Amazon.com.

(Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.)

The Week: Doctor Thorne–more thrilling than Downton Abbey?

Posted on: March 8th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

The WeekThe first episode of the ITV production of Julian Fellowes’ adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne has aired in the UK, and the press is filled with reviews and news stories about the three-part mini-series and its stars. The Week has a nice roundup without giving away any spoilers:

Julian Fellowes insists that his new period drama about love and class divide, Doctor Thorne, is not the new Downton Abbey, but this hasn’t stopped critics drawing comparisons….

Read more in The Week.

Doctor Thorne Mini-Series: Reviews and News

Posted on: March 7th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Dr Thorne on ITVJulian Fellowes’ adaptation of Doctor Thorne has started to air in the UK, and favorable reviews are beginning to appear. Here is a master post of links to various articles and reviews about the three-part miniseries:


Is Andrew Davies Working on a New Adaptation of “The Pallisers”?

Posted on: February 25th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Andrew Davies (Courtesy BBC)

Andrew Davies (Courtesy BBC)

In The Independent of 25 February 2016, Julian Fellowes mentions in passing “I read in the papers today that Andrew Davies is doing The Pallisers for the BBC, so hopefully now Trollope’s ship is under steam again.” Davies, known best for his adaptations of classic novels such as the 1995 A&E version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as well as Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, for the BBC and PBS in 2002 was hard at work on a new television mini-series of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels in 2009 for the BBC. However, the BBC pulled the plug on the project due to costs, and, according to Davies, to focus on a more mainstream, “downmarket” adaptation of David Copperfield.

To date, we haven’t found a source for Fellowe’s claim about a new version of The Pallisers in the pipeline, but will keep you informed as we learn more.

The Independent: Julian Fellowes on Trollope

Posted on: February 25th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

The IndependentIn today’s The Independent, Gerard Gilbert interviews Julian Fellowes on his new adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne, scheduled to air in the U.K. in March 2016 and in the U.S. at some date beyond. Fellowes says about Trollope that his “his dialogue is very modern and jumps on to the screen,” and adds, “That and also his understanding of the importance of money, that in the end, people may claim 30 generations of sceptred knights, but what matters is how much money they’ve got. And again that’s very contemporary.” As for the lack of interest in Trollope compared to other authors, Fellowes claims,”The literary luvvie brigade patronise Anthony Trollope because he’s so popular.”

Read the complete article in The Independent.

President’s Letter: January 2016

Posted on: February 1st, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Doug GerlachTrollopian celebrations in the New Year kicked off with Stephen Amarnick and Robert Wiseman’s lecture earlier this month at the Yale Club on the extensive research that went into the publication of the first complete edition of The Duke’s ChildrenCopies of the deluxe edition are available in ever-diminishing quantities from The Folio Society, but a lower-priced trade edition is also expected in 2017, which is exciting news.


2015 Trollope Prize Winner

Posted on: January 29th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Trollope PrizeCongratulations to Sarah Faulkner, a graduate student at the University of Washington, who is the winner of the 2015 Trollope Prize graduate competition. Faulkner will receive a $2000 honorarium for her winning essay, “The Temporality of Realism and Romance in He Knew He Was Right.” In addition, her essay will be published by The Fortnightly Review, which also provides an additional monetary reward.

According to the judges, they “welcomed Faulkner’s close attention to a novel by Trollope that is beginning to receive more critical attention. In concentrating on the various subplots of the intricately structured He Knew He Was Right (1869), Faulkner investigates how Trollope’s realism operates in temporal juxtaposition to other genres, particularly that of romance. Trollope locates romance in temporally marginal spaces of the narrative (the past or the future) in order to solidify the present realism of the novel.” The judges — Elsie B. Michie, Professor and Chair of the
English Department at Louisiana State University; Ann Wierda Rowland, Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas; and Tamara S. Wagner, Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore — commended the fluency, clarity and analytical rigor of Faulkner’s writing. There was no undergraduate prize awarded this year. The Trollope Prize is administered by the University of Kansas.

Read Faulkner’s winning essay, “The Temporality of Realism and Romance in He Knew He Was Right.”

The Guardian: “The Pallisers” Is the Thing to Watch

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

The GuardianIn the U.K., the BBC is re-br0adcasting on BBC2 its 1974 26-part mini-series of The Pallisers at lunchtime (a welcome break to soap operas and daytime talk shows for many, I would think). The sweeping adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels, The Pallisers was initially broadcast over eight months in 21 hours of television. Set on the backdrop of Victorian parliamentary politics, The Pallisers features a cast of rising and prominent actors who bring Trollope’s characters to life most visibly. On The Guardian‘s “TV and radio blog,” Neil Clark writes that:

Quality period costume drama is back on the BBC. Not just in War and Peace, but now the return of what I would argue is the best of them all: the 1974 series The Pallisers…. The BBC made 26 episodes, and watching them again reminds us how different television dramas were in the 1970s, and how much more enjoyable they are than most of today’s productions. Unlike, for example, Jamaica Inn, you can hear every word. The actors, of the Olivier school rather than today’s more realist style, all enunciate their lines properly. There are no clever camera angles to make us dizzy, and scenes last longer than 30 seconds.

Here in the States, the series is available on DVD from PBS in a special 40th Anniversary edition released in 2014, and is of course available for lending from many public libraries. If you’re expecting more snow this winter, may I suggest that The Pallisers might be a worthwhile addition to your household emergency kit? The Pallisers makes for a perfectly pleasant way to spend a day or two while homebound due to winter storms.

Read more.

Oxford’s New TV Tie-in Edition of “Doctor Thorne”

Posted on: January 24th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Doctor ThorneThe Bookseller reports that Oxford University Press is publishing an official television mini-series tie-in of Julian Fellowes’ ITV adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne:

Fellowes, best known as the creator of “Downton Abbey”, first announced in April 2015 that he was adapting Anthony Trollope’s Victorian era novel Doctor Thorne as a three-part drama for ITV. Starring Tom Hollander, Ian McShane, Rebecca Front and Cressida Bonas, it follows Trollope’s original story of “the battle between family honour and desires of the heart.” The tie-in book will be published as part of the extensive Oxford World’s Classic series on 3rd March 2016, in advance of the series airing that month. It will be released in paperback, priced £9.99. Fellowes, an ardent fan of Trollope, will write the foreword; the introduction will be penned by Simon Dentith, a professor at the University of Reading.

Fellowes said: “He is my favourite Victorian novelist. I think what I admire about him is that he has a very non-judgmental quality. Dickens’ heroines are always virginal and perfect, and his villains are always black-hearted. Of course, Dickens is a wonderful writer, but Trollope has a much more modern approach. Nobody is all bad or all good, and that seems to me to be very contemporary.”

Read more.

Dr. Thorne Reading Group

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by Douglas Gerlach

Doctor ThorneThe Center for Fiction in New York will host a reading group of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne, led by scholar and Trollope Society director N. John “Jack” Hall. The group will meet four times, on the second Tuesday of the month from February through May 2016, from 6 – 7:30 pm on February 9, March 8, April 12, and May 10. The cost to attend is $140 (non-members register here), or $120 for members of the Center for Fiction or The Trollope Society (members register here).