Trollope on the Net


An account, by its leader, Ellen Moody, of a group discussion of Trollope’s works on a world-wide Internet discussion group devoted to the study of Anthony Trollope.

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by Ellen Moody. Published 2003.

Trollope On the NetAnthony Trollope, whose range was greater than any other Victorian novelist and whose depth was equal to the greatest of them, retains the power to surprise us. His work, with its subtle analysis of human motives and feelings, keeps its relevance today. On the eve of the Millennium he is, in many ways, the most modern of the Victorians. It is therefore apt that he should lead the great Victorian writers into cyberspace. Trollope on the Net is an account, by its leader, Ellen Moody, of a group discussion of Trollope’s works on Trollope-l, the world-wide Internet discussion group devoted to his study.

Many of Trollope’s books, from massive three-deckers to his novellas and short stories, certainly deserve to be better known. Members of the group read an agreed programme of works. Most were lesser known ones, including the Irish books, The Claverings, Lady Anna and The Golden Lion of Granpere, but the group also discussed An Autobiography, He Knew He Was Right, Can You Forgive Her?, The Way We Live Now, Orley Farm and the Barsetshire novels, commenting on their form, content, structure, detail and meaning. The Internet discussion was both serious and informal, mostly harmonious, but with occasional tensions. It allowed a close focus on the works. These discussions are reported and the nature of the works summarized by Ellen Moody, whose scholarship and incisive analysis pervades the book. She argues that the Irish books, beginning with The Macdermots of Ballycloran, should be seen as a set to rival Barchester and the Pallisers, and discusses the part played by the original illustrations to Trollope’s work as a whole.

It can be argued that Trollope’s works until a few years ago commanded greater respect from readers than from academics. This pioneering work takes a giant step in redressing the balance. It will certainly send readers out for copies of the books they haven’t read; it should encourage many more in the future to join in the discussion on Trollope-l of an author who continues to engage new readers 120 years after his death.

It is published in hardback, with dustjacket, and includes 24 illustrations, 23 of them original illustrations to Trollope’s novels. It is indexed, and is xxi+274 pages long. It is published by the Hambledon Press.