City Journal: “Reading Trollope” by Melanie Kirkpatrick

City Jourmal Summer 2015Melanie Kirkpatrick, former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page (and a member of The Trollope Society) has penned an appreciation of Anthony Trollope for the City Journal.

“I had received two degrees in English literature, written a thesis on Dickens, and studied almost every major work of Victorian literature before I thought to read a book by Anthony Trollope. My interest in the great nineteenth-century British novelist was sparked, not by a classroom discussion, but in a casual conversation over cocktails in Hong Kong. It was the early 1980s and Hong Kong was still a British colony. An American banker, visiting from what was then known as Peking, told me about a Trollope craze that had overtaken the American community there. Paperback editions of Trollope’s novels were being passed from reader to reader….

“Not long after our drink, I picked up a copy of The Warden, the first in Trollope’s series of novels set in the fictional cathedral town of Barchester. After speeding through the Barchester novels, I moved on to the Palliser series, Trollope’s six parliamentary novels. I was enthralled. Trollope’s narrative power, along with his astute psychological insights, drew me in to the fictional worlds he created. I came to agree with Virginia Woolf, who said that we believe in the reality of Trollope’s characters ‘as we do in the reality of our weekly bills.'”

Read more.

Posted on: October 31st, 2015 by Douglas Gerlach

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