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Lecture Series: “The Way We Live Now”

October 14, 2014 @ 6:00 pm - February 10, 2015 @ 7:30 pm


The Center for Fiction in New York is hosting a reading group of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, led by scholar and Trollope Society director N. John “Jack” Hall.

The group will meet five times, on the second Tuesday of the month from October 2014 through February 2015, from 6 – 7:30 pm on October 14, November 11, December 9, January 13, and February 10. The cost to attend is $140 (non-members register here), or $125 for members of the Center for Fiction or the Trollope Society (members register here).

About The Way We Live Now

Purchase a copy of The Way We Live Now.

Anthony Trollope published 47 novels, but the reputation of The Way We Live Now, beginning in the early twentieth century and reaching its peak here in the twenty-first, has put this late novel into select company; it has become one of the high points in all of Victorian fiction—alongside masterworks by Dickens, Thackeray, the Brontës, George Eliot, and Hardy. The Way We Live Now has many of the features that delight admirers in his other novels: the friendly narrative voice, the sparkling dialogue, the humor, the irony, the deftness in depicting young women.

But The Way We Live Now is very different, too: Trollope is at his most satiric, attacking “the commercial profligacy of the age,” as embodied in Augustus Melmotte, the “horrid, big, rich scoundrel” stockbroker and forger. Trollope, once in satiric mode, ventures into “an onslaught also on other vices—on the intrigues of girls who want to get married, on the luxury of young men who prefer to remain single, and on the puffing propensities of authors who desire to cheat the public into buying their volumes.” Trollope himself feared he may have exaggerated the satire—not only of Melmotte’s criminal success, but of high society’s fawning acceptance of him. But history and recent phenomena—banking fraud, widespread financial corruption, swindlers like Madoff—seem to vindicate Trollope’s position.

Recommended Edition

Oxford University Press, World’s Classics, Introduction by John Sutherland. Participants are encouraged to read first ten chapters, pages 1 – 95.

About N. John Hall

“Jack” is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus, BCC and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has been twice the director of NEH Summer Seminars for College Teachers and twice a Guggenheim Fellow. His many publications and editions include The Trollope Critics (ed); Trollope and His Illustrators; the two-volume Letters of Anthony Trollope, and Trollope: A Biography. This last earned Hall a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review and occasioned the (London) Times calling him “arguably the world’s leading authority on Anthony Trollope.”

Registration is via the Center for Fiction:

Members & Trollope Society Members: $125 * (Join The Trollope Society: $75)

Non-Members: $140


October 14, 2014 @ 6:00 pm
February 10, 2015 @ 7:30 pm


Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street
New York, NY United States


Center for Fiction