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New York Reading Group: “Doctor Thorne”

February 9, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


The 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).

About Doctor Thorne

Doctor Thorne, published in 1858, was Trollope’s seventh novel and his fourth success; in fact Trollope wrote in his Autobiography that during his lifetime it had sold more copies and had been re-issued more times than any of his other novels. And today it continues to be one of the most popular of his 47 novels. At present Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, is preparing a three-part TV adaptation that will come to the US late next year. Although Doctor Thorne is the third of the six Barsetshire novels, all centered on rural England (as opposed to the six Palliser novels, centered on London and parliamentary life), it is completely self-standing. Unlike the first two Barsetshire novels, it does not revolve around ecclesiastical politics.

The novel has the usual Trollopian humor, sparkling dialogue, deftness in presenting young women, the narrator’s friendly voice, a gentle but constant irony, some serious satire, an overarching comic spirit. But this “love story” has much more plot than the typical Trollope novel; and it features a very special character, Dr. Thorne, in whom Trollope (perhaps unconsciously) portrays to some degree his own character in his middle years. The novel has long been acknowledged by critics and readers as one of Trollope’s finest.

Trollope in his Autobiography wrote that if he were to be read in the next century–and we are past that already–it would be because of three characters: Plantagenet Palliser, Lady Glencora, and Josiah Crawley (the last from the sixth book of the Barsetshire Series). In The Duke’s Children we explore the complex mind of a character in a way seldom matched in Victorian fiction.

Recommended Edition

Oxford University Press, World’s Classics, Introduction by David Skilton. Participants are encouraged to read the first eight chapters prior to the first meeting.

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:

Center for Fiction & Trollope Society Members: $120 * (Join The Trollope Society: $75)

Non-Members: $140


February 9, 2016
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


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


Center for Fiction