It is Anthony Trollope’s 200th anniversary, and all are frenziedly reading Trollope.
It is just like the nineteenth century!
I became a Trollope junkie after I saw The Pallisers on TV in the ’70s. Since then I have read 40 of his 47 novels. I recently reread the fifth book in the Palliser series, The Prime Minister. I love the mix of politics and doomed romance in this parliamentary pageturner: Planty Palliser, now the Duke of Omnium, becomes Prime Minister, and his wife Lady Glencora schemes to bolster his reputation by hosting extravagant over-the-top parties. Trollope also tells the story of the marriage of Emily Wharton, the daughter of a rich lawyer, and Lopez, an unscrupulous speculator who everyone knows is not a gentleman. The novel rambles, but I enjoyed the rambling.
So it is a normal year of Trollope at Mirabile Dictu. Well, almost. My Trollope consumption has not been entirely normal. I purchased a copy of the Folio Society’s complete edition of The Duke’s Children for $330 and then gave it to charity because it was too big to read in bed. I am as extravagant as Lady Glencora! only with less political effect. By the way, the book has received excellent reviews from the TLS, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Irish Times.
At The Guardian, in a roundup of writers choosing their favourite novels by Trollope, I was surprised that the Palliser books are so popular. Antonia Fraser chose Can You Forgive Her?, Roy Hattersley and Kwasi Kwarteng chose Phineas Finn, and Anthony Quinn and Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, chose The Prime Minister.
What are your favorite Trollope novels? Anybody for the Barsetshire series? My favorite is He Knew He Was Right. More on that later. I’ll reread it one of these years.