Are you a Trollope fan? Do you prefer his long, rambling novels to his shorter books? Do you wonder why The Duke’s Children, the sixth book in the Palliser series, is shorter than the other five?
Well, it was an editing problem. Charles Dickens Jr., editor of the periodical All Year Round, thought the book too long, so Trollope cut 65,000 words. But the good news for Trollope fans is that Steven Amarnick, a scholar, with a team of researchers, restored the original text from the manuscript in the Yale library
The complete edition is available from two publishers. In 2015, The Folio Society published the complete edition in two volumes ($330), ” and this month Everyman Library published a less expensive hardcover ($27.50).
Do we need a “complete edition of The Duke’s Children? I love Trollope’s long books: the longer the better. But the shorter version has been around since 1880, so isn’t that the actual book? (I had the same feeling when it turned out Raymond Carver wasn’t a minimalist: it’s just that Gordon Lish cut out all the words.)
In 2015, Adam Gopnik mentioned the Folio Society complete edition of The Duke’s Children in an essay on Trollope at The New Yorker:
Much matter that had been cut by Trollope for practical reasons has been restored, but the truth is that the editing does not actually change the contents significantly. Trollope is not a sentence-by-sentence writer, or even a scene-by-scene writer; really, he is a character-by-character writer. We finish his books with portraits of people, and a few sentences added or subtracted don’t alter our feelings about the book.
The Trollope group on Yahoo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is interested in the affordable new Everyman complete edition. They plan tentatively to discuss the complete Everyman edition in November. Clinton Hall writes,
If we decide as a group to read this revised novel after we complete our readings of the three novels on our to-read list, we would start the read about early November, by which time there will possibly be used copies available for less at Abebooks and other online retail outlets.
But in the meantime I do hope at least a few of us on our list will read the book independently in the next month or so and then pass on their recommendations to Natalie or me, or to the list itself, as to whether they think it would be a worthwhile group read on list this year.
AND NOW FOR THREE LITERARY LINKS.
1 At the Tea and Tattle podcast, Jane Austen fans and other readers will enjoy a conversation between novelists Diana Birchall, the author of Mr. Darcy’s Dilemma, and Janet Todd, author of A Man of Genius. These two witty writers discuss how and when they began reading Jane Austen, how they became friends at the first Jane Austen conference (of about nine people!) in the ’80s, and what inspired them to write novels expanding or reworking Jane Austen’s novels.
2 At the TLS, in a review entitled “Shivering in Stockings,” Caroline Franklin takes issue with Shelley DeWees’ new book, Not Just Jane: Rediscovering seven amazing women writers who transformed British literature.
It seems that collective amnesia at HarperCollins has wiped a whole generation of enthusiastic feminist scholarship from its ken. Do they think that American universities still teach a 1950s canon, dictated by Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel (1957) or A. D. McKillop’s The Early Masters of English Prose Fiction (1956)? DeWees is young, so perhaps does not remember those Virago reprints (utterly necessary before e-texts and Google books) of classic but out-of-print fiction by women, or Dale Spender’s polemic Mothers of the Novel: 100 good women authors before Jane Austen (1986) and the Pandora Press series it introduced. Yet approving quotations from those same feminist pioneers, Professors Janet Todd and Amanda Foreman, for example, enhance the HarperCollins publicity. Indeed, DeWees’s endnotes attest to her not only knowing but drawing on and synthesizing the spadework that has already been done over the past thirty years.
What I like about Franklin’s contentious approach is that she talks about other books about women’s lit. What I don’t like? I can just see men going “RAH–Cat Fight!” (You would be surprised at how many times I have heard those words, usually about something on a TV show, not in the TLS.)
3. And there is a fascinating article at The Barnes and Noble Review about science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany, winner of four Nebulas and two Hugos and the Lambda award twice. T. W. O’Brien writes,
Delany grew up in Harlem, back when it was the epicenter of black culture in America. He has described having had one set of friends on the streets of Harlem, and a completely different set of friends at Dalton, the private, primarily white school he attended on New York City’s Upper East Side. He went on to the Bronx High School of Science, then to City College of New York. But he dropped out of college after only one semester to write (at age 19) his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor (recently reissued with two other early Delany novels under the title A B C: Three Short Novels). He also married the poet Marilyn Hacker in 1961. Between 1962 and 1968, he published a total of nine sci-fi novels and a number of short works, including his four Nebula Award winners, Babel-17, The Einstein Intersection, “Aye, and Gomorrah”, and “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (which also won the Hugo Award, and is one of my favorite SF story titles of all time).