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198 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great volume in a great series of novels
This is the second of the six Barsetshire novels, and the first great novel in that series. THE WARDEN, while pleasant, primarily serves as a prequel to this novel. To be honest, if Trollope had not gone on to write BARCHESTER TOWERS, there would not be any real reason to read THE WARDEN. But because it introduces us to characters and situations that are crucial to...
Published on December 13, 2001 by Robert Moore

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of "Bookworms Library" edition
Note well: the Oxford Bookworms Library edition of "Barchester Towers," is not Trollope's book, but a "retelling" of Trollope's work by Clare (RTL) West. If you want Trollope's original follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/Barchester-Towers-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0192834320/ref=cm_cr_dp_orig_subj.
Published on January 5, 2011 by A Reader in New Hampshire


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Wonderful Book in the World, May 5, 2000
I have just finished reading Barchester Towers, and my only sadness is at finishing it. I read The Warden first, and Barchester Towers more than fulfilled my desire to live with all the wonderful people in The Warden a little longer. It was the most delightful book I have ever read. It was so funny, and so moving, and so real. What a wonderful experience! If only modern life could afford us some of the same simple pleasures! One would have to be terribly jaded not to get caught up in its intrigues. What a wonderful, talented man Trollope was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slippery, soapy slope, August 5, 2011
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Trollope was one of the inventors and pioneers of the soap genre. The Barsetshire novels and the Palliser novels, both turned into BBC mini-series, provide long detailed tales about a set of people, some of them appearing in both series, though the 2 sets were written some time apart.

`Barchester Towers' is volume 2 of the Barset novels. It is, implausibly, a comedy set in the world of the clergy of an English bishop seat in the mid 19th century. The historical background is in ideological conflicts between the English High Church and evangelical tendencies; the non-separation of church and state is an essential ingredient. The story is in parts hilariously funny, and in others weirdly sinister. The sinister mood comes from a character called Obadiah Slope, who was played by Alan Rickman in the BBC series. That should tell you enough about Slope and it might arouse the interest of the Pottery crowd.

My favorite slapstick chapters are those that contain the new bishop's wife with her meddling and her disastrous dinner party at the start of her husband's time at his new seat. Trollope invented an outrageously comical family called Stanhope, who break all the local conventions and create social havoc aplenty.

The overall tone though is one of disappointment. One could call this novel a comedy of frustrations. Nearly nobody reaches any of his or her targets. In many cases we are happy about that, in others not. We are sad with old Septimus Harding, the Warden of volume 1, for not being given his old job back, which he had lost due to an injustice. Or if he gets it, poor Mr.Quiverful with his 14 kids will be deprived of a better income. We are happy that Slope is not entirely successful in all his schemes. Similarly, we can't quite shed tears that Bertie Stanhope doesn't get the rich widow either. Grantly not becoming bishop leaves us cold until we see what damage Proudie, who gets the job, does.

Obadiah Slope is the embodiment of a certain management philosophy that I have encountered in real life more often than I needed it. He is the new bishop's hatchet man, the one with the real power, the one with a vision and ruthless enough to implement harsh measures, the one who tells the old guard that they will be taken away by the rubbish cart. I feel like the old guard and I have heard the new brooms talk like that. Personally, I have so far survived all of them and seen some of them being taken away by the rubbish cart. (Lesson: don't mess with me!)
What reduces Slope's success is mainly the fact that he has an unrealistic self-evaluation in the marriage market. What a character. If I had a management school to name after someone, Obadiah Slope Management Academy sounds quite good to me.

While this may not be Trollope's best novel, it is one of his funniest and it well deserves to be called his most popular novel.

P.S. a comment about amazon ratings. You will find several one star ratings to this novel. However if you read them, they refer to a special edition which is flawed, and these 1 star ratings to not refer to the novel itself nor to the Oxford edition. What is the point then, people at amazon, in posting a review meant for the Penguin version under the Oxford version?

P.P.S. one more gripe with amazon: the book appears on my profile page as written by John Sutherland. That kind of nonsense happens all the time. Translators or editors or even just providers of introductions are named as authors. That's unpardonably messy, friends at amazon! You must do better than that!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much ado, April 14, 2009
This review is from: Barchester Towers (English Library) (Paperback)
Second in Trollope's Barsetshire series, Barchester Towers concerns the family of the Reverend Septimus Harding, whom we first met in The Warden. The new bishop has arrived, accompanied by his domineering wife and her hand-picked clerical cohort, the hypocritical Obadiah Slope. A sharply satirical comedy of errors ensues, played out by a cast of memorable characters who struggle for power, position, love, and money. Trollope knew human nature, and he knew how to portray it in both its positive and negative aspects. Part of the appeal of Barchester Towers is that he is able to do so with relative gentleness, without preaching or obvious moralizing. I'm looking forward to the sequel, to find out what happens to the bishop's virago of a wife.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only they had Twitter . . ., June 26, 2011
First question: Should you read The Warden (1855) before reading the far lengthier (and funnier) Barchester Towers (1857)? Absolutely. The story of Warden Harding and his ethical dilemma is woven throughout the longer novel, and without the narrative in The Warden, Harding's character as it appears in Barchester Towers is far less interesting.

Second question: Is Trollope's satirical rendering of clerical maneuverings and their impact on various residents of a 19th century English cathedral city a novel likely to appeal only to fans of Brit Lit? That depends. Feminism does cast a different light on Mrs. Proudie, the bossy, clever wife of the shrinking new bishop of Barchester. She's intended to be a virago, but one can't help but feel for her situation, restricted by female duties from which she attempts to break loose by acting as her husband's "advisor." On the other hand, Obadiah Slope, the calculating upstart cleric looking to get ahead any way he can, including through a fortunate marriage, is entirely familiar.
Familiar too is the role of the media (newspapers, in this case), which younger clergy/politicos know how to manipulate and older ones do not.
Even though everyone is getting about in carriages and even though the servants are always listening in, even though people worry absurdly about fine gradations in social status and Trollope sometimes natters on about clerical minutiae, it's all very entertaining and oh so contemporary, if you substitute electoral politics now for clerical politics then.

So grab The Warden; it's a short novel and lays the ground perfectly for the society of Barchester Towers, where men makes fools of themselves over a bewitching "exotic" woman, desirable jobs require endless maneuvering, and rumor and innuendo keep everyone guessing.

M. Feldman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well- loved for good reason..., May 19, 2011
This review is from: Barchester Towers (English Library) (Paperback)
Anthony Trollope's fiction is often criticized for being too sentimental and reaching, sometimes desperately, for a happy ending. Such criticism is probably fair, but not at all what people cherish in his work. Trollope's books are peopled with characters much like ourselves: vain and ambitious but also trying to do good, and occasionally succeeding, despite all our faults.

The cast of Barchester Towers is a veritable kaleidoscope of human foibles and frailty. The oily and unctuous Mr. Slope; proud and pushy Mrs. Proudie and the brow-beaten Bishop all arrive at the episcopacy of Barchester as the New Order. Immediately they lock horns with the old guard, headed by Archdeacon Grantley and the fun begins.

The author's satirical regard for the inhabitants is first rate. No one, save perhaps Rev. Septimus Harding is spared criticism. Some receive their just desserts, others vaingloriously carry on. If you like your satire sharp or villains lashed you need to try Thackery or Dickens. The folk in Barchester are merely delightfully disappointing spectacles--as are we all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!, January 11, 2014
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This review is from: Barchester Towers (Kindle Edition)
I have always loved the BBC's rendition of "The Barchester Chronicles" - the DVD set is probably the one thing I would take with me to an uninhabited island if one thing is all I would be allowed to carry with me (assuming I could also take something to play the DVDs on!)

I expected the book to be less funny or less interesting but it isn't. It is just as fascinating and hilarious! And even more interesting because now I could read the bits that the BBC did not include.
A must read!

Oh, and it's incredible because Trollope wrote it in no-time (and without a word processor of course)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC STORY, September 29, 2013
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This review is from: Barchester Towers (Kindle Edition)
If you love a well told, well written story, then this book is for you. It is more of a morality play about the decisions we make, and how it is sometimes difficult but necessary to be true to ourselves. It is an excellent read. Love Mr. Trollop's work anyway, but this book in particular.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long Ago and Far Away Part Two, September 18, 2013
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This, the second in a series of six, is the most popular in the Barchester series. It is considered a world classic and this volume(and the other 5 volumes that I own) are in the Oxford University Press in a series entlited World's Classics. All the volumes are beautiful examples of bookmaking and a joy to read. This volume carries forward the main characters from the first volume in the series and introduces several more important characters. All these characters illistrate the England of the 1860s and gives us a real chance to compare the feelings they have to the feelings we have to America of 2013. their world was very different from our world, but exactly the same.. I recommend this book highly and the entire series-you will enjoy them greatly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Comic Masterpiece, April 28, 2009
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This review is from: Barchester Towers (English Library) (Paperback)
In 1855, Anthony Trollope came out with his fourth novel, "The Warden," an amusing, but slight piece of social commentary. In 1857, he produced its sequel, "Barchester Towers." What a difference two short years can make to the growth and confidence of a writer! Reading this masterpiece, one can almost feel Trollope finding his voice, allowing his talents to breathe, relax and take glorious shape; the book is a near perfect balance of humor, drama and romance. Obviously, the modest success of "The Warden" gave Trollope the self-assurance to tell a richer, more complicated story, less concerned with ideas, more reliant on plot and character. And what characters! There's the sanctimonious Mrs. Proudie, the unctuous Obadiah Slope, the dangerously flirtatious Signorina Neroni, the pompous and exasperated Archdeacon Grantly...to have them all in one novel is truly an embarrassment of riches. Simply put, "Barchester Towers" is not only Trollope at his best, but a piece of comic brilliance rarely equaled by anyone else in English literature.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mistakes Galore, April 14, 2011
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This edition has solecisms and proofreading errors on every page. It's a total disgrace to to the so-called publishers. What a waste of money.
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Barchester Towers (English Library)
Barchester Towers (English Library) by John Sutherland (Paperback - November 17, 1983)
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