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Anthony Trollope Hardcover – January 19, 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More fully than other recent biographers, Glendinning penetrates Anthony Trollope's (1815-1882) "bluff, clubbish, roast-beef kind of Englishness," baring the vulnerable heart of the popular novelist. Raised by a strong-minded, resourceful mother and a hopelessly muddled father who badly mismanaged his businesses, Trollope "despised female submissiveness," claims Glendinning. Although he lampooned feminist activists, the outspoken, independent women he met in middle life upset his notion of male supremacy and found their way into his fiction. Glendinning, biographer of Vita Sackville-West and Edith Sitwell, maintains that Trollope's wife Rose Heseltine was no doormat but a vital emotional mainstay. In Trollopian fashion the author weaves into her narrative what Trollope thought about architecture, corporal punishment, dancing, France, gardens, Irish rebellion, South Africa (he was an anti-imperialist), tea and much else. Through her astute criticism, we see how Trollope's fictional preoccupations--sexual betrayal, cross-class marriage, ambiguous relations between brothers and sisters--stemmed from his personal life and day-to-day concerns. A feast for fans, this perceptive biography will attract new readers to Trollope's works. Photos. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Glendinning, author of several biographies, presents a wonderful blend of Trollope's personal life and literary career within Victorian England's cultural and social climate. Trollope, one of the most prolific writers of the 19th century, had a miserable childhood, which greatly influenced his fiction. Glendinning's biography draws the reader deeper and deeper into the author's real and literary worlds. This is the fourth Trollope biography written by various scholars in recent years. Its most immediate predecessor, N. John Hall's Trollope: A Biography ( LJ 8/91), adopts the voice of an historical observer, whereas Glendinning is a storyteller who draws connections between Trollope's "family dynamics" and his "preoccupations as an author." This work is highly recommended as a scholarly biography and an enjoyable story.
- Lois Cherepon, St. John's Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 551 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st American ed edition (January 19, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394582683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394582689
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Clarissa's Blog VINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For the longest time, I had no idea why people read biographies. My experience of the genre taught me that the best way to learn to dislike a writer or a historic figure was to read their biography. There are too many lives of celebrities that are written in a plodding, confusing way and that offer nothing more than a disjointed collection of gossip and boring lists of people the person whose biography one is reading met in the course of their life.

And then I read Victoria Glendinning's biography of Anthony Trollope and realized what the genre was supposed to be about. Glendinning had a difficult task ahead of her. Trollope is not the most fascinating Victorian writer, and his life is, to be completely honest, quite boring. He worked for the Post Office, lived in Ireland, married, lived happily with his wife, wrote books, they became popular, wrote more books, they became even more popular, and so on. Only misery makes for good basis for a book. A successful, mostly contented existence such as Trollope's looks uneventful and pedestrian to his XXIst century fans.

Glendinning, however, manages to make this 500-page-long biography read like a mystery novel. Victorian era comes alive on the pages of this fascinating book. We meet Trollope's extraordinary mother, his not very endearing brother, his unsuccessful sons, and many of his friends from the literary circles of Victorian England. Trollope's extensive travels allow us to visit Italy, the United States, Australia and the West Indies and catch a glimpse of what they were like and how the were seen by a conservative English writer of that time. Glendinning gives us just enough details of Trollope's novels to make us want to read them but not as many as will spoil our future reading pleasure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After looking at reviews of Trollope biographies, I chose this one and am glad I did. It is informative as well as extremely readable. Also has photographs which help illustrate the book. It helped me to understand Trollope better. While I was not always sure I would have liked him as a person, I admire his dedication to his craft. Some dislike Trollope because he wrote for money (he even published in his autobiography how much he made from different novels), he is not different there than many best-selling novelists today. But he is a master at character. Some criticize deficiencies in his attention to plot, but I find his novels hang together rather nicely. I finished The Barsetshire novels after reading this biography and enjoyed them immensely - even more than I would have because of having read Glendinning's book. Would buy again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anthony Trollope definitely has "mixed reviews" among Victorian novelists. On the one hand he created both the immortal Barsetshire novels with their insightful digs at the Church of England and its foibles and the sprawling series of political novels staring Plantagenet Palliser. On the other, he wrote an awful lot of poorly constructed tedious pot-boiler novels of little literary merit.

Victoria Glendinning is the most readable of biography writers and, as many have noted, she definitely warms to her subject in this appreciative life. The scholarship is astounding--on every page there's an insight as to who was actually the sister-in-law of whom and which of Trollope's colleagues, neighbors and acquaintances had last names that were used in one or other of his near 4-dozen novels.

Trollope was a late bloomer and this book is full of rewards for people who always wanted to write but haven't yet started.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkably good book, the product of one of the current group of wonderful English biographers. I read previously VITA: THE LIFE OF VITA SACKVILLE-WEST by Victoria Glendinning and enjoyed it immensely.

Anthony Trollope was his mother's Benjamin. The family moved to Harrow to permit the sons of the family to be educated there through the foundation, a charitable trust. Byron was a notorious old boy. Anthony was not spared from bullying.

The family was troubled by Mr. Trollope's mental and physical problems and chronic money problems. Anthony wore ill-fitting clothes. Interestingly, the vicar of Harrow was a member of the Clapham Sect. Anthony went to Winchester before his twelfth birthday. Later he was withdrawn, his fees not having been paid, (he was a pariah), re-entering Harrow where he stayed until he was twenty.

With a failure of income both from the practice of law, Mr. Trollope was a barrister, and the family's farm, Mrs. Trollope went to America. In the end, everyone in the family, but Anthony, joined her. Anthony was compelled to spend his holidays alone in his father's chambers at Lincoln's Inn reading Shakespeare. At age fifteen he began keeping a journal.

DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE AMERICANS by Mrs. Trollope was issued in 1832 and it was a success. Mrs. Trollope's nonstop literary career began in 1831 when she returned from America and lasted for twenty-five years. Industrious and jovial, she was lionized. Anthony's father was nearly imprisoned for debt and escaped to Belgium. Anthony started at the Post Office as a junior clerk. His mother had pulled strings. Anthony's older brother, Tom, lived with Mrs. Trollope following the deaths of a son, a daughter, and her husband. Another daughter married.
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