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Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
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Barchester Towers (1857)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Chronicles of Barsetshire (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,101671,827 (4.17)5 / 539
  1. 21
    The canon in residence by Victor Whitechurch (CatyM)
    CatyM: More scheming, gossip and social justice in the Cathedral Close.
  2. 10
    Jane And Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)
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English (65)  Spanish (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
I would never have imagined that a book about church politics could be so entertaining. I read and enjoyed the first book in the Barsetshire Chronicles, The Warden, in March, and it definitely set up the storyline which is carried forward in Barchester Towers. Familiar characters are reintroduced, as the story begins. The bishop is dying and all expectations are that his son, Archdeacon Grantly, will become the new bishop. The position of warden of Hiram's hospital is still open, and hopes are that Mr. Harding will once again be given this role. However, a change in government introduces a new man, the henpecked Bishop Proudie and his domineering wife, Mrs. Proudie. We are also introduced to the odious Mr. Obadiah Slope, the bishop's chaplain. They are determined to have someone of their own religious views installed as warden, and offer the job to Mr Quiverful, a poor pastor with 14 children. (You have to appreciate the names given to some of Trollope's characters). Mr. Harding's younger daughter, Eleanor Bold, is now widowed, and quite wealthy. This of course leads to speculation about who can win her hand and the money that comes along with it. She causes some angst with her father, sister, and her bother-in-law, the archdeacon, as she refuses to say anything against Mr. Slope. We are also introduced to the Stanhopes, a new vicar Mr. Arabin, and squire Thorne and his eccentric spinster sister.

Trollope's characters are well developed, and, in case there is any doubt, the author's asides to the reader lead you through who to like and who to dislike.

Read October 2014 ( )
1 vote NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
The action, as it is, starts with the death of a bishop of The Church England in “the cathedral city of Barchester” in “the latter days of July in the year 185-.” The equilibrium thus upset, a new bishop with an overbearing wife takes over and the clashes begin. The story is full of personalities, church politics, intrigue, gossip, and long drawn-out, often incomprehensible, misunderstandings.

Somehow, Trollope makes it stimulating, readable and humorous. “There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilized and free countries, than the necessity of listening to sermons.”

Trollope’s characters are strong, as are their motivations. He tells some ageless truths about human nature. “Few men do understand the nature of a woman’s heart, till years have robbed such understanding of its value.”

This is an entertaining story that has aged well and maintained its relevance. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jul 5, 2015 |
After reading "The Warden" (the precursor to "Barchester Towers") and the 800-page "The Way We Live Now" last year, I thought I might have overdosed on Trollope. But within a few chapters, I was hooked on this story of a little English parish and the small, yet significant, dramas of its inhabitants. Trollope is a master at poking fun at people's vanities. Much of the novel's plot centers around misunderstandings that could be easily resolved, if only the characters would be honest with one another -- but, of course, their pride prevents them. When the minor clerics are awaiting the death of the old dean of the cathedral, while secretly calculating their chances of getting his job, I was reminded of my own hypocrisies. And the failed, fumbled proposals by the suitors of Eleanor Bold are hilarious. Trollope's sly direct address of the reader adds a level of intimacy that makes you feel completely invested in his funny, complex, vivid world. ( )
1 vote amymerrick | Jun 3, 2015 |
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. I swear Audible is keeping me going these days!

I bought this book because it’s reputed to be Trollope at his finest. Not having read that cynical old Victorian for some twenty-five years and having only read some of his purely political London-based novels, it felt a little different to be suddenly immersed in the far more restrained politics of clergymen in a small cathedral town. So it was a little while before I found my feet—and then suddenly I remembered why I’d liked Trollope in the first place.

There is a new Bishop of Barchester, and he is what Trollope calls Petticoated—but he’s not one hundred percent under the thumb of his wife. There’s an important matter of preferment to be decided—a job bringing with it a nice house and the then enormous sum of £1,200 a year—and the other prize in play is the lovely, widowed Eleanor Bond who also, oddly enough, brings £1,200 a year with her. The circling vultures with their beady eyes on these rich pickings are the odious chaplain Mr. Slope and the good-natured, heartless, scheming Stanhope siblings. There’s also a whole subtext about evangelical versus traditional Anglican church practices which will, alas, be lost on most modern readers, but since the main thrust of the novel lies in the scheming and the wooing of Eleanor, it’s easy enough to concentrate on that and not worry about the clerical details, which are not heavily emphasized.

I found Eleanor as wet as most Victorian heroines—quite literally since she bursts into tears a lot—and, alas, Mr. Arabin is way too noble and reserved to be really fascinating. My absolute favorites, by a long chalk, were Bertie Stanhope and Madeline Vesey-Neroni who were ADORABLE in their cynical worldliness and really, at the end of the day, quite likeable as human beings. Mr. Slope is the perfect slimy Victorian Pharisee whom everyone sees through in about three seconds flat, and the power struggle between Bishop and Mrs. Proudie is as entertaining as such things usually are.

I actually found myself wishing in the end that the novel was twice as long. We seemed to get to the resolution of the story much too quickly - that’s the beauty of taking your Victorians in the form of audiobooks! There were whole chapters where I grinned and/or laughed out loud throughout. Narrator David Timson was so utterly perfect that I’m very disappointed to find I can’t get the whole series with him as narrator on Audible. Nonetheless, I’m diving in and stepping backward to listen to the first book in the Barsetshire Chronicles, and then the rest. I’ve been away from Trollope for far too long.

UPDATE: I was horrified, on going back and checking, to discover that I'd listened to an abridged version. No wonder it seemed too short! That won't do at all. I'll be listening to the unabridged version as soon as I can get my hands on it. Still, for those who want to cut out the Victorian waffle and get to the interesting bits, I'd heartily recommend this version. ( )
  JaneSteen | Feb 21, 2015 |
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I really did not want it to end. David Shaw Parker is a terrific reader. Love the characters, love the place. love the language. Just bursting to share with friends. ( )
  njcur | Feb 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (117 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKay, DonaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, FrederickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sadleir, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tillotson,KathleenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the latter days of July in the year 185-, a most important question was for ten days hourly asked in the cathedral city of Barchester, and answered every hour in various ways - Who was to be the new Bishop?
Quotations
The outer world, though it constantly reviles us for our human infirmities and throws in our teeth the fact that being clergymen we are still no more than men, demands of us that we should do our work with godlike perfection. There is nothing god-like about us: we differ from each other with the acerbity common to man; we triumph over each other with human frailty; we allow differences on subjects of divine origin to produce among us antipathies and enmities which are anything but divine. This is all true. But what would you have in place of it? There is no infallible head for a church on earth.
It was dreadful to be thus dissevered from his dryad, and sent howling back to a Barchester pandemonium just as the nectar and ambrosia were about to descend on the fields of asphodel.
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Book description
blurb: Barchester Towers is Trollope’s most popular novel and one of the classics of English fiction. It is the second of the six Chronicles of Barsetshire, which follow the intrigues of ambition and love in the cathedral town of Barchester. Trollope was of course interested in the church, that pillar of Victorian society - in its susceptibility to corruption, hypocrisy, and blinkered conservatism - but the Barsetshire novels are no more ‘ecclesiastical’ than his Palliser novels are political. It is the behavior of individuals within a power structure that interests him. In Barchester Towers Trollope continues the story of Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor, adding to his cast of characters that oily symbol of progress Mr. Slope, the hen pecked Dr. Proudie, and the amiable and breezy Stanhope family. The central questions of this moral comedy - Who will be warden? Who will be dean? Who will marry Eleanor? - are skillfully handled with that subtlety of ironic observation that has won Trollope such a wide and appreciative relationship.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140432035, Paperback)

This 1857 sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. The evangelical but not particularly competent new bishop is Dr. Proudie, who with his awful wife and oily curate, Slope, maneuver for power. The Warden and Barchester Towers are part of Trollope's Barsetshire series, in which some of the same characters recur.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:20 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

After the death of old Dr. Grantly, a bitter struggle begins over who will succeed him as Bishop of Barchester. And when the decision is finally made to appoint the evangelical Dr. Proudie, rather than the son of the old bishop, Archdeacon Grantly, resentment and suspicion threaten to cause deep divisions within the diocese. Trollope's masterly depiction of the plotting and back-stabbing that ensues lies at the heart of one of the most vivid and comic of his Barsetshire novels, peopled by such very different figures as the saintly Warden of Hiram's Hospital, Septimus Harding, the ineffectual but well-meaning new bishop and his terrifying wife, and the oily chaplain Mr. Slope who has designs on Mr. Harding's daughter.… (more)

» see all 14 descriptions

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Audible.com

12 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140432035, 0141199113

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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