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Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

Barchester Towers (1857)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Barsetshire Chronicles (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,125691,800 (4.17)5 / 555
  1. 10
    La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (starbox)
  2. 21
    The canon in residence by Victor Whitechurch (CatyM)
    CatyM: More scheming, gossip and social justice in the Cathedral Close.
  3. 10
    Jane And Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)

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Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
I think that this is one of the few times when I preferred reading the book over listening to it. Simon Vance does a fine job with the narration (although I don't think his voice for Slope was quite right) but it was a bit too easy to lose focus and miss some of the snide humor in Trollope's asides & I found myself having to rewind (so to speak) often.

However, my rating is primarily based on the last quarter of the book as I switched to this library audiobook from the Librivox recording. Maybe I would feel differently if I had listened to this one the whole way through... ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 23, 2015 |
Barchester Towers is the second of Anthony Trollope's books set in the fictional county of Barsetshire. I read the first, The Warden and, while appreciating the writing, never fell in love with the book. I had the same experience with Barchester Towers, until halfway through when things took off and I could not stop reading.

Like The Warden, Barchester Towers is largely concerned with wrangling between groups of Anglican clergymen, some of whom want to reform the system and others who have benefited from what is essentially an old boys network and are deeply invested in keeping things as they are. Trollope is clearly on the side of tradition, which left me siding with the obvious villains of the piece. Here, a new bishop is appointed by the government and it isn't the pompous Grantly, but Proudie (it must be said that Trollope's names are not as good as Dickens'), who arrives with not only a wife who expects a voice in matters, but also a personal clergyman, Mr Slope, whose ambitions manage to alienate everyone. And so the church in Barchester is split into two factions, both jostling for power, mainly in the appointment of various sinecures.

Trollope does a lovely job writing his female characters. While he's a big proponent of people knowing their place, he writes women as real people, with as much intelligence and personality as any of his male characters. And my favorite was Mrs Proudie, a woman accustomed to being in charge and who, when briefly thwarted, becomes a force to be reckoned with. Trollope also has an entertaining habit of going all meta here and there, to point out who the villains are, or to explain how he has tailored his story in order to fulfill the expectations of the reader.

On the other hand, I found Trollope frustrating in a few regards. He has a tendency to put some of the most interesting scenes outside of the story, so that the reader is only told of the result of a fabulous conflict or romantic interlude. This was a great disappointment, especially when an encounter has been foreshadowed and anticipated for some time. A paragraph or two telling the reader what happened is not good enough, Mr Trollope! He also has a habit of telling the reader things about the characters' personalities which are not bourn out in the telling of the story. Not only is he telling-not-showing, but he's telling us things that just aren't true. Specifically, that Mrs Proudie is a villain, or that a certain family is devoid of heart - despite Trollope telling the reader this several times, their actions show this to simply not be true.

I'm interested enough in the doings in Barsetshire to continue with the series, but I have my issues with Mr Trollope. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Sep 17, 2015 |
After The Warden, another excellent visit to Barsetshire, and another book I had a difficult time putting down. Trollope improves here on his gentle wittiness, absolutely delightful small-scale ecclesiastical Machiavellian scheming, and complicated human dynamics.

I'm quite enjoying the way Trollope interacts with the reader in these books, too: it almost always made me smile. And he continues to create some extremely memorable characters, from the delightfully odd Miss Thorne to the sneaky creature Mr. Slope and the not-to-be-messed-with Mrs. Proudie.

Looking forward to heading back to Barsetshire before too long ... ( )
2 vote JBD1 | Aug 28, 2015 |
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 |
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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?
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)

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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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