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Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
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Framley Parsonage (original 1861; edition 2004)

by Anthony Trollope, David Skilton (Introduction), Peter Miles (Introduction)

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Not quite as great as Barchester Towers, but better than Dr Thorne and the Warden. It's got a nice love story, like Thorne, but much more than that; whereas the plot of the earlier novel is focused on the future Mr and Mrs Gresham, here it's only one strand. The main storyline deals more with politics and money, which is obviously where Trollope's at his best. Also, a lot of characters from the earlier Barsetshire Chronicles show up, which is nice. I'm not sure if that means it's a great novel, or if it's just nice to see old friends. But it's definitely fun! ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
It's been too long since my last dose of Anthony Trollope. In this fourth installment in the Barsetshire series, we meet a whole new set of characters headed by the formidable Lady Lufton. This lady, shrewd but unworldly, masterful but loving, is the linchpin of the novel and rules its events with gracious aplomb. It is she who brings young Mark Robarts, a friend of her son's, to the comfortable living at Framley where he has everything a man could desire... except that man desire political advancement and greater wealth. Mark, blessed with attractive personal qualities and an unspoken bent toward ambition, slightly chafes under Lady Lufton's loving rule and begins to associate with men who can help him make a name for himself in the world of political power. But it all comes at a price, as Mark finds when he begins to become entangled in debt and personal compromise.

Standing against Mark as a foil to his weakness is his sister Lucy, who is so firmly committed to doing the right thing she will even sacrifice her own happiness to hold her head up before the world. It would be easy to write a paragon so perfect she is not human, but Trollope is far too wise for that. Lucy is one of his more vivid heroines, with a lively wit and a playful habit of making such fun of her most heartfelt confidences that her sister-in-law Fanny is sometimes at a loss to know when she is serious. She reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett quite a bit. I do love the scene where "insignificant" little 5'2" Lucy dominates Lady Lufton!

But though the story is centered on the people of Framley, Trollope kindly allows us to visit with friends from the previous three books. Mrs. Proudie is back, feuding as ever with Mrs. Grantly. Miss Dunstable also is back, with a surprise for her fans. The Greshams have a cameo, as does Lady Scatcherd, Mr. Harding, and Mr. and Mrs. Arabin.

Trollope—who reads as a mix between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens—has great fun satirizing the politicians of his day. He makes fun of them, to be sure, but his criticisms don't have Dickens' bitter edge and he seems more relaxed and humorous toward people's foibles. An example of this is Mr. Supplehouse, a newspaper writer whose tendency to vacillate should be evident from his name. Some characters hate him for his power, but others (like the redoubtable Miss Dunstable) indulgently say that he means mischief, but that's his function so it isn't something to get upset about.

Trollope certainly has a fascination with lower-class (but very respectable) young women marrying up in the world, with the chief obstacle to their love being the family (or more specifically, the mothers) of the young men. Dr. Thorne, the Barsetshire novel immediately preceding this one, was all about the doctor's niece, Mary Thorne, who couldn't marry into the local nobility because Frank Gresham had to marry money. I wonder if Trollope ever wrote a story with a younger man of less-than-noble antecedents aspiring to the hand of a well-born young lady. Hmm.

Trollope continues to be one of the more personable authors I've ever read, often pausing the narrative to ask the reader what he would do when faced by the situations of the characters, and frankly admitting his own proclivities toward comfort and the ease of unruffled custom.

There was a point about 150 pages in where I almost didn't want to pick this back up... I hate reading about money troubles (especially self-inflicted money troubles) and it was so evident that things would take a bad turn for our young parson. But I persevered, and was rewarded: yes, things get bad for the parsonage, but not unrelievedly so. There are plenty of other characters and side-stories happening alongside these troubles, and I finished the last several hundred pages at a gallop during a long, quiet afternoon. I think Trollope always rewards his readers in the end. Recommended. ( )
4 vote wisewoman | Sep 4, 2013 |
It is a remarkable thing with reference to men who are distressed for money...that they never seem at a loss for small sums, or deny themselves those luxuries which small sums purchase. Cabs, dinners, wine, theatres, and new gloves are always at the command of men who are drowned in pecuniary embarrassments, whereas those who don't owe a shilling are so frequently obliged to go without them! It would seem that there is no gratification so costly as that of keeping out of debt.

Once again money, or the lack of it, is a problem for a Barsetshire man. This time it's Mark Robarts, vicar of Framley, who gets into financial trouble in a moment of weakness. He learns his lesson, but is it too late to save his family from embarrassment and ruin? Mark's sister, Lucy Robarts, has trouble of her own when she falls in love with Mark's friend, Lord Lufton, whose mother has another match in mind for him.

Some of my favorite Barsetshire residents reappear in this story – the Proudies, the Grantlys, Dr. Thorne, and my current favorite, Miss Dunstable. The book has the feel of a soap opera, cutting from scene to scene between three or four story lines. Trollope's novels seem fresh to this 21st century reader probably because they focus more on character and behavior rather than on customs and culture. Human nature hasn't changed much since the mid-19th century. I wouldn't recommend reading Framley Parsonage without reading the preceding Barsetshire novels. Half the fun of reading these novels is waiting for old friends and acquaintances to make their appearance. I look forward to seeing who shows up in the next one! ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Jun 28, 2013 |
This novel definitely is more enjoyable if you have read the previous books in Trollope's Barsetshire series. Victorian mothers scheming marriages and sons not obliging them, church politics, and men living beyond their means trying to convince heiresses to marry them - Framley Parsonage has it all! ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Tollope continues his Barsetshire series depicting the foibles, frustrations and triumphs of the denizens of the county. Some characters from older novels reappear, some to frustrate us, some to delight us. And Mrs Proudie appears to make us grind our teeth! ( )
  majkia | Jun 19, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miles, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When young Mark Robarts was leaving college, his father might well declare that all men began to say all good things to him, and to extol his fortune in that he had a son blessed with so excellent a disposition.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432132, Paperback)

Mark Robarts is a clergyman with ambitions beyond his small country parish of Framley. In a naive attempt to mix in influential circles, he agrees to guarantee a bill for a large sum of money for the disreputable local Member of Parliament, while being helped in his career in the Church by the same hand. But the unscrupulous politician reneges on his financial obligations, and Mark must face the consequences this debt may bring to his family. One of Trollope's most enduringly popular novels since it appeared in 1860, Framley Parsonage is an evocative depiction of country life in nineteenth-century England, told with great compassion and acute insight into human nature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:24 -0400)

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Clergyman Mark Robarts has fallen in with the unreliable Mr Sowerby, and through his dealings with Sowerby finds himself in severe financial difficulties.

(summary from another edition)

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140432132, 0141199768

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