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The Eustace Diamonds (Oxford World's Classics) (edition 2011)

by Anthony Trollope, Helen Small (editor, introduction, notes)

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1,388335,480 (3.93)2 / 194
Member:arctangent
Title:The Eustace Diamonds (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Anthony Trollope
Other authors:Helen Small (editor, introduction, notes)
Info:OUP Oxford (2011), Edition: New, Kindle Edition, 670 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012 Read or re-read, Kindle Fiction, Fiction
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, kindle, British literature, classics, British fiction, England, mid 19th century, politics, Victorian society, Parliament, Pallisers, series(3), adventuress, theft, mystery, detection, peripherally about the Pallisers, e-book optimized, hyperlinked explanatory notes, E&PV

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The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
In The Eustace Diamonds, Anthony Trollope explores the dark side of marriage in the Victorian era. Our heroine, Lizzie Eustace, is a very unlikeable young widow who, thanks to her husband's fortune, has a roof over her head and a steady income until her son comes of age and inherits everything. She is also in possession of a diamond necklace, which she insists was a gift from her husband but by law is not rightfully hers. A lawsuit is brought against her concerning the necklace, and Lizzie pouts and stamps her feet and refuses to deal with it. Her fiance, Lord Fawn, begins to regret his proposal. Meanwhile, Lizzie's cousin Frank Greystock has fallen in love with Lucy Morris, who works as a governess in the Fawn family and is Lizzie's complete opposite: kind, honest, and poor. Frank is a lawyer and Member of Parliament, but in the eyes of his family "needs" to marry money. In that respect, Lizzie would be a much better match and while Frank finds her attractive, he knows Lucy is the better person. When Lizzie's necklace is stolen, the pace picks up and Lizzie becomes further entrenched in selfish deceit.

I liked this book less than the earlier Palliser and Barchester novels. It was darker and lacked the satire Trollope is known for. The characters were unlikeable or boring, and familiar faces from previous books were not sufficiently present to compensate. There was also a strong anti-semitic thread involving jewelers, money-lenders, and a clergyman and while I understand the views expressed were typical of that time period, it made for unpleasant reading. But at least now I can say I'm halfway through the Palliser novels, and look forward to the next one. ( )
1 vote lauralkeet | Jul 3, 2016 |
Rather a darker installation of the Palliser books than the previous two, with nobody very pleasant except some of our friends from earlier volumes making cameo appearances. This book is pretty much a catalog of horribles, but with one of the most interesting horribles ever written populating its pages. Lizzie Eustace, to put it bluntly, is a real piece of work, a born schemer who can't seem to stop even when she knows she's just hurting herself and those around her. No matter how much you might want to, you can't look away, either. The subplots in this one aren't quite as well-developed (or as interesting) in other Trollope novels, but both, like the main storyline, are quite discomforting.

Now, back to the adventures of our old buddy Phineas Finn, if the title of the next book is in any way descriptive. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 25, 2016 |
I continued to enjoy Trollope's Palliser novels in August with the delightfully devious Lizzie Eustace, who insists that her late husband gave her as her own property the Eustace family diamonds, so that they are not a part of his estate. Her assertion creates all sorts of problems, including the fact that her fiancé finds her assertions distasteful and dishonorable enough that he no longer feels able to honor his pledge. I mostly enjoyed this, although I found it went on rather a bit long about some things. I did specifically enjoy learning the arcane bits of English common law about what does and what does not constitute an "heirloom" (the Crown jewels--possibly yes; the Eustace diamonds--definitely no), and what a widow can claim as her "paraphernalia" after the death of her husband. On to Phineas Redux

4 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Sep 12, 2015 |
This is the third book in Trollope's Palliser series. It follows the drama surrounding Lady Lizzie Eustace. Lizzie Eustace married a rich Lord who gave her (so she says) a diamond necklace worth 10,000 pounds. After he dies, she insists she will not give it up as it was a gift to her, but the Eustace family insists that the diamonds belong to the estate and she can't keep them. After arguing about this for about half the book the diamonds are stolen and there is lots of drama surrounding the truth of the matter for the rest of the book.

It was interesting to me that Trollope shakes things up a bit with this book in a couple of ways. First, it is a fairly dark book. Few of the characters are particularly appealing or redeemable. In other Trollope books, even when characters are behaving badly, I've viewed them more as having human faults than being bad people, but in The Eustace Diamonds I didn't have that sort of sympathy for the characters. Second, he flips the general order of things by focusing on a woman who has plenty of money and is looking for a husband more as a support, protector, and mate. This was kind of nice to see rather than the more familiar story of a penniless woman needing a rich man to secure her livelihood. Unfortunately, Lizzie is so irredeemable that I couldn't give Trollope much credit for this shift.

This book also suffered a bit from not having enough side stories despite its length. I'm used to 2 or 3 stories going on in Trollope's books in addition to the main story. This book certainly had side stories, but I didn't find them all the interesting or enough of a diversion to give me a break from Lizzie Eustace.

Now, all that sounded pretty negative, but I still did enjoy the book. It just wasn't up to the high standards I set for Trollope. Taking the book on its own, I'd give it 4 stars, but in comparison to the other Trollope books I've read, it only gets 3 stars from me. ( )
1 vote japaul22 | Aug 8, 2015 |
[Preface to Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1940:]

I suggested that you should read The Eustace Diamonds rather than Barchester Towers, which is Trollope’s best-known novel, because it is complete in itself. It seemed to me that really to appreciate Barchester Towers you would have to read the series of which it is part. Neither the motives of the characters nor the results of their activities are quite clear unless you read the novels that come before and after, and I did not think that Trollope was important enough, keeping in view my object of asking you to read books which would be pleasant and profitable, to justify me in asking you to read half a dozen closely printed volumes. And I remembered that there was in Barchester Towers a good deal of that caricature which to us now seems a tiresome feature of Victorian fiction. But now that I have read The Eustace Diamonds once more, I should recommend you even with these slight drawbacks to read the more celebrated book.

The Eustace Diamonds is by way of being a detective story and it has two very ingenious surprises, but it is told at inordinate length. We have learnt a good deal about the manner of writing fiction of this kind since then, and a modern writer could have made a much better story of it by compressing it into three hundred pages. The characters are soundly observed, but not very interesting, and most of them are the stock figures of Victorian fiction. You have the impression that Trollope was trying to write the sort of novel that was bringing Dickens so much success, and not making a very good job of it. The most human character is Lizzie Eustace, but Trollope had apparently, or at least wished his readers to have, so great an antipathy for her that he treats her unfairly, and just as when a lawyer browbeats a prisoner in court your sympathies regardless of his crime go out to him, so you feel that Lizzie wasn’t really so much worse than anybody else and therefore scarcely deserved the hard knocks the author has given her. The novel can, however, be read without difficulty, and for anyone interested in Victorian England there is a good deal of entertainment to be got by observing the manners and customs of that long-past day. This is cold commendation. But though I advise you in place of The Eustace Diamonds to read Barchester Towers, I am constrained to add that you would be unwise to expect too much from it.

The merit of Trollope has of late years been somewhat exaggerated. For a generation he was almost forgotten, and when he was rediscovered, having in the interval acquired the charm of a period piece, greater praise was awarded him than he deserves. He was an honest and industrious craftsman with a considerable power of observation. He had some gift of pathos and he could tell a straightforward story in a straightforward, though terribly diffuse, way; but he had neither passion, wit nor subtlety. He had no talent for revealing a character or resuming the significance of an episode in a single pregnant phrase. His interest now lies in his unaffected, accurate and sincere portrayal of a state of society which has perished.
  WSMaugham | Jun 14, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gill, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riley, KennethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was admitted by all her friends, and also by her enemies, - who were in truth the more numerous and active body of the two, - that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself.
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We hear that a man has behaved badly to a girl, when the behaviour of which he has been guilty has resulted simply from want of thought. He has found a certain companionship to be agreeable to him, and he has accepted the pleasure without inquiry. Some vague idea has floated across his brain that the world is wrong in supposing that such friendship cannot exist without marriage, or question of marriage. It is simply friendship. And yet were his friend to tell him that she intended to give herself in marriage elsewhere, he would suffer all the pangs of jealousy, and would imagine himself to be horribly ill-treated! To have such a friend,—a friend whom he cannot or will not make his wife,—is no injury to him. To him it is simply a delight, an excitement in life, a thing to be known to himself only and not talked of to others, a source of pride and inward exultation. It is a joy to think of when he wakes, and a consolation in his little troubles. It dispels the weariness of life, and makes a green spot of holiday within his daily work. It is, indeed, death to her;—but he does not know it.
"To have been always in the right, and yet always on the losing side, always being ruined . . and yet never to lose anything, is pleasant enough. A huge, living, daily increasing grievance that does one no palpable harm, is the happiest possession that a man can have."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141441208, Paperback)

The third novel in Trollope’s Palliser series, The Eustace Diamonds bears all the hallmarks of his later works, blending dark cynicism with humor and a keen perception of human nature. Following the death of her husband, Sir Florian, beautiful Lizzie Eustace mysteriously comes into possession of a hugely expensive diamond necklace. She maintains it was a gift from her husband, but the Eustace lawyers insist she give it up, and while her cousin Frank takes her side, her new lover, Lord Fawn, declares that he will only marry her if the necklace is surrendered. As gossip and scandal intensify, Lizzie’s truthfulness is thrown into doubt, and, in her desire to keep the jewels, she is driven to increasingly desperate acts.

Revised edition of Trollope's third Palliser novel
Updated Introduction explores Trollope's depiction of a society that worships money and highlights his concerns with truth, honesty, and honor
Includes new suggestions for further reading and explanatory notes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

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Donated by Sarah Forster (GAP student 2000-2001) (ABB55539).

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