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The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Warden (original 1855; edition 1995)

by Anthony Trollope

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2,826942,058 (3.8)5 / 462
Title:The Warden
Authors:Anthony Trollope
Info:London: The Folio Society, 1995 xxiv, 172p ill 23cm
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Folio Society, C19, fiction, anglophone

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The Warden by Anthony Trollope (1855)



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Ahh... Mr. Harding. One of the true good guys in all the history of literature. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 3, 2016 |
I was inspired to read this after watching the BBC 'Barchester Chronicles'. It's one of the few books where I actually prefer the TV version. There's a lot of satire and humour but the writing is so long-winded that it's easy to miss. It took me three weeks to get through it - I did finish it, and it was worth reading, but I shan't bother with the others in the series. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
It is hard to add much to the fine reviews that precede me. I loved the characterisations, and agree with other reviewers that this is what keeps you reading. I love the Warden and his violincello especially. For me it is also two other aspects: the almost 'car crash' quality of what is about to happen and it generally does. But also in many respects how modern such observations are. These situations aren't subject only to the time they were written in. You will still come across the worthier than thou who are prepared even to risk their friends in order to apply the letter of the law or strive for what appears to be right, without heed to what their actions may lead too. And who hasn't witnessed an occasion where someone aimed to secure an improved lot for someone else, which ultimately resulted in the reverse. So in 'The Warden' the twelve poor men in the hospital, all having had their greed stoked, end up poorer still, both financially and in regards to their quality of life. I'm sure that all manor of righteous bodies end up causing such outcomes. ( )
  Caroline_McElwee | Jan 9, 2016 |
I loved Trollope's Palliser series and so started the Barsethire series with eager anticipation, only to be initially disappointed. But I warmed to this book as I read it, seeing Trollope's talent for characterization at work.

Basically the story involves an elderly cleric, Septimus Harding, who has a cushy job as the warden of a "hospital," a residence for twelve old indigent men known as bedesmen. He has two daughters, one married to the archdeacon, who is the son of the bishop (an old friend of the warden and the reason he has the job), and one who is in love with and loved by a man named John Bold. And therein lies the rub. For Bold is a "radical" who has read the will establishing the hospital and has filed a lawsuit challenging the 800 pounds per year the warden earns as opposed to the paltry sums given to the bedesman. (In real life, several challenges to similar cushy jobs for clerics had been raised at the time Trollope wrote this book.) Needless to say, complications ensue.

The strength of this novel, which was an early one for Trollope, lies in the characterizations, primarily but not only of the warden, who has a crisis of conscience separate from the lawsuit and follows his conscience despite the disagreement of almost everyone around him. Other well-developed characters include the younger daughter, John Bold, and the archdeacon. But it is the warden who is the center of the tale, and when the reader follows him to London he has some almost amusing experiences because of his naivete. In addition to delineating church politics, Trollope explores the power of the press and satirizes Carlyle and Dickens.

My Oxford World Classics edition was enhanced by almost too many detailed notes. It also included a story called "The Two Heroines of Plumlington" which I didn't read because the introduction and the copy on the back of the book identified it as an addendum to the Barsethsire series. It seems odd to include it with the first novel in the series.

By the time this novel ended, I was looking forward to continuing the series.
3 vote rebeccanyc | Jan 9, 2016 |
The Warden by Anthony Trollope

[The Warden] is a story about honesty and integrity, about being at peace with yourself. The central character is an elderly cleric named Septimus Harding, who is the resident supervisor (called the warden) of Hiram's Hospital in Trollope's fictional Barsetshire county. (In fact, [The Warden] is the first novel in the author's series, "Chronicles of Barsetshire".) In this context, a "hospital" is a retirement home for 12 indigent pensioners, who are called bedesmen and are paid a daily stipend of 1 shilling and fourpence. In medieval times, John Hiram set up the place with a bequest to the Diocese of Barchester, the income from which provides funds for operating and maintaining the home. Harding is paid 800 pounds annually and a comfortable residence and garden is provided for him and his younger daughter, Eleanor.

The job of warden is, truth be told, pretty cushy, with little actual work required. Mr. Harding owes his appointment to his long and enduring friendship with the Bishop of Barchester. As it happens, the bishop's son, Dr. Grantly, is the archdeacon, and it is he who pretty much runs the diocese with the ascent of his father. And, as it further happens, Dr. Grantly is married to Mr. Harding's older daughter, Susan.

So… Eleanor Harding's got a suitor, a young and attractive and personable and well-heeled man named John Bold. Bold gets a notion to question the division of the income between the warden and the bedesmen, and thus to instigate reform of the hospital operation. He seems oblivious to the potential consequence for his love's father and how it will cascade onto him. Bold initiates a lawsuit, and he shares details of his venture with Tom Tower, editor of the dominant London newspaper, to stir up publicity. Tower does just that with a column decrying the failure of the church to pay the bedesmen the 100 pounds per annum specified by Hiram's will, while warden, who isn't mentioned in the will, Towers asserts, gets 800 pounds. (What exactly the will specifies is not, of course, clearly revealed in the novel.) The warden is derelict in his duties and selfish beyond measure, insists Tower. His campaign is picked up and expanded by two renown gadflies, Dr Pessimist Anticant, and Mr Popular Sentiment, who, according to Wiki, are widely believed to be caricatures of Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens respectively.

Dr. Grantly, angered, urges his father and the warden to hold their ground, and takes charge. He harangs the bedesmen. He hires a big-name lawyer to advise and represent the Diocese. But Mr. Harding is beset and withdraws to consider the merits of the lawsuit and to weigh his options if the claimants prevail and he loses his position. He takes action. You have to read the book.

I don't think I would ever have picked up this book on my own, even though I acquired a handsome Heritage Press edition of it in February of this year. But I signed onto a category challenge that required me to read my mother's favorite book. Clueless, I asked my sister what it was. She named Anthony Trollope, and picked [The Warden] as Mom's favorite. It isn't my favorite, but I did enjoy the read.
  weird_O | Dec 1, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrap, PhyllisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shrimpton, NicholasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shrimpton, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed clergyman residing in the cathedral town of ---; let us call it Barchester.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192834088, Paperback)

The book centers on the character of Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity, whose charitable income far exceeds the purpose for which it was intended. Young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he considers to be an abuse of privilege, despite being in love with Mr. Harding's daughter Eleanor. The novel was highly topical as a case regarding the misapplication of church funds was the scandalous subject of contemporary debate. But Trollope uses this specific case to explore and illuminate the universal complexities of human motivation and social morality. This edition includes an introduction and notes by David Skilton and illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:49 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

This novel centres on the character of Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity, whose charitable income far exceeds the purpose for which it was intended. Young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he considers to be an abuse of privilege, despite being in love with Mr. Harding's daughter Eleanor.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140432140, 0141198990

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