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Barchester Towers (1857)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Barsetshire Chronicles (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,5041002,093 (4.17)5 / 697
Barchester Towers, Trollope's most popular novel, is the second of the six Chronicles of Barsetshire.The Chronicles 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 behaviour of the individuals within a power structure that interests him. In this novel 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 skilfully handled with that subtlety of ironic observation that has won Trollope such a wide and appreciativereadership.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Perpetual Curate by Margaret Oliphant (nessreader)
    nessreader: Oliphant's carlingford chronicles are an equivalent series to the barchester books; victorian sagas of social manouevering and parish politics. If you enjoy barsetshire, they are well worth trying. Perpetual is about high anglicanism vs lower church and like trollope spreads sympathy across opposed characters.… (more)
  2. 10
    La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (starbox)
  3. 21
    The Canon in Residence by Victor L. Whitechurch (catherinestead)
    catherinestead: More scheming, gossip and social justice in the Cathedral Close.
  4. 10
    Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)
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English (98)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Having read The Warden last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, I had determined to read the next book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire this year. I did not know what to expect, but was delighted to find Mr. Harding and his daughter, Eleanor, waiting for the next phase of their story, along with some new characters and story lines.

The book is worth reading if for nothing more than the names of it’s characters, which leave no doubt in the mind as to occupation or moral qualities. Dr. Fillgrave must surely make the most somber smile, and who would have difficulty determining the greatest failing of Mrs. Proudie? In fact, his humor is scattered throughout the novel in equal portions with his wisdom.

Oh, husbands, oh, my marital friends, what great comfort is there to be derived from a wife well obeyed.

Can’t find any fault with the humor or the wisdom there, can you? But, beyond the playfulness, there are some serious issues at work, including the struggle for power that takes place between the two factions in the church. Trollope understood the political nature of the Church in his time, and the shenanigans were as bad as some we see in the political arena of our own. I certainly felt that neither side was as interested in serving the higher good or the people of the parish so much as their own interests and advancements.

There are representatives of the high church in the Grantly faction, Tory by political leaning, and the newly established Proudie faction, Whigs, unfortunately, represented by not only the spineless Bishop Proudie and his oppressive wife, but also by our most obvious villain, Obadiah Slope (his name makes you cringe, does it not?). Trollope is a master of description and I had no difficulty in reading Mr. Slope’s character in his demeanor.

His hair is lank and of a dull pale reddish hue. It is always formed into three straight, lumpy masses, each brushed with admirable precision and cemented with much grease; two of them adhere closely to the sides of his face, and the other lies at right angles above them. His face is nearly of the same color as his hair, though perhaps a little redder; it is not unlike beef--beef, however, one would say, of a bad quality. His forehead is capacious and high, but square and heavy and unpleasantly shiny.

He goes on to describe his mouth and his nose (which is “spongy and porous”). I dare say, we walk away with a complete picture of Slope and we cannot mistake him, even on this first meeting, for a man we would ever wish to invite to preach us a sermon or take tea with us. That Eleanor attempts to give Slope the benefit of the doubt is a testament to the fairness of her character.

To my delight, Trollope has also created Mr. Harding, a truly good man who attempts to always take the high road, and while perhaps a little naive, garners all our admiration and hope. On the female side, we have the independent thinking Eleanor Bold and the lascivious Signora Neroni.

I can promise that Trollope has taken what might have been a very dry subject in the politics of the church, and woven a complete and never boring tale of the people affected by it. This is only my second Trollope, but I found it both interesting and easy to read. It has a bit more character development and length than The Warden and would stand alone as a story, but I find that having read The Warden added a depth to the novel that I believe would have been missing otherwise. I am planning to continue the series next year with Dr. Thorne, and I am happy to have come to Trollope. Late to the table, but the feast is still fine.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
It took a while for the real genius of this to sink in. I gave it three stars right after I finished it--the Ullathorne acts just moved so slow, and having to binge read that tepid pace for a seminar made it painful and killed the enjoyment of the book for me. But I find now, a couple months later, that I can't stop thinking about it, that it's the novel I keep coming back to when I think of the best thing I've read this semester (sorry Daniel Deronda). Anyway, I need more Trollope. A very Lukacsian novel. ( )
  becomingyolo | Mar 18, 2022 |
this book was weird, both incredibly boring and incredibly engaging at the same time. ( )
  GridCube | Jan 17, 2022 |
3.5, upon reread via audio-book, I liked this book much better than the first time through. It was fun/ funny and sweet. I loved the character analysis and the varied character types. The story was interesting, if a bit slower paced. I enjoyed Trollope's writing style and narrative voice. ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
Love his naming characters (similar to Dickens, right): Bishop and Mrs. Proudie, Mr. Quiverful, Mr. Slope. Don't remember much of it but do know it turned me on to Trollope and I read many of his works subsequently. Here's what I wrote after reading in summer 1983: "Written in Victorian England about how Victorian Englanders lived. Good story set in the cathedral city of Barchester. Who will rule the bishopry? Bishop Proudie, Mrs. Proudie, or Mr. Hope? Who will marry Eleanor Bold? Who will be the warden at the hospital?". ( )
  MGADMJK | Aug 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, AnthonyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowen, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilmour, RobinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilton, MargaretNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKay, DonaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKay, DonaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, FrederickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sadleir, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tillotson, KathleenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheatley, FrancisCover artistsecondary 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.
Considering how much we are all given to discuss the characters of others, and discuss them often not in the strictest spirit of charity, it is singular how little we are inclined to think that others can speak ill-naturedly of us, and how angry and hurt we are when proof reaches us that they have done so. It is hardly too much to say that we all of us occasionally speak of our dearest friends in a manner in which those dearest friends would very little like to hear themselves mentioned, and that we nevertheless expect that our dearest friends shall invariably speak of us as though they were blind to all our faults, but keenly alive to every shade of our virtues.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Barchester Towers, Trollope's most popular novel, is the second of the six Chronicles of Barsetshire.The Chronicles 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 behaviour of the individuals within a power structure that interests him. In this novel 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 skilfully handled with that subtlety of ironic observation that has won Trollope such a wide and appreciativereadership.

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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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140432035, 0141199113

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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