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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
3,719862,070 (4.17)5 / 645
  1. 10
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  2. 21
    Canon in Residence by Victor L. Whitechurch (catherinestead)
    catherinestead: More scheming, gossip and social justice in the Cathedral Close.
  3. 10
    Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)

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English (83)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Another delightful Victorian romp. A feud over a church appointment, a love story muddled by repressed emotions and silly misunderstandings and it all turns out nice in the end. Fantastic. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
As amusing as it was to read, The Warden was a straight-faced prelude to this extravagant romp through the parlors of the Anglican gentry. One should read the two together as the question of Hiram's Hospital and the wardenship are prime concerns in the greater game being played for control of the diocese of Barchester. It is debatable how much I can 'spoil' an almost 158 year old novel, but consider yourself warned.

The benevolent archbishop has passed on after a change in government, leaving his son, Archdeacon Grantly, disappointed in his hopes for the chair. The new appointee Dr. Proudie is steered by his domineering wife and his ambitious chaplain Mr. Slope and they have great plans for change within and without the cathedral walls. They are even before taking residence at odds with the conservative resident clergy lead by Archdeacon Grantley and the recruitment of Mr. Arabin from Oxford.

In the two years since the end of The Warden, Trollope has impatiently dismissed erstwhile reformer Mr. John Bold to the grave. His pretty young widow Eleanor is left with a child and a modest fortune. She is the sister-in-law to the Archdeacon, but circumstances lead her to be a trifle sympathetic to the obsequious Mr. Slope which leads to all sorts of calumny.

For there are circles within circles in this close community. Not only do multiple suitors vie for the hand of Mrs. Bold--unbeknownst to her; Chaplain and wife fight for control over the bishop; after 12 years in Italy, Dr. Stanhope and is summoned back to his parish with his odd family; the Quiverfulls have 12 children living and small means to care for them; and Miss Thorne wants to hold a lawn party. Trollope juggles the actions of his characters skillfully and sympathetically as each sets out to obtain their ends.

The main conflict of this novel is the clash between the high church and the evangelicals as genteel, but lax, traditions go head to head with orthodoxy. This is a novel of manners and broad comedy, verging on slapstick at times, but still a convincing portrait of a society. The humor never leaves behind the potential reality of each character's situation and the fairness of their author makes every one of them, yes, even the Signora Neroni, compelling character studies providing insight for the reader into the actions of the people contemporary readers encounter in their own lives.

I continue my travels through Barchester in Doctor Thorne. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Trollope took a while to build up the story but this only makes the climax more delightful and wicked. I consider the party at the Thornes the climax, where Eleanor Bold rejects both her suitors with Mr. Arabin watching on helplessly. The slap that Eleanor gave the presumptuous Slope must be the most resounding in literature while you cannot dislike Bertie and Madeline Stanhope. The story would have been more satisfactory if Mrs. Produie and Slope were brought down to earth but I suppose we cannot be so greedy. The character I like best is Mr. Harding. He is meek but he doesn't crave after things and knows when to step back. He is also not presumptuous like so many characters in the story. ( )
  siok | Feb 17, 2019 |
Not really for me. Parts of it are absolutely brilliant. And I love the constant humor and authorial asides. But it is very uneven, and long parts just drag along. It picks up some plot momentum, but in a very conventional direction.

"But let the gentle-hearted reader be under no apprehension whatsoever. It is not destined that Eleanor shall marry Mr. Slope or Bertie Stanhope. And here perhaps it may be allowed to the novelist to explain his views on a very important point in the art of telling tales. …"

"I can only say that if some critic who thoroughly knows his work, and has laboured on it till experience has made him perfect, will write the last fifty pages of a novel in the way they should be written, I, for one, will in future do my best to copy the example. Guided by my own lights only, I confess that I despair of success." ( )
  breic | Nov 13, 2018 |
Quality of Writing: 9.16
Glad you read it?: 8.91
  bookclub4evr | Feb 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (108 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, AnthonyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowen, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKay, DonaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, FrederickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary 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)

» see all 24 descriptions

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Average: (4.17)
1 7
1.5 1
2 14
2.5 2
3 63
3.5 28
4 217
4.5 45
5 206

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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