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Doctor Thorne (1858)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Barsetshire Chronicles (3)

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2,070647,709 (4.1)6 / 383
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Well loved by readers in the Victorian era and today, Anthony Trollope's series of novels known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire have delighted and engaged audiences for over 150 years. Doctor Thorne is the third novel in the collection. Although the primary plot follows the romantic ups and downs of a country doctor, the novel also tackles tough social issues of the day, include the problem of illegitimacy and the difficult lives of children born out of wedlock during the period.

.… (more)
  1. 40
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (atimco)
    atimco: Trollope has an Austenesque eye for his characters' motivations and inconsistencies, and his Mary Thorne and Austen's Elizabeth Bennett have much in common. Both are persecuted on the basis of low birth and lack of wealth by an older female relative of their love interest. Both novels are thoroughly enjoyable!… (more)
  2. 20
    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (atimco)
    atimco: Trollope's Mary Thorne and Gaskell's Molly Gibson have much in common: both their father-figures are country doctors with connections to the local nobility, both fall in love with a man above them in station and wealth, both face undeserved public shame in their social circles, and both are sensible, intelligent heroines.… (more)
  3. 00
    Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (morryb)
    morryb: Both tell of the struggle of adopting a child and letting go later on.
  4. 00
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (morryb)
    morryb: Both speak to the struggle of adopting a child and then letting them up later.

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
I did not enjoy this novel as much as the previous two in the series. It reminded me of third-rate Jane Austen, with the election chapters (and actually the entire Sir Roger plot) being very Dickensian, right down to the character names. Appendix two of this edition, while relevant to the series’s first two novels, seems almost completely irrelevant to Doctor Thorne. ( )
  gtross | Oct 16, 2023 |
True to the formula, and therefore ultimately uninspired. This is hardly the Trollope who wrote the charming book "The Warden" or the Palliser books, which r were so filled with political machinations and complex characters. ( )
  lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
Not quite as humorous as Trollope's Barchester Towers but still a fun look at English country society especially in regards to the ever-present need to marry money! A satirical look at the extent to which money will excuse or obstruct breeding and manners (good and bad) in the matrimonial plans of both young people and their families.

2019 reread via LibriVox audiobook:
I enjoyed this 3rd book in the Barsetshire series even more this time around. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
In his introduction to this edition of Doctor Thorne, David Skilton quotes from the October, 1863, edition of Saturday Review: “Mr. Trollope has, in fact, established his novels as the novels of the day, and his is the picture of English life which, for a brief space at least, will be accepted as true by those who wish to see English life represented in fiction.” In Doctor Thorne Trollope focuses his picture on the small village of Greshamsbury and the estate of the Gresham family in fictitious Barsetshire.
Having moved westward from Barchester in this third novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire, Trollope begins the story with a thorough description of Greshamsbury, its history and its inhabitants. Such an experience of being immersed in an unfamiliar setting, meeting its populace, learning about their economic and social situations and their relationships with one another is one of the greatest pleasures I have in reading novels. And Trollope does this “world building” so very well.
It is clear from the novel’s opening chapters that plot and action will be of less significance than character and theme. The story’s main conflict emerges from the love of Frank Gresham, son and heir of the local squire, for Mary Thorne, the portionless niece of the local doctor. In addition to her lack of wealth, Mary is also the child of a rape, and thus unsuited by by “blood,” as well as by financial status, to marry into the Squirearchy. Moreover, Frank’s father, because of poor management of his expenses (especially of his wife’s) has had to sell a favorite portion of his land and to mortgage the rest, so Frank must “marry money” if the property is to remain in Gresham hands. Frank loves his father devotedly and to follow his father’s wishes would mean giving up Mary Thorne. There might have been much suspense in the novel if Trollope, in his role of omniscient narrator, had not in the first chapter assured readers that “I am too old now to be a hard-hearted author and so it is probable that Frank will not die of a broken heart.” Confident in the novel’s happy ending, readers are free to pay attention to character and theme.
Dr. Thorne is filled with characters who caught my interest. Dr. Thorne himself, the novel’s hero, is fascinating and thoroughly sympathetic. He is very good at his profession, a dedicated and sensible physician. He is filled with integrity and is loyal to those he loves. However, there is a little streak of pride and stubbornness in him: though he himself earns his own bread and Mary’s by his profession, he is quite proud of his family connections with the Thornes of Ullathorne, and will not tolerate being patronised. I enjoyed watching the young lovers Mary and Frank mature over the course of the novel, each becoming more worthy of the other. I sympathized with Sir Roger Scatcherd, the extremely wealthy former stone mason, who was miserable in his elevated position. And perhaps my favorite character was Miss Dunstable, the “ointment of Lebanon” heiress, whose hand in marriage Frank is instructed by his mother and aunt to win. Miss Dunstable turns out to be a sensible, good humored, and good hearted woman, and she develops a real fondness for Frank. She is the only one who openly supports his love for Mary. The De Courcy family including Frank’s mother, the Lady Arabella, are treated satirically to show their misplaced priorities. They claim to value “good blood” and family over all else, especially in potential marriage partners, but it is made clear that in their world money and power are the real objects. The interactions between Augusta Gresham and her snooty cousin Lady Amelia de Courcy are entertaining until the true hypocrisy of the De Courcys is revealed: Lady Amelia marries the suitor she had persuaded Augusta to reject.
Two major themes of the novel stood out to me, one being that happiness is not bound up in wealth and position, the other that a person’s value is to be found in character, not in pedigree. I admired Doctor Thorne, Mary, and Frank for their refusal to consider money or lineage as all-important. And those who adhered to those false values, instead of being raised to the status of villains, seemed either laughable or pitiable.
I’d like to spend more time in Barsetshire and so will probably read the last three novels in the Chronicles. I give Doctor Thorne a rating of 4 stars. ( )
  dianelouise100 | Mar 27, 2023 |
I enjoyed this tale of a good girl getting what she deserved, but it could have been MUCH much shorter and probably been even better!

( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dentith, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, P.D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamb,LyntonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pendle, AlexyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rendell, RuthIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trollope, JoannaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Before the reader is introduced to the modest country medical practitioner who is to be the chief personage of the following tale, it will be well that he should be made acquainted with some particulars as to the locality in which, and the neighbours among whom, our doctor followed his profession.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Well loved by readers in the Victorian era and today, Anthony Trollope's series of novels known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire have delighted and engaged audiences for over 150 years. Doctor Thorne is the third novel in the collection. Although the primary plot follows the romantic ups and downs of a country doctor, the novel also tackles tough social issues of the day, include the problem of illegitimacy and the difficult lives of children born out of wedlock during the period.


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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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