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He Knew He Was Right (1869)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9872821,280 (3.93)2 / 237
Widely regarded as one of Trollope's most successful later novels,He Knew He Was Right is a study of marriage and of sexual relationships cast against a background of agitation for women's rights.
  1. 20
    The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (CVBell)
  2. 10
    The Marriage of Elinor by Mrs. Oliphant (cmcarpenter)
    cmcarpenter: One of Mrs. Oliphant's finest - portrait of a marriage in crisis.
  3. 00
    The Odd Women by George Gissing (potenza)
    potenza: Both feature a Victorian bad marriage amidst female empowerment.
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» See also 237 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Reason read: 1st Quarter Read, Reading 1001
This is a story of epic study of pride, forgiveness and its lack, and pathological jealousy. Trevalyn could be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. The story has many characters and subplots and I read that Trollope did not really like this story. I think the many characters and subplots were stronger than the main story or at least gave the reader relief from the irritating Louis. This was a retelling of Othello/Shakespeare. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 2, 2024 |
Of course, I would be drawn to this title: I know two people who would destroy relationships rather than admit that they were wrong. The character to whom this thought is attributed destroyed more than his relationship. Reading of it, you are so maddened by the sheer obstinacy....But nevertheless, Trollope's treatment of him, and of all his colorful characters keep you wonderfully entertained. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Honestly, I don't remember much about reading this. Here, however, is what I wrote after reading in 1983: "Very good. In Trollope style, set in Victorian England, yet is a bit different in that it is a deep psychological analysis. Louis Trevelyan; was he right?" ( )
  MGADMJK | Sep 3, 2021 |
Mainly about the quarrel which arises between Emily Trevelyan and her husband Louis over her friendship with Colonel Osborne, known to be a home-wrecker, but a friend of Emily's father. This quarrel escalates into a separation and then Louis becomes unreasonable and finally mad. Other strands include the romance between Emily's sister Nora and Louis' friend Hugh, who writes for a newspaper and therefore is seen as slightly "Bohemian", the romances of Dorothy, Hugh's sister, and finally the romance of a former suitor of Nora's who dares to marry an American.

While there were enjoyable sections in this novel; the irrational whims of Miss Stanbury, Mr Gibson's various mishaps, Sir Marmeduke's complete ineffectuality as a govenerner and the appalling Wallachia, I struggled with much of the rest:

1. Emily's intransigence throughout - obviously Louis becomes impossible to reason with, but for my money, she brought it all on herself. I don't like either Emily or Louis very much and sympathized with neither.

2. How old was the child Louis supposed to be? - I thought he was 10 months old at the beginning of the quarrel and then months later he seems to be a much older child.

3. The whole deathbed forgiveness thing was nauseating (although, I suppose, very Victorian).

4. I became very very tired of the whole "Nora could have been the rich Lady Peterborough, and does she or does she not regret refusing Mr Glascock?"musing, which is repeated over and over. I found it odd that Nora should have been taken in so affectionately by Caroline and Charles, given the history and don't really understand why Emily didn't want her to stay with her in Siena at the end. How was it OK for Emily to stay there alone?

5. There were too many romances and too many examples of heroines resolving to refuse proposals because "it would be better for the man" that they do so.

Ultimately disappointing and I think Colonel Osborne should indeed have got his comeuppance. ( )
1 vote pgchuis | Jun 27, 2021 |
If Louis Trevelyan were around today, he'd be on antipsychotic meds.

This wasn't one of Trollope's bests, as the whole descent into madness thing got tiresome, and I didn't care for either Louis (who could?) or Emily, both had flaws that kept them from being likeable and when you don't like the main characters, the book is hard to plod through. For some reason, I read it through, probably because I'm a Trollope fan, but I should have spent my reading time elsewhere.

It is a good example of how a person can be their own worst enemy, as Louis let his paranoia get the better of him, and couldn't let go of his belied that his wife had been unfaithful, despite nothing more to go on than a friendship with an old family friend. It wasn't surprising that Emily would enjoy this man's visits, as her husband wasn't much fun to be around, and there was also that forbidden fruit thing about it: the more Louis didn't want Emily to see him, the more she wanted his company. This, of course, pushed Louis even more over the edge, making both Emily and himself miserable.

Two very unhappy people. Anyone engaged to be married will have second thoughts if they read this book. ( )
  EmeraldAngel | Jun 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kermode, FrankIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patterson, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When Louis Trevelyan was twenty-four years old, he had all the world before him where to choose; and, among other things, he chose to go to the Mandarin Islands, and there fell in love with Emily Rowley, the daughter of Sir Marmaduke, the governor.
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Widely regarded as one of Trollope's most successful later novels,He Knew He Was Right is a study of marriage and of sexual relationships cast against a background of agitation for women's rights.

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