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Source: (consider it) Thread: Anthony Trollope
venbede
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# 16669

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He's a negative gay stereotype.

I'm really suspicious of this word "repressed" as though if people had had sex they'd turn out ever such nice people. Sex can give people even more opportunities to be unkind to other people.

Is Marian a repressed lesbian?

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Brenda Clough
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She is clearly a 'superfluous' woman, a big social problem of the day. There were tons of women who were not rich or pretty enough to attract a husband, yet of too high a class to actually work for a living. Nor were there any jobs for a respectable female, except for nursing or being a governess.
She is clearly attracted to Count Fosco, and is aware of it. And (have you read it before? Are you near the end?) there are clear indications that she is powerfully attracted to Walter. But since the latter half of the book is told from his point of view, and he is oblivious, you have to watch for it.

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Firenze

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You get the impression though that by the end Laura is not long for this world, in which case Walter and Marion....except, of course, for Deceased Wife's Sister.
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Brenda Clough
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No, it is clear from the way it is set up (they are half-sisters) that Marian can never marry Walter even if Laura should considerately kick the bucket.
Much has been made however of the rather interesting menage a trois that is ongoing in the latter bit of the book. The sisters live downstairs and do all the housework and cooking (or Marian does, Laura being an invalid) while Walter goes out and earns the daily bread. It sounds exactly like the song from Cabaret. Since Walter has full control of the narrative from beginning to end, we only see his behavior through his eyes. But if you step back, and look at it from another angle, some quite negative constructions could be put upon his actions.

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venbede
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I've finished the book. I can't see any negative constructions to be put on Walter. Without him, Laura would never re-gain her existence in society.

Either Marion or Walter has to stay at home with Laura, and it would be appropriate for Marion.

It is glaringly apparent to me that Laura is the love and motivation of Marion's life, which is why she refuses Walter's invitation to leave them.

She isn't silenced by Walter - she just isn't present at the relevant events. She is referred to in the last sentence of the book as the main inspiration for Walter, other than his love for Laura.

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Clarence
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quote:
I agree that Dickens is probably the better writer overall, but they're not really comparable. Dickens does proper melodrama with villains that are real proper villains; Trollope is almost devoid of melodrama, and seldom writes characters without some humanising feature.
Dickens' merits are not realist merits: he's half way to having characters that could be called Hypocrisy or False Humility.

Trollope's merits are gentle good humour, delightful little digs at society and some much more believable characters. I'd go with Barchester every time and loved both the books and the BBC dramatisation (Donald Pleasance as Mr Harding was perfect). Great Sunday afternoon reading/viewing...especially for anyone dealing with Anglican politics!

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Brenda Clough
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I need to read all the Barchesters, but have got no further than The Warden.

As to WinW. reading all those litcrit articles was fascinating. (I printed out pdfs borrowed on Inter Library Loan, and they fill a four-inch binder.) Walter starts out as an impecunious drawing master. He ends as a married landowner and man of leisure -- an amazing leap, especially for the time. And how insecure he must feel, in an era when being born to it was important, when the taint of trade was so great.
All narratives are controlled by the narrator -- if I tell a story about me I am inevitably the protagonist. And thus Walter's narrative specifically justifies his ascent. His motives were utterly pure. Laura's first husband dies accidentally. He didn't have to off Count Fosco. Of course not: he is in charge of this story from beginning to end.
There's a nice little tip of the hat near the end to us, to warn us about all this. It is when Walter reveals (hundreds of pages in!) that all the names and events are falsified by him. This was not really necessary for us to learn -- it serves no story function. But it is a hint that the narrative is totally in Walter's hands and we see only what he wants us to see.
Compare to Marian's account. She is not writing a story. In fact she is present to us only in the form of her journal entries. These have a different goal. She is writing things down so that she doesn't forget them; so that she can lay events out and spot the pattern. She never has control of the narrative; even her journal entries are selected by Walter.

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Albertus
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# 13356

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Just re-read The Way We Live Now- every bit as good as I remember it being, pulling no punches at the uselessness and parasitism of a particular section of the upper classes (which I think it is more about than the dishonesty of Melmotte, who is an old monster and a crook but at least an energetic one).
A few thoughts:
(i) It looks at first as if Trollope is indulging in some fairly stereotypical anti-semitic stereotyping, but this changes towards the end of the book, where the most generally decent character (IMO) is Mr Breghert*, an honest and reliable Jewish financier, and Melmotte turns out to be probably Irish-American.Did Trollope perhaps have second thoughts part way through writing? *Roger Carbury, who is supposed to be an upright hero, is rather a prig.
(ii) The theme of the old, country, hierarchical society coming into conflict with the new commercial urban world is present here as elsewhere in Trollope and, as elsewhere, although Trollope prefers the old ways, ultimately the new ways are going to win.
(iii) Why on earth are two characters falling over themselves (and falling out) about Hetta Carbury? She's just another one of Trollope's rather cardboard virtuous women- two-dimensional and dull. Paul Montague would have been much better off with Mrs Hurtle, the glamorous American with a slightly mysterious past. But then Trollope's unconventional women (Lizzie Eustace, Miss what's-her-name who marries Dr Thorne, in their different ways) tend to be mch more satisfying than his conventional ones.

[ 23. September 2015, 15:43: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Chamois
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# 16204

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Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Trollope's unconventional women (Lizzie Eustace, Miss what's-her-name who marries Dr Thorne, in their different ways) tend to be mch more satisfying than his conventional ones.
Yes, I agree. My impression is that Victorian novelists were constrained by their public's (or perhaps their publisher's?) expectations of literary heroines. Dickens is an obvious case in point - plenty of interesting women in his books, but the main heroines are completely boring and 2-dimensional.

The Way We Live Now is a fantastic book. I think it's probably Trollope's best, although I enjoy many of his novels. The Eustace Diamonds is my second-favourite.

I think it's significant that when the BBC serialised the political novels (many years ago now) the series was called "The Pallisers". Glencora and Plantagenet Palliser are actually minor characters in most of the political novels but they are easily the most interesting. Glencora is another of Trollope's minor, but fully realised, female characters. As a young women she falls for an unreliable but attractive scoundrel, but is eventually persuaded to do the sensible thing and contract an arranged marriage with Plantagenet. The way the couple negotiates their relationship in the series of books is fascinating. It's a shame the conventions of the time didn't allow him to make her a main character.

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Brenda Clough
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I too found Mrs. Hurtle far more interesting and attractive than poor Hetta Carbury. Whose only real strength seems to be in her steady rejection of her cousin Roger, in spite of her mother's outrageous pressure. It is a mystery to me why Mrs. Hurtle was so enamored of Paul in the first place. Sir Felix seems to have had a good deal of raffish charm (I bet he was great in the sack) but Paul is dim and unattractive.

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Albertus
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Yes, you can see why Ruby Ruggles falls for Sir Felix,and there's a hint that he has a good deal of success picking up lower class girls. I think Mrs Hurtle perhaps sees possibilities in Paul and would like to bring them out. I suspect that she had a very strong sexuality, perhaps with a bit of a tste for being in charge(which would fit with the idea of taking Paul in hand, no fnarr-fnarr intended).

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Brenda Clough
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I noticed that her 'unsuitability' for Paul seemed to revolve completely around her vigor in refusing to put up with the abuse of the never-seen Mr. Hurtle. That she should have the right to leave an abusive spouse seems to never have occurred to anyone; it was clearly her duty to stay put and suck it up, Laura Fairlie style.

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Chamois
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Not forgetting that Mrs Hurtle had the grave misfortune to be (whisper it) American!

[Biased]

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Brenda Clough
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Yes, so why this fascination with Paul? He is not wealthy, like Mr. Melmotte. He is not titled, like Sir Felix. It seems to be wish-fulfillment -- Trollope wrote about the fascination of the ship-board romance, and he met many interesting females while traveling.

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Badger Lady
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# 13453

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Just re-read The Way We Live Now

I've just finished the audio book read by Timonthy West. Its a marathon (30+ hours). He reads it excellently - I'm alwasy slightly in awe of actors who can create so many distinct characters male and female. His voice for Lord Nidderdale is my favourite - a gentle, lazy Scottish brogue.

One thing I've noticed more in the audiobooks is the nature of the serialisation. It is noticeable that Trollope does little recaps of character's actions so far at various points. I hadn't noticed this as much when reading his books.


quote:
(i) It looks at first as if Trollope is indulging in some fairly stereotypical anti-semitic stereotyping, but this changes towards the end of the book, where the most generally decent character (IMO) is Mr Breghert*, an honest and reliable Jewish financier, and Melmotte turns out to be probably Irish-American.Did Trollope perhaps have second thoughts part way through writing? *Roger Carbury, who is supposed to be an upright hero, is rather a prig.
I think that throughout the book Trollope and the read are half a step ahead of the characters in terms of knowledge and attitudes. So we are not told that Melmott is a crook outright until a chapter or so before all the characters start getting suspicious. I think the same applies to the attitudes. Trollope is stating but not necessarily endorsing the anti-semetic attitudes. He leads to the reader to the point that such attitudes are ridiculous.


One interesting point, WWLN was published in 1875 By which Disraeli a converted Jew had just become prime minster for the second time.

quote:

(iii) Why on earth are two characters falling over themselves (and falling out) about Hetta Carbury? She's just another one of Trollope's rather cardboard virtuous women- two-dimensional and dull. Paul Montague would have been much better off with Mrs Hurtle, the glamorous American with a slightly mysterious past. But then Trollope's unconventional women (Lizzie Eustace, Miss what's-her-name who marries Dr Thorne, in their different ways) tend to be mch more satisfying than his conventional ones.

Yes. My favourite Trollope character is Lady Glen who I adore! Closely followed by the wonderful, wonderful Madame Max. I love the fact that he allows (eventually!!) Phineas Finn to marry Madame Max rather than matching his hero with a perfect Victorian heroine.
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Albertus
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Oh yes, of course the wonderful Madam Max! But perhaps she is a suitable match for Phineas Finn because he is a slightly louch outsider- a 'Mick on the make' in the words of (IIRC) the Irish historian Roy Foster.
I think you may be right about Trollope expressing his characters' views rather than his own- we do tend to forget that characters are not necessarily their creator. But I still get a bit of a feeling that about half-way through he had a look at his earlier instalments and thought that maybe he had over-egged that pudding a bit and should introduce a bit of balance.
TWWLN did indeed come out in Disraeli's second administration, although it's clear in the novel that the government at the time of the action is Liberal. Trollope was, I beleive, a Liberal himself. I wonder what he thought of Disraeli, as a man, a politician, and a novelist. I aam trying to remeember whether there are any characters in his work who are based on Disraeli, as Mr Gresham (is it?) is based on Gladstone.

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Badger Lady
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# 13453

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Isn't Mr Daubney (sp?) Disraeli?
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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Badger Lady:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Just re-read The Way We Live Now

I've just finished the audio book read by Timonthy West. Its a marathon (30+ hours). He reads it excellently - I'm alwasy slightly in awe of actors who can create so many distinct characters male and female. His voice for Lord Nidderdale is my favourite - a gentle, lazy Scottish brogue.

One thing I've noticed more in the audiobooks is the nature of the serialisation. It is noticeable that Trollope does little recaps of character's actions so far at various points. I hadn't noticed this as much when reading his books.


quote:
(i) It looks at first as if Trollope is indulging in some fairly stereotypical anti-semitic stereotyping, but this changes towards the end of the book, where the most generally decent character (IMO) is Mr Breghert*, an honest and reliable Jewish financier, and Melmotte turns out to be probably Irish-American.Did Trollope perhaps have second thoughts part way through writing? *Roger Carbury, who is supposed to be an upright hero, is rather a prig.
I think that throughout the book Trollope and the read are half a step ahead of the characters in terms of knowledge and attitudes. So we are not told that Melmott is a crook outright until a chapter or so before all the characters start getting suspicious. I think the same applies to the attitudes. Trollope is stating but not necessarily endorsing the anti-semetic attitudes. He leads to the reader to the point that such attitudes are ridiculous.


One interesting point, WWLN was published in 1875 By which Disraeli a converted Jew had just become prime minster for the second time.

quote:

(iii) Why on earth are two characters falling over themselves (and falling out) about Hetta Carbury? She's just another one of Trollope's rather cardboard virtuous women- two-dimensional and dull. Paul Montague would have been much better off with Mrs Hurtle, the glamorous American with a slightly mysterious past. But then Trollope's unconventional women (Lizzie Eustace, Miss what's-her-name who marries Dr Thorne, in their different ways) tend to be mch more satisfying than his conventional ones.

Yes. My favourite Trollope character is Lady Glen who I adore! Closely followed by the wonderful, wonderful Madame Max. I love the fact that he allows (eventually!!) Phineas Finn to marry Madame Max rather than matching his hero with a perfect Victorian heroine.

although of course, as you note, it is eventually...

I've often wondered, and not read enough biographies of him to know the answer, if he had the whole Finn arc in his head before he wrote Phineas Redux, or whether the initial ending was indeed the end of Phineas Finn and the arc of Phineas Redux was a new idea? Because obviously first time around he does match him with a perfect Victorian heroine. I'm always actually quite sad about what happened to Phineas' first wife to be honest - it's a bit unnecessary (even if it is the way back into parliamentary life - I'm sure Trollope could have come up with something else). Finn isn't very nice to her for much of the first book, then marries her, then she's off the scene again.

There's something a bit Anthony Powell about that.

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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by Badger Lady:
Isn't Mr Daubney (sp?) Disraeli?

Yes, of course he is! Tnanks.
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