Anthony Trollope

Overview

In this lively, affectionate, and compellingly readable biography, Victoria Glendinning, the greatly admired literary biographer (of Rebecca West, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell, and Elizabeth Bowen), gives us for the first time a woman's intuitive view of Anthony Trollope. She brings to her story of this legendary writer a fresh emphasis on family, particularly on Trollope's relationship with his formidable mother, with his failure of a father, with his bullying older brother (Mother's favorite), and with ...
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Overview

In this lively, affectionate, and compellingly readable biography, Victoria Glendinning, the greatly admired literary biographer (of Rebecca West, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell, and Elizabeth Bowen), gives us for the first time a woman's intuitive view of Anthony Trollope. She brings to her story of this legendary writer a fresh emphasis on family, particularly on Trollope's relationship with his formidable mother, with his failure of a father, with his bullying older brother (Mother's favorite), and with his tubercular sisters. But it is Anthony as husband and lover that intrigues her most; she investigates with sensitivity the nature of his (unconsummated) love for the liberated young American Kate Field, and, most important, she discovers Rose, regarded in past biographies as a shadowy figure of a wife but viewed here as central to his life, 'bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh'. Throughout, Glendinning explores the disjunction between the outer man - the hearty, 'clubbish, roast-beef' type of Englishman that Anthony became - and the vulnerable inner self, haunted by an unhappy childhood (he was a scruffy charity student at Harrow, hazed by his own brother, separated from his adored mother for years while she was discovering America). We come to know him during his demeaning tenure in London as a junior post office clerk and a postal investigator in famine-stricken Ireland, where he acquired his passion for hunting and for dancing, and where he found his dearest love, Rose. Ireland turned his life around. And soon the novels appeared, slowly bringing him fame and fortune, distinguished friends, and new worlds as he traveled to America, the West Indies, Australia, and South Africa. What gives Victoria Glendinning's book its particular vitality, intimacy, and wit is that she lets Trollope speak for himself. By using telling incidents from his forty-seven novels, plus travel books, stories, and autobiography, she weaves a fascinating tapestry, showing us
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
More fully than other recent biographers, Glendinning penetrates Anthony Trollope's (1815-1882) ``bluff, clubbish, roast-beef kind of Englishness,'' baring the vulnerable heart of the popular novelist. Raised by a strong-minded, resourceful mother and a hopelessly muddled father who badly mismanaged his businesses, Trollope ``despised female submissiveness,'' claims Glendinning. Although he lampooned feminist activists, the outspoken, independent women he met in middle life upset his notion of male supremacy and found their way into his fiction. Glendinning, biographer of Vita Sackville-West and Edith Sitwell, maintains that Trollope's wife Rose Heseltine was no doormat but a vital emotional mainstay. In Trollopian fashion the author weaves into her narrative what Trollope thought about architecture, corporal punishment, dancing, France, gardens, Irish rebellion, South Africa (he was an anti-imperialist), tea and much else. Through her astute criticism, we see how Trollope's fictional preoccupations--sexual betrayal, cross-class marriage, ambiguous relations between brothers and sisters--stemmed from his personal life and day-to-day concerns. A feast for fans, this perceptive biography will attract new readers to Trollope's works. Photos. BOMC alternate. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Glendinning, author of several biographies, presents a wonderful blend of Trollope's personal life and literary career within Victorian England's cultural and social climate. Trollope, one of the most prolific writers of the 19th century, had a miserable childhood, which greatly influenced his fiction. Glendinning's biography draws the reader deeper and deeper into the author's real and literary worlds. This is the fourth Trollope biography written by various scholars in recent years. Its most immediate predecessor, N. John Hall's Trollope: A Biography ( LJ 8/91), adopts the voice of an historical observer, whereas Glendinning is a storyteller who draws connections between Trollope's ``family dynamics'' and his ``preoccupations as an author.'' This work is highly recommended as a scholarly biography and an enjoyable story.-- Lois Cherepon, St. John's Univ. Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140235128
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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