A Load of Trollope

For the last couple of months I have been spending chunks of my time in Barchester. It was Radio 4 that started it. There was a serialised adaptation, a very good one of the last chronicle, and I loved it.

This year work has taken me to Salisbury several times, and as I have walked through the cathedral close, I have felt guiltily aware that while I have enjoyed BBC television adaptions of Trollope, I have never read the books.

Well that’s changed now. He wrote a lot, so I still have opportunities to read more but the for the moment, the Grantlys, the Dales and dear Johhny Eames can get on with their lives without me peering over their shoulders.

Trollope’s frequent references to womanliness and manliness grated at times, but he also made me laugh, something Dickens seldom manages with this reader. His writing is less sentimental, more forgiving. I get the feeling he liked people more than Dickens did. Certainly I know which of the two men I’d prefer to spend a day with if I could time travel.

I switched between reading and listening depending on where I was and what I was doing. The books are out of copyright and so available free as e-books. Timothy West does a brilliant job of reading them aloud and amazingly the audio versions were free too.

So if you are twiddling your thumbs, wondering what to read on holiday, or what to listen to as you walk to the train station, give Trollope a go.

I’m sure you won’t regret it.

For myself, I am starting to tackle to ever growing pile of books in the flat, and the list of more books I mean to borrow or buy. I am enjoying Alan Johnson’s memoir, This Boy, but I reckon it won’t be too long before The Pallisers call me back to Trollope.


12 thoughts on “A Load of Trollope

  1. How strange I was only reading about Trollope this week….he was also a post office surveyor who did away with some of the North London postcodes upsetting locals by changing them to East and allegedly damaging their businesses in the process!!

    • Yes, he is usually associated with his time working at the post office. I understand he was not initially regarded as a very good employee, but found his place and pace, and with it, success before leaving to write for a living.

  2. What an excellent suggestion, Isobel, I will see just how much Trollope I can download. Or download as must Trollope as I can take. In either case, I have train journeys daily to make.

    • An all too familiar situation.:) but if you download the audio as well you can listen while you dust/polish/cook/iron. My dusting is never so thorough as when I have an audio book or a good radio programme to listen to.

    • He is a sharp observer of people. And Mrs Proudie is one of the most monstrous women in literature.

      Do read Allehra’s comment about the tv series.

  3. I really strongly recommend watching the BBC adaptation Barchester Towers, which, if I recall correctly, combines The Warden and the eponymous Barchester Towers, its immediate sequel. Featuring the very much missed Geraldine McEwan as the appalling Mrs Proudie and kickstarting Alan Rickman’s career as the egregious Mr Slope, it’s pretty nearly perfect.
    I’ve been reading Trollope since the early 1980s and I really love his books. I think he’s much better at the nuances of emotion experienced by individuals and between individuals than Dickens is, and he is a FAR better writer of women characters. I adore Dickens as well, but for other things – his indignation, his astonishing writing.

    • I have an invitation to watch the whole box set with someone from the book club. It almost makes me look forward to winter. 🙂

      Do try the audio books. Timothy West does a brilliant job, and you can listen while you dust/iron/cook etc.

      I shall direct Julia’s attention to your advice.

    • I too struggle to keep up to speed reading blogs. Once it becomes a chore, or something I feel guilty about, I know it is time to draw a line and just join in when I can. I used to feel guilty about posting and not reading, but I realise my blog is primarily for me (whatever wordpress thinks baout building my audience), a diary I can refer back to, and so now I post and catch up on others when and if I can.

      I have been working all day today, so this is some nice downtime with a g&t before dinner. It’s a glorious day, and Master B has just gone out. I hope to pick some tomatoes later.

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