Why has it taken me until now to read Trollope? I don't know the answer to that, but I'm so glad to have discovered him at last.
I was charmed by The Warden, the first of his Chronicles of Barsetshire; I loved its humour, its good-natured unpretentiousness, the authorial voice and commentary, the gently caricatural portraits, the moral 'meanderings' of the story, its handling of a political subject with grace and human understanding. There were small riches of one kind or another on every page, and if you're a collector of great names, the book has more than its share, so add to your list those of Sir Abraham Haphazard Q.C., Dr. Pessimist Anticant, the social critic, and Mr. Popular Sentiment, the influential novelist (about whom we heard yesterday)!
This was a soft and comfortable book, a few hours of pure pleasure, and it's surprising - or perhaps not, in the light of yesterday's post! - to read that when it was first published it sold so slowly to begin with that Trollope made only £20/9/3 from it in the first two years: "as regarded remuneration for the time, stone-breaking would have done better". Happily, his fortunes changed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There were many eminently quotable lines, but let's have a couple for good measure:
"You might pass Eleanor Harding in the street without notice, but you could hardly pass an evening with her and not lose your heart." Aw!
Then, and I'm digressing now with reference to this post, here is the opening paragraph of the Conclusion:
"Our tale is now done, and it only remains to us to collect the scattered threads of our little story, and to tie them into a seemly knot." Interestingly, he goes on "... were it not for the custom of the thing, we might leave it to the imagination of all concerned to conceive how affairs at Barchester arranged themselves." So custom - or expectation on the part of the reader - requires the neat finish.
Back to the main point - was this your first Trollope (and if so, are you now inclined to read more), or are you an old hand, happy to revisit the book? Either way, do give us your thoughts.