Over forty years separate these comments, which share a common bewilderment about the nature of Trollope’s character and achievement. In fact every critic I have come across points to the difficulty of defining Trollope — though some maintain he is hardly worth the trouble — with the result that today Trollopes seem to stretch out in the glass of literary fashion to the crack of doom. There is Trollope of Barsetshire, whom everyone knows; Trollope the Social Historian; Trollope the Entertainer, who wrote novels as a hen lays eggs; the ‘dark’ Trollope of Professor A. O. J. Cockshut; Trollope the Psychologist; Trollope the Moralist. It would be presumptuous, I feel, to add a ‘new’ Trollope, and so in this study I am concerned rather with a consolidated Trollope: a reassessment of this tantalising character and the disarmingly placid world of his novels.
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