The Rocks and Valleys

  • R. C. Terry


Twice in his Autobiography Trollope insists there must be love in a novel. And when he tried to do without it in Miss Mackenzie the story bogged down so badly he had to give his rather dull spinster an elderly wooer, who brought her marriage and a ready-made family of nine children. Recalling this attempt to break from the staple of his fiction, Trollope showed his usual understanding of what the public wanted: ‘It is admitted that a novel can hardly be made interesting or successful without love. Some few might be named but even in those the attempt breaks down, and the softness of love is found to be necessary to complete the story.’ What else, he wondered, could a writer do but write of love, since ‘every one feels it, has felt it, or expects to feel it, — or else rejects it with an eagerness which still perpetuates the interest’ (ch. xii). So from his first novel, which was a tragic love story of seduction, murder and retribution, to his last, which, unfinished, left his lovers for ever fixed in mad pursuit and struggle to escape, like the figures of Keats’ grecian urn, Trollope is concerned with love.


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Copyright information

© R. C. Terry 1977

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