My Debt to Trollope

  • Paul Elmer More


For many. years I have felt a kind of obligation to write on Trollope. Through the most part of a lifetime his novels have been the chosen companions of my leisure, and, with the possible exception of Boswell’s Johnson, have been oftener in my hands than the works of any other English author. I have not gone to them, naturally, for that which the great poets and philosophers and divines can give. But they have been like an unfailing voice of encouragement in times of joy and prosperity; they have afforded solace in hours of sickness and despondency and adversity; they have lightened the tedium of idleness and supplied refreshment after the fatigues of labour. They have been submitted to the test of reading aloud, and have passed the ordeal with more than honour. Indeed, I question whether any one has fully relished their wit and irony and their delicacy of insinuation, who has not gone through them at that slower pace demanded by such reading and with the heightened interest of participation by sympathetic listeners. I cannot boast, alas, as does that fortunate bibliophile, Mr. Newton, that ‘I have every book Trollope ever wrote’, much less that I possess them all in first editions; there are even eight or ten out of his six score and more volumes that I have never yet seen. But those I own spread out sufficiently over my shelves, and remind me daily of the largeness of my debt of gratitude to their author, a debt too long unpaid.


Modern Reader Imaginary World English Author Great Poet Great Novelist 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1981

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  • Paul Elmer More

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