I cheated a little bit in that I did not read six separate books in this instance Instead I read a single book which was essentially a summary of the television show that was on back, I think, in the 70s on PBS Generally, I m not all that fond of Victorian literature however, I also am fairly familiar with the way that English society is structured, so I was able to follow the story without feeling like I had to figure out why certain social customs were playing off against one another Many of the things that people were doing here and the experiences that they had were familiar to me from the television program, as well, and that helped I enjoyed reliving the story and I enjoyed reminiscing a little bit about the actors and the events that I remember from that television show But I give it only three stars because I did feel as though, in the process of abridging the stories, Michael Hardwick took enormous liberties The characters seemed to career madly from one set of events to another The personalities were not well developed in the individual books Huge portions of time got skipped over And it truly did not seem like a well rounded, meaty story While I doubt seriously that I will go and dig up the six volume set, I recommend this particular book, The Pallisers for anyone who wants what I would call a Taste of Trollope With that caveat, enjoy A great portrait of a time, a place, and a class of people while still preserving their individuality. In His Autobiography, Anthony Trollope Called The Palliser Novels That Sprawling Epic Of Victorian England For Which He Is Justly Famous The Best Work Of My Life, Adding I Think Plantagenet Palliser Stands Firmly On The Ground Than Any Other Personage I Have Created But As Sixteen Years Separated The First Novel From The Last, Trollope Worried That Readers Would Be Unable To Approach Them As A Whole Who Will Even Know That They Should Be So Read He Complained Solving This Problem In Particularly Splendid Fashion, Oxford Is Now Reissuing The Palliser Novels In An Elegantly Crafted Hard Bound Set With Acid Free Papers And Durable Binding That Include The Wealth Of Illustrations That First Appeared In The Oxford Illustrated Trollope Years Ago Now, A Whole New Generation Of Readers Can Enjoy One Of Nineteenth Century Literature S Greatest Achievements While The Novels Center Around The Stately Politician Plantagenet Palliser, The Interest Is Less In Politics Than In The Lively Social Scene Trollope Creates Against A Parliamentary Backdrop His Keen Eye For The Subtleties Of Character And Great Apprehension Of The Real Impressed Contemporary Writers From Nathaniel Hawthorne To Henry James, And In The Palliser Novels We Find Him At His Very Best Between The Covers Of These Books We Meet A Wonderfully Rich Variety Of Men And Women, Among Them Alice Vavasor, Whose Waverings Between Suitors And The Resulting Mess Prompted Trollope To Ask Can Your Forgive Her The Handsome Irish MP Phineas Finn, Who Grows To Maturity As The Novels Progress The Beautiful Enchantress Lizzie Eustace, Whose Scandalous Diamonds Are The Talk Of London High Society Ferdinand Lopez, The Unctuous Social Climber The Elegant And Witty Lady Glencora, Plantagenet S Wife And Palliser Himself First As A Cabinet Aspirant, Later As Prime Minister Who Is The Connecting Thread That Holds The Series Together Along The Way We Are Also Introduced To A Host Of Amusing And Sharply Drawn Characters Of Less Social Status Who, Much Like The Bumpkins Of Shakespeare, Offer A Distorting Yet Insightful Fun House Mirror To The Main Action Nowhere Else Did Trollope Bring To Life In Such Compelling Fashion The Teeming World Of Victorian Society And Politics, And Nowhere Else Did He Create Memorable And Living Characters Than Those Who Populate These Six Volumes As A Group The Palliser Novels Provide Us With The Most Extensive And Telling Expose Of British Life During The Period Of Its Greatest Prestige Genius Brilliant Fantastic 150 stars And I still have the TV series to look forward to.If you enjoyed the Forsyte Saga and Brideshead Revisited as books, you will love this too. An excellent series of books that highlight London society, although the text can be very lenghty the development of the plot makes the length of the books worth reading in most casesMichael Hardwick has also abridged the six novels into one volume that is half the length of the first book, but many of the subplots are eliminated from this text.The series has also been released as a mini series by the BBC I believe. So far I ve read Can You Forgive Her , Phineas Finn, and The Eustace Diamonds All enjoyable and looooong Excellent writing with insights into human behavior, but reading about the British 19th century upper crust is kind of surreal Most of these people could solve most of their problems by getting a regular job But that s not possible becauseoh because fancy people don t work I m going to take a little break from this series because the books are long and the style, themes, and subject matter not varied enough to sustain for thousands and thousands pages on top of the thousands I ve so recently savored. I had never read anything by Trollope before I started this series There are a total of 6 books and I liked 3.5 of them While I found each book interesting in their own way, I wasn t glued to all of them The female characters really helped pull the story along. The earlier characters Lady Glencora, Phineas Finn, Lopez are interesting than the children but overall an engaging read. Trollope s Pallisers books are a worthy reading challenge Certainly padded but entertaining and thought provoking National politics are a topic but so are the politics of the home and heart On the surface Anthony Trollope s six PALLISER NOVELS, also called the Parliamentary Chronicles are another in the many life styles of the rich and famous Victorian novels Almost every major character is titled and all are or are looking to marry rich What makes Trollope worthy of the time that might otherwise be devoted to by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens is his keen analysis of the complexities within this otherwise detached society.Like much of Austin s novels there flashes humor and the focus is on people for whom work is optional rather than a matter of survival Like Dickens Trollope has an awareness of work as a means of survival but also as a way to live out a mission at least superficially based on an image of the public good.Rather than many specific about each book, a general discussion may help a potential reader.In common with Dickens, Trollope was writing to a contact for publishers that were printing his books as a serial He was contracted to produce about 4 chapters at a time, each of a certain length with the goal being 80 chapters or over 700 pages per book Taking up this series is a commitment to about 4200 pages of reading You will find entire pages of padding and the occasional sub plot that however entertaining is not a necessary contribution to further the larger plot of the books This means that characters may appear as important only to disappear.The Pallsers are said to be the political novels Politics are a running theme through the books, but as a background A faint one in The Eustice Diamonds and Phineas Redux and not all that central to The Prime Minister The time period of the novels, roughly form the 1830s to the 1880s was a very busy time for the British Government There were wars to fight, major changed to the rules for electing members to Parliament, the legal relationship between England and the Church of England, Even The reformulation of Victoria, Queen of England to Empress.Much of the important things before the Parliament of the Pallisers is trivial or where important is about character development rather than politics Trollope as a failed politician has an ax to grind To him Parliament is unimportant and a matter of management than of governance His single most prominent male figure is Plantagenet Pallister, later the Duke of Omnium and Gatherum For all of his seriousness and honest earnestness his most important goal is to move the British money system to decimal coinage Trollope at his slyest, making our protagonist a figure of fun One of the few characters know by a nick name, he is Planty Pal.The real politics of the novels is in the politics of the household and of the heart Who is to marry who, why and what is allowable Across the novels, Trollope carefully crafts a series of literary experiments We get ladies who are rarely anyone s passive vessel, actively seeking their own advantage whether advantage to their hearts or to their income The female characters are almost always his best and most completely presented figures Each has her initial starting points on the social and economic latter and each her own methods for allowing a suit to be paid Likewise the males vary, ranging from obvious scoundrels to the nicest of gentlemen There is a regular presence of potential suitors who are comically bad at romancing There are the usual mix of overly protective fathers and threats to withhold money from otherwise impoverished ungrateful sons Trollope is very good about giving us women with independent minds and fixed determinations to control how they are to be disposed among the various males to whom they are presented Even so, the one common goal is marriage, never an independent existence Given how central romance is to every novel Trollope rarely admits us to anything private Rarely do we see the wooing that might inspire the passions we are told loving pairs share Conversation is mannered, indirect and carefully crafted to be only just personal The passive voice rules People are in love because we are told that they are The initial impulse may be no than looks or a turn of phrase Rarely is there anything than a common childhood to give any sense of what any one person actually knows about the other Almost every pairing in this books would be credible had Victorian society admitted to anything like dating Neither the reader nor, I suspect, most of the future spouses could recognize their significant other given a sample of their unguarded conversation.One of my favorite smaller aspects of the book is how much you can know a character by their name Can there be a ostentatiously over grand name than Plantagenet Pallister, Duke of Omnium and Gatherum How much can we guess about a supervising aunt named Lady Baldock What can we expect from Burgo Fitzgerald or the well off Mr Cheeseacre What kind of politician is Sir Timothy Beeswax.On the less certain side is the characterization of outsiders Madame Max Goesle is not merely of foreign origins, but may have had a Jewish now deceased husband She is allowed to carefully earn her way into this society but is also the target of rumors Other darkly completed, and perhaps Jewish characters are less sympathetic. I loved the Palliser novels I watched the entire PBS series and bought the set so I could read them all I began when in May 1977 about the time I learned I was pregnant with my son I completed the final novel while I was in the hospital on January 9th, 1978 It was an endeavor well worth the effort It is not often that one gets to read an author who can make one sentence into a paragraph, but I soldiered for the glory of the stories I recommend reading them all for anyone who can take the excess of language and love it for its time and its author s heart.
Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era Some of Trollope s best loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.Trollope has always been a popular novelist Noted fans ha
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