June 1st, 2011
Well, I have to admit that the final chapters of Anthony Trollope’s The Warden (released in 1855) went much faster than the earlier ones. It’s actually a very short novel, purposely so, according to the author, who wanted to publish it in a single volume (longer works were usually issued in two or more parts during the 19th century). If you’re at all interested in the politics and finances of mid-19th century England, or if you have a fondness for church dramas, The Warden may be right up your alley. The romance between Mr. Bold and Eleanor Harding is rather an afterthought, though it does add a certain lightness to an otherwise serious plot. I did like the way Mr. Harding played his imaginary cello whenever he was nervous — I’ve occasionally caught myself doing the same thing.
After finding the ending of The Warden so much more engaging, I have been forced to revise my hastily-formed opinion of Mr. Trollope’s scribblings. I will, at least, give him another go round. I’ve got a copy of The Small House at Allington all ready to go, though it may be a few weeks before I actually get to it. And of course, I am eager for suggestions — what is your favorite book by Trollope? Or would you rather recommend another author altogether?
Just don’t bring up Zane Grey please. As soon as I finished The Warden last week, I headed for Stairs of Sand. Boy, oh boy. I’m hooked by the story, so will put up with the dialogue to find out what happens, but sheesh. My eclectically well-read husband questions whether Zane Grey actually existed, or if he was just the nom de plum of a group of early 20th century western wordsmiths, getting paid by the pound to churn out pulp. I heard a radio interview last month with a man who claimed to have seen a cancelled check endorsed by Zane Grey at auction, so I think he did exist. Whether that existence can be justified by this book, well that’s beyond the scope of even my pretensions.
Further proof that he existed — this is Mr. Grey posing with his horse, Juan Carlos.