If you thought 2012 was exciting, hold on to your hat, as 2015 is the year of the Trollope. Yes, next spring marks Trollope’s bicentenary and the anticipation is palpable. Radio 4 has already started celebrating with dramatisations of some of his more popular novels, including The Eustace Diamonds. OUP republished handsome editions of the Palliser series a few years ago, and they’ve just obliged with the first two Barsetshire Chronicles: The Warden and Barchester Towers. Both feature exquisite Pugin covers, new introductions, and a helpful map of Barsetshire. The four remaining Chronicles will be published over the next couple of months.
OUP have also just published a particularly fine edition of Trollope’s An Autobiography and Other Writings. Edited by Professor Nicholas Shrimpton, Trollope’s Autobiography is the only substantial memoir by a major Victorian novelist. Here we learn of his legendary and controversial work habits. Was he a shining example of Victorian industriousness? Or did he sacrifice art in the interests of productivity? Whatever you think of his writing, he cannot be faulted on time management, having pinged out 47 novels while maintaining a day job with the post office. Not only do we get an insight into an author’s work habits, there are also candid assessments of his contemporaries, including Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Charlotte Brontë. The extensive explanatory notes in this edition help illuminate some of the less familiar characters, and enrich Trollope’s evocation of mid-Victorian literary society.
Soon I’ll be posting a full review of Autobiography, and hopefully finishing the posts from my Trollope Challenge. This year has been rather busy, what with finishing my PhD, running Victorian Secrets, researching Queen Victoria, writing books on digital skills, and teaching at two universities. Trollope would be proud. I just wish that I also had a housekeeper.