I recently reread Framley Parsonage, the charming fourth novel in Trollope’s six-book Barsetshire series. It was Trollope’s breakthrough novel because of its serialization in Cornhill magazine. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote admiringly to the publisher of the Cornhill, “I wish Mr. Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage forever. I don’t see why it should ever come to an end and everyone I know is always dreading the last number.”
Framley Parsonage is a sweet and mesmerizing read. Trollope entertainingly explores the politics of the clergy and the foibles of the aristocracy. This compelling book revolves around debt, marriage, and pride and prejudice. Though it rambles in the beginning, Trollope soon gets a grip.
The marriage plot relieves the serious money problems faced by Mark and others. Will Mark’s sister Lucy, the smartest in the Robarts family (so much smarter than Mark) marry Lord Lufton, even though Lady Lufton disapproves? And whom will Miss Dunstable marry?
I adore Trollope’s occasional Ciceronian rhetoric. Trollope was a lifetime fan of Cicero and even wrote a book about him. In the following passage, you will notice a triad (a grouping of three) in the first sentence, and the second is marked by anaphora, a repetition of the same word at the beginning of successive clauses. N.B. This passage describes Lady Lufton’s reaction to the knowledge that her son, Lord Lufton, is coming home for the winter.
It was proper, and becoming, and comfortable in the extreme. An English gentleman ought to hunt in the county where he himself owns the fields over which he rides; he ought to receive the respect and honor due to him from his own tenants; he ought to sleep under a roof of his own, and he ought also—so Lady Lufton thought—to fall in love with an embryo bride of his own mother’s choosing.
When I first began reading Trollope, very few of Trollope’s books were available. How the world is changed! You can get free copies from Project Gutenberg now. And don’t worry about reading the Barsetshire series in order: Framley Parsonage can be read as a standalone.
4 thoughts on “Trollope’s “Framley Parsonage””
I love Trollope, especially the Barsetshire novels. The Palliser books, with their emphasis on politics, put me off because politics are the last thing I want to read about. But, as you said, there are tons of other Trollops to read.
There’s so much to read that we never run out of Trollope! One of my favorites is Orley Farm, which only diehard Trollope fans seem to read these day.
On Fri, Jun 14, 2019 at 8:46 AM Thornfield Hall: A Book Blog wrote:
Guess I’m a diehard fan! I’ve read and enjoyed Orley Farm.
It’s a fascinating book, and the more diehard Trollope fans the better.