April 24 marked Anthony Trollope’s 200th birthday. The 19th century English novelist wrote forty seven novels, his most famous being “Barchester Towers,” one of the novels in the “Chronicles of Barsetshire” series. Among his famous fans, legendary actor Alec Guinness never travelled without an Anthony Trollope novel to read. Here are five Anthony Trollope novels to add to your reading list.
“Barchester Towers” published in 1857 is the second novel of the “Chronicles of Barsetshire.” This most popular Anthony Trollope novel follows the appointment of a new bishop for the cathedral town of Barchester and the effect on the town with its tangled relationships and livelihoods hanging in the balance. Trollope’s observations of the Victorian era are witty and thoughtful.
“The Way We Live Now” (1875) is widely considered Trollope’s best work. The satirical novel is definitely worth a read for those interested in the social commentary on the time period that continues to be relevant today. Trollope was inspired by the financial scandals of the 1870s and wrote the novel in response to the greed and corruption so pervasive in society.
“Lady Anna” (1874) tackles social class and love when a young noblewoman decides to marry for love in spite of class differences. Her mother doesn’t approve of her daughter marrying a tailor and dramatic events ensue. Perhaps not as well-known as Trollope’s other works, the book provides a glimpse into the lives of women in Victorian England.
“Can You Forgive Her?” is the first in the Palliser series of novels by Anthony Trollope. Published in 1865, the novel recounts the story of a young woman who breaks off her engagement with a perfectly fine fiancé and then marries a man more suited to her own temperament. The breaking of an engagement may not seem such a big deal by today’s standards, but in the Victorian era and for well-connected, high-born ladies especially, it could ruin lives and reputations. Trollope again proves himself a keen observer of society with this entertaining novel.
“The Eustace Diamonds” (1871) is the third book of the Palliser series and tells the story of Lizzie Eustace and a diamond necklace she inherits mysteriously. Controversy arises over who actually gave her the necklace and Lizzie’s honesty is questioned. Trollope’s commentary on a society obsessed with money and social position is presented with his trademark humor.
All these books are available free online through Project Gutenberg.