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About the Author
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) started his writing career while working in Ireland as a postal surveyor. Travelling around the country, Trollope gained knowledge of the country and its people which proved to be useful material for his first two novels, The Macdermots of Ballycloran (1847) and The Kellys and the O'Kellys (1848). Trollope soon started writing fiercely, producing a series entitled Chronicles of Barsetshire. The Warden, the first in the series, was published in 1855. Barchester Towers (1857), the comic masterpiece, Doctor Thorne (1858), Framley Parsonage (1861), The Small House at Allington (1864) and The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867) followed, portraying events in an imaginary English county of Barsetshire. In 1867, Trollope left the Post Office to run as a candidate for the Parliament. Having lost at the elections, Trollope focused on his writing. A satire from his later writing, The Way We Live Now (1875) is often viewed as Trollope's major work, however, his popularity and writing reputation diminished at the later stage of his life. Anthony Trollope died in London in 1882.
After having read the six Barsetshire-novels and the six Palliser-novels I was very eager to read the autobiography of the man who had written all those wonderful books and given me so many hours of happy entertainment (and lots of food for thought as well). And I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this book about himself as much as any book Trollope wrote about his fictional characters!
It's all very down-to-earth and easy-going, and although Trollope perhaps never explicitly talks about his inner life (he says so himself: 'It will not, I trust, be supposed by any reader that I have intended in this so-called autobiography to give a record of my inner life. No man ever did so truly, and no man ever will.') you do get a very good 'feel' of what kind of man he was, and a wonderful picture of what life (for certain classes) was like in the Victorian age.
A must-read for all Trollope-lovers, and a worthwhile read even if you've never read anything else by him.
Redolent of the Victorian Age, and beautifully written. Some of the amusement comes precisely from his occasional pedantic preaching of Victorian virtues. He is capable of being self-critical. If elsewhere he is self-satisfied, he has much to be self-satisfied about. A man who from the most unpromising beginning came to live life to the full.
What will you learn of the man from this account? You will learn that he approached his writing as a military man plans his campaigns - nothing is left to chance. Trollope plods steadily, swiftly and economically through his writing 'career'. As a young man he may have plodded through muddy lanes to school and felt ignominy as a result. As a man he turns a hardened eye upon the class of people who would have made him feel inferior. He knew he was not inferior but it was not within him to be superior - other than in the knowledge that he was the saviour of many a lesser man than him in honesty and work ethic. Trollope's life was very much made by his having been employed by the GPO - it enabled him to find a place in the world, to find and marry a constant wife, to indulge his joint passions of 'story telling' and hunting. Inevitably, it also left its mark upon him. So, here, you have less of an autobiography than a 'final account' rather as in the financial sense; enumerating the costliness in time, the income received and the reception garnered for each of his discreet pieces of work. Nitpicking work that was no doubt his bread and butter at the GPO. We learn very little of his 'life'.
have allotted myself so many pages a week. The average number has been about 40. It has been placed as low as 20, and has risen to 112. And as a page is an ambiguous term, my page has been made to contain 250 words; and as words, if not watched, will have a tendency to straggle, I have had every word counted as I went.
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A small daily task, If it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.
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I have from the first felt sure that the writer, when he sits down to commence his novel, should do so, not because he has to tell a story, but because he has a story to tell.