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Barchester Towers (Penguin English Library) [Paperback]

Anthony Trollope
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 May 2012 Penguin English Library

The Penguin English Library Edition of Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

'What! to come here a stranger, a young, unknown, and unfriended stranger, and tell us, in the name of the bishop his master, that we are ignorant of our duties, old-fashioned, and useless!'

Trollope's comic masterpiece of plotting and backstabbing opens as the Bishop of Barchester lies on his deathbed. Soon a pitched battle breaks out over who will take power, involving, among others, the zealous reformer Dr Proudie, his fiendish wife and the unctuous schemer Obadiah Slope.

Barchester Towers is one of the best-loved novels in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series, which captured nineteenth-century provincial England with wit, worldly wisdom and an unparalleled gift for characterization.

The second book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.


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Barchester Towers (Penguin English Library) + The Warden (Penguin English Library) + Doctor Thorne (Penguin English Library)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141199113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141199115
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

With talk too of a new film of Phineas Finn, Anthony Trollope looks like making a well-deserved comeback. Don t be deceived by the image of a bearded Victorian patriarch that comes to mind: listen to the first two chapters of the magnificent new Naxos recording of Barchester Towers, his most popular novel, and you will understand why John Henry Newman is said to have woken up laughing after falling asleep reading it, and why Alec Guinness never travelled without a Trollope novel. Trollope is one of our greatest comic novelists, as well as having an extraordinary talent for taking you confidentially and irresistibly into the flow of his story. Oblivious of the snail-like pace of Oxford's flood-impeded traffic, I was grinning from ear to ear as David Shaw-Parker explodes into the clerical indignation that follows Obadiah Slope s iconoclastic sermon in Barchester Cathedral. Abominable, groaned the dean. Abominable, muttered the meagre doctor. Abominable, re-echoed the chancellor, uttering a sound from the bottom of his deep chest. I really think it was, said Mr Harding. Proof positive that Trollope wrote with an ear to being read aloud. --Sunday Times 26/1/14 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Anthony Trollope (1815-82) was one of the most widely enjoyed and prolific novelists of the nineteenth century. His books include the great Chronicles of Barsetshire, of which Barchester Towers is the second volume. Trollope worked for the Post Office for much of his adult life, combining postal and literary business as he travelled around the British Empire. He has been credited with the creation of the distinctive British pillar box.

The other five titles in the Chronicles of Barsetshire are The Warden, Dr Thorne, Framley Parsonage, The Small House at Allington and The Last Chronicle of Barset, all of which are published in the Penguin English Library.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Barsetshire 4 April 2006
By Paul D
Format:Paperback
Following The Warden, we return in a longer book to the fictional world of Barchester, and the intrigues festering within the ecclesiastical community. The new Bishop, Mr Proudie and his fearsome wife, have moved into the city, with their chaplain, the oily Mr Slope. The wardenship of the hospital is to be given, but there is much debate as to whether it should be given to its previous occupant, the delightful Mr Harding, or to the deserving, if weak, Mr Quiverful, an impecunious gentleman with fifteen children and a determined wife. The main subplot is Mr Slope's inept wooing of the widow, Mrs Bold (Mr Harding's virtuous and sensible daughter), and the feeling of her friends that she should have nothing to do with him.
What marks Trollope as a great original is the way he takes the reader into his confidence - he has no time for the writer who is mysterious as to the outcome: we have no doubt as to the happy outcome for Mrs Bold, but the interest is in how the denouement is reached. And in seeing how many men can make fools of themselves with the Countess Neroni. This superb novel has a variety of well-drawn supporting characters, and the reader will find himself living their dramas with them. The other author who comes most to mind is Austen, but Trollope has a wider cast of characters. The strong women characters are drawn from Trollope's own family: his mother, Frances, herself a noted novelist, was a strong-willed woman who kept their family together in the face of her husband's impecunious habits. This is rightly regarded as one of Trollope's many masterpieces, and is a firm favourite with Trollopians. After reading it, I can easily see why.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 17 April 2007
By Alia
Format:Paperback
This was the first Trollope's novel that I had ever read and since then or maybe because of it I became a faithful fan of Mr Trollope. I have read all the series of Barset. In my opinion although not so well known as others English writers, Trollope is one of the best of this period. I like him a lot better than Dickens for instance. Like Austen he speaks about people and about the normal everyday things that happens to normal people and like Austen he created real alive characters, not perfect, not absolutely good or bad but human beings, and so much lovable because of it. You learn to love as much the nice people in this novel as the less worthy people because Trollope makes you to know them so well. They become just like your family, you have to love them in spite of their faults or just more because of them.

The bishop for instance ... How can you learn to love so much this weak and rather contemptible character? Well, you do love him because Trollope makes you feel that he is lovable in spite of everything. He makes you feel tenderness about him. Even Mrs Proudie, such absolutely repellent character, she is described with so much humour and so much life that you have to enjoy her and like her. The same you can say of the wonderful Mr Slope so masterful portrayed. I think that I almost like better these characters than the "good" ones. With the exception of course of Mr Harding that is the grand-father anyone would love to have.

Of course we can find that the way Trollope writes is in many ways old fashioned. Now, we are not used to have the writer including his own personal opinion about the characters... but even that, I have learn to love it, just as a characteristic of himself. Just as his characters, not perfect, but because of this even more lovable.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barchester Towers - one of Trollope's best 11 July 2003
By S. Diment VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Barchester Towers is the second book in the Barchester Chronicles series. A new bishop is appointed, Dr Proudie, with a wife who dominates him, and a scheming chaplain (Mr Slope) who rapidly earns the dislike of all of the existing clergy in the town. Mrs Proudie and Mr Slope battle for control of the Bishop's actions, largely over the appointment of the warden for Hiram's Hospital. Mr Harding, the former warden, waits to find out if he will get his old position back. His daughter Eleanor is now a wealthy widow, and her family become convinced that the detestable Mr Slope is courting her and that she is responding to his charms.
Trollope often warns his readers what to expect, so nothing that happens in the novel comes as a great surprise, but somehow, reading it is still a joy. I couldn't put this book down because the characters are so involving, and Trollope's easy to read style and his humourous observations make the book a pleasure to read. If you like a book where the unexpected often happens, this probably isn't for you. If you're a fan of Jane Austen though (another author famous for her subtle observations about her characters), then you will probably find this a worthwhile read.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monstrous villany! 11 Mar 2006
By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
There are three reasons why Barchester Towers stands out as one of the finest of all Victorian novels: Mr Slope, Mrs Proudie and the Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni, fabulous individual characters all! Of course, like all excellently drawn characters, they need a decent stage on which to perform and Trollope's tale of clerical shabby beaviour regarding the appointment of the warden at Hiram's Hospital, and the various plays for the hand of the demurely lovely Eleanor Bold, provide a fabulous backdrop. Mr Slope would walk away with the title of oiliest character in English lterature: he slides furtively beside Eleanor as he attempts to gain her hand in marriage (and her income); he moves with silent greasy ease between the respective cases of Mr Quiverful and Mr Harding as they vie for the position of warden in Hiram's Hospital and he fawns shamelessly upon the bishop and the bishop's wife, Mrs Proudie, playing one off against the other as the situation demands. Everything he does is purely for his own benefit and no sychophantic act is too demeaning or shameful. The character of Mrs Proudie has been well documented, surely one of the most icily fearsome women in literature, a masterful portrayal of sustained closet ferocity. But perhaps the greatest character of the three is the Signora Madeline, a lady who is carried everywhere due to a hip injury and who reclines at parties holding court on a large sofa surrounded by the adoring husbands of other women. Any male who comes with ten yards of her falls head over heels in love and proceeds to make a complete idiot of himself, professing undying devotion regardless of his own marital status or position in life. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 10 days ago by Patrick Madden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great study of the human frailty of people
Great study of the human frailty of people, especially clerical people. Reminds me of both Jane Austen and Dickens. Read more
Published 23 days ago by mandijel
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfy reading
Unique style and beautiful understanding of relationships - EI in action before it became fashionable!
Would recommend this book for a perfect holiday read!
Published 26 days ago by @SparkyN23
5.0 out of 5 stars Barchester Towers are worth a visit
A well written and enjoyable book; I look forward to re-visiting more of Trollope's works
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Ian Oliver
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love it
Published 1 month ago by pma
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful books
Was going thru a bad patch when reading this and boy did it help!! Got immersed in all things Barchester, was wonderful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Gamp
5.0 out of 5 stars one of Trollop's gems.
Every character is presented by a master of his craft. It is difficult to imagine all the actors had not their punter point in real life.
Published 1 month ago by Edis
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book.
Love this book. Have it in book form but find reading it on kindle easier. Good old fashion book, full of intrigue and no bad language.
Published 2 months ago by jackie vaugha n
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine study in human nature
Was given the first of the Barsetshire Chronicles, The Warden, recently and enjoyed so followed up with Barchester Towers, the second in the series, and enjoyed it even more. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bri
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Good shopping experience. Everything was just as I expected. This was a good product. It was also a good delivery.
Published 3 months ago by james watkins
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