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Dr Wortle's School (Chronicles of Barsetshire) by [Trollope, Anthony]
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Dr Wortle's School (Chronicles of Barsetshire) New Ed , Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Synopsis

This story, set in against one of Trollope's favourite backgrounds - parochial and diocesan life - explores the themes of loyalty, bigamy and legitimacy in foreign parts. As with all of Trollope's novels, he focuses on reflecting the human character and in recording Victorian England.

Synopsis

Scandal shakes Dr. Wortle's private school when irregularities concerning the marriage of a couple he hired as assistant master and matron become public.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 878 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (29 April 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9B0I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #469,142 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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This is NOT a Chronicle of Barsetshire, and to have it identified as such at the top of every page (at least on an iPad) is irritating.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
I have read nearly all of Anthony Trollope’s books over the years, many of them multiple times. I find myself drawn back to them often by their wonderful stories, and by the economical yet telling prose of Trollope. Anthony Trollope lived from 1815 to 1882, and this book, first published in 1881 represents one of his later works. It is not a long book by his standards, at less than 300 pages, but every word is superbly chosen, no word or part of the narrative wasted.

Like many of Trollope’s books, the story revolves around the struggle between an individual and Society about morals or conventions that are acceptable. It offers a strong viewpoint on what one man, Dr. Wortle, believes is the right attitude to take towards a colleague whose marriage is shown to be invalid (this is not a spoiler, as it is made very clear right at the start of the book that Mr Peacocke’s marriage was made under strange circumstances). While Society takes its own view on Mr Peacocke and his ‘wife’, and Dr. Wortle’s subsequent actions, Dr. Wortle himself is equally strongly determined in his attitude towards all parties concerned. The thread of the narrative does force the reader to question their own attitudes (even if our current societal view is somewhat different towards Christian marriage than that of the late nineteenth century), and is sufficiently complex to engross the reader in a thrilling story of right, wrong and ultimate consequences.

As always, this is a wonderful novel by Trollope, and I recommend it highly.
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
I have read nearly all of Anthony Trollope’s books over the years, many of them multiple times. I find myself drawn back to them often by their wonderful stories, and by the economical yet telling prose of Trollope. Anthony Trollope lived from 1815 to 1882, and this book, first published in 1881 represents one of his later works. It is not a long book by his standards, at less than 300 pages, but every word is superbly chosen, no word or part of the narrative wasted.

Like many of Trollope’s books, the story revolves around the struggle between an individual and Society about morals or conventions that are acceptable. It offers a strong viewpoint on what one man, Dr. Wortle, believes is the right attitude to take towards a colleague whose marriage is shown to be invalid (this is not a spoiler, as it is made very clear right at the start of the book that Mr Peacocke’s marriage was made under strange circumstances). While Society takes its own view on Mr Peacocke and his ‘wife’, and Dr. Wortle’s subsequent actions, Dr. Wortle himself is equally strongly determined in his attitude towards all parties concerned. The thread of the narrative does force the reader to question their own attitudes (even if our current societal view is somewhat different towards Christian marriage than that of the late nineteenth century), and is sufficiently complex to engross the reader in a thrilling story of right, wrong and ultimate consequences.

As always, this is a wonderful novel by Trollope, and I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
Partial spoiler follows:
This is a late Trollope, and by this stage in his writing career he had got it down to a fine art. Many Victorian novels hinge around the validity or otherwise of a marriage (nor is this the only Trollope to do so), and this is one of the better ones. It concerns Mr Peacocke, teacher and clergyman, his American wife and their marriage. Dr Wortle employs Mr Peacocke as his assistant in a preparatory school, and Mrs Peacocke as a matron. Is society correct to censure them for continuing to live together as husband and wife once they become aware that her first husband has not died after all? Or is Dr Wortle correct in admiring them for their fidelity to one another? Are the parents correct to feel the couple are an evil influence on their boys? And what should everyone do about it? A dilemma that the modern world will not comprehend, although the modern reader may recognise and sympathise with the fact that it is the woman who has to bear almost the whole of the opprobrium which is heaped on them when the story comes out as a result of Mr Peacocke's virtuous resistance of a blackmail attempt. Trollope had travelled extensively in the USA, and he makes use of his knowledge in this book, which gives it an unusual edge.
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Format: Paperback
I must confess that I am a great Trollope-lover, having read everything by him that I could get my hands on, and though I liked some better than others there is not a single novel by him that I would not gladly re-read given the time (but there's the rub of course). So obviously, this will not be, not even remotely, an objective review, but having said that: is any review, when it comes to fiction?

'Dr. Wortle's School' is perhaps the shortest Trollope-novel (a mere 270 pages), and the story's easily summarized: Dr. Wortle is not only a curate but also runs a private boarding school for young boys, and when he engages Dr. Peacocke as a headmaster and his American wife as a caretaker he is soon eminently pleased with them. However, the Peacockes socially do not mix with other people, and before long it appears there is a dreadful secret in their past: they were married believing Mrs. Peacocke's first husband dead when afterwards, it turned out he was anything but... The neighbourhood, Dr. Wortle's bishop, and several of the boys' parents are scandalized but Dr. Wortle himself, having learned the details of Mr. Peacocke himself, comes to his defense. And as the bishop has learned on previous occasions, once Dr. Wortle has made up his mind there is nothing that will sway him: 'What he did I would have done, and I'll stick to him through it all in spite of the Bishop, in spite of the newspapers, and in spite of all the rancour of my enemies.'

One the one hand, this is a typical Trollope-novel, with memorable characters finely drawn and entirely credible, fine dialogues, and that unique, subtle mix of serious topics and mild irony. But on the other hand, it's unlike any other Trollope-novel!
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