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The Warden (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 1 Jan 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140432140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140432145
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Warden


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Warden follows the story of Mr Harding, a cleric who is warden of Hiram's Hospital, a charitable home for twelve men who are no longer able to work. A local man, John Bold, is campaigning against corruption in the Church of England. He challenges the high income that the warden receives from the hospital (as a result of increased profits over the years from the estate which supports it, the hospital has more income than the gentleman who set up the charity ever envisaged). He feels more of the money should go to the twelve men themselves. Mr Harding is a good man caught up in a scandal not of his own making, and wrestles with his conscience, his loyalty to the church, and the defensive stance taken by the Archdeacon, his son-in-law.
The Warden is the first, and certainly not the best book in the Barchester Chronicles series, but it does display Trollope's easy to read style of narration, and the subtle humour that underlies it. The storyline is perhaps a bit slower than in the later books, and some of the interesting characters have yet to appear. The series is written in such a way that you could probably pick up any of the books and enjoy them as a single novel. Having said that, I think you would miss something special if you don't read the whole series. It is the characters that he creates in their own unique setting that makes Trollope's work worth reading, and to follow their development through each book makes the whole series far more satisfying than just one book.
The other books in the series are Barchester Towers, Dr Thorne, Framley Parsonage, The Small House at Allington and the Last Chronicle of Barset.
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Format: Audio CD
Although its principal character, Mr Harding, the Warden of Barchester, suffers abject misery and extreme anxiety during most of this novel, the reader of "The Warden" will enjoy one of the happiest, richest and warmest experiences to be gained from the whole of English Literature.
Untypically short, yet three years in the making, "The Warden" has a simple structure that Trollope utlized again and again. Take a moral dilemma of some sort, one that provides endless pros and cons to be argued, one that possibly takes many hundreds of pages to resolve, explore is social, political and financial implications, and show how it touches the lives of characters not too unlike ourselves.
The dilemma here concerns the income of Septimus Harding, the Warden of Barchester. Under the terms of a will, dated 1434, twelve superannuated woolcarders were to be accommodated in an almshouse, receiving one shilling and fourpence per day. A residence was to be provided for a warden who was to receive the income from the remainder of the testator's property. Now, more than 400 years later, there seems to be an imbalance in these depositions. The almshouse inmates continue to receive only one shilling and fourpence, while the warden, living on the proceeds of some valuable properties, receives eight hundred pounds annually and the use of the warden's house.
The dilemma faces a young Barchester surgeon, John Bold. If he allows the imbalance to continue, the wishes of the original benefactor, he believes, are being nullified. If he succeeds in having the warden's comfortable living discontinued, he will lose forever the possibility of making the warden's daughter his wife. And so the issue is taken up, argued and publicized.
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Format: Paperback
The Warden is the first of Trollope's acclaimed Barchester novels which focus on the people and happenings of a mid-nineteenth century English country town. In contrast to his contemporary Dickens, whose canvas often included a very broad sweep of society, Trollope usually opted for a much smaller portrait revealing specific details of a select group and that is certainly the case here. The eponymous warden, Mr Harding, is a member of the clergy, a popular subject matter for Trollope, as are two of the other principals of this fine novel. The opening chapters find Harding living contentedly in his small but comfortable home acting as both Precentor of the cathedral and warden of a small group of almshouses. He has tremendous fondness for his younger daughter and a passion for church music and that is more or less it. His life is uncluttered and uncomplicated. Then, quite suddenly a local Doctor, who is by no means an enemy turns his life irrevocably upside down. His claim to the living of the almshouses is called into doubt and sparks a chain of events which cause the Warden tremendous turmoil and great sadness.

That such an ostensibly simple tale was and continues to be, so universally well received is tribute to Trollope's ability to present the circumstances of his story in a rational and even-handed manner, gently exploring the situation from a range of social, moral and political perspectives. Unlike in Dickens, there are no grotesque `baddies' here, just individuals with differing attitudes and motives who, at different times make good and bad decisions. Even the Archdeacon, the closest we come to a bona fide villain is carefully shown to have little real malice, just a lot of determination and a little misguided pomposity.
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