The Warden (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully crafted comical novel featuring wonderful characters.Published 1 day ago by Ollie Otter
Others have commented on the warmth, humour and humanity of Trollope's story and the way he portrays entertainingly and realistically the main characte's dilemma. Read morePublished 3 months ago by DL Evans
Turned up when they were meant to, good value for money and top servicePublished 7 months ago by Fi
I was a little sceptical of reading Trollope but was pleasantly surprised as it was so well written, I am now reading the fourth book in this seriesPublished 9 months ago by Jacqueline