Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Modern ideas in historical context, 29 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Warden (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Though written in the mid-nineteenth century, The Warden by Anthony Trollope addresses themes that are highly relevant to contemporary issues. Prime amongst them is a consideration of the freedom and integrity of the press. In the novel, the eponymous warden, one Mr Harding, finds himself subjected to something of a public witch-hunt over payments of money that apparently cannot be justified.

Mr Harding is paid by the church, the Anglican Church, of course. At least that's how things seem on the surface. He is the warden of a sheltered house that is home for a handful of aged and infirm workers, whose welfare is provided for by a long-standing trust fund. The legacy also provides for the allowance paid to their warden. The allowance is, shall we say, generous, especially compared to the funds that contribute directly to the inmates' welfare.

Mr Harding has a daughter of marriageable age. She is courted by a Mr Bold whose character demands that he is duty bound to seek out justice where other may prefer continued indifference or ignorance. Mr Bold begins to take an interest in Mr Harding and the legacy. Stories - accusatory stories - begin to appear in the press. The newspaper, one in particular, is just not going to let the story rest. The unsuspecting Mr Harding is embarrassed in the extreme.

What the contemporary reader will find difficult in this scenario is appreciating the role and status of the church in the story. Mr Harding is employed by the Anglican Church. He is answerable to a Bishop, who lives in something known as a palace. A century and a half ago, the church was the very epitome of the establishment and respectability, whilst its employees and associates were professionalism and integrity personified. To some extent, they were above criticism and, crucially, they themselves believed this. And when the eight hundred pounds a year income that Mr Harding currently receives turns out to be misappropriated from funds that the bequest intended for the home's inmates, all hell breaks loose.

The press continues its campaign. Both sides employ expensive, posing lawyers and both sides visit potentially influential friends in high places. And, in the midst of it all, we have Miss Harding on the opposite side of the argument from Mr Bold, her sweetheart.

But it is the involvement of the press that captures contemporary interest. Scandalised by the alleged mis-appropriation of charitable monies, stinking rich newspaper proprietors beat drums on behalf of the poor to make a hollow, if penetrating sound. The pursuit of celebrity, the nose for scandal, the propensity to claim a status above everyone else's morals, all of these aspects of public posturing by the press remain familiar today. Apparently it was always in the public interest to sell as many copies as possible and by whatever means. And it always was the case that a public scandal over hundreds of pounds produced profits for the press barons measured in thousands.

The issues are all resolved, but not in a way that might have been predicted at the outset. A modern reader may well find the detail of the ending unlikely, but also it might be refreshingly unlikely. But it all goes to prove that in the last one hundred and fifty years some things have actually changed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: La Nucia, Spain

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,030