The basics: I'll let Modern Library treat you to a synopsis: "The first of Trollope's popular Barsetshire novels, set in the fictional cathedral town of Barchester, The Warden centers on the honorably cleric Septimus Harding, one of Trollope's most memorable characters. When Harding is accused of mismanaging church funds, his predicament lays bare the complexities of the Victorian world and of nineteenth-century provincial life."
My thoughts: For a book with only 209 pages, the reading experience was quite varied for me. There were times I adored Trollope's language:
Mr. Harding had fully made up his mind to tel the bishop everything; to speak of his daughter's love, as well as his own troubles; to talk of John Bold in his double capacity of future son-in-law and present enemy; and though he felt it to be sufficiently disagreeable, now was his time to do it.I was surprised that I laughed out loud from time to time. Although I wouldn't call it a comedy, there certainly were comedic elements, particularly when taken in context:
"One evening call," said he, "is worth ten in the morning. It's all formality in the morning; real social talk never begins till after dinner. That's why I dine so early, so as to get as much as I can out of it."Most of the novel was quite engaging, but it also dragged at times. I imagine there cultural clues I missed, even with the fantastic introduction and notes provided in the Modern Library edition.
The verdict: I found myself filled with pride more than enjoyment at the novel's conclusion. Fans of Victorian literature will likely enjoy it and others will not. I fall somewhere in between, and while I loved some parts more than other, I'm certainly happy to have experienced Trollope and his writing.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Length: 209 pages
Publication date: originally published in 1855
Source: my local public library
To read more reviews of The Warden:
Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
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