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Wit and Wisdom of Anthony Trollope
Selected and Edited by Bob Blaisdell
Pickering: Blackthorn Press, 2003.
£6.99/$10, iv + 114 pages, 13 ill., ISBN .
Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne
After an extremely short preface (two paragraphs), the book edited
by Bob Blaisdell offers a selection of Anthony Trollope’s
(supposedly) wittiest sayings, distributed within thirteen chapters
Sorrow and Death
Virtues and Vices
Work and Money
The sources of these 534 quotations are remarkably varied, since
they not only include Trollope’s forty-seven novels, but also
his less famous short stories, and his still less well-known articles,
published in St-Paul’s Magazine or The Fortnightly
out of their context, some of these excerpts seem unsufferably trite,
e.g. “How seldom is it that theories stand the wear and tear
of practice!” (from Trollope’s biography of Thackeray,
book was probably compiled to satisfy the general reader to whom
the Barchester Novels offer an escapist form of entertainement.
In fact, the only chapters which might attract the academic reader’s
attention are precisely those about Reading and Writing, because
they summarize the novelist’s “poetic art” in
the space of a few pages.
writers has not to acknowledge that he is often unable to tell
all that he has to tell? Words refuse to do it for him. He struggles
and stumbles and alters and adds, but finds at last that he has
gone either too far or not quite far enough. Then there comes
upon him the necessity of choosing between two evils. He must
either give up the fullness of the thought, and content himself
with presenting some fragment of it in that lucid arrangement
of words which he affects; or he must bring out his thought with
ambages; he must mass his sentences inconsequentially; he must
struggle up hill almost hopelessly with his phrases,—so
that at the end the reader will have to labour as he himself has
laboured, or else to leave behind much of the fruit which it has
been intended that he should garner.
it may not appear very helpful to know that this or that quotation
comes from a thousand-page-long novel like The Way We Live Now,
without any indication of volume, chapter or page…
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