On my list there are the works of the Brontë Sisters and Jane Austen of course, but I was also very interested in what I heard about Trollope‘s books. I love social chronicles and satires; and the Barsetshire series, set in the Victorian era, was said to be very well written. The Warden is the first instalment of the series.
Here is the editor’s presentation, my review follows.
The Penguin English Library Edition of The Warden by Anthony Trollope
‘It was so hard that the pleasant waters of his little stream should be disturbed and muddied … that his quiet paths should be made a battlefield: that the unobtrusive corner of the world which been allotted to him … made miserable and unsound’
Trollope’s witty, satirical story of a quiet cathedral town shaken by scandal – as the traditional values of Septimus Harding are attacked by zealous reformers and ruthless newspapers – is a drama of conscience that pits individual integrity against worldly ambition. In The Warden Anthony Trollope brought the fictional county of Barsetshire to life, peopled by a cast of brilliantly realised characters that have made him among the supreme chroniclers of the minutiae of Victorian England.
I feared Victorian English might be difficult to understand for me, but in fact I found the writing very fluid and clear. The character depictions were very carefully laid. I particularly enjoyed the subtle touches of humour and the ironic ton. Trollope is severe with his characters and describes them with a shrewd accuracy, but he is also very compassionate at some times, especially toward the Warden, who struggles with his conscience and finds himself in a lonely place.
The book also contains a harsh critic of the power of the press and how it can shape public opinion. The comparison between its power and the church’s one is particularly striking, each institution being impersonated by colourful characters.
Trollope’s opinion about the revolutionary young man at the source of the warden’s misery is far from being positive, and his views may seem kind of conservative on this issue. However, he was more accurately a “moderate”, paying attention to do as little harm as possible. Anyway you can form your own opinion on the subject by reading this delicious and finely written chronicle!
Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5