An Autobiography (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
An Autobiography, by Anthony Trollope, is at once egotistical and amusing. One of the most prolific novelists of the nineteenth century, Trollope tells how he rose from obscurity to become second only to Dickens and Thackeray in popularity, and he shares as interesting sidelights his opinions of his contemporaries and of the art of creative writing, opinions that are calculated to shock anyone who believes in “inspiration.” Trollope was a boisterous, outspoken man through whose eyes we can see a side of Victorianism that is often neglected—the rich humor of the satirist.
Trollope looked back on his childhood as a time of misery; his father was poor, and he was unable to defend himself in fist fights with the local boys. Also, his family was divided. His mother went to America, and he found himself pretty much on his own, with the responsibility of having to pay the bills of his father. From this miserable origin exaggerated in order to make An Autobiography more dramatic Trollope could move in only one way. He managed to obtain a job in the General Post Office in London, a civil service position that he always looked to with pride.
Never very studious, Trollope was the type of young man who worked so that he might play. He wanted to be a gentleman because gentlemen had more pleasures than other people enjoyed. Thus, his earliest days in the General Post Office were turbulent; he...
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
The father of Anthony Trollope (TRAHL-uhp), Thomas Anthony Trollope, was an eccentric barrister who lost his wealth in wild speculations; his mother, Frances Trollope, kept the family together by fleeing to Belgium to escape creditors and by writing a total of 114 volumes, mostly novels. Her best-known work today is Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832), a caustic and grossly exaggerated account of the United States she observed on a trip to Cincinnati in 1823 in an unsuccessful attempt to set up a great bazaar. As his older brother, Thomas Adolphus, was also a writer, Anthony was following a well-established family tradition.
According to his posthumous Autobiography, Trollope was born in London on April 24, 1815; he grew into an ungainly, oafish, and unpopular boy who spent miserable and friendless years at Harrow and Winchester, where he learned nothing. When he was nineteen, he sought work in London, first as a clerk and then as a civil servant with the post office. He hated his work and his lonely life in the city, and seven years later he accepted with relief an appointment as traveling postal inspector in Ireland (1841-1859). Later his duties carried him on brief trips to all the continents of the world. In Ireland Trollope’s pleasant experiences with genial country people and an exhilarating landscape helped him develop...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Anthony Trollope, born on April 24, 1815, in London, seems to have owed his boisterous energy, booming voice, quarrelsome touchiness, and reticent sensitivity to a childhood of offhanded upbringing. C. P. Snow refers to him as “weighed down by 20 years of neglect and humiliation.” His father was a tactless and impractical barrister who had pretensions about being a landowner in Harrow. There, he established his family in an elegant though quickly declining farm, Julians, later the model for the experimental Orley Farm in the novel of that name. Trollope’s mother, Frances, was the driving force of the family; she was closer to Trollope’s oldest brother, Tom, than to Anthony: Anthony received neither much encouragement nor much regular affection from her. After starting his education at Sunbury School, with a brief stint at Harrow, Anthony was sent to Winchester, his father’s old school, for three years. In 1827, the family was forced to move into a smaller house in Harrow for financial reasons.
Meanwhile, his mother made the acquaintance of a zealous utopian reformer, Fanny Wright, and went with her and three of her children—Henry, Cecilia, and Emily—to the United States. Their experiences there border on black comedy. Among other misfortunes, Frances, without past experience or common sense, started a fancy emporium or bazaar in Cincinnati; the building evolved into a grand structure modeled on an Egyptian temple. The enterprise only...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Anthony Trollope (TRAHL-uhp) was born in London, England, on April 24, 1815. His father, Thomas Trollope, was a well-educated barrister, but he had a difficult disposition and gradually failed in that occupation. Throughout the first twenty years of Trollope’s life, his father tried many and various ways of making money, all ill-planned and mismanaged. His mother, Frances, eventually became the one who held the family together financially.
Trollope began school at Harrow at the age of seven. In his Autobiography (1883), one of the most widely read of English autobiographies, he writes of his schooldays as being so horrible as to be indescribable. At twelve, he was moved to his father’s former school, Winchester. There, the other boys knew of the unpaid bills due the school for his education and teased and tormented him about his poverty. Trollope was sent back to Harrow as a day boy. At this time, his mother was in America to follow up on one of his father’s unsuccessful money-making schemes, and he lived with his unkempt and uncouth father in a decrepit farmhouse, from which he tramped each day to sit among his smartly dressed, well-do-do classmates.
When Trollope’s father went bankrupt in 1834, the family moved to Belgium, where his father died. Frances Trollope had already begun to support her family as an author. She...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Anthony Trollope attributed his success to his imagination, from which he developed an intimate knowledge of his lifelike characters. One of the most prolific of the Victorian writers and one of the most popular, he was in his own day admired as a realist; modern readers, however, tend to view his works in a more comic light, with his characters under the firm control of the writer’s irony rather than simply people leading their daily lives. Regardless of how Trollope’s works are viewed, they endure as classics of Victorian literature.
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