Critical Context

William Trevor is an Anglo-Irish writer and must be seen in the context of two cultures, one Catholic and traditional and the other Protestant and modern. Although The Boarding-House does not foreground these tensions, the Irish Studdy and the English Major Eele suggest the later direction of his fiction. Although well received, Trevor’s fiction has not garnered the sort of widespread acclaim which would make him widely recognized, especially in the United States (although the publication of his collected stories in that country has given him increased importance and has assured that his later fiction will enjoy increased visibility).

In like manner, The Boarding-House received good reviews in the British press but did not receive much notice abroad. This results partly from Trevor’s particularly English brand of humor, a style made current in the United States later by such English groups as Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Beyond the Fringe. Since then, Trevor’s stories have appeared regularly in such publications as The New Yorker and have gained wider critical as well as popular acceptance.