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 into a more confident and optimistic person.
He married Rose Haseltine and at the age of thirty began to write, his first novels being inspired by the ruins of an Irish mansion. His early works were failures, but he persevered under difficult conditions until The Warden found a responsive audience in 1855. This “scene from clerical life,” its setting the Episcopal establishment of Barchester, presents a detailed account of the day-to-day events of provincial life...
(The entire section is 755 words.)