Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Greshamsbury Court

Greshamsbury Court. Ancient ancestral home of the Gresham family in Anthony Trollope’s fictional Barsetshire. Despite extreme economic hardship, the home represents Barsetshire’s wealthy landowners. To pay his debts, Squire Gresham sells one-third of his estate to Roger Scatcherd. Gresham welcomes nonaristocrats to Greshamsbury, in which the penniless orphan Mary Thorne is long treated almost as one of the Gresham children. Even Scatcherd, the wealthy but alcoholic stonemason, is not shunned by the squire.

The squire’s son, Frank, is heir to the Gresham title and estate, but he comes to hate Greshamsbury and his obligation to marry money to avoid financial ruin. If inheriting the family means losing Mary’s love, he prefers to reject it and instead become a lawyer, doctor, or farmer. Frank sees Greshamsbury as a burden; Mary sees it as a home no longer welcoming to her. To the squire, the estate symbolizes his failure to protect Frank’s inheritance.

Greshamsbury stands as a barometer of the characters’ attitudes. Like De Courcy Castle, Greshamsbury falters and nearly crumbles while its finances and pedigree are controlled by Squire and Lady Gresham. Unlike De Courcy Castle’s undiluted aristocracy, however, Greshamsbury is revived by a healthy mix of people with and without social pedigrees, old wealth, or newly inherited wealth. The involvement of Mary, Dr. Thorne, and Roger Scatcherd rescues Greshamsbury from ruin. As Greshamsbury’s newest owner, Mary returns it to the Gresham family instead of using it for revenge.

De Courcy Castle

De Courcy Castle. Ancestral Barsetshire home of the noble, wealthy, and highly pedigreed De Courcy family. The estate symbolizes one extreme of social attitude—nobility and superiority over others, an unyielding adherence to rigid standards of...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Booth, Bradford. Anthony Trollope: Aspects of His Life and Art. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1958. Considers the novel inferior to the two earlier Barsetshire novels because of Trollope’s reliance on melodrama, which detracts from the novel’s realism, but concedes the enormous appeal of Trollope’s storytelling. Also analyzes what he calls Trollope’s conservative-liberalism.

Hall, N. John. Trollope: A Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1991. Comments on the origins of the novel’s plot, its popularity in spite of the critics’ reservations, the engaging narrative mode, and Doctor Thorne as a typical Trollope hero.

MacDonald, Susan Peck. Anthony Trollope. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Concise discussion of the narrator, showing how his interventions intensify the story’s thematic and ethical complexity and enhance the novel’s realism.

Overton, Bill. The Unofficial Trollope. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes & Noble, 1982. Extensive analysis of the novel, emphasizing Trollope’s vision of contemporary history and his handling of the complex plot.

Super, R. H. The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988. Explains the biographical origins of the novel, its relationship with the Barsetshire series, and its critical reception. Also discusses the way in which Trollope handles the theme of marriage in this novel and others.