Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Orley Farm

Orley Farm. Country residence not far from London. The title site is actually two plots of land: the Old Farm, three hundred acres that have been let to an area farmer, and the eponymous farmhouse itself, with its adjoining two hundred acres. The house is where Sir Joseph Mason lived with his second wife, Lady Mason; the entire property was supposedly bequeathed to his youngest child, Lucius Mason.

At the time of the novel, Orley Farm consists of three buildings, “commodious, irregular, picturesque, and straggling.” This picturesqueness does not imply an unmodified landscape. All the buildings pertaining to farm work, for example, are hidden from view from the house. The immediate surroundings are nonetheless pleasant, including nearby apple trees that produce delicious fruit, even though their size is not up to those produced by modern scientific methods. All in all, the farm seems to be the perfect habitation for one of Trollope’s gentlemen, and thus perhaps worth Lady Mason’s machinations to secure it for her son; however, it is certainly not worth the splenetic greed that Mr. Joseph Mason displays in trying to retrieve it. Trollope gently pokes fun at Lucius Mason’s scientific future plans for farming, including the guano he is at pains to secure for fertilizer. As is the case for many locations in the novel, its features are rarely referred to again after their initial description.

Trollope modeled the farmhouse on Julian Hill, a real farmhouse near Harrow that Trollope’s parents built during his youth.

The Cleeve

The Cleeve. Ancestral home of Sir Peregrine Orme, which is the ideal gentleman’s estate, in Trollope’s estimation. The house...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Adams, Robert Martin. “Orley Farm and Real Fiction.” Nineteenth Century Fiction 8, no. 1 (June, 1953): 27-41. Argues that, in Orley Farm, Trollope strives for the kind of realism expounded by Victorian critic G. H. Lewes.

Booth, Bradford A. “Trollope’s Orley Farm: Artistry Manqué.” In Victorian Literature: Modern Essays in Criticism, edited by Austin Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961. Pages 358-371 discuss Orley Farm in terms of its adherence to literary standards.

King, Margaret F. “Trollope’s Orley Farm: Chivalry Versus Commercialism.” Essays in Literature 3, no. 2 (Fall, 1976): 181-193. Explores the novel’s conflict between characters who act out of a sense of honor and integrity, and those who are motivated by their pocketbooks.

Polhemus, Robert. The Changing World of Anthony Trollope. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968. Examines Trollope’s novels as the author’s expression of the need for reform.

Sadleir, Michael. Trollope: A Commentary. 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961. A helpful biography, focusing on Trollope’s life and commercial and political career as reflected in his novels.