Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cousin Henry by Anthony Trollope

Cousin Henry by Anthony Trollope ( 1879, 280 pages)

When the Classics Circuit announced their next event was to be on Anthony Trollope I had just completed Ford Madox Ford's magisterial work, The March of Literature.     Ford is very exuberant in his praise of Trollope.  Trollope's Framley Parsonage is mentioned numerous times as a perfect novel.    I wanted to read that work for the Classics Circuit but sadly none of the stores here in Manila seem to have it in stock.   By happy coincidence there was a sale at one of the book stores I frequent that included a number of Oxford Classics for 85 percent off the cover price.    I do not know exactly how it works but books that do not sell in the USA or Australia often end up for sale here.   The edge of the book is normally marked with a black marker.    They had  three Trollope's for sale.    Two were very long books in the middle of a series and one was Cousin Henry.

Anthony Trollope ( 1815 to 1882-England) was an incredibly prolific novelists with over 40 works to his credit. (There is  lot of very good background information in the other posts in the circuit so far.)    This was my first Trollope.   I think I may not have yet read one of his works because of my love of Dickens.    As I began to read Cousin Henry I was at first very struck with how the style of the work was somehow so relaxing.    Cousin Henry centers on a small family.    Cousin Henry knows that his elderly affluent ill uncle has recently disinherited him in favor of his cousin Isabel.   Isabel has lived with her uncle since her mother died some years ago.     For a while she stayed with her father but he remarried and his new wife did not want Isabel in her house.    The uncle knows that Isabel is much more sincere in her affection for him and will be a better manager for his tenants than Henry but he is also very old school in his belief that the oldest male relative should inherit his entire estate.     I will leave out anymore of the plot as it is fun to see it unravel though maybe there are no huge surprises.

Trollope is a master of subtle character development.    I really liked how the characters of the people in the story developed and were revealed slowly just as we might get to know a person in real life.   Somehow Trollope also shows us why people are as they are also.    I also   liked the fact that nothing terrible happened to anyone in the story that did not get set right in time.  Even the undeserving seem to be taken care off in the long run.     One cannot help but really like the lead character Isabel and even the villain of the novel, Cousin Henry is more weak than evil and half way tries to do the right thing.  

Fleur Fisher also read Cousin Henry for the circuit.  

I will for sure be reading more Trollope in the future.      

I thank the mangers of The Classics Circuit for all their hard work.

Mel u


Bethany said...

I've never thought of reading any Trollope before but it sounds like it could be interesting. Thanks for the review!

LVTfan said...

My Georgist grandparents had some of Trollope's books in their collection. I'd vaguely wondered whether there was any connection! Now I know there is at least some; googling doesn't get me any further information.

ds said...

Yes, you make me sad that I've not read any Trollope. Will have to fix that at some point. Thanks for the review, and the reminder!

Fred said...

Mel u,

A book group that I belong to has read all six of the Palliser novels by Trollope. We have now finished the third novel, _Doctor Thorne_, in Trollope's Barsetshire series. I've also read a number of his other works and I've enjoyed all of them except for one which I just couldn't finish.

I've also read many of his short stories. I'm now looking forward to reading _Cousin Henry_, thanks to your review.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I gave up on Cousin Henry, but your reaction tells me that I should try again one day.

I generally love subtle Victorian writing but this wasn't the right time for it for me.

Hannah said...

Is Cousin Henry part of one of the series? It sounds like a lovely read. I'm enjoying so much learning about Trollope through all the Circuit posts.

Fred said...


I'm aware of only two series in Trollope's works: the Palliser and the Barsetshire series.

_Cousin Henry_ is not part of either of these series.

Rebecca Reid said...

Yes! I love his masterful characterization. Aren't these people REAL?