Monthly Archives: June 2014

Trollope and the IFS study on the impact of childhood poverty on future success

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a report on the impact of poverty on the performance of children in education.

The research found that there is a marked trend for those who are identified as academically above average in tests at age 11 to under-perform if they are from socially deprived backgrounds when compared with children of lower academic ability but from more affluent backgrounds.  The measures of success used included subsequent attainment of university places while the measures of social deprivation included the levels of dependency on benefits in the area in which the child is brought up.

I wonder how Trollope might have been recorded had he been included in this survey.  His family was middle-class with aristocratic pretensions and he attended public schools but, as he famously noted in his Autobiography, they were constantly on the brink of financial ruin owing to his father’s incompetence with money and business matters.

Ultimately, of course, Trollope would have been counted as an academic failure according to the measures used in the IFS research, but, crucially, he was the author of his own subsequent good fortune through his literary efforts. He might therefore have been somewhat sceptical about the conclusions drawn by the IFS which implicitly equate academic success with success in life generally.


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Record auction price for Bob Dylan manuscript


Now it is fair to say that Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone is not a short song, clocking in at 5 minutes 59 seconds according to the cover of Highway 61 Revisited on which it appears. Nevertheless, the price achieved at auction by Sotheby’s of the original manuscript copy, scribbled down on hotel paper, is a whopping $2 million. Like the recent sale of a John Lennon poem, also decorated with doodles, it would be enough to make Trollope weep that his own words should have been priced so low, given the volume of his output.


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The Way We Live Now – Anthony Trollope…mostly about Mrs. Hurtle and Paul Montague

Some insightful comments by Christina Wehner on what is possibly my favourite Trollope novel.

Christina Wehner

Anthony Trollope Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope is, I believe, an underappreciated author and I love his books nearly as much as I do Dickens. He was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, very popular in his day, and his style is somewhere in between those two. He has more satire than Dickens and more warmth than Thackeray, though like Thackeray he tends not to deal with the lower classes. The Way We Live Now, serialized between 1875 and 1876, definitely leans more towards Thackeray’s satire; there’s scarcely an estimable person to be found.

When people write or talk about The Way We Live Now, what they usually discuss is Augustus Melmotte and Trollope’s slightly ambivalent attitude towards Jews in his books. Melmotte is larger-than-life, corrupt, ambitious, possibly Jewish and crashes into society through sheer wealth and brazenness and even manages to get himself elected into parliament, only to overreach himself…

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Salman Rushdie wins English Pen Pinter Prize


Salman Rushdie has been announced as the winner of this year’s English Pen Pinter Prize.

The award is for both writing and for campaigning on behalf of writers around the world who may suffer from persecution or imprisonment for their words.

The aims of the English Pen charity include the promotion of values of openness and fairness with which Trollope, an instinctive liberal, would clearly have been in sympathy.

For more information about the work of English Pen you can follow the link below:



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Manchester launch of Australasian Odyssey

The North West Seminar Group of The Trollope Society has an event today at the Portico Library in Manchester to mark the publication of Dr Nigel Starck’s book The First Celebrity: Anthony Trollope’s Australasian Odyssey.

If you are interested in attending, contact the organiser Jean Ammar ( ).

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Australasian Odyssey launch event


The Trollope Society launch event for Dr Nigel Starck’s new book about Trollope’s journeys to Australia and New Zealand took place at Casewick Hall yesterday.

The event was opened by Hugh Trollope, Anthony’s great-great- grandson, who spoke about his family heritage. Dr Starck then gave a presentation about the research for the book and gave some tantalising insights into its contents.

The event was held in the grounds of the old Trollope family seat and the weather was kind in a most un-English Summer way enabling guests to wander round the grounds in the afternoon sunshine.


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An Australasian Odyssey launch


The Trollope Society is holding a garden party at 2:30pm on Sunday 22 June at Casewick Hall, hosted by Hugh Trollope, Anthony’s great-great-grandson, to mark the publication of The First Celebrity: Anthony Trollope’s Australasian Odyssey by Nigel Starck. The book provides further insight into the epic journey undertaken by Trollope and his wife Rose to visit their son Fred who had emigrated to Australia.

Trollope chronicled the journey himself in Australia and New Zealand and earned the disapprobation of Australians by remarking on their boastful nature. Perhaps he was subject to a certain amount of “sledging” from locals on his travels.  Maybe Nigel Starck’s book will shed further light on this?

For further information about the garden party contact Susan Cooper ( ).

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