As the thoughts of many turn back to D-Day, which was 70 years ago today, I wondered what were Trollope’s views about war. Although he was born in the year that Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo, he lived through a period of largely peaceful international relations.
The great exception to this was the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856, which has horrible modern parallels.
This war, between Britain, France and Turkey on the one (EU) side and Russia on the other, coincided with the start of Trollope’s literary success with the early Barchester Chronicles. Of course these were set at a slightly earlier period in the Victorian era rather than being contemporary novels of the time. Nevertheless, there is no reference significant reference to this conflict in Trollope’s writings in spite of it being a national concern at a time of increasing literacy when more people were reading newspapers and magazines which talked of it.
I cannot believe that Trollope held no views on such an important matter and therefore conclude that he decided deliberately, as an author of fiction, not to address it. He clearly did not shy away from controversial topics – for example, the Irish question that vexed political life in Victorian times, to which he returned several times in has career (from The MacDermotts of Ballycloran all the way through to The Landleaguers).
Perhaps he felt that his type of fiction, essentially small scale and domestic, was not suited to addressing such a topic?