Trollope is better than Dickens


I am grateful to Jim Fretz who found this article by Elizabeth Mitchell on the website. She argues a line with which, I am sure, many Trollopians would agree.  She suggests that it may be attributed to Trollope’s sympathetic treatment of the Irish question that was potentially unpalatable to a Victorian audience which might find it uncomfortably close to a truth they would prefer to ignore.

There is, I feel, a sense of injustice among Trollope fans that he should be perpetually compared unfavourably with Dickens.

Personally, I love both writers but for different things. Dickens is polemical.  He strikes out with conscious effort against wrongs he perceives.  In doing so, his style sometimes shouts. He charicatures. Trollope is more subtle. He persuades with gentler nudges.  But is nontheless, to my mind, equally powerful for all that. His targets are sometimes less obvious, but he invariably finds his mark, whether that be the Irish issues in The MacDermots of Ballycloran, as Mitchell contends, or political shenanigans in the later books of the Palliser series.



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