PD James rates Trollope

We are grateful to Celia Sgroi who found this interview for The Paris Review, in which PD James reveals her admiration for Trollope and his ability to portray women.  She says:

“I read Dickens and recognized his genius, but he is not my favorite. I find many of his female characters unsuccessful—wonderful caricatures, wicked, odd, grotesque, evil, but not true. There isn’t the subtlety of characterization you get, say, in Trollope, whose understanding and description of women is astonishing. Jane Austen never described two men talking together if a woman was not present—she would have thought that was outside her experience. In Trollope, by contrast, you get continual conversations between women—for example Alice Vavasor and Lady Glencora Palliser in Can You Forgive Her—without a man there, and he gets it absolutely right. This plain, grumpy looking man had obviously an astonishing knowledge of women’s psychology.”



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