Trollope in 2014

It is customary to look backward on the year just gone at this time before looking forward tomorrow to the year to come. In the case of Trollope there is so much to look forward to next year in his Bicentenary Year that there is a risk that 2014 will be overlooked as a mere prelude to the Big Thing. But that would be to overlook what a great year 2014 has been for Trollopians.

There has been the publication of Dr Nigel Starck’s superbly researched book,The First Celebrity: Anthony Trollope’s Australasian Odyssey, describing Trollope’s visit to Australia which revealed living descendants of his wife’s maid who remained and married in Down Under.

We have also seen the publication of a new novel, continuing the (mis-)adventures of Phineas Finn, Trollope’s Irish-born politician who featured as a central character in Trollope’s political novels. The novel, Phineas at Bay, by John Wirenius, takes up the eponymous hero’s story some years after the events described by Trollope in Phineas Finn and Phineus Redux and features the next generation heavily. Not a new Trollope, but perhaps the next best thing.

We have also had tantalising glimpses of another book which will actually make its appearance next year. The Trollope Society’s annual lecture was presented by Professor Steven Armanick who described the decade of work that he has conducted to painstakingly reconstruct the full length version of Trollope’s The Duke’s Children as it would have been prior to the cuts demanded by his publisher to conform to the length expectations of readers and libraries of the time. This restored approximately 65,000 words that had been excised.The full length version issued by the Folio Society will be one of the publishing highlights of the Trollope Bicentenary next year.

The Society’s London group also had privileged early sight of a excerpts from a graphic novel, Dispossession, by Simon Grennan that is based on the Trollope novel John Caldigate. This too will be published in 2015 and offers the possibility of reaching a new audience that has hitherto not had access to Trollope.

Another continuing series that has been bringing Trollope to new audiences is the radio adaptation of Trollope’s Barchester novels for radio broadcast on BBC Radio 4. As I write, I am listening on the BBC iPlayer to the second instalment of The Small House at Allington, which is being broadcast in three episodes over the Christmas/New Year holiday period. The final part is to be broadcast on Sunday 4th January at 3pm. During the year we have heard the first five books starting with The Warden back in January. The prospect of The Last Chronicle of Barset concluding the series in 2015 promises to be a radio drama highlight of the year.

So, as the old year closes, we at the Jupiter, wish everyone a very Happy New Year and look forward to 2015 and the prospect of many events to celebrate Trollope’s 200th birthday.

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