Monthly Archives: January 2015

Reading Group in Cambridge

The Cambridge Group of the Trollope Society is reading Nina Balatka. They are meeting on Sunday, 1st February to discuss the book. For information contact: Michael Williamson (email: ).


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10 words coined by PG Wodehouse

I came across an article by Oliver Tearle which pointed out that P G Wodehouse is one the English language’s greatest wordsmiths.  He apparently uses a huge vocabulary (like Shakespeare) and where the existing vocabulary is inadequate to express the precise meaning he wished to convey, he invented new words to suit his purpose.

To read more about the origins of gruntled, plonk and snooter, go to the Interesting Literature site:

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Barsetshire Placenames

I am grateful to Glenn Shipway who discovered an article by Bill Overton on Names and Places in Barsetshire written in 1981.

You can access the article online at:


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Trollope gets a mention in Man Booker Prize Winning Novel

I am grateful to Scott Avery who spotted the following mention of Trollope in Man Booker Prize winning novel Narrow Road to the Deep North by  Richard Flanagan.

“Only as an old man did he come to realise much of it was a fiction greater than anything Trollope ever attempted”.

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Churchill speeches

As reported previously in the Jupiter, experts have determined the greatest speeches made in the Houses of Parliament and we were struck by the omission of Churchill from the list.

I am reasonably confident that the average person if asked to quote a famous speech made in Parliament would come up with either:

“We will fight them on the beaches…”  or

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few…”

Even allowing for the fact that the first of these is actually a misquote – the “them” is erroneously inserted, I can’t help but think that on this 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death it should be said that the experts got it wrong…again…

For more on this go to:


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Trollope Collars Postboy

I am grateful to Douglas Gerlach and Suzanne Osburn who both spotted the following mention of Trollope in an article by Eddie McIlwaine in the Belfast Telegraph of 20th January:

On this particular summer’s day, Trollope was passing by Ballycarry on Post Office business when he spotted a boy aged about 14 carrying a mailbag. As his carriage drew alongside, he looked down and demanded to know what was in the mailbag.

“But the boy refused to answer and took to his heels and fled,” said [Cecil] McFarland, who has researched the episode, “with Trollope in hot pursuit and eventually collaring the runaway”. The boy turned out to be Robert, the son of Ballycarry postmistress Eliza McFerran, who had been collecting letters from a pillar box and bringing them to his mum for sorting. “I ran away because I didn’t know who you were,” Robert explained to Trollope.

“I thought you were going to steal the mail.”

Trollope was deeply impressed and later invested Robert with a special award for his devotion to protecting the mail.”

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How many Trollope’s can you read in 24 hours?

In an innovative piece of marketing, author James Patterson’s latest novel Private Vegas will be available to readers online for just 24 hours. It then self-destructs. No ifs, no buts. Gone. (Not sure if you can then buy it a second time to read on…one way of boosting sales.)

One fan, for a price, gets to enact the whole thing with a “real” book, which is apparently primed to explode when the timer counts down to zero. It’s not clear if a bomb shelter is included in the prize.

Patterson has written over 100 novels – yes, more than twice Trollope’s total, though he does benefit from the assistance of co-authors. I’m not sure precisely how that works.  Does Patterson come up with the novel outline and characters then the co-auther gets to fill in the gaps with the requisite number of words? Whatever it is, it works with over 275 million books sold world-wide.

He is also a generous supporter of independent bookshops and increasing literacy so he gets our vote of support at the Jupiter.

The idea did however provoke some concerns about how Trollope might have fared with this approach. The WardenNina BalatkaLinda Tressel all spring to mind as short books that I could read in a day. But I don’t think I could make much headway into The Last Chronicle of Barset in 24 hours.  Let alone the new extended full edition of The Duke’s Children.

And who wants to charge through a Trollope? I can see this idea working for Patterson’s thrillers but I prefer to savour my Trollope’s at a gentler pace and really  immerse myself in his fictional world.

Read more about the Patterson approach at the link below:

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