Trollope in Hawaii

I am very grateful to Rebecca Woodward who found this Trollope sighting in the non-fiction book Captive Paradise A History of Hawaii by James L. Haley.

“On September 17, 1875, a distinguished visitor disembarked from the steamer City of Melbourne, two weeks out of Auckland, New Zealand. Anthony Trollope was sixty, and had assumed the mantle of the late Charles Dickens as England’s most famous novelist. He spent less than two days in Honolulu before continuing his voyage, and was gone by the time the newspapers published his presence, but the brevity of his acquaintance did not prevent him from writing his impressions for the Daily and Weekly Mercury of Liverpool. Amenities at the Hawaiian Hotel, he noted, cost dearly, but the establishment produced its own gaslight, and local laundries could process any amount of work by a ‘steam apparatus’ in as little as six hours… Trollope was about to become even more famous with the publication of the novel most often cited as his masterpiece, The Way We Love Now, whose central theme was the self-deception of greedy graspers who believe that dishonesty becomes acceptable if only it succeeds on a grand-enough scale. If Trollope had stayed longer in Hawai`i, he would have seen how closely life can imitate art, for the expensive, prosperous, American-accented Honolulu that he glimpsed was the fruit of a year of scheming, tumult, dissension, riot, and recrimination.”


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