Trollope: An Irish Writer

It seems appropriate to reflect today, it being St Patrick’s Day, on Trollope as an Irish writer.

He went to Ireland as an unsuccessful clerk of the Post Office.  He was in the proverbial last chance saloon with his employer. Yet something about the place captivated him and he turned his life around. He met and married Rose Heseltine.  He took up fox-hunting (not a pass-time with which I sympathise but I can still enjoy the hunting passages in his books that were doubtless inspired by his experiences in the field). And he began to write novels which, with each one, showed growing skill and maturity.

He has left us several novels that are specifically Irish: The Macdermots of BallycloranThe Kellys and the O’KellysCastle RichmondAn Eye For An Eye and The Landleaguers. In addition there are two of the political novels, Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux which feature the eponymous Irish Member of Parliament and address Irish political questions (albeit somewhat obliquely).

On the strength of these I think he may unequivocally be included in the pantheon of Irish writers.

For a thorough understanding of how Trollope was influenced by Ireland in his writing, you can consult the fascinating study Writing The Frontier: Anthony Trollope Between Britain and Ireland by John McCourt, published by Oxford University Press.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Trollope: An Irish Writer

  1. So therefore I was v disappointed when I visited Trinity College Library (home of the Book of Kells) to find a Dickens edition on display among some its treasures – and no Trollope. Hrrrumphhh jane

  2. What is it they say about prophets being rarely appreciated???

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