Trollope at the Royal Society Of Literature

Jonathan Keates, Kwasi Kwarteng, Michael Symmons Roberts and Joanna Trollope discuss their favourite Trollope novels and what makes him such a great writer at the Courtauld Institute last night.

A full report will follow next week (when I have had time to turn my frantically scribbled notes into something that can do justice to the interesting and thought provoking views of the panel).

By way of a teaser: the favourite novels were (in order of publication) The Warden, Miss MackenzieThe Claverings and The Eustace Diamonds but which panelist chose to advocate which book? You’ll have to wait and see (how un-Trollopian is that?).

The first surprise of the evening though, which I can reveal straight away, is that in his introduction to the evening’s panel, Tim Robertson, the new Director of the Royal Society of Literature, let slip that his own interest in Trollope can be traced all the way back to his PhD thesis in which he argued that American 19th century literature, exemplified by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, is the art of stating everything in great detail whereas English 19th century literature is the art of leaving out all the detail (because everybody knows it already), exemplified by the novels of Anthony Trollope.


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