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The Last Chronicle of Barset Paperback – Oct 29 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Oct. 29 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140437525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140437522
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #563,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was born in London to a bankrupt barrister father and a mother who, as a well-known writer, supported the family. Trollope enjoyed considerable acclaim both as a novelist and as a senior civil servant in the Post Office. He published more than forty novels and many short stories that are regarded by some as among the greatest of nineteenth-century fiction.

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Format: Paperback
I see I am in the minority here, but I don't feel the finale of the Barsetshire novels is up to the mark of the works that preceded it. It cannot be called a disappointment, exactly, since it has moments of grandeur and brilliance, and as always Trollope is unfailingly, even painfully true to his people. Lily Dale's and Johnny Eames's non-courtship is brought to a heartbreaking non-conclusion. The fall of Mrs Proudie could hardly be more satisfying, even sad, and I was moved to tears to see the last of Mr Harding. Johnny's dalliance with a manhunter is truly original and wonderfully rendered, by turns hilarious and scary.
But the plot construction is poor and the book feels bloated, overwritten, about 100 pages too long. The nominal love interests, Grace and Henry, are just ghosts of characters, and to make his plot work Trollope resorts to the embarrassing tactic of keeping the parties who will instantly unravel it off-stage and incommunicado for hundreds of pages. Meanwhile we are treated to repetitive scenes that show us the frustrating, self-pitying Josiah Crawley being frustrating and self-pitying.
THE LAST CHRONICLE's chief pleasure -- and for a Trollope reader it is a very great pleasure -- is in seeing all our old favorites from the previous novels respond to the Crawleys' predicament, and in having Lily's and Johnny's story told to its end, replete with the new cast of characters Johnny has taken up. I would not have missed it. I only wish Trollope had had a strong-minded editor by.
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Format: Hardcover
THE LAST CHRONICLE OF BARSET is one of the great novels in the English language, and yet it is not widely read. The reason for this is obvious: it is the LAST novel in the Barsetshire series of novels, and a relatively small number make it all the way through the previous five volumes. This is a shame, because while all the previous novels are quite excellent and thoroughly entertaining, the final novel in the series is a work of an entirely different level of magnitude.
This novel is also one of the darkest that Trollope wrote. The moral dilemma in which Crawley finds himself would seem to belong more readily to the world of Dostoevsky than Victorian England.
Can this novel be read on its own, without reading the novels that precede it? Yes, but I do feel that it is best read after working through the other books in the series first. This is hardly an unfortunate situation, since all the books in the series are superb (with the exception of the first novel, THE WARDEN, which, while nice, is merely a prelude to the far superior five novels that came after it). Many of the characters in THE LAST CHRONICLE appeared first as characters in the other novels, and the central character of the book, Crawley, himself appeared earlier.
Trollope is...one of the most entertaining writers the English language has produced. At this point I have read around 20 of his novels, and fully intend to read more. But of all his books, this one might be his finest. The only two that I feel are close to the same level are his incredible books THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and HE KNEW HE WAS RIGHT (possibly the finest work on excessive jealousy since OTHELLO). Anyone who loves the English novel owes it to him or herself to read as many of these volumes as possible.
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Format: Hardcover
The Rev. Josiah Crawley, impoverished curate of Hogglestock, has been accused of stealing a check for 20 pounds. Confused about how the check came into his possession, he has no defense to offer. Mrs. Proudie, shrewish tyrant over her husband, the Bishop, is determined to hound Crawley out of his meager position. Also caught up in the problem is young Henry Grantly, son of the aristocratic Archdeacon, who is in love with the beautiful and intelligent daughter of the accused man--a match that his father bitterly opposes.
This is the main plot, but there is a wealth of subplots, each worthy of its own novel. Among these is a continuation of John Eames' wooing of Lily Dale, carried over from "The Small House at Allington."
The Last Chronicle is the longest of the Barsetshire novels--and the best, considerably better in style than the more popular "Barchester Towers." Trollope's characterizations are, as usual, superb, among the very best in all literature. He skillfully interweaves all the various strands of the novel into a very satisfying whole. And he has largely freed himself from the sometimes annoying philosophical asides to the reader that detracted from some of his earlier novels. This book merits consideration as a true masterwork.
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Format: Hardcover
How one man could hold in his mind so much of his age, and then relate it back to us peopled with so many and varied characters in--how many? 20?-- interconnected novels of surpassing richness of detail and sagacity of moral observation, is a great mystery of human psychology.
"The Last Chronicle of Barset" is surely one of the most successful and satisfying of the whole Barset and Palliser series, illustrating perhaps better than any of the former Trollope's admirable gift for creating multi-dimensional characters that are as recognizable to us today as they were in his time.
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