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The Duke's Children [Paperback]

Anthony, Ed Trollope
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Jan. 12 2010 1142552152 978-1142552152
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A 200-page idea in 600-plus pages July 10 2004
Format:Paperback
The Trollope lover will not think of missing this, the culmination of the Palliser novels, but will love Trollope a little less after reading it. It is all the things detractors of his work complain of -- plotless, rambling, dull, fussy, trivial. It is a story written not from an irresistible energy to tell it, but from a pair of good ideas: to echo the circumstances of the Duke's own marriage to his late beloved Glencora in an ironic way, and to show that the social changes brought about in part by his own lifetime of Liberal politics have resulted in a world and a way of thinking that Palliser himself cannot accept. Maybe a Henry James could put enough flesh on this scheme to render the narrative human and alive, but THE DUKE'S CHILDREN is sadly inert. It is the sort of book that tends to make a good movie: its conception is more interesting than the pages inside it.
The Duke's children are too slight and too dim to hang a novel on; and the characters from previous books who never fail to engage us -- Marie, Phineas, and Palliser himself -- are mostly either absent or seen in isolation, fuming alone in studies and drawing-rooms. The obligatory hunting and shooting scenes are engaging but beside the point, and the presence of Major Tifto and his racetrack story are a great annoyance. The bitter, disappointed Lady Mabel adds some intermittent liveliness whenever she appears, but even she wears out her welcome. (And she is, conceptually, much too near a relation to Lady Laura in PHINEAS FINN and PHINEAS REDUX.)
Finales are never Trollope's best event. He will muff them or mute them or present the scenes of his happy endings as if viewed from a distant tree-top. I could wish the Palliser saga ended at THE PRIME MINISTER, which is superb, with perhaps a little coda telling us how Trollope saw Plantagenet Palliser's future life. That the little coda should be bloated into a mammoth vexation like this one is not uncharacteristic, but is surely unfortunate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Victorian generation clash. March 11 2004
Format:Paperback
Lady Glencora Palliser is dead. This must be understood or nothing wonderful can come of this tale. The last installment of Trollope's Palliser series begins with this sad development. Long Victorian faces grow even longer with grief. Now ex-Prime Minster, Plantagenet Palliser must cope alone with the foibles of his three adult children. As the reader discovers, their expectations are not consistent with their father's ideas. Typical of Anthony Trollope, the story unfolds leisurely for 600+ pages. Regardless, the quiet little story urges one to keep turning the pages. 19th century British politics, social customs, and romantic attitudes seem quaint, even amusing, by today's standards. Much as the writings of Jane Austen, reconciling marriage and money drive the story. Trollope's elegant style is a delight. The reader is lulled into a quiet sense of relaxation. No great truths or insights to report, but good downtime reading. Appreciate the novel as you would a fine painting or a delicate antique tea set. If one seeks a pleasant diversion from the noise, clatter, and electronics of modern life this is recommended reading. Relish the experience. ;-)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A battle between generations ends the Palliser series. Sept. 4 1998
By Leonard L. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the brightest lights of the Palliser novels is extinguished in the first chapter with the death of the Duchess Glencora. Bereft of her vivacious influence the grieving Duke, already reserved and traditional, sinks into stodginess. Far worse than this, he is left with three young adult children whom he fails completely to understand. To say that they cause him many heartaches is to greatly understate the situation.
The eldest, heir to the title, Lord Silverbridge has already been booted out of Oxford for a silly prank. Now he goes into horse racing with questionable companions and winds up as the victim of a major scandal, which costs his father a huge sum. Next he deserts his father's choice for his bride to woo an American girl whose grandfather was a laborer.
The Duke's daughter, Mary, wants to marry a commoner, son of a country squire, a good man, but with no title and little money. The outraged Duke is adamantly opposed to such a match, but Mary vows to marry no other and is constantly miserable.
The youngest son, Gerald, who plays a relatively minor role in the novel, is forced to leave Cambridge because he was away without permission attending a race in which his brother's horse was running. Later he loses several thousand pounds in a card game.
The Duke bemoans his children's foolishness and their lack of respect for the traditions of their fathers. He pays for their mistakes, but vigorously opposes the two unwise marriages. But although he is a strict, authoritarian man, he is also a compassionate and loving father. Will he yield to the fervent desires of his rebellious offspring? The resolution of this clash of generations brings the Palliser novels to a satisfying conclusion.
As always, it is Trollope's great gift of characterization which makes THE DUKE'S CHILDREN an outstanding novel. From the outwardly firm but inwardly doubting Duke to the very sincere but frequently erring Silverbridge to the tragic Lady Mabel Grex, who has the young heir in her grasp only to let him slip away, these are well-rounded figures with whom the reader lives intimately and comes to understand thoroughly. With the perfectly depicted ambience of upper-class Victoriana as the setting, this novel is an absorbing work of genius.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last of a great series of novels. Oct. 29 2009
By Russell Fanelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Duke's Children was the last of the great Palliser novels of Anthony Trollope - Can You Forgive Her (1864), Phineas Finn (1869) , The Eustace Diamonds (1873), Phineas Redux (1874), The Prime Minister (1876), and, as mentioned, The Duke's Children (1879). Trollope hoped that his public would read all six novels, although he doubted this was likely to happen given the many years separating the first novel of the series and the last.

I have read all six novels in order and recommend them highly. The Duke's Children is one of my favorites for several reasons. First, it has the least amount of Parliamentary baggage attached to it, unlike several other Palliser novels. Lord Silverbridge, the Duke's first son, is elected to Parliament, but spends little time and energy on this business. Instead he first falls in love with Lady Mabel Grex, the Duke's choice for his bride, and then a beautiful American girl, Isabel Boncassen. Lady Mabel is an extraordinary woman; Trollope gives her some of the greatest love scenes in Victorian literature. In the Palliser series of novels, he never wrote better or more convincingly than in describing Lady Mabel's conversations with Lord Silverbridge, or her first love, Frank Tregear.

Tregear and Lady Mabel decide to separate; Tregear then forms an alliance and later proposes to Lady Mary Palliser, the Duke's daughter. The Duke immediately rejects Tregear, a commoner, and the resolution of this romance forms an ongoing and important part of the novel. The Duke enlists the help of family and friends, but in the end, as the reader suspects from the beginning, the iron will of Lady Mary prevails.

Trollope loves his Duke, who is the one constant in all six novels. He is a nobleman in every sense of the word and recognized as such by all who meet him. In this last novel, his patience is sorely tried by his three children - the last, Gerald, is not much involved in the story, but when he is it is usually unpleasant for the Duke. For the first time in the six novels, we meet the Duke not primarily in Parliament, where he would prefer to be, but at home with his children; he is not altogether comfortable in this setting, but appears to soften toward his family as the novel and series finally come to an end.

Anthony Trollope is, in my opinion, the finest English novelist of manners. Few can match him when it comes to creating a world that comes alive and becomes as real for the reader as life itself. He is so skillful a writer that we feel included in the story he has created for us. When we put down his book at the end of an evening's reading, we take some of our involvement with the plot with us to think about in our own life; we are much the better for our association with Trollope. When the series concludes with the Duke finally at peace with his children, we experience a sense of satisfaction seldom experienced in reading great literature. The Duke's Children may be read as the first introduction to Anthony Trollope, but I recommend taking Trollope's advice and reading all the Palliser series of novels in order for one of the greatest and most lasting experiences found in literature.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victorian generation clash. March 11 2004
By Robert S. Clay Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lady Glencora Palliser is dead. This must be understood or nothing wonderful can come of this tale. The last installment of Trollope's Palliser series begins with this sad development. Long Victorian faces grow even longer with grief. Now ex-Prime Minster, Plantagenet Palliser must cope alone with the foibles of his three adult children. As the reader discovers, their expectations are not consistent with their father's ideas. Typical of Anthony Trollope, the story unfolds leisurely for 600+ pages. Regardless, the quiet little story urges one to keep turning the pages. 19th century British politics, social customs, and romantic attitudes seem quaint, even amusing, by today's standards. Much as the writings of Jane Austen, reconciling marriage and money drive the story. Trollope's elegant style is a delight. The reader is lulled into a quiet sense of relaxation. No great truths or insights to report, but good downtime reading. Appreciate the novel as you would a fine painting or a delicate antique tea set. If one seeks a pleasant diversion from the noise, clatter, and electronics of modern life this is recommended reading. Relish the experience. ;-)
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Duke's Children, Anthony Trollope. April 23 2011
By bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anthony Trollope tells a story in a leisurely, gently ironic way which is very enjoyable. I would rate this just behind his Barchester Chronicles, but ahead of his more dramatic novels. If you like sensational stories this is not for you. If you like masterly characterisation, and revealing insights into political manoeuverings in the English houses of parliament and the 'Upper Ten Thousand', you will like this. As always Trollope shows us what people are like, but with warmth and good humour.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 200-page idea in 600-plus pages July 10 2004
By mulcahey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Trollope lover will not think of missing this, the culmination of the Palliser novels, but will love Trollope a little less after reading it. It is all the things detractors of his work complain of -- plotless, rambling, dull, fussy, trivial. It is a story written not from an irresistible energy to tell it, but from a pair of good ideas: to echo the circumstances of the Duke's own marriage to his late beloved Glencora in an ironic way, and to show that the social changes brought about in part by his own lifetime of Liberal politics have resulted in a world and a way of thinking that Palliser himself cannot accept. Maybe a Henry James could put enough flesh on this scheme to render the narrative human and alive, but THE DUKE'S CHILDREN is sadly inert. It is the sort of book that tends to make a good movie: its conception is more interesting than the pages inside it.
The Duke's children are too slight and too dim to hang a novel on; and the characters from previous books who never fail to engage us -- Marie, Phineas, and Palliser himself -- are mostly either absent or seen in isolation, fuming alone in studies and drawing-rooms. The obligatory hunting and shooting scenes are engaging but beside the point, and the presence of Major Tifto and his racetrack story are a great annoyance. The bitter, disappointed Lady Mabel adds some intermittent liveliness whenever she appears, but even she wears out her welcome. (And she is, conceptually, much too near a relation to Lady Laura in PHINEAS FINN and PHINEAS REDUX.)
Finales are never Trollope's best event. He will muff them or mute them or present the scenes of his happy endings as if viewed from a distant tree-top. I could wish the Palliser saga ended at THE PRIME MINISTER, which is superb, with perhaps a little coda telling us how Trollope saw Plantagenet Palliser's future life. That the little coda should be bloated into a mammoth vexation like this one is not uncharacteristic, but is surely unfortunate.
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