Trollope vs. Dickens

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Trollope vs. Dickens

Redigerat: okt 14, 2007, 2:58pm

Since there is very little in the way of response for a new book to read by Charles Dickens, I thought this might be an appropriate time to ask a question as to why.

Specifically, the Trollope Lovers group seems to be having many more threads and responses than the Dickens one. And many of those responders are members of this group.

Possibly it could be instructive for people to comment and review why Trollope seems more popular for discussion than Dickens.

All comments welcome.

okt 24, 2007, 3:10pm

For me, knowledge of Trollope came late.

I read Dickens in adolescence but didn't find out about Trollope till I was in my forties (30 years ago).

Also, Trollope is less brilliant, and less dramatic IMO than Dickens who could be dramatized from beginning to end (and has been quite a bit at least in movies).

Trollope is a gentler, slower read, with series novels like the Barchesters, and the Pallisers which take quite a while to get through. The BBC miniseries adaptations of them have made them accessible to a new audience.

Also Trollope was very tuned into the social milieu, like an anthropologist of the Anglican Church, or Parliament. He was not a muckraker like Dickens but did portray some villains and lots of angelic women.

I especially like his Irish novels like the Kellys and the O'Kellys which could double as a study of caste and class and is a comedy or The MacDermotts of Ballycoran which is a tragedy like Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

nov 1, 2007, 9:01pm

All very fair and good points.

apr 3, 2008, 12:30pm

Interesting. I've recently garnered a few Trollope books and will probably be reading some of his books soon. So far it sounds like he's "gentler" than Dickens...

apr 4, 2008, 9:55am

For me, Trollope retains the 'playfulness' of language that is the hallmark of Victorian lit while being more 'serious' than Dickens. Dickens IS Dickens because of his charicatures and light-heartedness even when dealing with dire situations, while Trollope has none of that. It's a matter of taste, really. They both approach the use of language in a similar fashion, but Trollope is a much more 'conservative' (or conventional) writer, I think. The same could also be said of Trollope's political/social philosophies.

Oh, and Dickens looks like ridiculously prolific, until you realize that in terms of sheer volume, he's simply lounging in Trollope's shadow. :)

Or, as always, I could be wrong. :)

Redigerat: apr 9, 2008, 11:01pm

You are absolutely right:
"It's a matter of taste, really" is all art.

I just finished The Way We Live Now........ and found it something that just went on and on...and I do love Long, but this was for me tedious.

It totally lacked humor, brilliance, charm, and warmth of so many other writers. I love long as in War and Peace and so many other books but this book was truly plodding.

When one reads Trollope one is constantly reminded of his process; how he got up every morning and wrote and wrote...that is fine but I always feel as is I have to read and read and it is more like chopping wood and just goes on.....

"It's a matter of taste, really"

apr 10, 2008, 9:51am

Now I'm curious. Since I just completed my first non-school Dickens, perhaps I should start my first Trollope (also in my library but unread) and do a little comparison.

Always looking for an excuse for a book challenge!

apr 10, 2008, 11:56am

I think Trollope has a big Anglophile appeal while Dickens, though rooted in Anglo culture, has a more universal appeal. Also Dickens is a pyrotechnic writer primarily concerned with story and drawing colorful characters. Trollope is primarily concerned with relationships and more traditionally "realistic" characters.

I like Dickens' fiction more, but I got a great kick out of Trollope's North America, even if its a bit repetitive. I've got his mother's Domestic Manners of the Americans which is reportedly scathing, but haven't got around to it yet.

apr 10, 2008, 8:40pm

>7 PensiveCat: ladygata ~ yes, you should certainly give Trollope a try! While I love both authors I find Trollope easier to read than Dickens. And there are usually fewer characters.

I wouldn't start with something like The Way We Live Now but books such asDr Wortle's School, Rachel Ray and Lady Anna are shorter novels which would give you a feel for the style. And all the books in the Barsetshire series are wonderful! That is one thing that Trollope has over Dickens - series writing.

For further inspiration and discussion all are welcome to the LT Trollope group! :)

feb 13, 2012, 5:32pm

I wouldn't say that Dickens or Trollope is better, I am not usually so, 'on the bench,' about writers but I really think that the pictures that both Trollope and Dickens creates are amazing. Trollope's novels are not "safer" than Dicken's they are just more realistic.

feb 14, 2012, 7:43pm

I have also come to Trollope later in life, while speeding through Dickens in late adolescence. I find Dickens so much more flamboyant and melodramatic and generally find him easier to read. I've only read 2 Trollope novels, but to me, he's much more restrained and subtle while still putting society under the magnifying glass. I think my opinion on Trollope's readability might change after reading a few more of his works, but for now he is a harder, more tedious read for me.

feb 15, 2012, 3:24am

I've just finished Hard Times yesterday, which I found depressing; one of my worst experiences with Dickens. (I've read 8 of his novels.) At the same time, I was glad that Stephen disappeared about half-way in the story, because he was so difficult to understand! Some passages were a nightmare. He should have disappeared before. ;-)

11> The only Trollope I read is Barchester Towers, which I found very well written, and so interesting I finished it by picking it up to read it in bed in the morning, which I seldom do. It happened with Trollope, never with Dickens.

feb 15, 2012, 10:28am

> 12 I read Hard Times the second time as an audio book --- much, much easier to understand that way! :)

mar 11, 2012, 11:11am

I have never read any Trollope, but I have wondered why this group is so quiet, especially this year of all years.

mar 11, 2012, 1:29pm

We are too busy reading to post here? :)

mar 12, 2012, 11:27am

MNy problem with Trollope is that some much of it is the same - which is not to say that I can't read him. I just can't read much at a time before thinking "I've read" something like this before.

apr 1, 10:30pm

>16 AuntieCatherine: That is because life IS repetitive. Trollope is the realistic author of the two. Dickens goes for caricatures and exaggerated plots to make a point. Assuming one has never read Dickens before(!), it takes but one chapter of Oliver Twist to come to the conclusion that all the hell that lies around the young lad will evaporate at the end and 'big money' will rescue him.

Similar (but not so black) ideas run through Trollope also. Mary Scratcherd / Thorne, adopted daughter of the eponymous Dr Thorne, had been brought up as the doctors natural daughter, and was on intimate terms with the Greshams - an aristocratic but down-at-heel family. All this is turned upside down when she discovers that she is actually the adopted daughter of a rape victim (see - Trollope is not all that gentle). She is banished from the great house that she once visited as an equal, as Frank Gresham (owner of the great house) is short of funds, and is perpetually nagged by his mother to 'marry money and blood' - of which Mary seems to have neither. Yes, in the end all ends well, and she inherits great wealth; however, how she got to that situation is what makes the work.

In my view Trollope is on a totally different plane from Dickens.

apr 2, 3:09am

The difference between Dickens and Trollope, is that the former has more haters.

apr 2, 9:25am

>18 LesMiserables:

Concise! I've read enough Dickens to see what the haters are on about, but for the most part I still disagree. Haven't read Trollope yet, but this thread is in great part responsible for my thinking that needs to change.

apr 2, 3:55pm

>19 elenchus: Just to be clear. I like Dickens.

Redigerat: apr 2, 10:13pm

>17 JacobKirckman:

Not all of Dickens' protagonists get rescued by big money (or rescued at all). How could you tell that Oliver would be?