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There is tranquility in a second hand bookshop Libraries are quiet because they must be This is different A kind of peace Whatever it is, it suits me I feel at home It could just be the dust Anyway, there I was kneeling in the art books, pulling them out and pushing them back Have it, read it, not interested I made my way down the row that way and swung round to continue on the shelf behind me It was low It was low and I am short and on hands and knees I still had to bend down to There is tranquility in a second hand bookshop Libraries are quiet because they must be This is different A kind of peace Whatever it is, it suits me I feel at home It could just be the dust Anyway, there I was kneeling in the art books, pulling them out and pushing them back Have it, read it, not interested I made my way down the row that way and swung round to continue on the shelf behind me It was low It was low and I am short and on hands and knees I still had to bend down to see I was Carter making the tiny breach into Tutankhamun s tomb Yes, I see wonderful things Little books Little books that fit in my hands Little books that fit in my pocket Little books that fit under my pillow at night Rows of little books running along the wooden floor of the bookshop like a literary baseboard I wondered what perverse person put them there A brilliant short person, no doubt I imagined them laughing maniacally Bwahaha Finally Tall people will need us Obviously this isabout the gold and green 1902 volume next to me than the story inside You can read about that anywhere The Warden is the first of the much loved Chronicles of Barset, first published in 1855 The theme of the book is the clash of ancient privilege with modern social awareness Blah, blah, blah What no one else can tell you is this It is the exact size of my hand How fantastic is that The exact size It was made and re bound by Alison Leakey, so states the inside cover for me These are the things I love about it 1 2 There s a small stain on page 329 Tea I know exactly what caused it When the archdeacon left his wife and father in law at the Chapter Coffee House to go to Messrs Cox and Cumming, he had no very defined idea of what he had to do when he got there Gentlemen when at law, or in any way engaged in matters requiring legal assistance, are very apt to describe such attendance as quite compulsory, and very disagreeable The lawyers, on the other hand, do not at all see the necessity, though they quite agree as to the disagreeable nature of the visit gentlemen when so engaged are usually somewhat gravelled at finding nothing to say to their learned friends they generally talk a little politics, a little weather, ask some few foolish questions about their suit, and then withdraw, having passed half an hour in a small, dingy waiting room, in company with some junior assistant clerk, and ten minutes with the members of the firm the business is then over for which the gentleman has come up to London, probably a distance of a hundred and fifty miles To be sure he goes to the play, and dines at his friend s club, and has a bachelor s liberty and bachelor s recreation for three or four days and he could not probably plead the desire of such gratifications as a reason to his wife for a trip to LondonMarried ladies, when your husbands find they are positively obliged to attend their legal advisers, the nature of the duty to be performed is generally of this description.Shocking No, I m telling you, it had nothing to do with the warden resigning The chapter s titled The Warden Resigns, for crying out loud The warden resigning can t have been a surprise But something made a long ago reader s tea splash over the edge of the cup and onto the page Only this page Was it disbelief Or recognition Perhaps a married lady suddenly remembering I have GOT to get to my lawyer 3 There are pages where every line begins with a single quotation mark Sometimes it goes on for two or three pages Every single line Although Trollope was a great lover of punctuation a semicolon on every page sometimes as many as six , I don t think this was what he had in mind Clearly the typesetter is trying to get my attention Page 228, with its 30 quotation marks and 4 extremely hot semicolons , is a serious poke in the eye to, well, pretty much everyone government, church hierarchy, and especially journalists Noted Thank you Highlighted by 100 single and seemingly meaningless quotation marks, pages 320 323 contain Mr Septimus Harding s resignation letters and give you the man s character in a nutshell It s like Cliffnotes by Typesetters The whole point of the book in a few pages So why bother to read the rest 4 Because it s fun, that s why Trollope knows people and his characters are memorable Yes, they have ridiculous names that make me laugh, but that s the intention It s satire Playfulness with a point I did wonder if being an American who knows nothing of 19th century church politics would make the story less accessible or even irrelevant to me Would I get the jokes Yes, it s accessible It s written in a realistic style and I didn t need anyone to explain the archdeacon setting the scene as if he were writing a sermon, locking the door, and pulling Rabelais from a secret drawer My only question is what else was in that secret drawer Yes, it s relevant People haven t changed And yes, I got the jokes At least I think I did If not, I was laughing at something or Trollope was laughing at me and either way I don t really care it was fun God, I love semicolons Book Circle Reads 155Rating 3.5 of five Good, solid Victorian stodge The kind of book you read when you re glutted with silly, vapid reality stuff and need a bit of the reality fiction of its day My review lives on my blog, out of reach of data deleting megacorps Book Circle Reads 155Rating 3.5 of five Good, solid Victorian stodge The kind of book you read when you re glutted with silly, vapid reality stuff and need a bit of the reality fiction of its day My review lives on my blog, out of reach of data deleting megacorps I have finally introduced myself to Anthony Trollope, and I can say with a smile that I am very happy to have made his acquaintance A friend suggested I start with The Warden and I believe it to be advice well taken.The Warden of this novel is Mr Harding, a kindly and good man, who is overseer to a group of bedesmen whose care has been provided for in the will of a long deceased gentleman The church tends the property left in the will and provides for the care of the men out of the proceeds I have finally introduced myself to Anthony Trollope, and I can say with a smile that I am very happy to have made his acquaintance A friend suggested I start with The Warden and I believe it to be advice well taken.The Warden of this novel is Mr Harding, a kindly and good man, who is overseer to a group of bedesmen whose care has been provided for in the will of a long deceased gentleman The church tends the property left in the will and provides for the care of the men out of the proceeds, which works quite well until someone decides that the church and Mr Harding are gettingfrom the arrangement than the men themselves What might be seen as a simple matter and one in which determining right and wrong is simple as well, proves to be acomplicated issue in the hands of Trollope He gives us the myriads of grey that always accompany such disputes and he refuses to offer us a villain on which can be hung the blame that would so easily justify us in taking a stand for one side or the other He makes us think and he makes us choose and he shows us clearly that whichever choice we make, it will not be for godly good or satanic evil but for human judgment, which is flawed.I very much enjoyed this novel It moved quickly and held my interest while still causing me to pause and ponder I saw much in it that I could easily identify in current situations, politics and the machinations of the press have not changed as much as we like to think I will be reading the next book in the series, which I am assured is an evendelightful novel.Thank you, Mr Trollope, for being so patient in waiting for my promised visit to your world I am pleased to say it will only be a few weeks and I will gladly call on you again If you are British and in your 40s, your word association answer for Anthony Trollope may well be John Major A GR friend in the same decade of life also begins his review of The Warden by mentioning the former Prime Minister If you were much younger than us, you wouldn t have been taking enough notice of political news in the early to mid 1990s to see the journalistic jokes about Major s reading habits if you were older and interested in classic literature, you d already heard of Trollope If you are British and in your 40s, your word association answer for Anthony Trollope may well be John Major A GR friend in the same decade of life also begins his review of The Warden by mentioning the former Prime Minister If you were much younger than us, you wouldn t have been taking enough notice of political news in the early to mid 1990s to see the journalistic jokes about Major s reading habits if you were older and interested in classic literature, you d already heard of Trollope and formed some sort of opinion in the pre Major years Whilst I always thought Major seemed like a fairly nice bloke though I know some people won t conscion separating that from any of a politician s policies and with historical hindsight I d say he was underrated at the time as a manager of his party and as a political negotiator he was the ultimate byword for uncoolness and dullness, so to be seen to take his recommendations for culture when aged under 60 and maybe even then had such embarrassment associated that, even now it is as if one s teenage self and student friends awoke after cryogenic freezing to roll their eyes and laugh, and you know the friends will rib you for months, if not years But you know what, teenage me, you re now over 40 and you still haven t read all the authors mentioned in The Divine Comedy s The Booklovers and you need a minimum of one Trollope novel to right that And you re a regular on a big website where lots of people, especially Americans, think it s quite normal to read Trollope, and this John Major association means nothing to them.As it turns out, Robin Gilmour s introduction to this Penguin Classics edition shows why Trollope would appeal to someone like Major, although it was written in 1984, some years before his rise to the Cabinet Incidentally, the Oxfords seem to be better editions if you are serious about Trollope they are newer, include extra material, such as the Barsetshire short story in their edition of The Warden plus they make a lovely set with the covers all using Victorian wallpaper designs The shorter Penguin edition made sense for me, though, as I wanted to get the book finished quickly for a reading challenge it hampered this slightly with too many notes that turned out to be nothing but dictionary definitions of words Trollope was both outsider and insider the poorest boy in his class at major public schools Harrow and Winchester when fees weren t as high relative to incomes as they are now , often bullied, and no academic star either Unlike Dickens whose response to childhood poverty was outspoken reformism, Trollope wasinterested in fitting in, trying to have a quiet life, and in understanding everyone whatever side they were on As a state educated moderate Tory whose only qualifications were O Levels and a correspondence course, he stood out at a time when public school and Oxbridge was evenof a norm in the party than it is now, and, like Trollope does in this book, he gave an impression of prioritising reasonable solutions and truce above conflict and hardline opinion For these same reasons, it s easy to see how Trollope became increasingly appealing to middle aged and older people in the 2010s, feeling unmoored amid the continual storm of high conflict social media and polarised politics, where what once seemed like core moral principles of compromise, understanding and respect don t always apply anyMost of the Trollope fans I ve noticed online are American There are still some British people I can t imagine conceding that it might actually be worth reading Trollope Gilmour refers to a tradition of English literary snobbery about Trollope, which gives further context for this and for the way in which Trollope became another way to make jokes about Major fitting with the image of him as a wimp like the guy in the old Mr Muscle cleaning product ads, and caricatured wearing underpants over his trousers And Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, the writer of the song that e v e n t u a l l y led me to read Trollope, was Irish, therefore perhaps with some disdain for English shibboleths I wrote the first couple of paragraphs above before I d readthan two chapters of The Warden Now, having read the whole novel, I m a convert, and my reasons for not reading Trollope seem like a silly fossil Trollope does have some weak points several character names seem like someone treading unimaginatively in Dickens footsteps, and the archdeacon s children seemed like illustrations of a schema the author had chosen for their personalities, not like real kids From this, I can still understand why a fair number of people don t consider him as being in the first rank The subject of The Warden is arcane a controversy over the excessive pay for an ancient church sinecure, running what would now be called supported accommodation for elderly men complicated by the fact that the recipient is a good person doing his job well so it s evident why this is not the best place for everyone to start reading the Barsetshire series, even if it is first novel, and short to boot But for me at least, it was a case of right reader right book If you have worked for pay in the charity non profit sector, it may well be interesting for the dilemmas it presents Other interests that can help one get the most out of it include English church history, certain areas of law, with the eye for detail involved in legal work, and the behaviour of the press and social media I am still surprised how many recent readers are meh about The Warden though, because it is just so relevant to the last point It is all about achingly contemporary topics like unearned privilege, calling out and how people do that and respond to it and live with one another in the aftermath, and the potential psychological toll of being pilloried in the press or a Twitter pile on It is easy for a contemporary novel about these things to be too on the nose but make it about a different time and an unusual subject, and it becomes fresh and interesting to think about again Were cases like Septimus Harding s wardenship a hackneyed subject for journalism at the time the novel was published The relatively moderate behaviour of every character who sees the problem with the sinecure might be annoying toradical readers, if they were to pick up the novel at all But it also made me wonder if this is what it might be like ifpeople adopted Ibram X Kendi s suggestion of treating racism not as one of the worst possible accusations, but a common in the sense of both frequent and collective problem to be highlighted and worked on I think a good analogy for this is if people treated it as some are now starting to treat environmentally destructive behaviour but then I live in a country which doesn t have a significant proportion of climate change deniers, and most people I m close to take the issue seriously and don t live extravagant lifestyles I m findingthan ever this year that I don t rate novels primarily for their endings those seem a relatively unimportant small fraction of their contents This is one such although the ending is relativelypalatable to those who are cynical about the possibility of sweeping progressive change, beyond individual choices with limited impact Obviously, the particular type of sinecure highlighted in the novel has disappeared, so reformers like Harding s potential son in law John Bold were successful in the long run it can happen And women like the warden s daughters now have their own careers But sinecures still exist in other fields, such as directorships maintained by a system of if we don t pay them millions, someone else will Swings and roundabouts.There is also just something I click with about Trollope s writing His apparent wish to understand everyone, including those on different sides, strikes a chord something that wouldn t have seemed so noticeable if I d read this years ago, before this became a contentious thing to recommend, and before I learned it wasn t actually a universal democratic value that just about everyone was working towards on some level, even if they found it difficult in the moment After making Archdeacon Grantly the villain of the piece for 90% of the novel, towards the end he writes paragraphs about the positive aspects of the man it reminded me a lot of how I might sound off to a friend about someone they don t know, then feel compelled to explain their good qualities Gilmour mentions that Trollope is considered a writer of communities, yet when you look closely, many of the most memorable scenes are of solitary characters and their thoughts, of puzzling over exactly how to interact with people My favourite episode in the novel was one such solitary one when Septimus Harding hightails it to London to see the lawyer actually the Attorney General before Grantly can beat him to it I had never expected this author, or this character, to produce scenes that felt somehow, so much like my own experience I ve never been an aged vicar, nor met the Attorney General whether intentionally, or naively as Harding does in assuming him to be like any other solicitor and Victorian late night supperhouses description here don t exist anythough taxi drivers caffs did 10 15 years ago I think something of what chimed was the way it turns out okay Perhaps it is simply a great scene of navigating a city, and killing time there, alone So I would, actually, if time and circumstances allow, like to readTrollope though there are many authors I want to read whom I ve still never read once, and who therefore get priority Perhaps if there s an occasion when I d once have felt like picking up yet another Charles Dickens novel, I might try Trollope instead And I don t think anyone issurprised by that idea than I am Read December 2019 reviewed Dec 2019 Jan 2020 ( Download Book ) ♿ The Warden ☩ It was so hard that the pleasant waters of his little stream should be disturbed and muddied that his quiet paths should be made a battlefield that the unobtrusive corner of the world which been allotted to him made miserable and unsoundTrollope s witty, satirical story of a quiet cathedral town shaken by scandal as the traditional values of Septimus Harding are attacked by zealous reformers and ruthless newspapers is a drama of conscience that pits individual integrity against worldly ambition In The Warden Anthony Trollope brought the fictional county of Barsetshire to life, peopled by a cast of brilliantly realised characters that have made him among the supreme chroniclers of the minutiae of Victorian England It is the first book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire I m going to clamp down my opening paragraph with a SPOILER because I reveal in generalities how the book endswhich is kind of important I guess view spoiler Who doesn t love a happy ending Apparently Anthony Trollope I didn t realize how use to them I ve become, because I was pretty surprised when it happened Surprises in books are usually a good thing, but here it felt flat hide spoiler The Warden is the tale of a man who took his due and then developed a guilty conscience over it I m going to clamp down my opening paragraph with a SPOILER because I reveal in generalities how the book endswhich is kind of important I guess view spoiler Who doesn t love a happy ending Apparently Anthony Trollope I didn t realize how use to them I ve become, because I was pretty surprised when it happened Surprises in books are usually a good thing, but here it felt flat hide spoiler The Warden is the tale of a man who took his due and then developed a guilty conscience over it Septimus Harding is the warden of an almshouse in the English countryside He s got a cushy gig and he s aware of it He isn t a greedy man, takingthan what s been given him, in fact he givesthan is necessary One day question arises over the legality of his preferment This gnaws away at Mr Harding s conviction in his right to accept money that should perhaps go to the old men he cares for, even after it s discovered that by all appearances, he is in the right Anthony Trollope pours the woe upon his main character, directing his emotional trajectory steadily south The modern day plot with its climax waves and big finish are not applied here The story, while entertaining enough, is rather flat Trollope s writing felt similar to Charles Dickens without so much of the caricature style that makes Dickens characters so larger than life and sometimes larger than can be believed Although he does go in for giving his character entirely too appropriate names Bold, Towers, Haphazard It s done purposefully, just as Trollope also felt the need to create a fictitious town and county name Having just finished Willa Cather s My Antonia with its marvelously subtle yet exacting character sketches that make the reader feel as if those people really did exist, Trollope s technique seems ridiculous and unnecessary I don t want to leave you with that as my last word on Trollope s work I don t find the book itself ridiculous and unnecessary On the contrary, the writing on the whole is marvelous, if stilted by the style so often adopted during the Victorian era The Warden is a great study in human nature and the affect morals can have on one s decisions I do plan to readTrollope This book may not have been pure joy from start to finish, but it is worthy reading The Warden a somewhat melancholic story of Septimus Harding, Church of England clergyman in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester Winchester in reality Britain during the middle of the 19th century and the first of the six novels in this highly acclaimed series by Anthony Trollope this quiet little city exists, because of the majestic cathedral while being dominated by the dedicated clergy In 1434 a wealthy merchant by the name of Mr John Hiram died, and left in his will land to sup The Warden a somewhat melancholic story of Septimus Harding, Church of England clergyman in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester Winchester in reality Britain during the middle of the 19th century and the first of the six novels in this highly acclaimed series by Anthony Trollope this quiet little city exists, because of the majestic cathedral while being dominated by the dedicated clergy In 1434 a wealthy merchant by the name of Mr John Hiram died, and left in his will land to support twelve retired old men from Barchester A hospital nursing home was to be built the church to administer it by appointing a warden, that will cause problems in the future Four hundred years later property values soar and the rents also There smoney than is needed to take care of the aged dozen Harding the warden, is a kindly cleric who loves the poor men and receives a princely sum of 800 pounds a year, for the sinecure job Trouble begins when Dr John Bold the local reformer, tells the influential newspaper, The Jupiter The London Times obviously Harding is attacked by this powerful, important paper the scandal causes him great emotional distress Family ties complicate the awkward situation, Septimus daughter Eleanor is in love with Bold.The warden s older daughter Susan is married to Archdeacon Grantly , the bishop s son and the power behind the throne, stillcomplications the bishop is about to retire Grantly is an ambitious intelligent man also , a traditionalist, defends church privileges, he believe in its sanctity Harding s best friend, is the bishop he gave him the do nothing job After much soul searching, everybody loves titles the warden decides to resign and accept poverty, a not very modern concept However unexpectedly, the hospital will become vacant after the old men are gone The entertaining , surprisingly riveting book about church politics and clergymen s struggles, from long ago People of different religions or none at all can and will enjoy this, I did I am not sure what to write of as a review.To escape such confused state, it is better to state everything in bullets It is a story of a man who listens to his conscience even when it means to lose everything most of all, his income It is a story of wonderful relationships the friendship between the Warden and the Archbishop the filial affection between a father and a daughter the Warden and his daughter, Eleanor challenging love between lovers Eleanor and Bold a fascinating relat I am not sure what to write of as a review.To escape such confused state, it is better to state everything in bullets It is a story of a man who listens to his conscience even when it means to lose everything most of all, his income It is a story of wonderful relationships the friendship between the Warden and the Archbishop the filial affection between a father and a daughter the Warden and his daughter, Eleanor challenging love between lovers Eleanor and Bold a fascinating relationship between a father in law and a son in law the warden and his first son in law, Dr Grantly It is about 19th century Church politics especially the Church of England It is about the abuse of charity funds by clergy which was a great discussion point in Trollope s time.Overall, it is a lovely story written in a superb language I loved the language and Trollope s habit of addressing the reader once a while.This edition also has a wonderful introduction by Robin Gilmour and he has rightly indicated at the opening of introduction that it is meant for those who have read the novel That was a great service I just skipped it and went direct for the novel I am a new reader and after the completion when I read the introduction I was wonder struck by very many remarkable points analysed Had I read it earlier, I would have neither understood the analysis nor have enjoyed the novel Did you ever know a poor man made better by law or a lawyer said Bunce bitterlyAnthony Trollope, The WardenSuch a lovely social novel Trollope sets up a series of characters and a situation and you know that Warden Septimus Harding, Archdeacon Grantly, and John Bold are set to collide and that the reforms of Dr Bold or the conservatism of Archdeacon Grantly will help the Warden I loved the Warden of this story I love his morality, his humility, his simpleness I love Trollope s criticiDid you ever know a poor man made better by law or a lawyer said Bunce bitterlyAnthony Trollope, The WardenSuch a lovely social novel Trollope sets up a series of characters and a situation and you know that Warden Septimus Harding, Archdeacon Grantly, and John Bold are set to collide and that the reforms of Dr Bold or the conservatism of Archdeacon Grantly will help the Warden I loved the Warden of this story I love his morality, his humility, his simpleness I love Trollope s criticisms of the Church of England and its clergy and the excesses of reform I love his take on the Press But it is a gentle novel There are no demons in Trollope s novel and no saints There are men who make mistakes and overshoot the mark Men who start a ball rolling and are unable to see where it will lead There are women too The women are fully formed and not just side notes A gentle story about unexpected clerical upheaval in an English town I loved Trollope s distinction between grandiose, abstract ideas about justice and our small choices that reflect how we personally define it There are figures on both sides of the main conflict who believe they know what s definitively right, but it s only the warden of Barchester who casts his idea of right in an individual light I ve heard this is nowhere near Trollope s best, and I m not surprised as it was pleasant A gentle story about unexpected clerical upheaval in an English town I loved Trollope s distinction between grandiose, abstract ideas about justice and our small choices that reflect how we personally define it There are figures on both sides of the main conflict who believe they know what s definitively right, but it s only the warden of Barchester who casts his idea of right in an individual light I ve heard this is nowhere near Trollope s best, and I m not surprised as it was pleasant but not especially memorable , but I enjoyed this one and I m very much looking forward to the rest of the Chronicles of Barsetshire