Read Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope Online


Barchester Towers (1857) was the book that made Trollope's reputation and it remains his most popular and enjoyable novel. The arrival of a new bishop in Barchester, accompanied by his formidable wife and ambitious chaplain, Obadiah Slope, sets the town in turmoil as Archdeacon Grantly declares 'War, war, internecine war!' on Bishop Proudie and his supporters. Who will comBarchester Towers (1857) was the book that made Trollope's reputation and it remains his most popular and enjoyable novel. The arrival of a new bishop in Barchester, accompanied by his formidable wife and ambitious chaplain, Obadiah Slope, sets the town in turmoil as Archdeacon Grantly declares 'War, war, internecine war!' on Bishop Proudie and his supporters. Who will come out on top in the battle between the archdeacon, the bishop, Mr Slope, and Mrs Proudie?The livelihood of Mr Harding, the saintly hero of The Warden, is once more under threat but clerical warfare finds itself tangled up in the wayward (and sometimes perverse) desires of the many courtships, seductions, and romances of the book. Who will marry Eleanor Bold? Can any man resist the charms of the exotically beautiful 'La Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni'? Will the oily Mr Slope finally get his comeuppance? John Bowen's introduction examines the literary skill with which Trollope combines comedy and acute social and pyschological observation in this new edition.This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery....

Title : Barchester Towers
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ISBN : 18885514
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 542 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Barchester Towers Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-05-12 23:35

    This is hilarious. The odious Mr. Slope slimes his way through the upper class elements of the church looking for power and patronage and love in a village where nothing ever happens. It's not so much a question of will-he/won't he, more how much more will he dare and who will fall for it? There's also an interesting character reversal in the Bishop's wife, Mrs Proudie, a strict sabbatarian who seeks to convert others to that practice. However, her esteem for the Church is far less than her esteem for herself, and she does the right thing but for all the wrong reasons. Lots of frustrated love, upright characters getting their just rewards, the unworthy slipping on their own grease and everything wrapped up in a tidy parcel just made for a BBC costume drama.4 and a half stars. Recommended to lovers of classics, good writing and those who have a schadenfreude sense of humour.Read March 14 2011, reviewed March 27 2012.

  • Melindam
    2019-05-18 04:46

    “There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel.” A visit to Victorian England & indulging myself with another re-read of the delightful Barchester Towers.A new bishop is coming to town (the fictional Barchester in the fictional Barsetshire) greatly disturbing the stagnant water of long-standing clerical balance in the diocese. Almost instantly HOLY (?) WAR is declared between resident clergymen (High Church) lead by Archdeacon Grantly, who got disappointed in his hope of becoming the new bishop after his father’s death, & Dr Proudie’s (the new bishop, Low Church) entourage, namely his formidable wife & his chaplain, Mr Obadiah Slope, a beneficiary of Mrs Proudie’s patronage.This is, however, not the only war that is waged in the novel. There is a contest for primacy in the diocese between Mrs Proudie & Mr Slope, because the hen-pecked Dr. Proudie is bishop only in name and so both strive to become the real power behind his ecclesiastical throne. :)Additionally, a there is battle for love (and/or for money – depending on the parties involved) to gain the hand of the young & rich widow, Eleanor Bold (sister-in-law to Archdeacon Grantly). The contestants are Mr Slope, Mr Bertie Stanhope (never-do-well, though harmless, spendthrift son of Dr Vesey Stanhope, prebendary of the Bishop) and Reverend Francis Arabin, a scholar and Fellow of Lazarus College at Oxford & a supporter of Archdeacon Grantly.You’d think after this summary that the clerical war is about some elevated subjects with deep, underlying philosophical ideas, but it is fought much more on social (wives joining husbands, daughters supporting fathers) & political levels (which camps can soldier bigger troops & more supporters) in drawing/ball rooms, at parties as well as in churches. This gives Trollope the chance to depict clergymen as men with a very much tongue-in-cheek approach, which makes the whole novel delightful & funny."Wars about trifles are always bitter, especially among neighbours. When the differences are great, and the parties comparative strangers, men quarrel with courtesy. What combatants are ever so eager as two brothers?"Also the insight into his characters is wonderful: the most memorable from this novel are Mr Slope, Mrs Proudie, Signora Neroni & Archdeacon Grantley. Trollope never ceases to amaze me with his power of characterisation, which is precise, complex and utterly hilarious at the same time. The way he portraits Obadiah Slope is genius. He is one of the most obnoxious, obsequious, slimy appalling characters in classic literature (he brings Jane Austen's Mr Collins in P&P to my mind - in some respects) and yet you cannot help, but admire his cunning and enterprise as he sets about fulfilling his ambitions. He is a smarmy sycophant and no mistake, but he is never painted as black or even as a truly viscous person. - And here I have to mention the divine Alan Rickman, who played him to perfection in the 1982 BBC adaptation. (That is also highly recommended.)And then there is the indomitable & staunch Mrs Proudie, wife to the bishop, uncrowned queen of her family & the diocese. A character you love to hate, yet cannot help, but respect at the same time. "It is ordained that all novels should have a male and female angel, and a male and female devil. It it be considered that this rule obeyed in these pages, the latter character must be supposed to have fallen to the lot of Mrs Proudie, but she was not all devil. there was a heart inside that stiff-ribbed bodice, though not, perhaps, of large dimensions, and certainly not easily accessible."The scenes where Mrs Proudie & Mr Slope are involved in a tug-of-war with the poor bishop as the rope are the funniest in the whole book. " The bishop was sitting in his easy chair twiddling his thumbs, turning his eyes now to his wife, and now to his chaplain, as each took up the cudgels. How comfortable it would be if they could fight it out between them without the necessity of any interference on his part; fight it out so that one should kill the other utterly, as far as the diocesan life was concerned, so that he, the bishop, might know clearly by whom it behoved him to be led. There would be the comfort of quiet in either case; but if the bishop had a wish as to which might prove the victor, that wish was certainly not antagonistic to Mr Slope."

  • Cecily
    2019-05-13 01:53

    The 2nd Barchester novel. Some of the church politics is rather too esoteric (but less than The Warden), but mostly it is charming, astutely ascerbic and amusing, yet also a little twee. But Eleanor is a feisty and somewhat unconventional heroine for a male writer of Trollope's time. The names of most minor characters are too comic for the style of the novel (eg farmers Greenacre & Topsoil; Drs Fillgrave, Rerechild, Lamda Mewnew & Omicron Pie; Revs Brown, White, Grey & Green; aspirational Lookalofts; Rev Quiverful with 12 children; diplomatic Mr Plomacy; loud Mrs Clantantram; attorney Vellem Deeds); some aren't even characters, just names on a guest list. Yet the main characters have more suitably subtle names (Proudie, Grantly & Slope).

  • Proustitute
    2019-05-10 00:43

    It is with great regret that I assign my dear Trollope a mere four stars—really four-and-a-half stars. To me, the most shameful part of being slightly disappointed in Barchester Towers was just how much weight is given to the novel: not only in terms of Trollope’s own oeuvre, but in terms of Victorian literature more generally. With that said, though, having read around and dappled in work of his both in and outside the Chronicles of Barsetshire, I found Barchester Towers lacking in what for me is what makes Trollope such an extraordinary writer—namely, his pacing and the way in which he engages his readers right from the start in the conflicts and dramas of his dramatis personae.Here, though, in the second book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series, Trollope is actually atypical: he takes over half the book to set up his characters, to concoct (an admittedly compelling) mise-en-scène from which to focus closely on three characters’ struggles for power in the tiny cathedral close of Barchester. As always, Trollope’s characterization is flawless: Mr. Slope’s drive to transform Barchester as a middle-man of sorts, pitting the incoming bishop Dr. Proudie against his obdurate and power-hungry wife in order to wield authority in any way he can… this is done extremely well in Trollope’s deft hands, especially as the trio is meant to symbolize at the microcosmic level changes in the world at large, but “progress” that is by no means untouched by a more primal individual desire to get whatever it is one wants by any means necessary.Trollope is always brilliant in painting unlikeable characters, and, in doing so, making us see their flaws and their various vices in ourselves. In Barchester Towers, Trollope adds to this gift something that is much more covert in his other works: a rich use of comedy and humor. Barchester Towers is, above all, a very funny book, a satire, and one that shows Trollope balancing well the individual, the social, and the narcissistic desire for power and position. While his other novels have a humor that is more covert, Barchester Towers is rare in Trollope’s oeuvre in that it will actually cause one to laugh aloud: one wonders why—if not from realizing that such a treatment did not agree with his vision of the novelist’s duties—Trollope abandoned the outrageously comic in his subsequent work.And that, perhaps, is why I felt this novel to be a disappointment when compared with the others of his that I’ve read—and also why I find it hard to believe that Barchester Towers is his most famous and widely-read novel. Although weak Trollope is far better than the best work by a novelist less talented than he—e.g., see my review of Doctor Wortle’s School—still, this novel is in no way indicative of the scope and utter humanity to be found in Trollope’s richer and more complex novels like The Claverings, which remains my all-time favorite of his to this day.This is by no means meant to dissuade anyone from reading Barchester Towers… far from it. The world would be a better place is more people read Trollope. But it would be unwise to read his most lauded work and presume that this is all Trollope is about, because this is far from the case. Instead, one should read Barchester Towers for what it is: Trollope’s successful attempt at integrating comedy with pathos, humor with his analyses of greed, lightness with his examination of the darkness of which we are all capable. And, of course, one should read Barchester Towers on the path toward completing the Chronicles in their entirety: something all readers should do, at least once, in their reading lives.

  • David
    2019-04-30 04:28

    With this, his fifth novel, and second in the Barsetshire series, Trollope hits his stride. This is Trollope at his best. It is the favorite novel of many Trollope nuts, and certainly one of my favorites. If you read the Barsetshire novels in order (as I recommend you do), you will start with The Warden, a much inferior novel (but fortunately one of Trollope's shortest), but when you get to Barchester Towers, it will all have been worth it.

  • Henry Avila
    2019-05-13 02:32

    Barchester Towers,is the second, in the six Barsetshire novels, by Anthony Trollope.Set in a sleepy cathedral town, in mid nineteenith century England.Eleanor Bold, rich young pretty widow of John Bold , is feeling lonely;but has a baby son, to look after. Not to worry , she will have three suitors soon.(Wonder why?) When a new bishop comes to the small city,Dr.Proudie brings Rev. Slope.An ambitious clergyman , who doesn't care how he achieves wealth and power (first suitor).The Archdeacon DR. Grantly ,(son of the late bishop)opposes Slope.Grantly travels to London, to get help. And persuades Rev.Francis Arabin, an Oxford teacher and an old friend,to take a job as vicar ,in a Barchester church (second suitor). Dr.Stanhopes,(everyone is a Dr. in the book)returns from Italy.His son, really a grownup kid,also arrives, Bertie, a lazy but charming man (third suitor).The pusillanimous new bishop ,is controlled by Mrs. Proudie, his wife.Conflict happens, when the "hospital" is to reopen.Who will become the warden?Rev. Harding, the former holder of the job and choice of Grantly.Quiverful, another clergyman and supported by Mrs. Proudie.An illuminating party, by rich landowners,Miss Thorne and her brother, is given. All the important people in the area attend.We see how they interact, with each other. The poor, sneak in and aren't thrown out. The Thorne's , too kind to do that.We see class division, in The Victorian Age, by where people sit !Now Mrs. Bold, has a problem, whom to pick as her new husband! She isn't lonely anymore.

  • Ailsa
    2019-05-14 00:45

    "There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilised and free countries than the necessity of listening to sermons."A new bishop comes to Barchester. Accompanied by his domineering wife and ambitious chaplain, they thoroughly upset the way things are done in the sleepy cathedral town. Old vs new. High church vs low. Battle lines are drawn and a power struggle between squabbling clergymen begins.Less dry and more amusing than expected. Archdeacon Grantly is a personal favourite. "Marriage means tyranny on one side and deceit on the other. I say that a man is a fool to sacrifice his interests for such a bargain. A woman, too generally, has no other way of living."(The savagery, I love it.)

  • Paul
    2019-05-11 05:45

    The second book in the Barsetshire series is just as witty and hard to dislike as the first. It's also got a more complex (and more interesting) plot than the first book, which was great. I'm happy to say Trollope continues his endearing habit of breaking the fourth wall, too.Honestly, I'd have given this great book five stars if it weren't for the fact that the author spends far too much time recapping (a better word might be 'rehashing') the events of the previous book. Still, I enjoyed this a great deal and will definitely be continuing with this series.

  • Ellie
    2019-05-13 04:48

    Barchester Towers is the second volume in Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire series, a series that follows the somewhat sedate adventures of clergyman and their wives in mid-19th century England. But,in fact, despite the distance of time and space, the characters and their interactions are not as far away as one might think! Mr. Harding was pushed out of his position as Warden in the previous volume (called, not surprisingly, The Warden). The position is now available again but the new Bishop and his horrific wife (Mrs. Proudie) are advocating that only young men should be given positions of responsibility (sound familiar?). Mr. Slope is Mrs. Proudie's ally but this may change if he can only grab more power. Mr. Harding's daughter, Eleanor, is a young widow with an income that unscrupulous (or semi-unscrupulous) men find irresistible. I found the leisurely pacing of this story soothing and the writing lovely. I enjoyed the orderly world and recognized all the emotions and political maneuverings as real as today's news. Greed, ambition, love, lust. Just cause the costumes are different, doesn't make the world unrecogniable!I'm deciding between continuing with this series or rereading the Palliser novels which I loved when I last read them (30 years ago! hard to believe). Either way, I'm definitely want more Trollope in my life.

  • Laura
    2019-04-26 05:51

    4.5 stars. Loved it! I picked this up at my lunch break and couldn't put it down until I finished. I wish I could explain what a great author Anthony Trollope is. I am a Dickens and Austen fan, but always assumed Trollope was just a little bit stuffy and a drag to read. I'm very glad to be wrong! Trollope has a great sense of humor and will even throw unexpected spoilers quite early on in the book. But his characters are so real and full of depth that even if you know the heroine doesn't marry person XYZ because Trollope flat out told you so, you still must read, read, read to find out the whys and the wherefores. I want to thank Katie Lumsden of Books and Things at YouTube, whose moving review of the fifth book in this series grabbed me so much that I decided I just had to read it. In fact I immediately bought it, not something I do all that often, preferring library books. I'm not sure I'd have given Trollope a chance at this point, thinking his books would be a slog and too much work at the end of a long day to read. Thank you again, Katie! And please check out her reviews on YouTube; she will have you falling in love with Victorian literature (just in case you aren't already), while passing on some great contemporary reads as well.

  • Jane
    2019-05-21 05:53

    The first time I started reading ‘Barchester Towers’ it failed to capture me, and to I put the book to one side. When I came back to it later, having not read any Trollope for quite some time and rather missing him, I was smitten. And I think that proves that even the greatest authors, even favourite novelists, need to be matched to your reading mood!This story begins not long after the end of the story told in ‘The Warden’ ends; at a time when much remains the same, but some changes have happened and more changes are to come.Hiram’s Hospital is still without a warden, Eleanor Bold has been widowed and has a baby son, and Bishop Grantly is on his deathbed, watched over by his son, the Archdeacon Grantly, and his old and dear friend, Mr Harding.The Archdeacon loves and respects his father, and he is also a pragmatic and practical man whose dearest wish is to succeed to the bishopric. He knows though that the government that would see him as the man for the job is on the point of collapse, and that the government likely to replace it would have rather different views.The government fell on the same day that Archbishop left this life, and so a very new regime swept into the bishop’s palace. Dr Proudie was the new bishop, and he brought with him his formidable wife, Mrs Proudie, and a social climbing, conniving chaplain named Obidiah Slope.They were wonderfully vividly drawn characters, the kind that you probably wouldn’t want to met in real life but are gloriously entertaining in the pages of a book.I was particularly taken with Mrs Proudie, who ably managed not only her household but every single matter in the diocese that might affect her husband, much to the chagrin of the longer standing clergy.And I can’t help thinking that in a different age – and in the hands of a different author – she might have been a feminist icon!The new regime is completely at odds with the old guards, and so a civil war began between Grantlyite and Proudieite forces – and between high and low church.That drew more characters into the story.Several members of clergy are called back to their religious duties in Barchester.Dr Stanhope has to return from the idyllic shores of Lake Como to take up his duties in his parish. The Stanhope family add colour to Barchester, particularly his daughter Madeleine, who lost her mobility to an accident – or maybe to her estranged husband’s brutality, but has risen above that to present herself as a beautiful and seductive signora; and her brother, Bertie, who was charming and full of ideas about what he might do but too indolent to do anything but seek a wealthy bride.The Stanhopes were wonderfully colourful, but I couldn’t quite believe in them as I did almost every other character.Mr Arabin was called away from the ivory towers of academia by Dr Grantly, who was eager to draw more clergy who shared his views into the diocese.I liked him, but it was a little too obvious what part he was going to play in the plot.With all of his characters on the stage Trollope was ready to unfurl his plot, and to answer the questions he had thrown into the air:• Who would be the new warden?• Who would Eleanor Bold marry?• Which party – Grantlyite or Proudieite – would win the day?So many wonderful scenes came tumbling down, one after another, as Trollope set about answering those questions and arranging all of his characters’ lives until everything was exactly as it should be.There were so many wonderful moments, so many perfect details.The author reassured his readers – as he so often does – that everything would be alright, but still I was anxious because I couldn’t see quite how it would, and because I was so very involved with this world and the people who lived there.I have a few reservations, a few reasons why this isn’t my favourite Trollope. There were a few times when characters were compromised for the sake of the plot, some of the naming of characters lacked subtlety, and I think I will always be fonder of Trollope’s drama than his comedy.I found so much to love though; more than enough – much more than enough – to say that I had a lovely time in this book and that I am looking forward to working my way through the rest of the Barsetshire novels.Most of all I love the way Trollope can more from comedy like this …“Take care, Madeline,” said he, and turning to the fat rector, added, “Just help me with a slight push.”The rector’s weight was resting on the sofa and unwittingly lent all its impetus to accelerate and increase the motion which Bertie intentionally originated. The sofa rushed from its moorings and ran half-way into the middle of the room. Mrs. Proudie was standing with Mr. Slope in front of the signora, and had been trying to be condescending and sociable; but she was not in the very best of tempers, for she found that, whenever she spoke to the lady, the lady replied by speaking to Mr. Slope. Mr. Slope was a favourite, no doubt, but Mrs. Proudie had no idea of being less thought of than the chaplain. She was beginning to be stately, stiff, and offended, when unfortunately the castor of the sofa caught itself in her lace train, and carried away there is no saying how much of her garniture. Gathers were heard to go, stitches to crack, plaits to fly open, flounces were seen to fall, and breadths to expose themselves; a long ruin of rent lace disfigured the carpet, and still clung to the vile wheel on which the sofa moved.So, when a granite battery is raised, excellent to the eyes of warfaring men, is its strength and symmetry admired. It is the work of years. Its neat embrasures, its finished parapets, its casemated stories show all the skill of modern science. But, anon, a small spark is applied to the treacherous fusee—a cloud of dust arises to the heavens—and then nothing is to be seen but dirt and dust and ugly fragments.We know what was the wrath of Juno when her beauty was despised. We know to what storms of passion even celestial minds can yield. As Juno may have looked at Paris on Mount Ida, so did Mrs. Proudie look on Ethelbert Stanhope when he pushed the leg of the sofa into her lace train.”… to such wonderfully real emotion like this …“The bishop had one small room allotted to him on the ground-floor, and Mr. Slope had another. Into this latter Mr. Harding was shown and asked to sit down. Mr. Slope was not yet there. The ex-warden stood up at the window looking into the garden, and could not help thinking how very short a time had passed since the whole of that house had been open to him, as though he had been a child of the family, born and bred in it. He remembered how the old servants used to smile as they opened the door to him; how the familiar butler would say, when he had been absent a few hours longer than usual, “A sight of you, Mr. Harding, is good for sore eyes;” how the fussy housekeeper would swear that he couldn’t have dined, or couldn’t have breakfasted, or couldn’t have lunched. And then, above all, he remembered the pleasant gleam of inward satisfaction which always spread itself over the old bishop’s face whenever his friend entered his room.A tear came into each eye as he reflected that all this was gone. What use would the hospital be to him now? He was alone in the world, and getting old; he would soon, very soon have to go and leave it all, as his dear old friend had gone; go, and leave the hospital, and his accustomed place in the cathedral, and his haunts and pleasures, to younger and perhaps wiser men. That chanting of his! Perhaps, in truth, the time for it was gone by. He felt as though the world were sinking from his feet; as though this, this was the time for him to turn with confidence to those hopes which he had preached with confidence to others. “What,” said he to himself, “can a man’s religion be worth if it does not support him against the natural melancholy of declining years?” And as he looked out through his dimmed eyes into the bright parterres of the bishop’s garden, he felt that he had the support which he wanted.”… in the space of just pages.You have to cherish an author who can do that, who can do both of those things so well, don’t you?

  • Resh (The Book Satchel)
    2019-04-24 02:42

    Barchester Towers is second in the series of The Barsetshire Chronicles by Anthony Trollope, a series of six novels, set in the fictitious English county of Barsetshire and its cathedral town of Barchester. The position of Warden at Hiram’s Hospital is still unoccupied at the beginning of the novel. The Bishop of Barchester is on his deathbed. Several people have their eyes on the Bishop’s chair including Mr. Harding’s son-in-law and the Archdeacon, Dr. Grantly. However, much to the dismay of many, Dr. Proudie is chosen to continue as the Bishop with a wife who tries to meddle in his decisions. Mrs. Proudie is all ears for the advices of Dr. Proudie’s detestable chaplain, Mr. Slope, who has several plans up his sleeve, including the chair of Dean. When Dr. Stanhope takes up the duties of the parish, he brings with him an interesting array of family members including his married, crippled, seductive daughter who goes by the name, Signora and his debt ridden son, Bertie, who is looking for a good alliance for financial stability. Eleanor, now widowed (yes, that was shocking especially since I expected to see the married life of Eleanor and Mr. Bold in this novel) is central to the distinct romantic storyline in the novel. She has three suitors (unknown to her)- Mr. Slope, Bertie and Dr. Arabin.The character sketch is brilliant. Slope is obnoxious and reminds me of Uriah Heep in David Copperfield. The novel has many funny and comical moments, hence it is of a lighter nature than that of its prequel, The Warden. I enjoyed it more than The Warden.Read a full review here -

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-04-26 05:51

    If the disputes of life and politics are getting you down, may I suggest a light 1857 comedy of manners, 'Barchester Towers'. Although it is book #2 in The Barchester Chronicles, it can be read as a standalone. There are a few threads carried over from the first book in the series, The Warden, but they are merely harmonies to the melody of the events of love and ambition which are the primary interests in this novel.Although what is chronicled are the political and opportunistic passions of various churchmen, both low and high, author Anthony Trollope displays them in quite a humorous light. What is usually very serious is made instead lighthearted and fun in this story of middle-class social climbing, and in some very funny scenes of outrages of social and class mores. At the center of the book is the courting of a rich young and beautiful English widow, Eleanor Bold, who also happens to be the daughter of a churchman, Mr. Harding, who has many connections to certain branch of more powerful men in the hierarchy of the church. Eleanor is oblivious to why so many young ambitious men of the church are interested in her company. For the young churchmen, a genteel scuffling for advantageous position among them is occurring due to the mortal illness and certain upcoming death of a dean, whose position pays 2500 pounds a year. Also, another job involving the administration of a Barchester charity hospital is open, paying almost 500 pounds a year, not a huge sum for upper-class churchmen, but of course, it is an excellent sinecure and a way to 'pack the court' of sympathetic underlings for those more senior churchmen striving against each other because of the rise of Church reform.I do not know the actual political issues of 1857 regarding the Church of England which Trollope was using as the background for the social fun in the imaginary English parish of Barchester, but modern readers do not need to know much about the Church to enjoy this series.

  • Susan in NC
    2019-05-09 03:41

    I really enjoyed "The Warden", the first in the series, which prompted me to read "Barchester Towers." I have since picked up the next two in the series at our local used book store (the one I took you to, Jul!) because I've enjoyed this one so much. I love these books for the same reason I love Austen, or Benson's "Lucia" books, or Georgette Heyer, or Wodehouse, or so many other English authors - because of the humor, the warmth, the wonderful social satire and characterizations, and, of course, the dialogue! I love how he entire cathedral close becomes embroiled in the power struggle between Mr. Slope, Mrs. Proudie (the she-bishop!), and the Archdeacon; how Signora Neroni ensnares every man she meets from the confines of her couch; how sweet-natured, decent, kind Mr. Harding manages to honor and love all of his friends and family even as they try and pull him this way and that because of what THEY think is best for him - and he still goes his own way, follows his own conscience, quietly, calmly, but inevitably. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, and am so glad I gave some of the "other Victorians" a try (besides the inevitable Dickens and Bronte we all read in school). I would also recommend, in the same vein, Elizabeth Gaskell's "Cranford", which was just on PBS (I DVRed it, haven't watched it yet), and her "North and South" which I watched on DVD from the library (had been on Masterpiece Theater or A&E), and it was WONDERFUL, made me want to read the book (haven't read it yet, but I just found it at the used book store, so it's on my to-read stack!)

  • Jaylia3
    2019-04-22 06:53

    Trollope seems to be having a lot of fun in this second novel of his Chronicles of Barsetshire series making it an entertaining, almost light, book for this reader in spite of the length and the somewhat heavy issue the plot revolves around--the heated battles between England’s low and high church clergy. The story is full of clever, often laugh-out loud asides by a very present, quite friendly, somewhat cozy omniscient narrator who frequently parses the actions, thoughts, and feelings of the characters rather than just reporting them.Most of the main characters from The Warden, first book in the series, are back, and it’s part of the fun to see how they are getting on with their lives, but there are many new and wonderful additions too, including a bishop cowed by his wife and curate, the oily manipulative Mr. Slope, the steeped in ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition Thorne siblings, and the scheming Stanhope family fresh from Italy and full of continental ways. Trollope writes characters who can be silly, weak, selfish, stubborn, pompous, and irresponsible and still you feel some sympathy for them. Like many Victorian novels Barchester Towers is long, but the ending is perfect, with every character arc and plot thread resolving in a way that is highly satisfying.

  • Doreen Petersen
    2019-05-13 22:52

    Really, really liked this one. Great read!

  • Ursula
    2019-04-29 00:54

    Trollope is the answer to the equation: Miss Manners + Vonnegut + Austen = ? Manners satire with the typical pink bow (silk ribbon, of course) happy endings made famous by Mr. Popular Sentiment.

  • Veronique
    2019-04-23 03:50

    4.5"It is astonishing how much difference the point of view makes in the aspect of all we look at!"After having experienced Trollope for the first time in The Warden, I was interested to see how this second novel in the Chronicles of Barchester would fare. Well, let me tell you that this is a much better read, and a humorous one at that! Oh and you don't need to have read the first to enjoy this one.The story picks up not long after the events of the first book. Some of the same characters reappear, such as the kind and thoughtful Mr Harding, his daughter Mrs Bold, recently widowed, and the tempestuous Archdeacon Dr Grantly. This time however the focus falls on the new Bishop, Dr Proudie, his Juno of a wife, his chaplain, the obsequious and ambitious Mr Slope, and the beautiful but cruel Signora. As you can imagine, all these egos create considerable waves in the usually quiet town of Barchester.Trollope’s interest in institutional power structures, here the church, leads him to explore and analyse what they mean in terms of ideology and organisation, and therefore this novel is not what you would call ‘religious’ per se. In Barchester Towers, the author seems to be focusing also on the themes of difference of perception and miscommunication / misunderstanding. Most of the plot lines revolve around this, to great entertainment and humour. Seriously, I wasn’t expecting this novel to be so comical (laughed out loud several times).And this is where we get to the author’s writing style, which is quite different to the other Victorian authors I have read. Trollope likes to present his characters fully, often taking a full chapter to do so, which can be quite off-putting at first. Add to this a narrator that keeps calling the reader’s attention on this or other topics in the narrative as well as on the process of writing said book. Normally, authors refrain from doing this since it highlights the fictionality of the text but Trollope obviously had different ideas. It takes a little getting used to but very quickly this narrator becomes a kind of cheeky fellow reader, and a character in his own right who keeps pulling you in the narrative. I guess that is probably why an audiobook version (I recommend the one by Timothy West) of this title works particularly well (I altered between reading and listening).I really enjoyed this novel and the various characters will stay with me, especially the master manipulator Mr Slope, unsettling all, tearing families apart, sowing discord in the heart of so many. He might be shallow but also very very clever, arrogant and articulate. However, he fails to understand the intelligence of women - something I believe he will pay dearly for :O)

  • Joy
    2019-04-30 05:45

    This is my first Trollope and I was truly pleased with it. His wry humor is very amusing. Trollope is a great observer and describer of personality. I feel that many of his characters could fit into novels (or TV shows) of modern day manners. I recently took the book on vacation and heard stories of my friends' social life in a wealthy gated community at the same time I was reading about Miss Thorne's party and how she struggled to keep the "Quality" separated from the working people: the former on the lawn or in the house and the latter in the meadow. I concluded things haven't changed so much. The very end was a bit tedious since the bite of Trollope's humor was missing, but this was a greatly amusing book.

  • Arwen
    2019-05-02 06:54

    Trollope is a writer I turn to when I want to feel that all's right with the world. I read The Warden (the first of the Barsetshire Chronicles) years ago and fell instantly in love. I was sidetracked by the Palliser novels, and am now happily returning to Barchester. Barchester Towers is chock full of wonderful characters, from the deliciously slithery Mr. Slope, to the ever-gentle but stubborn Eleanor Bold. Trollope captures the intricacy of human character and emotion as any writer I've ever read. This is Victorian writing at its best — and unstuffiest.

  • Suzanne
    2019-04-28 03:43

    Sigh...lovely good fun. I could write so much more about Trollope's treatment of women but it would rambling and only halfway reasoned so I'll spare you from having to even skip it.

  • Michael
    2019-05-18 02:46

    Funny, witty, filled with engaging characters and written with an assured hand and full command of the English language, "Barchester Towers" is Anthony Trollope at the top of his game. Once again the writer has provided a cast of fascinating female characters. For the most part, they drive the narrative (and the men in their lives). A most enjoyable read, probably my favorite Trollope to date. Cheers!

  • Hugo Emanuel
    2019-05-04 22:48

    "Barchester Towers" é uma sátira social que se debruça sobre uma "guerra de vontades e influência" travada por uma série de clérigos e as suas esposas numa pequena província. Apesar de apresentar uma ideia com considerável potencial, a forma como o enredo avança é de tal modo laboriosa e excessivamente alongada que me deixou frequentemente impaciente - apesar de tudo persisti, embora não sinto que tenha beneficiado tremendamente por o ter feito. Não se entenda que pretendo sugerir que o livro é desprovido de mérito. A prosa do autor é elegante (diria até demasiado elegante e clássica para uma obra deste género), a caracterização das personagens é cuidada e a ideia de escrever um romance que pretende salientar a importância que a sociedade dá a trivialidades e a rumores, engrandecendo a sua importância é bastante "suculenta", apesar de algo batida até para a época. No entanto, o romance é escrito num tom que parece, não obstante ser uma sátira, ter uma excessiva deferência e respeito por muitas das normas e condutas sociais consideradas apropriadas na época, evitando também ser demasiado incisiva e sarcástica, o que lhe retira considerável força. Muitos outros autores abordaram tais temas de um modo muito mais criativo e excitante - Thackery em "A Feira das Vaidades", George Elliot em "Middlemarch" ou Laurence Sterne em "Tristram Shandy" são apenas alguns dos muitos autores e obras que satirizam tais assuntos de um modo infinitivamente mais brilhante e interessante do que este trabalho de Trollope. A maior virtude de "Barchester Towers" prende-se com a forma como desconstrói alguns papeis de género predominantes na época, construindo personagens femininas que são na sua maioria fortes e independentes, algo que terá contribuído bastante para que eu me tenha dado ao trabalho de ter lido ler a obra até ao fim. Em resumo, "Barchester Towers" é uma sátira social relativamente divertida e agradável de se ler mas à qual falta um espírito mais critico e incisivo, bem como um pouco de brevidade na forma como é desenvolvido o enredo.

  • Laurel Hicks
    2019-05-03 05:36

    Much of Trollope takes place inside the heads of the author/narrator and his characters. I like that. Trollope is a good companion.

  • Katie Lumsden
    2019-05-13 04:25

    Everything a good book should be - witty, moving, beautiful and Victorian!

  • Sketchbook
    2019-05-18 23:43

    "Unhand me, sir," belches Mrs Proudie when a pal tries to release her tangled frock. I plan to finish this 1,000 pager when I'm a castaway in the Azores Islands.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-09 01:29

    I came into this book completely blind. I only wanted to read a book by Anthony Trollope, because I never had before, and I had heard that his Barsetshire Chronicles were considered his best. So voila, here I am. So. First of all, I know diddly poop about the Anglican church. I do not know the difference between High Church and Low Church, or between a vicar and a dean or what a prebendary is. I know enough to get by reading Jane Austen, or to get a laugh of out of the Tarts & Vicars party in Bridget Jones' Diary. Fine. So when I realized that the entire plot of this book revolves around a new bishop being appointed, and how he dispenses the various "livings" in his jurisdiction, I wasn't sure I should press on. But I got into it, at least enough to follow the action, and mostly because I needed to make sure that Mr. Slope "got his" and that poor Eleanor was all right. Poor Eleanor, a rich and beautiful widow, surrounded by idiots. Her father, bless his heart, is a big baby, and her brother-in-law is a total ass. I kind of hoped toward the end that she would tell him to get stuffed, but sadly that would not make her a virtuous Victorian heroine. *sigh*So, a very interesting book. Much more sly than I had thought at first appearance, though without the more abundant humor of, say, Mrs. Gaskell.

  • Jane
    2019-04-27 01:33

    Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. I swear Audible is keeping me going these days!I bought this book because it’s reputed to be Trollope at his finest. Not having read that cynical old Victorian for some twenty-five years and having only read some of his purely political London-based novels, it felt a little different to be suddenly immersed in the far more restrained politics of clergymen in a small cathedral town. So it was a little while before I found my feet—and then suddenly I remembered why I’d liked Trollope in the first place.There is a new Bishop of Barchester, and he is what Trollope calls Petticoated—but he’s not one hundred percent under the thumb of his wife. There’s an important matter of preferment to be decided—a job bringing with it a nice house and the then enormous sum of £1,200 a year—and the other prize in play is the lovely, widowed Eleanor Bond who also, oddly enough, brings £1,200 a year with her. The circling vultures with their beady eyes on these rich pickings are the odious chaplain Mr. Slope and the good-natured, heartless, scheming Stanhope siblings. There’s also a whole subtext about evangelical versus traditional Anglican church practices which will, alas, be lost on most modern readers, but since the main thrust of the novel lies in the scheming and the wooing of Eleanor, it’s easy enough to concentrate on that and not worry about the clerical details, which are not heavily emphasized.I found Eleanor as wet as most Victorian heroines—quite literally since she bursts into tears a lot—and, alas, Mr. Arabin is way too noble and reserved to be really fascinating. My absolute favorites, by a long chalk, were Bertie Stanhope and Madeline Vesey-Neroni who were ADORABLE in their cynical worldliness and really, at the end of the day, quite likeable as human beings. Mr. Slope is the perfect slimy Victorian Pharisee whom everyone sees through in about three seconds flat, and the power struggle between Bishop and Mrs. Proudie is as entertaining as such things usually are.I actually found myself wishing in the end that the novel was twice as long. We seemed to get to the resolution of the story much too quickly - that’s the beauty of taking your Victorians in the form of audiobooks! There were whole chapters where I grinned and/or laughed out loud throughout. Narrator David Timson was so utterly perfect that I’m very disappointed to find I can’t get the whole series with him as narrator on Audible. Nonetheless, I’m diving in and stepping backward to listen to the first book in the Barsetshire Chronicles, and then the rest. I’ve been away from Trollope for far too long.UPDATE: I was horrified, on going back and checking, to discover that I'd listened to an abridged version. No wonder it seemed too short! That won't do at all. I'll be listening to the unabridged version as soon as I can get my hands on it. Still, for those who want to cut out the Victorian waffle and get to the interesting bits, I'd heartily recommend this version.

  • Tim
    2019-04-25 04:54

    This is more like it. "The Warden," though a short book, is mediocre, hamstrung by a poor second half. That first book in the Barchester series probably has kept many people from continuing with Trollope. That would be a shame. Trollope realizes his potential with the second Barsetshire book, "Barchester Towers." It's a delight in every way.Trollope's penchant for speaking to his readers, repeatedly and humorously pointing out that this is a novel, should be off-putting, but isn't. He even points out, in effect, that he has to write certain things because it's a novel; there has to be a happy ending.Trollope writes stories in which a little bit of plot goes a long way. Men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; Church of England officials backbite and jockey for positions; sweet women and barracudas exist side-by-side. Trollope has so much humanity, and writes so well (in an unobrusive, workmanlike way) that he pulls it all off. His characterizations are wonderful, his handling of ordinary 19th-century British lives realistic.While it is enjoyable and fun, the humor in "Barchester Towers" is a little overstated. It's not a laugh-out-loud book. But it will make you smile.

  • Greg
    2019-04-27 04:26

    "I won't marry one [a wife] without [money]: wives with money a'nt so easy to get now-a-days; the parsons pick them all up." This is a funny, beautifully written novel. The plot flows perfectly to a happy ending for all the characters: even the singular "bad guy" does well at the end. It's as if Trollope wishes good things for all people. He writes of Mrs. Proudie (the mover and shaker of the town), "...our prayers for her are that she may live forever." I enjoyed the first of this series, "The Warden" but "Barchester Towers" is a much better novel and I will certainly read the rest. The only book of 2016 I've read that approaches this quality of plot and with a similar, beautiful resolution is "A Gentleman From Moscow".