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Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope is one of the two Victorian novelists read most widely today. Yet there is no satisfactory biography. This lively book will delight both the dedicated Trollopian and those who have recently discovered his novels from television.

Trollope's own life reads like a novel. He was abandoned at school when his mother went on a jaunt to the American frontier, and the family eventually fled to Europe where they hoped to escape the debts of his near-mad father. His mother saved them by launching the family business of novel-writing. Fanny Trollope was one of two women who played a crucial role in Anthony's life (and books). The other was his wife Rose, who emerges here from the shadows and is seen as the main factor in his success.

Trollope not only wrote some sixty books: he was an important official of the Post Office and the inventor of the pillar box. Dr Mullen makes full use of archives to evaluate his Post Office work. He also delves into Trollope's private business accounts, shedding a flood of light on the practices of Victorian publishing to demonstrate how books were actually written, published, bought and read. Throughout there is emphasis on Trollope the man: the husband, the father, the man of the world. How did he travel, what did he eat, what did he read, what were his pleasures?

Quoting deftly from the whole range of Trollope's writings — both the novels and the travel books (about North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies) — Dr Mullen shows how personal details of Trollope's life recur constantly in his work. Anthony Trollope is revealed as the ideal man of his age, an embodiment of the `Victorian values' he so skilfully illustrated in the books we avidly read today.


'This is a great literary biography, one of the best to appear in recent times. It is unlikely ever to be superseded.'

Lord Blake, Financial Times

'He brings to this task a knowledge of the period which is rivalled only by his understanding of Trollope's own work.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times

'It is ample, generous, judicious, fair-minded and reads with a wholly admirable rapidity a masterly survey of the mid-Victorian literary world I cannot praise his book more highly than to say it is as enjoyable as a Trollope novel.'

Alan Massie, The Sunday Telegraph

'We have waited a hundred years for a biography of Trollope, but Richard Mullen's makes the wait worthwhile This book joins the rank of works such as Blake's Disraeli and Ellman's Oscar Wilde.'

Channel Four Book Programme

'Mullen presents the sane Trollopian world well, well-flavoured with sherry, beer and beef.'

Anthony Burgess, The Observer

'It won't itself be easily superseded energetically written this biography teems with fascinating detail.'

Frank Kermode, The Guardian

'This is the best book I have read this year.'

Peter Mullen (no relation), Daily Mail

'Richard Mullen's genius as a researcher.'

Victoria Glendinning, The Spectator

'One of the best literary biographies of our time.'

A.L. Rowse, Contemporary Review

'This excellent biography .'

Judith Marshall, The Tablet

Buy Richard Mullen