Anthony Trollope

I claim that Trollope is one of my favorite authors. I read a number of his books in the 1990s, including the one that happens to be the title of this blog (see? "He Knew He Was Right" has nothing to do with politics...). Some captured me more than others. I was assigned reading HKHWR in college, but just wasn't able to complete it in the allotted time. The teacher had described it as "the best book that nobody has ever read", pointing out that Trollope's contemporary Dickens was more widely known, and, even among Trollopian novels that the Barchester Towers earned him more fame. I found HKHWR interesting to the point that I vowed to read it in the future, and I did just that--cover to cover--while traveling through Europe in 1998. It absolutely absorbed me. I hate to say it, but I thoroughly enjoyed how Louis Trevelyan fell victim to his jealousy, torturing himself throughout the 900-page novel. Further, at least two other of the subplots are neatly wrapped up with Trevelyan's steady downward spiral, making this a worthwhile read. The book is written in serial form, and I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for 19th-century readers to get their hands on each installment as it came out.

Yes, I claim Trollope is one of my favorite authors. I make this claim even though I have to check the spelling of his name before typing it ("two l's and one p, or one l and two p's"?...), and even though I've only read a small percentage of this prolific writer's work. For as much as I appreciated HKHWR, and several of his other novels, the book of his that had the greatest impact on me was his travel one, "North America". I read this back in 1990 or so, and it struck me in a big way that if Trollope could travel across the ocean and do the touring of the continent that he did during the early Civil War years, then I had little excuse not to get out and see more of it myself. I know that the book is more a social examination of the former colonies than anything else, but I read this and was in awe of what it took for him to get as far as St. Louis: the railroad tracks and steam engines of the day being what they were, the travel along the Great Lakes and rivers also being rather arduous, especially in the winter, etc. This is not to say that were it not for him I wouldn't have taken the many road trips that followed, but I found myself very eager to get out there after reading "North America", and it is certainly a contributing reason as to why I make the claim that Trollope is one of my favorite authors.

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