An Introduction to the (Best) Books of Anthony Trollope

shelved under Best of... and Fiction

In his day, Anthony Trollope was one of the most popular and prolific Victorian novelists, producing 47 novels and numerous essays and short stories. He is not as well known as many of his contemporaries and I will always be grateful to the friend who suggested him to me. His novels are my literary comfort food. The following will introduce you to his profound understanding of the timeless themes of money, politics and romance.


The Warden

by David Skilton, Anthony Trollope, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone

This novel is an excellent introduction to Trollope because of its relative brevity. It was his first novel to win significant acclaim, in part because the titular Warden struggles so realistically and charmingly with the moral dilemma he faces. This is also the first of the Barsetshire novels, a series set in a cathedral town and revolving around clergymen and their families.


The Small House at Allington

by Julian Thompson, Anthony Trollope

This is one of Trollope's most romantic novels and another in the Barsetshire series. The heroine makes bad choices with such courage and integrity that only a complete curmudgeon could fail to love her.


Phineas Finn: The Irish Member

by Anthony Trollope, illustrated by T. L. B. Huskinson, edited by Jacques Berthoud

Do you wonder why anyone ever runs for political office? This novel about a handsome young man wrestling with his ambitions provides some answers and a look at how reality meshes with the fantasy — and the insights remain relevant. This is one of the novels in the Palliser series, in which Trollope takes on politics.


The Way We Live Now

by Anthony Trollope, edited by John Sutherland

The themes of financial market manipulation, social climbing and responses to financial uncertainty ring true today.


An Autobiography

by P. D. Edwards, Anthony Trollope, edited by Frederick Page, Michael Sadleir

Trollope's standards for himself as a gentleman did not permit him to provide details that he deemed too personal. Still his version of his life story is surprisingly honest as well as charming and inspirational. Ironically, his statements crediting his success as a writer to diligence and discipline as much as genius probably contributed to Trollope's fall from literary favor for decades after his death.