By R. C. Terry (auth.)
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Additional info for Anthony Trollope: The Artist in Hiding
By the same token, avoiding the darker elements of life was partially governed by sense of the public which Dickens, the greater artist, rose above. John Forster praised Yates' first novel to Dickens as being quite as good as the work of Mr Anthony Trollope; 'That is not very high praise', said Dickens, and sat down to his lunch. 80 There is also something of a contradiction between Trollope's literary calling and his other avocations. Henry James observed with some amusement that Trollope contrived to arrange his exceedingly demanding writing schedule in accordance with the hunting se~son.
And this one came amid other assaults on his self-confidence: the realisation that his history of the novel would have to be abandoned, his discomforts as an editor, his failure at Beverley. If we sense contradiction in Trollope at times, it stems from a paradox common enough in human nature. The ego that survives early cEfficulties emerges stronger and more demanding: hence the ambition, the self-assertion, the will to succeed. But the imtinct for self-protection develops strongly at the same time, and so in situations where the ego mi;:;ht be vulnerable one finds excessive self-depreciation.
His elegant house in Florence, the Vilino Trollope, was for many years a centre of Italian and English society. The Trollopes could claim lineage to medieval times. Anthony's strong dynastic sense comes through many of his novels, not so much as respect for rank per se, but for an ancient name; a good line from yeoman stock means far more than a mushroom peerage. The highest distinction belongs to the man whose ancestors came over with the Conqueror. There was even a story that a Trollope in the days of the Plantagenet kings had slain three wolves at a stroke and earned the name 'Trois loups', a story Anthony unwisely told at school in an uneasy bid for friendship, only to be ragged unmercifully for swanking.