Doctor Thorne

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Doctor Thorne

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toukokuu 24, 2007, 4:14 pm

I will be finishing up The Warden tonight and expect to start Doctor Thorne in a couple of days.

Would love to have company if anyone would wish to join me for the read and post their responses.

FYI, after that I move on to The small house at Allington.


toukokuu 24, 2007, 5:40 pm

Urquhart ~ so you're skipping Barchester Towers....?!

Doctor Thorne is up next for me so I'd be happy to join you. I'll be starting it early next week.

toukokuu 24, 2007, 7:48 pm

No I read Barchester Towers first and have posted my comments on the appropriate thread. I am just not always as sequential in life as I maybe should be.

Thanks for joining me. I am new to AT and have lots to learn and enjoy.

toukokuu 25, 2007, 11:44 am

Oh, I want to participate! I have to read His Majesty's Dragon for the Green Dragon group read, but that shouldn't take long. I guess I'll have to go to the bookstore.

LT is dictating my reading habits completely these days. Well, so far it hasn't let me down.

toukokuu 25, 2007, 11:44 am

Why are you skipping 2 books in the series?

toukokuu 25, 2007, 12:26 pm

Dr Thorne can be very easily read on its own without "missing" a thing.

toukokuu 29, 2007, 3:53 am

I am about 5 chapters in, but I won't comment until you guys are ready (for fear of spoilers) :P

toukokuu 29, 2007, 8:21 am

I am working away at it too. Mary Thorne has at last been introduced and we are, at last, under way...

My two comments would be

1)his mention to the reader of explaining about the need for the crust of pie before breaking open the pie..or the heart of the story. Hopefully this thick crust will lead to a good story.

2)How interesting it is to watch the author take care of and reassure the reader as to point A or B that will or will not happen. Trollope doesn't want to shock or be disruptive to the reader and so continually reassures and points out aspects so that the reader's sojourn will be a comfortable amble. This style of writing or author's voice for me seems totally juxtaposed to so much contemporary fiction that is always jolting the reader by shifting time, place, and persona so as to keep the reader 'entertained' with one form or another of a type of shock and awe.

The Doctor and the daughter structure reminds me of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters....

toukokuu 31, 2007, 7:44 pm

Thanks, Urquhart. Trollope's apologies in the early chapters kind of threw me a bit. I'll admit I ended up starting over and re-reading the first 4 chapters because I was having trouble getting into the story or the tone of the book. It seems so much more serious and emotional than Barchester Towers and there is (so far) not the same level of humour, except for the 'flame war' between Dr Fillgrave and Dr Thorne. I agree, so far its a "comfortable amble".

toukokuu 31, 2007, 9:05 pm

Yes, I agree it is very different from Barchester Towers

You are Far more advanced than I, I promise you. For starters I confess that I am listening to the book on tape rather than reading it. Reading AT is really very difficult for me. I know also that I would not reread 4 chapters of a book in order to get on with it. I admire you greatly for doing so. But I promise it gets smoother around chapter 10 and starts picking up.

Just hang in there; a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled.

I am at the point where Sir Roger Scatchard has rewritten his will and one senses the direction of the plot.


kesäkuu 1, 2007, 9:43 am

I'm almost done with current book and will start Dr. Thorne tonight. I have a plane trip this weekend so I'll have some good solid reading time. I will post when I get home.

kesäkuu 5, 2007, 12:41 pm

Wow, no further comments? surprising....

I'm about 1/2 way through right now. All the class warfare stuff so fascinating to this 21st century American. They are so concerned with "blood" like it's a real human quality. Trollope seems to be on the fence about the topic. He makes his heroes of a lower caste, yet makes sure they really have money, too, so they can be rightfully admitted into the upper classes.

Another thing that strikes me is that many of Trollope's characters are so forgiving! Mr. Harding still respects Dr. Grantly while he goes completely against his wishes, Mary Thorne holds nothing against Lady Arabella, and Dr. Thorne still treats LA's cancer and hangs out with Mr Gresham, even though they have banned Mary from the house! This quality of forgiveness, or at least compartmentalization, seems to be the hallmark of all Trollope's heroes.

kesäkuu 5, 2007, 8:23 pm

Well, I am about half way through too but I was reluctant to say anything for fear it might spoil the reading by you folks.

(I am at the point where Frank has just given a whipping to a certain somebody.......)

I find it interesting how AT focuses on various topics at length: the medical profession and the competition within same; the architecture of an estate; the electoral process and its fairness and lack there of, etc.

Another aspect of interest is how AT writes in such a way that he becomes a pleasant companion with which to amble across the verbal landscape. I mean in The Warden, and Barchester Towers he just seems to go on like some Shahrazad who can weave tales endlessly. I don't think that is an easy talent to come by and the fact that he has this ability as attested to in having written so many books is quite impressive. I mean we all know people who write a lot of books,- Barbara Cartland, Joyce Carol Oates, etc.- but with AT I at least continue to be interested.

kesäkuu 6, 2007, 9:24 am

I love when Frank beats up you know who....he so richly deserves it!

kesäkuu 9, 2007, 3:13 pm

Someone in another thread has mentioned that this book is thought of as being among AT's "three faultless books."

While I am a little over half way through I am having difficulty seeing it with that perspective. If others out there know why it is so categorized then possibly they could tell me what to look out for as I continue my reading.


kesäkuu 9, 2007, 7:09 pm

I'm about 3/4 of the way through, and I don't see it either. (If anyone says "must marry money" even one more time....) It's just someone's opinion and you know what they say about those.

It's good, tho. Still the yummy characters. Poor Dr. Thorne really is in a pickle. Knowing AT, he'll come out all right.

kesäkuu 10, 2007, 2:21 am

I still find "Sir Lambda Mu Nu" a brilliant name. I listened to it on audio read by the late David Case, who got Dr Thorne's sneering at Victorian hypocrisy down to a T.

kesäkuu 10, 2007, 2:50 am

I'm up to Chapter 30.... this for me is 'good' but not great (not my favourite anyhow).

>17 Seajack: I agree, Seajack! The first time I heard the names "Lambda MuNu" and "Omicron Pi" was when I was out walking, listening to an audio version of Barchester Towers through earbud headphones. When I heard the names read out I burst out laughing and almost tripped up .... who knows what the neighbours thought of me?! :P

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 13, 2007, 7:37 pm

>15 Urquhart:
In the introduction to the Dover edition of The Claverings Norman Donaldson states "Michael Sadleir, Trollope's chief biographer and bibliographer, has selected about a dozen of his fifty or so novels as particularly fine; of these, he considers three to be 'faultless books.' The are Doctor Thorne (1858) ...Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871) and The Claverings. 'In these,' he writes, 'there is not a loose end, not a patch of drowsiness, not a moment of false proportion.'"

Trollope's "skill in setting the scene," his "natural and convincing" conversations and his character analysis are mentioned as some of the reasons for considering The Claverings as "outstanding." (I would add character development.) But nothing else as to why DT or HH of H would be considered so.

I thought The Claverings was a great read. I didn't enjoy Dr. Thorne nearly as much, though it certainly had its moments, and I haven't read HH of H.

>16 littlegeek:
I would only add that anyone who does not want to read "must marry money" again soon should avoid Castle Richmond entirely!

kesäkuu 10, 2007, 3:09 pm

Just finished it, so there may be SPOILERS in this post. You were warned.

The book reminds me quite a bit of The Warden. It's basically the story of Dr Thorne's conscience. He has every opportunity to do wrong by those who have trusted him, and every time he waits, bides his time. He is constantly tempted to tell the story of Mary's birth and possible inheritance and does not do so until everything has ripened and no one is left to be hurt by his indiscretion. He is forthright with Sir Roger about his conflicting loyalties, but Sir Roger elects to trust him anyway. He could at any time have been less than conscientious with Sir Louis, but is always the good doctor. (Not that he tries very hard to stop Louis from going over to Dr. Fillgrave.) He says nothing to that horrible snob Arabella. He doesn't even tell Mary about her parents until Louis is safely in his grave!!! He's almost too perfect, yet I, for one, love him for it.

It is ironic that even as AT takes potshots at the hypocrisy of the aristocracy, he allows his heroes to take full advantage of it in the end. I was also amazed at how he kept my attention even while the ultimate outcome was fairly obvious. Those last chapters, as the letter and Sir Louis' death wind around each other kept the tension high.

Again, great characters, even minor ones like Lady Scatcherd. I've downloaded Framley Parsonage and will begin listening to it soon.

kesäkuu 13, 2007, 10:35 pm

Well, while LT was down I managed to finish Doctor Thorne. There were some great characters, weren't there... ? Even the irritating ones you couldn't help but enjoy. In the end I felt Dr Thorne had a similar character to Rev. Harding from Barchester Towers - too meek and polite for his own good, perhaps, but always so honourable.

>19 marise: Marise, thanks for your advice on Castle Richmond.... I've certainly had enough of the 'marry money' theme for a while :) But I hope to get around to reading it one day...

>20 littlegeek: I always enjoy your comments, littlegeek!

kesäkuu 14, 2007, 8:23 pm

Well, I was disappointed in it. AT is well known for his dogged determination and relentless process for writing 250 words a day, and this book reflects for me that same plodding product of that process.

The cover of my audiobook talked of its wonderful humor, which once again passed me by. If anyone cares to point out all the humorous instances I would be happy to listen.

The Elizabeth Gaskell book Wives and Daughters takes the same theme of a single doctor and his daughter and the love the daughter has for the lord of the manor's son. It is an excellent book written about the same time and done far more effectively. To my way of thinking Elizabeth Gaskell is one of The Best Kept Secrets in British literature.


kesäkuu 18, 2007, 7:46 pm

>22 Urquhart: Uruquhart ~ sorry that it was a disappointment for you. The book was definitely more about themes of money, duty, loyalty etc for me and did not have the same humour as Barchester Towers or even The Warden..

Without wishing to detract from our discussion here, I did find another analysis & discussion of Doctor Thorne at I'll admit to being too lazy (or disinterested?) in the book to read all of what's there ;-)

kesäkuu 18, 2007, 9:53 pm

Wow! That's a whole lot of Trollope love on that website! Thanks for the hookup.

kesäkuu 22, 2007, 5:19 pm

Do you think Dyanne Thorne aka Ilsa She Wolf of the SS is related to Doctor Thorne?

syyskuu 27, 2007, 6:02 pm

I'm not sure why Dr. Thorne would be rated one of the faultless novels, as I find the odd "forgiving" nature mentioned by littlegeek (12, supra) too unbelievable. It's very odd indeed that Dr. Thorne would be so vehement in support of Mary but continue to socialize with the Greshams. It seems too out of character. I don't see him at all like the Rev. Harding (The Warden). The latter gentleman was meek, and Dr. Thorne is most certainly not that. As a professional, he of course wouldn't allow his disagreement about Mary to interfere with a patient's treatment, but I don't believe that he would maintained the social connection after the slight to his ward. A large fault, indeed.

The Claverings is a much superior and much overlooked AT work. Perhaps its cold cynicism and sordid social underbelly is too much for many readers looking for BT humor or the more rosy romances (which is not to disparage either those readers or those works!).

syyskuu 27, 2007, 6:16 pm

I agree that The Claverings is superior to Dr. Thorne. And I think one reason is that the characters are not so self-sacrificing and act in their own interests, as real people do. Wouldn't Mary be just a little resentful that Dr. T still visited the Claverings socially?

Still haven't read that other "faultless" Trollope Harry Hotspur, but The Claverings will be hard to top.

elokuu 28, 2009, 4:25 pm

I've gotten back to Barsetshire and am very much enjoying Doctor Thorne on audio.

elokuu 28, 2009, 8:59 pm

>28 Cariola: Cool! Is the reader Simon Vance or Timothy West?

elokuu 28, 2009, 11:04 pm

It's Timothy West. He's good, although the female voices leave a little something to be desired.

I'm very fond of Miss Dunstable.

maaliskuu 3, 2010, 9:00 am

#30 I love Miss Dunstable. The way she instructed her servants to always tell the oily Mr Moffat that she was at home, but in the company of Frank Gresham!

I have to say that Doctor Thorne is my favourite of the Barset chronicles so far, but this is probably because it is the fluffiest of them all.

maaliskuu 12, 2010, 2:21 pm

I just finished reading Doctor Thorne, and I didn't like it as much as the two earlier Barset novels (although Dr. Grantley's cameo at the end was appreciated). I cannot stand the Gresham family (except for Frank) - I kept wishing for some way for things to work out for Mary and Frank, while somehow giving Lady Arabella and Mr. Gresham their comeuppances.

maaliskuu 15, 2010, 1:58 pm

Doctor Thorne is also my least favourite of the Barsetshire novels. Please don't despair of the rest, though, if you haven't read them. Framley Parsonage is, in my opinion, the weakest of the remaining three - but what competition it's up against! The Small House and The Last Chronicle are both magnificent.

Incidentally, Doctor Thorne is one of the very few novels in which Trollope didn't construct his own plot.

maaliskuu 15, 2010, 4:30 pm

I just started The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire, and I'm definitely hooked. It'll take me awhile to get through, partially because it is long and partially because I'm savoring the experience.

maaliskuu 15, 2010, 4:58 pm

#33 So then who did construct the plot?

maaliskuu 15, 2010, 8:05 pm

34> I know what you mean. I've been waiting to get to The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire for that very reason: I don't want to see it end.

maaliskuu 16, 2010, 5:27 pm

#35 His brother Tom, apparently.

maaliskuu 16, 2010, 7:02 pm

I didn't realise that brother Tom was involved!

From Chapter VI of Trollope's Autobiography:

"I had finished The Three Clerks just before I left England, and when in Florence was cudgelling my brain for a new plot. Being then with my brother, I asked him to sketch me a plot, and he drew out that of my next novel, called Doctor Thorne. I mention this particularly, because it was the only occasion in which I have had recourse to some other source than my own brains for the thread of a story. How far I may unconsciously have adopted incidents from what I have read,--either from history or from works of imagination,--I do not know. It is beyond question that a man employed as I have been must do so. But when doing it I have not been aware that I have done it. I have never taken another man's work, and deliberately framed my work upon it. I am far from censuring this practice in others...."

maaliskuu 18, 2010, 5:51 am

#38 I don't know any details. I picked it up from a passing reference in the Victoria Glendinning biography. I suppose it stuck in my mind because Dr Thorne is one of the books which I admire least.

The point, I think, is that Doctor Thorne is very much a conventional love story, in which we readers know all along that the hero and heroine 'ought' to get married, and that they, eventually, will. (In fact, isn't there in the book some passage where Trollope, as narrator, directly addresses the readers on this subject - and seems almost sarcastic?)

Whereas an idea which Trollope constantly uses in other books is: who is going marry whom - and is it a good idea for them to get married, anyway? (I suppose 'The Duke's Children' contains the most elaborate working-out of that theme.)

marraskuu 10, 2011, 2:41 am

#39 Yes, I just finished Dr Thorne and found it fascinating that, although I pretty much figured out all along how the novel would end, it kept my interest & I kept on reading! I'm not even sure why--I think in part to savor the reactions of the other characters, and how each one would sort out with the other.

Or maybe, as #8 Urquhart points out, it's rather comforting to know what's going to happen next--there are no shocks or surprises or unexpected twists. Certainly not Dickens, where some weird twist is sure to have you sit up and take notice.

I did like The Warden and Barchester Towers better, but I was not disappointed in this book.

joulukuu 19, 2012, 9:23 pm

I am looking for a copy o Dr. Thorne and having a hard time finding one. Is there one on the Oxford Worlds Classics and does Oxford do him justice? I certainly like the other Oxford classics I have by other authors.