The Last Chronicle of Barset

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The Last Chronicle of Barset

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1littlegeek
maaliskuu 10, 2008, 6:20 pm

OK, so I began this on Friday an had a long weekend without much to do so I ended up reading about a third of it. It's such a comfort visiting with all the characters again. There's a little too much rehash for my tastes, but then again, it was serialized so he had to bring people up to speed.

Poor Mr Crawley. AT seems to have a soft spot for cranky old farts with limited social skills. I do like how Trollope sets up a situation so that it throws itself back on the reader to figure out their own morality. I love the chapter where Crawley visits the bricklayer, who thinks, "if this had happened to a poor person, he'd be guilty no question." I think he's right, and it's still the same.

Lily Dale is insufferable again. What kind of logic is this: I love him, but I can't trust that he loves me back, so I'm going to stay loyal to him forever and not marry anyone. She just loves playing the martyr. But she has such an agreeable personality otherwise, it's hard to hate her totally. I can't believe readers were rooting for her to go back to Crosbie. I don't really understand how she can have the views she does on Crosbie, and then advise Grace to accept Major Grantly's proposal. I think Lily just wants all the martyr cred to herself.

Mrs. Proudie is so delicious. What a beotch! I love the way Crawley handles her.

Can't wait to get home from work so I can read on.

2littlegeek
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 17, 2008, 5:30 pm

I just got to the part where the archdeacon goes to visit Lady Lufton and meets Grace Crawley. Men are such dopes! So easily swayed by a pretty face.

I love how Susan just shruggs. She's one of the wisest people in the Barset universe.

And Lady Lufton is pretty smart, too. She told him to go and meet her. See, life goes much more smoothly ladies when you accept men as they are and act accordingly.

3littlegeek
maaliskuu 22, 2008, 10:31 pm

Mrs. Proudie, NO!!!

I'm ok with her dying, but it's kinda perfunctory. Oh, btw, she had a heart condition that she didn't tell anyone about and now she's dead.

I do like that the bishop finally stood up to her. And that he did it almost by "standing down" to her. The only way she was going to see what she was doing to him was if he got depressed. When he tried to argue with her, she just got into it.

I also like how people see and find her good qualities after she's gone. That's just what happens when bad people die. (remember Nixon's funeral?)

4digifish_books
huhtikuu 9, 2008, 9:23 am

Glad to see you're enjoying the book, littlegeek. I imagine you've finished it by now? It is sad to think the series had to end... *sighs*....

5littlegeek
huhtikuu 9, 2008, 1:56 pm

Yes, I finished a while back. I wrote a review, if you're interested.

I have The Way We Live Now on my TBR. Good thing there's still so much Trollope to enjoy.

6Cariola
maaliskuu 30, 2010, 3:45 pm

I'm reviving this thread as I'm now about 1/3 finished with The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire. Doesn't anyone else want to give Mr. Crawley a good whack upside the head? He's such a stick that I find it hard to empathize with his situation.

7notmyrealname
maaliskuu 31, 2010, 12:05 am

At many points in the novel, it does appear that he is paying a very high price for his principles... Each to their own, I suppose.

8willgrstevens
maaliskuu 31, 2010, 6:38 am

#6 But isn't one of the themes of 'The Last Chronicle' mental illness - or what we today would call mental illness? It was a subject which fascinated Trollope (in 'He knew he was right', for example), and I think he wants us to think of Crawley as a man whose personality, poverty and life style combined to unbalance him.

And, not to give a spoiler by going into detail, there's another, wonderfully portrayed, example of a different kind of mental illness in the same book.

9puddleshark
maaliskuu 31, 2010, 1:27 pm

'...a man whose personality, poverty and life style combined to unbalance him.'

I think that captures it perfectly. That mix of principles and pride. And though I feel his friends' frustration at his unwillingess to help himself, I feel as much sympathy as a desire to whack him around the head...

And, SPOILER ALERT, I have to wonder what his new parishioners will make of him...

10jfetting
heinäkuu 8, 2010, 11:59 am

I know this is kind of a dead thread, but I finished "The Last Chronicle" over the weekend - I loved it, almost as much as Barchester Towers. My biggest problem with the book was the (imo) totally unnecessary Dalrymple/Clara Van Whoever/Hooks Court subplot. Why on earth was this even in the book? My copy was 1200 pages, and I only really skimmed the parts with these people. All I wanted to know was what was going to happen to Crawley. I probably would have also done away with all the Lily Dale parts, but I can't stand her. I don't understand her behavior at all anymore - even she seems to admit that he is a jerk, and not worthy of her devotion, so why is she still stuck on him? Is she just in love with how crazy-in-love she was back when she was 18?

I love how Susan just shrugs. She's one of the wisest people in the Barset universe.

Yes! Trollope underrates her - I think she's a much more interesting character than Eleanor. The way she manages the archdeacon is wonderful. And oh, poor Mrs. Proudie! And poor Mr. Harding - that chapter made me cry.

I'm going to start with the Pallisers later this month.

11digifish_books
heinäkuu 8, 2010, 7:45 pm

>10 jfetting: I didn't understand why the Dalrymple stuff was in there, either. It didn't really work for me to have new characters introduced so late in the series. Having said that, I did enjoy The Last Chronicle and loved the series overall (despite Lily Dale ;).

Looking forward to seeing what you think of the Pallisers, Jennifer.

12Cariola
maaliskuu 7, 2012, 6:14 pm

I haven't gotten to the Dalrymple stuff yet; I'm almost halfway through the novel. At this point, I'm hoping that Mr. Crawley will have a fatal heart attack and put everyone out of his misery. And maybe he could take the odious Mrs. Proudie with him. Trollope sure has mastered the art of creating annoying characters in this one!

13stringcat3
maaliskuu 10, 2012, 1:06 pm

> Why Mrs. Crawley didn't just bean Mr. C with a skillet is a mystery.

The most challenging thing about the novel, to me, was the mechanics of the check. I didn't understand how it could have been passed around so blithely. The past is a foreign country, indeed.

14Cariola
maaliskuu 10, 2012, 7:29 pm

13> I've been wondering about that, too. Who was it made out to? The butcher? Cash? Soames? I mean, what good would a check do me if it was made out to someone else?

15stringcat3
maaliskuu 11, 2012, 7:49 pm

>14 Cariola: Well, 20-30 years ago it used to be a lot easier to negotiate "second-party" checks, where you endorse it over to someone else, but recently banks have tightened up on them. I just don't understand how it could have been so easily used like cash. Someone must have written about the mechanics of it. Anyone know of anything that explains it?

16ChocolateMuse
maaliskuu 11, 2012, 8:46 pm

>13 stringcat3: stringcat, I hate to be a damper, but I guess Mrs C didn't bean Mr C for the same reason that my mother doesn't bean my father for his chronic and irrational depression. Trollope must have known someone with that illness, and also understood them remarkably well, I thought, to write about him with such sensitivity.

17thorold
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 12, 2012, 1:59 pm

There's more than anyone could reasonably want to know about the English law of bills of exchange before 1911 here: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Bill_of_Exchange

My impression is that people in the 1860s wouldn't have seen a huge difference between a peer's cheque and a Bank of England note (as Mrs Arabin confirms). They were used to dealing in personal bills of various kinds - including cheques and IOUs. I imagine it would have been fairly natural to recycle any negotiable piece of paper to hand when you wanted to pay something, rather than paying stamp duty to create a new one. Especially if you lived in the depths of the country and the bank was an hour or two away.

The cheque must have been made out to "cash" or "bearer", because there was no trail of endorsements on it: the bank initially refused to give cash to the bricklayer because he was a lower-class person who wouldn't have been expected to turn up at the bank with a 20 pound cheque, not because the cheque required endorsement.

18stringcat3
maaliskuu 14, 2012, 2:25 am

>16 ChocolateMuse: I'm not talking about his depression - I'm referring to his destructive pride that made that his family suffer unduly. This false humility is actually a form of arrogance. No truly pious person inflicts such misery on others to uphold his principles, and it's particularly heinous for a husband and father to visit such abuse on his family.

19ChocolateMuse
maaliskuu 14, 2012, 7:34 pm

yes, I see. Good point. I guess when I read it I saw that as part of the illness, which is often irrational. But you may be right in that Trollope didn't mean it that way, but that it's all about misplaced honour.

20kac522
kesäkuu 18, 2012, 9:03 pm

Reviving this thread again--just finished the book. I was also bored in the Dalrymple/Van Siever sections. Perhaps the only reason was to have parallel stories of the downfall of Mr. Dobbs Broughton compared to Mr. Crawley? And maybe Miss Madalina D. to Lily Dale?? Take out those Hooks Court pages and it would have been the perfect length.

I sometimes lose patience with Trollope when he repeats what we already know--but I'm thinking that's because this was published in parts over time (am I right about that?) and it was to refresh the reader's memory. I was sorry to see my old friend Mr. Harding leave us, and I also appreciated the more rounded picture of Archdeacon Grantly. Seems to me in prior books his character was not as interesting. On to the Pallisers!