The Golden Lion of Grandpère

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The Golden Lion of Grandpère

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Muokkaaja: toukokuu 26, 2010, 4:30 am

(Ooops! Got the title wrong: it's 'The Golden Lion of Granpère' of course.)

I've just been rereading this (for Trollope!) short novel, and have been impressed. Any other opinions?

I like especially the very good, but discreet, use of local colour: it's set in France in the Vosges mountains. The three main characters: boy, girl, uncle and guardian of girl are convincingly drawn. The whole plot turns on the fact that all three of them are, in one way or another, emotionally blocked or inhibited (so boy and girl don't actually marry until the end of the book). The result is that none of them is able to take the others gently by the throat and say, 'Now see here, sunshine...!' (Of course, if they had, the book would have been 95% shorter.)

There's a wonderful, quirky, touching final scene in which the, reunited, family is trying to send away the girl's other lover, a young businessman from Basle, but without overly damaging his self-respect, so they do it by organising a chilly, late in the year, picnic in his honour.

Of course, one obvious comment on the characters is: beneath their rural French clothes aren't they all so ... British! Or is Trollope saying that, in this respect, human nature is universal?

Also, I like the way in which Trollope, the highly professional author, constantly keeps his eye on the English Victorian reading public, for example, carefully explaining that, in rural France, it's perfectly OK for a young woman to invite a bloke into her bedroom for a confidential chat - she's not being a forward hussy.

If you have a taste for Trollope and haven't read this one, don't miss it.

toukokuu 26, 2010, 8:32 pm

Thank you for posting this. I'm looking for Trollope novels outside of the mainstream Barsetshire/Palliser series, and so it is good to hear this.
You might want to take a look at this page, if you don't know Ellen Moody's work:

toukokuu 27, 2010, 4:25 am

>2 davidcla: Thanks for the url which is most interesting. I certainly liked the contemporary illustrations.

I'm not sure about the supposed 'underlying Oedipal pattern of the story' - but I'm always suspicious of Freudian interpretations of literature, anyway. If the uncle (Michel) opposes the marriage of his son (George) to his niece-by-marriage (Marie) because he, unconsciously, fancies Marie himself, then why does he so actively promote her marriage to another suitor?

I read it as a marvellous depiction of denial and obstinacy. Michel is shocked to hear that George wants to marry Marie, and his knee-jerk reaction is to announce that the idea is ridiculous. But he's jolted into the realisation that Marie is now an adult, and he, officiously, starts looking for a husband for her. Only, being obstinate, he can't bring himself to renege on what he said about Marie not marrying George. Fortunately, George has inherited his father's obstinacy ... and hence the happy ending.

It seems wonderfully true to life - just think how Dickens would have mangled the same story!

toukokuu 28, 2010, 8:48 am

Just finished it! Somewhat repetitious in places, but moderately enjoyable overall. I didn't find the continental setting or theme very convincing; the characters seemed like Victorians with French names ;) As far as shorter Trollope works go, I think I prefer those with British settings such as Rachel Ray,Dr. Wortle's School or Lady Anna.