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Victorian Literature Frances Trollope
by
Elsie B. Michie

Introduction

Readers typically know Frances Milton Trollope (b. 1779–d. 1863) for her best-selling first book, the scathingly satirical commentary on her travels in America, Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), or as the mother of the later Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope (b. 1815–d. 1882). These things often cause readers to overlook the fact that Frances Trollope, generally referred to as Fanny, had a prolific and extremely successful writing career that ran from 1832 to 1860. She published thirty-four novels, six travel books, and an essay in verse; her life spanned the period of Jane Austen (b. 1775–d. 1817) and of Charles Dickens (b. 1812–d. 1870), who became Trollope’s rival in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Her novels reflect this amalgam of influences, because many of them echo Austen’s regency romances, while others engage in the social protest associated with Dickens. A global literary figure, Trollope wrote about and had an impact on American culture and was also engaged in European literary circles. The daughter of a clergyman who was an inventor, Trollope also experimented in her own way, writing in a diverse array of novelistic genres. Her fiction includes novels set both in America and Europe that deal fictionally with the issues raised in her travel writing; social-problem novels attacking the abuses of slavery in America, the factory system, and the new Poor Law; religious novels that contain anti-Catholic and anti-Evangelical strains; strong women and marriage novels; a pair of novels about the publishing industry; and an early crime novel. Though she was consistently critiqued during her life, she was also widely read. Authors as varied as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë (b. 1816–d. 1855), William Thackeray (b. 1811–d. 1863), George Eliot (b. 1819–d. 1880), and Anthony Trollope were influenced by her work. Frances Trollope is a writer important in her own right, who also had a significant impact on the Victorian canon.

Biographies

The sons of Frances Trollope provide the first glimpses into her life in Trollope 2004 and Trollope 2009. Because Thomas Adolphus Trollope (b. 1810–d. 1892) lived with his mother, his memoir, Trollope 2004, includes a more extensive account than that of his brother Anthony Trollope Trollope 2009. Thomas Adolphus’s second wife, Frances Eleanor Trollope (b. 1835–d. 1913), produced the first full-length biography of her famous mother-in-law, in Trollope 1975. In the 20th century, interest in Frances Trollope began to revive after Michael Sadleir researched her life as background for his study of Anthony Trollope (Sadleir 1975). Bigland 1953, followed with a biography aimed at general audiences. Heineman 1979 is the first full academic biography of Frances Trollope. The author’s groundbreaking research was followed by two highly readable biographies directed at general as well as academic audiences: Ransom 1996 and Neville-Sington 1998.

  • Bigland, Eileen. The Indomitable Mrs Trollope. London: James Barrie, 1953.

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    Tells the story of Trollope’s life dramatically and in a manner that is accessible to all readers. Focuses particularly on Frances’s early life, travels in America, and relation to Anthony. Emphasizes family occurrences.

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  • Heineman, Helen. Mrs. Trollope: The Triumphant Feminine in the Nineteenth Century. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1979.

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    Includes extracts from Frances Trollope’s extant correspondence with friends, discusses her novels, and provides numerous quotations from then contemporary critical reviews, which are key to understanding the ambivalence with which Trollope’s works were received in the period. Heineman’s archival work revitalized modern scholarship on Frances Trollope.

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  • Neville-Sington, Pamela. Fanny Trollope: The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman. London: Penguin, 1998.

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    Integrates Trollope as a writer with Trollope as an extraordinary woman, by organizing her life around the titles of her novels. Situates Trollope in literary history, noting her similarities to Austen and her influence on her son Anthony Trollope. Includes brief readings of the novels as well as descriptions of events from Trollope’s life.

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  • Ransom, Teresa. Fanny Trollope: A Remarkable Life. Stroud, UK: Alan Sutton, 1996.

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    Emphasizes that the novelist encountered a series of setbacks, including bankruptcy and the deaths of her children, with relentless courage that led her to take chances that paid off. Suggests that in her fiction as well as her life, Trollope flaunted social convention.

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  • Sadleir, Michael. Trollope: A Commentary. New York: Octagon, 1975.

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    Describes Frances’s life as a prelude to discussing her son Anthony’s career. An early reading of her writing that focuses on her depictions of America and her social-problem novels. Provides a bibliography of her works. Originally published in 1947.

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  • Trollope, Anthony. An Autobiography. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing Classics, 2009.

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    Presents a thumbnail sketch of Frances Trollope as a jovial woman who gave little thought to her politics and wrote primarily for money. It has been argued that this portrait shut down interest in her work. Originally published in 1883.

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  • Trollope, Frances Eleanor. Frances Trollope: Her Life and Literary Work from George III to Victoria. 2 vols. New York: AMS, 1975.

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    Includes both family correspondence of and anecdotes about Frances Trollope. Provides invaluable information about the people the author knew and her private comments about both her work and public life. Originally published in 1895.

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  • Trollope, Thomas Adolphus. What I Remember. Chestnut Hill, MA: Elibron Classics, 2004.

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    Provides information about how Frances Trollope researched her novels and travel writings, including a section on her trip to the north of England to gather material for her anti-child-labor novel The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy. Originally published in 1888.

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Frances Wright

The writer and social reformer Frances Wright (b. 1795–d. 1852) played a key role in the life of Frances Trollope, convincing her to travel to America to participate in the experimental commune Wright had started at Nashoba. That journey led to Trollope’s first published book, an account of her travels in America. An ardent and public advocate for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, Wright influenced Trollope’s thinking as well as her career. Heineman 1983 considers the importance of the friendship between the two. Kissel 1988 explores Trollope’s feminism in relation to that of Frances Wright. Kissel 1994 compares and contrasts Wright’s politics with those of Trollope. Eckhardt 1984 is the key biography of Wright, while Lane 1972 discusses Wright’s radicalism. White 2004 is a fictional biography of Frances Trollope that focuses on her relation to Frances Wright and Wright’s antislavery activism.

  • Eckhardt, Celia Morris. Fanny Wright: Rebel in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.

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    Well-documented biography. Describes Frances Wright’s relations with Jeremy Bentham, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Robert Dale Owen. Explains her opposition to slavery, trip to Haiti, and incendiary public lectures on feminism.

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  • Heineman, Helen. Restless Angels: The Friendship of Six Victorian Women. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1983.

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    Uses the letters of six women, all but two of whom, Frances Trollope and Frances Wright, were relatively unknown, to reconstruct the radical-feminist and utopian ideals of the early 19th century.

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  • Kissel, Susan S. “What Shall Become of Us All? Frances Trollope’s Sense of the Future.” Studies in the Novel 20 (1988): 151–166.

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    Reads Trollope as forward looking in her creation of strong heroines in a series of novels, heroines she suggests are based in part on Trollope’s exposure to the feminism of Frances Wright.

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  • Kissel, Susan S. In Common Cause: The “Conservative” Frances Trollope and the “Radical” Frances Wright. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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    Compares Frances Trollope to Frances Wright. Discusses the complexities of Trollope’s political position and the limitations of the conservative label often applied to her.

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  • Lane, Margaret. Frances Wright and the “Great Experiment.” Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1972.

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    A book-length essay on Wright’s life that focuses on the experimental commune at Nashoba, where Trollope came to join Wright. Shows how Wright’s radicalism was ahead of its time.

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  • White, Edmund. Fanny: A Fiction. London: Vintage, 2004.

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    Imagines a radical narrative for Trollope’s life, based on the antislavery position taken by Frances Wright. Informed by history but with a conversational tone. White’s fictional memoir “dishes dirt” about what really happened to Frances Trollope in America.

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Bibliographies

There are no book-length bibliographies of Trollope criticism. There are bibliographies of the books she wrote, in Sadleir 1975 and Neville-Sington 1997. Watson 1987 provides a bibliography of her publications as well as a brief list of contemporary reviews. Johnston 1999 offers a more inclusive list of 19th-century reviews. Slingerman 1999 catalogues the contributions of Frances Trollope to Victorian periodicals.

Reference Works

There are a number of short general introductions to the life of Frances Trollope and the work available on her life both online and in various dictionaries of literary biographies and histories of women writers. For readers who want a quick overview of Trollope’s life and works, Adickes 1991; Blain, et al. 1990; and Shattock 1994 are the most useful. For entries that discuss Trollope in more detail, including fuller attention both to her life and literary reputation, see Garnett 1997, Neville-Sington 2004, and Schlueter and Schlueter 1998. The Frances Trollope Entry on the Overview screen at the Cambridge University Press website also provides an excellent introduction. Ayres 2006 is a web page that features very comprehensive articles about Frances Trollope.

  • Adickes, Sandra. “Frances Trollope.” In Dictionary of British Women Writers. Edited by Janet Todd, 674–677. London: Routledge, 1991.

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    A good, short introduction to Trollope’s life that concentrates on her antislavery novel The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi and her anti-child-labor novel The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy.

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  • Ayres, Brenda. “Frances Trollope.” In The Literary Encyclopedia. 2006.

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    Contains a 2,017-word biography of Trollope; a list of the author’s works; a chronology of her life and publications; recommended reading, including Web resources; and profiles of nine of her works. Available by subscription.

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  • Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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    A brief biography of Trollope, combined with an overview of her work that stresses her powers as a satirist.

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  • Frances Trollope. In Orlando: Women’s Writings in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Cambridge University Press.

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    Contains extensive entries on Trollope’s life and works. Available by subscription.

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  • Garnett, Richard. “Trollope, Frances.” In Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 57. Reprint with corrections by Robert Norman William Blake and George Smith. London: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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    Long entry by a personal friend of the Trollopes. Recounts the lives of the family and discusses the reception of Trollope’s books. Explains that she was repeatedly critiqued for vulgarity but defends her as a successful anti-idealistic comic writer. Originally published in 1899.

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  • Neville-Sington, Pamela. “Trollope, Frances.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 55. Edited by H. C. G. Matthew, Brian Harrison, and British Academy, 408–411. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    Detailed entry by a recent biographer. Includes substantial descriptions of Trollope’s travels to America and in Europe and a portrait of the novelist. Discusses her writing career, literary reputation, and impact on novelists such as Charles Dickens.

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  • Schlueter, Paul, and June Schlueter, eds. An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

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    A longish entry that contains a good capsule biography, discusses Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), and focuses on the social-problem novels. Links Trollope to Thomas Carlyle (b. 1795–d. 1881) and Charles Dickens.

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  • Shattock, Joanne, ed. The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    Good overview that lists a number of the novels and travel writings, references Trollope’s critics, and compares her to the later Victorian novelist Margaret Oliphant (b. 1828–d. 1897).

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Editions

Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997) is readily available in a paperback edition. The Alan Sutton Pocket Classics Series issued editions of Hargrave (Trollope 1996a), The Three Cousins (Trollope 1997), and The Vicar of Wrexhill (Trollope 1996b). Nonsuch Classics issued editions of Jessie Phillips (2006), The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy (2007), and The Widow Barnaby (2007). Pickering & Chatto published two four-volume scholarly editions of key Trollope novels: Ayres 2009 and Ayres 2011. Many novels of Frances Trollope that are not currently in print can be accessed at Google Books.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. 4 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

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    Includes the most discussed of Trollope’s works: her antislavery novel, her anti-Evangelical novel, her anti-child-labor novel, and her anti–Bastardy Clauses novel in their original illustrated form. Features an excellent general introduction on Frances Trollope and specific introductions for each novel, as well as textual and explanatory notes. The first volume also provides bibliographies of further reading on each novel.

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  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope. 4 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011.

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    Contains all three volumes about Trollope’s most popular heroine, the redoubtable Widow Barnaby, who travels the world in search of money and pleasure. Original illustrations included. The set closes with The Lottery of Marriage: A Novel, one of Trollope’s classic stories of marital machinations, which includes three widows and numerous couples. Contains extensive explanatory and textual notes as well as general and specific introductions and recommendations for further reading.

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  • Neville-Sington, Pamela, ed. Domestic Manners of the Americans. London: Penguin, 1997.

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    Account of Frances Trollope’s travels in America. Good general introduction, extensive notes, appendices containing prefaces, and later emendations. Does not include original illustrations.

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  • Trollope, Frances Milton. Hargrave. Pocket Classics. Stroud, UK, and Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton, 1996a.

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    An entertaining and early crime novel set in Paris, the story of a British lord, whose daughters gradually discover him to be a thief. Good brief introduction by a Trollope biographer.

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  • Trollope, Frances Milton. The Vicar of Wrexhill. Pocket Classics. Stroud, UK, and Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton, 1996b.

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    Trollope’s scandalous tale of a low-church vicar who seduces his parishioners. Good, brief introduction by Teresa Ransom, a Trollope biographer.

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  • Trollope, Frances Milton. The Three Cousins. Pocket Classics. Stroud, UK, and Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton, 1997.

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    A classic example of Trollope’s marriage plots, in which a set of individuals, both mercenary and nonmercenary, set out to find perfect matches. Good, brief introduction by Teresa Ransom, a Trollope biographer.

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Publication History

In the 1830s and 1840s, both fiction and travel writing would typically be published with illustrations. The earliest books of Frances Trollope were illustrated by Auguste Hervieu (b. 1794–d. post 1858), the French painter who traveled with her to America. Later, her novels were also illustrated by Robert William Buss (b. 1804–d. 1875); Thomas Onwhyn (b. 1814–d. 1886); Hablot Knight Browne, or “Phiz,” (b. 1815–d. 1882); and John Leech (b. 1817–d. 1864), all illustrators associated with Charles Dickens. Onwhyn did a set of illegitimate plates for Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby. Browne became the illustrator for The Pickwick Papers after Robert Seymour (b. 1798–d. 1836) died. Buss was commissioned to do plates for the second half of The Pickwick Papers but was too slow. He also did the famous portrait of Dickens, Dickens’s Dream. Leech did four plates for Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Few critics deal explicitly with Trollope’s illustrations. Muir 1989 provides a good general introduction to Victorian book illustrations. Brake and Demoor 2009 and Maxwell 2002 are anthologies of critical essays on illustrations in the Victorian book. Stewart 1989 discusses Hervieu’s experiences traveling with Trollope in Cincinnati. Danger 2009 analyzes Hervieu’s illustrations for Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions). Following Dickens’s example, novelists of the period also published in serial form. The Trollope novels that appeared serially were The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy; The Widow Married: A Sequel to the Widow Barnaby; Charles Chesterfield, or the Adventures of a Youth of Genius; The Blue Belles of England; The Barnabys in America; or, Adventures of the Widow Wedded; Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day; and The Robertses on Their Travels. There are no discussions of Trollope’s use of serial form. Patten 2006 discusses Dickens’s experience publishing in parts. Jordan and Patten 1995 is a useful anthology of essays on Victorian publishing in general and includes an essay by Hughes and Lund on serial publication. Sutherland 1995 offers a chapter on Dickens’s serial imitators.

  • Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, eds. The Lure of Illustration in the Nineteenth Century: Picture and Press. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

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    Essays that deal with the period from 1800 to 1840, the midcentury, and the 1890s. Extensive discussions both of Dickens’s and Victorian periodicals’ use of illustration.

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  • Danger, Sara R. “The Bonnet’s Brim: The Politics of Vision in Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans.” Philological Quarterly 88.3 (Summer 2009): 238–258.

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    Analyzes Hervieu’s illustrations for Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), stressing the importance of the bonnet and of women’s point of view.

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  • Jordan, John O., and Robert L. Patten. Literature in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century British Publishing and Reading Practices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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    A collection of essays that deals with Victorian publishing from William Wordsworth (b. 1770–d. 1850) through Walter Pater (b. 1839–d. 1894). Includes an essay by Linda K. Hughes and Michael Lund on the pleasures of serial reading.

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  • Maxwell, Richard. The Victorian Illustrated Book. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002.

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    A series of essays on Victorian book illustration that range from Walter Scott (b. 1771–d. 1837) to Henry James (b. 1843–d. 1916).

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  • Muir, John. Victorian Illustrated Books. London: Portman, 1989.

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    A full discussion of Victorian illustrating, with pictures from a number of books and discussions of Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”) and John Leech Leech, as well as a brief reference to Robert William Buss.

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  • Patten, Robert L. “Publishing in Parts.” In Palgrave Advances in Charles Dickens Studies. Edited by John Bowen and Robert L. Patten, 11–47. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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    Detailed discussion of the use of serial form by Charles Dickens and his dealings with his publishers. Provides a model for thinking about Trollope’s serial publications.

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  • Stewart, Robert G. “Auguste Hervieu, A Portrait Painter in Cincinnati.” Queen City Heritage 47.1 (1989): 23–31.

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    Describes the experiences of Hervieu in Cincinnati, including his teaching of the sculptor Hiram Powers (b. 1805–d. 1873) and his painting both of portraits and historical subjects. Includes sample illustrations from Trollope’s works.

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  • Sutherland, John. “Dickens’s Serializing Imitators.” In Victorian Fiction: Writers, Publishers, Readers. By John Sutherland, 87–106. New York: St. Martin’s, 1995.

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    This informed discussion of the serial publications of Trollope’s day reviews both publishers and authors and includes reproductions of the covers of a number of serials of the day.

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Essay Collections

There are two essay collections on Frances Trollope. Ayres 2002 provides an overview of Trollope’s work as well as a range of essays on key novels. It brings together the Trollope scholarship that was revitalized in the wake of the biography by Heineman 1979 (cited under Biographies). Wagner 2011 is a special issue of Women’s Writing that focuses on Trollope and marks the development of Trollope scholarship in the decade since the publication of Ayres’s volume.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Excellent opening essay by Ayres that explains both the vexed reception of Trollope’s novels and why her work repays the critical attention it has received. Followed by ten essays that analyze key Trollope works, including the social-problem novels, the mystery novels, the Widow Barnaby series, and the travel writing. Includes essays from two key Trollope biographers, Neville-Sington and Heineman.

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  • Wagner, Tamara S., ed. Special Issue: Frances Trollope. Women’s Writing 18.2 (May 2011).

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    Building on the Ayres anthology, this special issue opens with a general introduction that redefines Trollope’s place in the literary canon. It argues that Trollope’s propensity to bend and combine genres makes her an interesting rather than a failed writer. The seven essays that follow the introduction discuss Trollope novels that have not previously been examined in critical detail, including One Fault and The Barnabys in America; or, Adventures of the Widow Wedded. They also develop new arguments about novels that have already been discussed critically, such as The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy.

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America

Frances Trollope initially became famous for her satire on American life, Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), and subsequently published four novels set in America. The area that has been most fully explored in Trollope criticism involves her accounts of the New World. There are a number of general studies on Trollope and America. Pope-Hennessy 1987 discusses Trollope in relation to other English women who traveled in America. Heineman 1992 reads Trollope in relation to the male authors who followed her and wrote about America. Simmons 2000 tells the story of her American travels. Ellis 1993 reads her American novels in relation to her travel book. Wagner 2011 reads Trollope’s American writings as stories of failed emigration rather than travel.

Domestic Manners

From its first publication to the present day, Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) continues to attract more criticism than almost any other work of Frances Trollope. Rich 1833 provides a sampling of early American responses to Trollope’s book. Frazee 1969 offers an excellent book-length study of the book’s production and reception. Heineman 1969 defends the book against accusations of prejudice that were frequently applied to it. Ard 1993 compares it to Dickens’s travel writing. Smith 2003 discusses its portrait of the Mississippi. Cheng 2005 compares the book to the seminal work of Anna Harriette Leonowens (b. 1831–d. 1915): The English Governess at the Siamese Court. Flynn 2009 considers it in terms of the picturesque. McWilliams 2009 reads the responses of James Fennimore Cooper (b. 1789–d. 1851) to it.

Novels

The American novels of Frances Trollope consist of The Refugee in America: A Novel; The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi (discussed under Social Fiction); The Barnabys in America; or, Adventures of the Widow Wedded; and The Old World and the New: A Novel. Criticism of the novels has tended to focus on race and politics. Ayres 2011 provides a general introduction to The Barnabys in America. Pauk 2011 examines allusions to slavery in all of Trollope’s American writing. Cotugno 2005 analyzes how Trollope’s politics change between Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) and The Old World and the New. Flint 2009 analyzes the depictions of Native Americans in Trollope’s American novels, with a particular focus on The Old World and the New.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 3, The Barnabys in America; or, The Adventures of the Widow Wedded. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011.

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    The introduction by Tamara S. Wagner discusses the novel in relation to and as a satire of Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions). Emphasizes both the recurring themes in and the evolution of Trollope’s portraits of America. Works cited under the book are useful for further reading on the topic.

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  • Cotugno, Clare. “‘Stay Away from Paris!’: Frances Trollope Rewrites America.” Victorian Periodicals Review 38.2 (2005): 240–257.

    DOI: 10.1353/vpr.2005.0018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Charts the softening in Trollope’s portrait of America and changes in her political position that are reflected in the differences between The Old World and the New and Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Flint, Kate. “Impersonating the Indian.” In The Transatlantic Indian, 1776–1930. By Kate Flint, 95–101. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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    Discusses Trollope’s depictions of Shawnees in The Old World and the New, linking them to similar images of characters that appear in Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), The Refugee in America, and Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw.

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  • Pauk, Barbara, “‘Very Nearly Smiling’: Comedy and Slave Revolt in The Barnabys in America.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 214–232.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553269Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places Trollope’s antislavery writing in the context of contemporary abolitionist discourse. Discusses Trollope’s radical decision to depict a slave rebellion in the last of her Widow Barnaby novels. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Continental Europe

After her success with American travel writing, Frances Trollope published four books detailing her travels in various parts of continental Europe, as well as a series of sketches on traveling. She also wrote novels either about travels or set in the countries on which she had written travel books. This combination of writings made her a significant figure in the practice of women’s travel writing as it developed over the course of the 19th century. Both Buzard 2001 and Frawley 1994 help situate Trollope’s travel writing within this larger movement. Several articles focus on specific travel books. Hoog 1987 discusses Trollope’s treatment of George Sand in Paris and the Parisians in 1835. Ellis 2002 compares her writings about France to her writings about America. Pauk 2011 compares Trollope’s early travel writing to her late novel Fashionable Life; or, Paris and London. Yates 1980 discusses Trollope’s portraits of Germany and Austria.

  • Buzard, James. The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to “Culture,” 1800–1918. Oxford: Clarendon, 2001.

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    Provides an overall discussion of English and American travel writing in the 19th century. Analyzes Trollope’s travel book A Visit to Italy and her novel The Robertses on Their Travels.

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  • Ellis, Linda Abbess. “Fanny Who?” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 153–161. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Analyzes Paris and the Parisians in 1835 in relation to Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) and A Visit to Italy.

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  • Frawley, Maria H. A Wider Range: Travel Writing by Women in Victorian England. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1994.

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    Discusses Victorian women’s travel writing. Includes a general consideration of Trollope that pays particular attention to Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) and A Visit to Italy.

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  • Hoog, Marie-Jacques. “Trollope’s Choice: Frances Trollope Reads George Sand.” In Woman as Mediatrix: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Women Writers. Edited by Avriel Goldberger and Germaine Bree, 59–72. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1987.

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    Discusses Trollope’s sympathetic, nuanced, and forward-looking treatment of George Sand’s work in Paris and the Parisians in 1835.

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  • Pauk, Barbara. “‘The Parisian Beau Monde’: Frances Trollope’s Representations of France.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 256–272.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553297Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stresses Trollope’s cosmopolitan perspective, by discussing the depictions of France in her travel writing and novels. Stresses the shift in the depiction of Paris after the revolution of 1848 that is reflected both in The Old World and the New and Fashionable Life. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Yates, W. E. “Frances Trollope in Germany and Austria.” German Life and Letters 34.1 (1980): 155–166.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0483.1980.tb00214.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that, despite some inaccuracies and stereotypes, Trollope’s travel books—Belgium and Western Germany in 1833 including Visits to Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Cassel, Hanover, the Harz Mountains, and c & c and Viennna and the Austrians, with Some Account of a Journey through Swabia, Bavaria, the Tyrol, and the Salzbourg—provide vivid details of 19th-century life in these German-speaking countries. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Social Fiction

Frances Trollope was a key player as the 19th-century novel began to think of itself as a form that addressed contemporary social issues. Tillotson 1985 provides a good general background of social fiction of the period when Trollope was writing. Brantlinger 1977 focuses on the relation between the novel and the politics of reform. Both Gallagher 1985 and Bodenheimer 1991 address political content and the changing form of the novel. Kestner 1985 and Elliott 2002 address the gendered implications of the 19th-century novel’s consideration of social reform. Claybaugh 2007 demonstrates that the novel of purpose was transatlantic and addressed personal as well as social reform. Adams 2002 argues that the groundbreaking social and political arguments of Trollope’s fiction set the stage for later writers.

  • Adams, Susan S. Kissel. “Frances Trollope’s ‘Modern’ Influence: Creating New Fictions, New Readers, a New World.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 163–181. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Reads Trollope’s novels as radically reformist and as setting the stage for works by Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Anthony Trollope.

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  • Bodenheimer, Rosemary. The Politics of Story in Victorian Social Fiction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

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    A wide-ranging discussion of how mid-Victorian fiction addresses political and social issues. Reads The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy and Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day as paternalist romances in the melodramatic genre that have heroines rather than heroes.

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  • Brantlinger, Patrick. The Spirit of Reform: British Literature and Politics, 1832–1867. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977.

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    Excellent discussion of British literature in the period between the reform bills of 1832 and 1867. Briefly mentions Trollope’s The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy and Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day.

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  • Claybaugh, Amanda. The Novel of Purpose: Literature and Social Reform in the Anglo-American World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007.

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    Discusses the emergence of what Victorians called the novel of purpose, a transatlantic phenomenon that addressed temperance as well as general social reform. References Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) in discussing Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation.

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  • Elliott, Dorice Williams. The Angel out of the House: Philanthropy and Gender in Nineteenth-Century England. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2002.

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    Analyzes images of female philanthropy in the 19th-century social novel. Includes references to The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi; The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy; and Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day.

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  • Gallagher, Catherine. The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction: Social Discourse and Narrative Form, 1836–1867. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

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    Charts the transformation of the English novel as it became politicized at midcentury. Particular interest in the rhetorical links between industrial labor and slavery. Brief mention of The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy.

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  • Kestner, Joseph A. Protest and Reform: The British Social Narrative by Women, 1827–1867. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

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    Argues that 19th-century social-problem novels became the province of women writers. Discusses The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy and Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day.

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  • Tillotson, Kathleen. Novels of the Eighteen-Forties. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985.

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    Good general introduction that discusses the emergence of social fiction in the period. Brief references to Trollope.

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The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi

Frances Trollope’s The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi is one of the earliest English novels to depict the evils of slavery in America.

Critical Essays

Criticism of The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw includes Scudder 1944 on the novel’s impact on Harriet Beecher Stowe (b. 1811–d. 1896); Button 1994 on Frances Trollope as an abolitionist; Carpenter 2002 on its depiction of female slaves; and Michie 2011 on it as a model for Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby. Ayres 2009 provides a good general introduction and background to the novel.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 1, The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or Scenes on the Mississippi. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

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    Christine Sutphin’s introduction (pp. xli–lxv) locates the novel in the history of abolitionist writing. Extensive bibliography that provides further reading on writings about slavery in the period.

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  • Button, Marilyn D. “Reclaiming Mrs. Frances Trollope: British Abolitionist and Feminist.” College Language Association Journal 38.1 (September 1994): 64–86.

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    Discusses Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw as growing out of Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions) and as an early English antislavery novel. Particularly interested in Trollope’s depictions of women in the plantation system. Available online by subscription.

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  • Carpenter, Mary Wilson. “Figuring Age and Race: Frances Trollope’s Matronalia.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 103–118. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Analyzes Trollope’s radical portrait of the powerful and rebellious elderly black slave.

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  • Michie, Elsie Browning. “Morbidity in Fairyland: Frances Trollope, Charles Dickens, and the Rhetoric of Abolition.” Partial Answers 9.2 (2011): 233–250.

    DOI: 10.1353/pan.2011.0023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby takes themes and images from Trollope’s successful antislavery novel, which had appeared two years before it. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Scudder, Harold S. “Mrs. Trollope and Slavery in America.” Notes and Queries 187.29 (19 July 1944): 46–48.

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    Reads Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw as an unacknowledged model for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

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Cultural Context

Readings that provide a cultural context for Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw include Turley 1991 and Blackburn 2011, which provide good general historical readings of the culture of the English antislavery movement. Child 2008 and Hildreth 1969 are antislavery documents that appeared around the same time as this novel by Frances Trollope. Duras 1994 and Favret 1998 may help explain Trollope’s interest in mixed blood and flogging. Lee 2010 considers the relation between slave narratives and the English novel.

  • Blackburn, Robin. The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776–1848. London: Verso, 2011.

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    A history of abolitionism from its earliest moments to midcentury. Chapter 11, “The Struggle for British Slave Emancipation: 1823–38,” is particularly useful background for reading Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw.

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  • Child, Lydia Maria. An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans. Bedford, MA: Applewood Books, 2008.

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    This antislavery manifesto from the same period as Trollope’s novel is a text she might have read in researching her novel. When Lydia Maria Child (b. 1802–d. 1880) was editor of the newspaper the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1841, she published Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw serially. Originally published in 1836.

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  • Duras, Clare de Durfort. Ourika. Translated by John Fowles. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1994.

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    A French novel about a woman who becomes suicidal once she discovers she is part African. Has been considered a possible source for a Trollope subplot about the granddaughter of a slave who has been raised in Europe and commits suicide upon discovering her racial origins.

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  • Favret, Mary A. “Flogging: The Anti-Slavery Movement Writes Pornography.” In Romanticism & Gender. Essays and Studies 51. Edited by Anne F. Janowitz, 19–43. Cambridge, UK: Brewer, 1998.

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    Discusses the sexual connotations of depictions of flogging in antislavery literature. Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw contains several key scenes that involve eroticized references to flogging.

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  • Hildreth, Richard. Archy Moore, the White Slave; or, Memoirs of a Fugitive. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969.

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    A slave narrative that appeared shortly after Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw. Useful for comparison. Originally published in 1836.

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  • Lee, Julia Sun-Joo. The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    A reading of the slave narrative’s impact on the Victorian novel. Only one reference to Trollope, but it is helpful for understanding the potential impact of her antislavery novel.

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  • Turley, David. The Culture of English Antislavery, 1780–1860. London and New York: Routledge, 1991.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203169339Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reads English abolition in relation to Britain’s general evolution in the 19th century, with particular interest in changes in religion and class structure. Addresses many of the issues that underlie Trollope’s novel, from a historical perspective.

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The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy

Appearing shortly after Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Frances Trollope’s The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy presents a critique of child labor in factories.

Critical Essays

Because of the importance of The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy as a factory novel, there is a sizable body of criticism on the novel. Chaloner 1960 discusses the research of Frances Trollope. Zlotnick 2001 reads it in relation to women’s critique of the factory system. Betensky 2010 analyzes the novel’s use of sympathy. Elliott 2000 compares the servants in the novel to the workers. Joshi 2002 reads Trollope in relation to Thomas Carlyle (b. 1795–d. 1881). Ayres 2009 provides a good general introduction. Readings interested in the novel’s form include Harsh 2002 and Walton 2011.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 3, The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

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    Joshi’s general introduction to the novel includes a useful bibliography of further reading on the factory system.

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  • Betensky, Carolyn. “Knowing Who Cares and Caring Who Knows in Michael Armstrong and Oliver Twist.” In Feeling for the Poor: Bourgeois Compassion, Social Action, and the Victorian Novel. By Carolyn Betensky, 23–58. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010.

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    Discusses Oliver Twist as a model for The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy. Reads both novels as anxious over how much middle-class readers actually know about social abuses such as oppressive factory systems.

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  • Chaloner, W. H. “Mrs. Trollope and the Early Factory System.” Victorian Studies 4.2 (1960): 159–166.

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    Discusses Trollope’s visit to the north of England to do research for her novel. Notes the reuse of Hervieu’s illustration for the novel in later antifactory texts. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Elliott, Dorice. “Servants and Hands: Representing the Working Classes in Victorian Factory Novels.” Victorian Literature and Culture 28 (2000): 377–390.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1060150300282089Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares the depiction of servants in The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy to that of factory workers. Particularly interested in the similarities between middle-class and working-class women. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Harsh, Constance. “Putting Idiosyncrasy in Its Place: Michael Armstrong in Light of Trollope’s Early Fiction.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 119–135. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Argues that this novel differs from the social-problem novels of the period, in its fascination with characters’ personal idiosyncrasies.

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  • Joshi, Priti. “Michael Armstrong: Rereading the Industrial Plot.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 35–53. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Reads Trollope’s novel as echoing Thomas Carlyle in its critique of the factory system and its utopian imagining of potential brotherly relations between mill owners and workers.

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  • Walton, Susan. “Industrial Sightseeing and Frances Trollope’s Michael Armstrong, The Factory Boy.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 273–292.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553321Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses how, along with Trollope’s gender, the serial form and illustrations of the novel contributed to its reception as scandalous. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Zlotnick, Susan. Women, Writing, and the Industrial Revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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    Discusses the novel as an example of 19th-century women writers’ role in critiquing the industrial system. Compares Trollope to Charlotte Tonna (b. 1790–d. 1846). Emphasizes the sexualization of the factory.

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Cultural Context

Like Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw, Frances Trollope’s The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy needs to be read in its cultural context. Both modern and 19th-century discussions of the factory system illuminate Michael Armstrong. Gray 2002 gives a good general introduction to mid-19th-century debates about the factory system. Gaskell 1968, Freedgood 2003, and Simmons 2007 provide access to writings about factory life that were contemporaneous with Trollope’s novel. Cunliffe 1979 and Drescher 1981 discuss the link between abolition and factory protest, two subjects of interest to Trollope.

  • Cunliffe, Marcus. Chattel Slavery and Wage Slavery: The Anglo-American Context 1830–1860. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1979.

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    Discusses the link between abolition and critiques of the factory systems. Locates Trollope’s novel in this overlap.

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  • Drescher, Seymour. “Cart Whip and Billy Roller: Antislavery and Reform Symbolism in Industrial Britain.” Journal of Social History 15.1 (1981): 3–24.

    DOI: 10.1353/jsh/15.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Links abolitionist discourse to factory critiques by way of objects used to punish slaves and workers. The billy roller plays a key role in Trollope’s anti-industrial novel, as whipping does in her antislavery novel. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Freedgood, Elaine, ed. Factory Production in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Victorian Archives Series 2. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    An anthology of various writings about factories and labor that begins with Adam Smith (b. 1723–d. 1790) and ends with Mahatma Gandhi (b. 1869–d. 1948). Section 3, “Calculating Losses,” which deals with child labor and industrial injuries, is particularly useful for contextualizing Michael Armstrong.

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  • Gaskell, Peter. Artisans and Machinery. New York: Kelley, 1968.

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    A nonfictional critique of the factory system that appeared seven years before Trollope’s novel. Helpful in giving modern readers a feel for the opposition to industrialism in the period. Originally published in 1833.

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  • Gray, Robert Q. The Factory Question and Industrial England: 1830–1860. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    General discussion of midcentury debates about the evils and benefits of the factory system. Includes a reading of Michael Armstrong that addresses the novel’s incendiary illustrations as well as its written text.

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  • Simmons, James R., ed. Factory Lives: Four Nineteenth-Century Working-Class Autobiographies. Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2007.

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    Anthologizes four 19th-century workers’ accounts of their abusive experiences in the factory. Of most importance in regard to Trollope is the first, John Brown’s A Memoir of Robert Blincoe, An Orphan Boy Sent from the Workhouse of St. Pancras, London, at Seven Years of Age, To Endure the Horrors of a Cotton-Mill, sections of which provided incidents for Michael Armstrong. Excellent introduction by Janice Carlisle that discusses the political impact of these works.

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Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day

Like Frances Trollope’s The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw; or, Scenes on the Mississippi and The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy, her novel Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day addresses a social issue that was of concern in Trollope’s period: the Bastardy Clauses, which were passed as part of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

Critical Essays

Brandser 2000 reads Frances Trollope’s Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day in relation to the law in general. Both Graff 2002 and Goodlad 2003 discuss the novel’s depictions of the individual’s relation to the state. Ayres 2009 provides a general introduction. Mitchell 1974 links it to other fallen-women narratives.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 4, Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

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    Graff’s general introduction links the novel to contemporary discussions of relief of poverty. Bibliography with further reading on the topic.

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  • Brandser, Kristin J. “In Defense of ‘Murderous Mothers’: Feminist Jurisprudence in Frances Trollope’s Jessie Phillips.” Journal of Victorian Culture 5 (2000): 179–209.

    DOI: 10.3366/jvc.2000.5.2.179Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Trollope’s novel engages in “feminist jurisprudence” by critiquing the patriarchal assumptions of contemporary laws, including most prominently the Bastardy Clauses.

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  • Goodlad, Lauren. “Making the Working Man Like Me: Charity, the Novel, and the Poor Law.” In Victorian Literature and the Victorian State: Character and Governance in a Liberal Society. By Lauren Goodlad, 32–86. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

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    Explores discourses about poverty and the “workhouse,” including writings by James Kay-Shuttleworth (b. 1804–d. 1877) and Harriet Martineau (b. 1802–d. 1876). Reads Trollope’s Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day and Oliver Twist as presenting similarly interesting arguments about the Poor Law.

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  • Graff, Barbara-Ann. “‘Fair, Fat, and Forty’: Social Redress and Fanny Trollope’s Literary Activism.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 53–70. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Detailed analysis of the novel’s multiple plots, focusing on Trollope’s contribution to contemporary social debates about the proper relations between individuals and the state.

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  • Mitchell, Sally. “Lost Women: Feminist Implications of the Fallen in Forgotten Women Writers of the 1840s.” The University of Michigan Papers in Women’s Studies 2 (June 1974): 110–124.

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    Places Jessie Phillips among a series of novels and essays about fallen women and infanticide written between 1840 and 1853. Embeds the story Trollope tells in periodical literature of the period.

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Cultural Context

Background reading on the Poor Law will help readers understand the political context of Frances Trollope’s, Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day . Webb and Webb 1973 is the classic study of the history of the Poor Law. More-recent accounts include Brundage 1978 and Mandler 1990. Both Henriques 1967 and Cody 2000 provide good introductions to debates around the Bastardy Clauses. Trollope’s novel also touches on infanticide. Krueger 2010 discusses Victorian legal debates about infanticide.

  • Brundage, Anthony. The Making of the New Poor Law: The Politics of Inquiry, Enactment, and Implementation, 1832–1839. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1978.

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    Discussion that focuses on the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and its relation to increased bureaucratization.

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  • Cody, Lisa Forman. “The Politics of Illegitimacy in an Age of Reform: Women, Reproduction, and Political Economy in England’s New Poor Law of 1834.” Journal of Women’s History 11.4 (February 2000): 131–156.

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    Analyzes debates for and against the Bastardy Clauses, which removed the responsibility of the fathers of illegitimate children to pay child support. Includes a discussion of Cousin Marshall by Harriet Martineau (b. 1802–d. 1876), an early fictional treatment of the issue that appeared in her Illustrations of Political Economy: Selected Tales. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Henriques, U. R. Q. “Bastardy and the New Poor Law.” Past & Present 37 (July 1967): 103–129.

    DOI: 10.1093/past/37.1.103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains the Bastardy Clauses, how they were initially passed, and how and why they were eventually repealed, a process of particular significance for Trollope’s novel, which supports their repeal. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Krueger, Christine L. “Concealing Women’s Mens Rea: Advocacy for Female Prisoners and Infanticidal Mothers.” In Reading for the Law: British Literary History and Gender Advocacy. By Christine L. Krueger, 203–236. Victorian Literature and Culture Series. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010.

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    Considers legal discussions and literary representations of women’s testimony in trials for infanticide. Includes references to Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day.

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  • Mandler, Peter. “Tories and Paupers: Christian Political Economy and the Making of the New Poor Law.” Historical Journal 33.1 (1990): 81–103.

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    Considers the passage of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act in relation to Tory politics—a question of interest to Trollope scholars, since Trollope is typically deemed to write from the position of a Tory Radical. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Webb, Beatrice, and Sidney Webb. English Poor Law Policy. Clifton, NJ: Kelley, 1973.

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    Classic study of the history and policy of the English Poor Laws, written by two late-19th-century socialists.

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Religious Novels

Frances Trollope wrote both anti-Catholic and anti-Evangelical novels.

Critical Essays

Griffin 2003 discusses gender and anti-Catholicism in Frances Trollope’s The Abbess: A Romance and Father Eustace. Both Schiefelbein 2001 and Wilt 2009 discuss the appealing aspects of Trollope’s Jesuit priest, Father Eustace. Ayres 2011 links The Vicar of Wrexhill (Trollope 1996b, cited under Editions) to the history of dissenting religion. Michie 2009 associates it with 1820s and 1830s anxieties about dissent. Murray 2002 discusses it in relation to the Evangelical movement.

  • Ayres, Brenda. “The Vexing Vicar of Wrexhill: Frances Trollope’s Vinegary Distaste for Evangelicism.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 198–213.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553268Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reads the novel as a reaction to contemporary Anglican fears about the spread of Evangelicism. Detailed and well-referenced discussion of the history both of Helbeck of Bannisdale and Evangelical and anti-Evangelical writings. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 2, The Vicar of Wrexhill. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

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    Murray provides a good introduction that focuses on Trollope’s use of the Anglican concepts of nature and grace, her women characters, her personal experience with Evangelicism, and her depictions of religious subterfuge. Extensive works cited for further reading.

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  • Griffin, Susan. “Revising the Popish Plot: Frances Trollope’s The Abbess and Father Eustace.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31.1 (2003): 279–293.

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    Argues that Trollope uses anti-Jesuitical plots to create novels with strong female figures and maternal bonds. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Michie, Elsie B. “Vulgar Christianity.” In Victorian Vulgarity: Taste in Verbal and Visual Culture. Edited by Susan David Bernstein and Elsie B. Michie, 71–84. Farnham, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.

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    Shows that Trollope, like Thomas Carlyle, was worried about the collapse of social hierarchy associated with the rise of Evangelicism and the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act in 1828. Links Trollope’s novel to a historical account of an Evangelical vicar.

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  • Murray, Douglas. “A ‘Serious Epidemic’: Frances Trollope and the Evangelical Movement.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 71–83. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Links the novel to the real-life vicar about whom it was supposedly written and to Trollope’s anti-Evangelical portraits of American revivalism in The Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions).

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  • Schiefelbein, Michael E. “‘The Shelter of Authority’: Frances Trollope’s Concession to Catholicism in Father Eustace.” In The Lure of Babylon: Seven Protestant Novelists and Britain’s Roman Catholic Revival. By Michael E. Schiefelbein, 101–128. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2001.

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    Argues that Trollope’s covert sympathy for Catholicism allows her to articulate both her liberal and conservative values in relation to her portrait of a tragic Jesuit priest.

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  • Wilt, Judith. “Three Women Writers and the ‘Jesuit Sublime’: Or, Jesuits in Love.” Religion and the Arts 13.1 (2009): 1–13.

    DOI: 10.1163/156852908X357399Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the sexual appeal of Jesuits in Trollope’s Father Eustace, as well as A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald (b. 1753–d. 1821) and Helbeck of Bannisdale by Mrs. Humphry Ward (b. 1851–d. 1920). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Cultural Context

Like the social-problem novels of Frances Trollope, it is useful to read her religious novels in a cultural context. Wolff 1977 provides an overview of Victorian religious novels. Griffin 2009 provides general background on anti-Catholicism and the Victorian novel. Cunningham 1977 does the same for anti-Evangelicism. Wohl 1996 appears on the Victorian Web website and features a list of books on anti-Catholicism. Chadwick 1997 provides a window into the historical and religious context of Trollope’s The Vicar of Wrexhill (Trollope 1996b, cited under Editions).

Strong-Women and Marriage Novels

Most of the novels of Frances Trollope include strong women characters. Many of them are also concerned with what Trollope describes as the lottery of marriage. The works most often discussed in terms of a strong female protagonist are the three novels about the Widow Barnaby, the most popular of Trollope’s heroines. Heineman 1984a is a chapter on all the Widow Barnaby novels, Heineman 1984b is a chapter tracing the emergence of independent women as protagonists in Trollope’s novels, and Heineman 1984c is a chapter on the Trollope novels with the clearest focus on marriage. Heath 2009 discusses Frances Trollope’s widow as a model for Anthony Trollope’s characters. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope (Ayres 2011a, Ayres 2011b, and Ayres 2011c) provides a general introduction to The Widow Barnaby, The Widow Married, and The Lottery of Marriage: A Novel. Michie 2011 considers the story of an abusive marriage in One Fault.

  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 1, The Widow Barnaby. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011a.

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    Ann-Barbara Graff’s introduction provides a good general discussion of the themes in the novel, including Trollope’s portraits of widows and old maids as well as of young lovers. Situates the novel as a social satire about sexual double standards. Explores its relation to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Works-cited section helpful for further reading.

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  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 2, The Widow Married: A Sequel to “The Widow Barnaby.” London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011b.

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    Abigail Bloom’s introduction reads the novel as a social satire on Victorian ideas about marriage, family, and child rearing, as well as social self-presentation and getting ahead. Works-cited section useful for further reading on these topics.

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  • Ayres, Brenda, ed. The Widow and Wedlock Novels of Frances Trollope. Vol. 4, The Lottery of Marriage. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011c.

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    Elsie Michie’s introduction reads the novel as making a political as well as social commentary through its references to the radical utopian thinking of philosopher Charles Fourier (b. 1772–d. 1837), which Trollope would have been exposed to through her friendship with Frances Wright (b. 1795–d. 1852). The works-cited section provides further reading in these topics.

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  • Heath, Kay. “Marriageable at Midlife: The Remarrying Widows of Frances Trollope and Anthony Trollope.” In Aging by the Book: The Emergence of Midlife in Victorian Britain. By Kay Heath,115–143. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009.

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    Discusses Trollope’s unconventional decision to make a forty-year-old woman the heroine of her novels. Argues that the Widow Barnaby was the model for the Widow Greenow in Anthony Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her?, a novel written at the time of his mother’s death.

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  • Heineman, Helen. “Novels of Feminine Consciousness: The Independent Woman.” In Frances Trollope. Twayne’s English Authors Series 370. By Helen Heineman, 123–133. Boston: Twayne, 1984a.

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    This chapter explains that in the last years of her career, Trollope turned her fiction to independent women who defy the imperative to marry. Heineman’s discussion includes Petticoat Government; Mrs. Matthews, or, Family Mysteries: A Novel; Uncle Walter: A Novel; The Young Heiress; The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman; Gertrude, or, Family Pride; and Fashionable Life, or, Paris and London.

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  • Heineman, Helen. “Novels of Feminine Consciousness: The Strong Woman.” In Frances Trollope. Twayne’s English Authors Series 370. By Helen Heineman, 82–99. Boston: Twayne, 1984b.

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    After noting strong women characters in Trollope’s The Abbess: A Romance, Tremordyn Cliff , The Ward of Thorpe-Combe, and One Fault, the chapter focuses on Trollope’s Widow Barnaby trilogy (The Widow Barnaby; The Barnabys in America; or, Adventures of the Widow Wedded; and The Widow Married: A Sequel to the Widow Barnaby), noting the power of a comic heroine who successfully makes her way in a male-dominated world.

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  • Heineman, Helen. “Novels of Feminine Consciousness: The Marital Imperative.” In Frances Trollope. Twayne’s English Authors Series 370. By Helen Heineman, 100–122. Boston: Twayne, 1984c.

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    As Trollope’s career progressed, she tended to include in her novels female characters who attempt to manipulate and/or resist the marital imperative. Heineman’s discussion includes Trollope’s two books about public literary culture (Charles Chesterfield, London, 1841, and The Blue Belles of England, London: Saunders & Otley, 1842), five books about fortune hunters, and two about unhappy wives.

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  • Michie, Elsie B. “Frances Trollope’s One Fault and the Evolution of the Novel.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 167–181.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reads Trollope’s depiction of an abusive marriage between a wealthy man and a poor woman in One Fault as an intermediate step between Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Crime Novels

Frances Trollope displayed a persistent interest in crime. Katritzky 2002 discusses the most explicit of Trollope’s crime novels, Hargrave (Trollope 1996a, cited under Editions). Sussex 2011 links that novel to other depictions of crime in Trollope.

  • Katritzky, Linde. “The Intriguing Case of Hargrave: A Tragi-Comedy of Manners.” In Frances Trollope and the Novel of Social Change. Edited by Brenda Ayres, 138–151. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    Discusses the novel’s depictions of crime, as well as the detection that occurs, and links them to other fictional and real-life instances of jewelry robberies and detectives.

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  • Sussex, Lucy. “Frances Trollope as Crime Writer.” Women’s Writing 18.2 (2011): 182–197.

    DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2011.553266Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an excellent history of early crime writing and relates Hargrave to other Trollope novels that involve detection, including The Refugee in America: A Novel and Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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LAST MODIFIED: 04/24/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199799558-0073

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