Thursday, September 29, 2016
Trollope's prescient narrator and some remarks on the conclusion to Barchester Towers
Yes, Trollope does bring Slope back for at least a cameo in the closing chapters of Barchester Towers - still think he missed a big opportunity to give Slope an exit scene - I'll be revenged on the whole lot of you! - but it's not that Trollope didn't recognize his mistake. His sly narrator is always a few steps ahead of the game, and in one of the concluding chapters he acknowledges the very flaw I discussed in yesterday's post: Novels tend to end w/ happiness and unity, and the evil and eccentric characters get pushed to the side, and he wasn't about to break w/ convention. Well, he should have - I think all readers will agree, all contemporary readers at least, that AT was spinning his wheels in the last chapters, tying the threads together and meeting his word quota for payment. All that said, BT is a pretty fine achievement - I think the less-read Dr. Thorne, the follow-up in the series, is probably even better - so at some point I will continue with the Barchester novels and I wonder what Trollope's prescient narrator would have to say about that.