Time to Celebrate Anthony Trollope
The Quintessential Family Saga
Over the years we have found great novels left by the wayside, just waiting for a brilliant interpreter / performer, to deliver the text in such a manner as to draw the listener in.
With the novels of Anthony Trollope this great performer was Timothy West.
To be sure there have been other performances, generally quite creditable, notably Stephen Thorne's Barchester Towers and Tony Britton's An Old Man's Love, but none have drawn us in the manner of Mr West.
The works of Anthony Trollope, in audio format, are in now way a complete record of his work. The titles still available fall into 3 broad categories.
The Chronicles of Barsetshire
The novels are The Warden (1855), Barchester Towers (1857), Doctor Thorne (1858), Framley Parsonage (1860), The Small House at Allington (1864) and The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)
The novels concern the dealings of the clergy and gentry, and the political, amatory, and social machinations that go on among and between them. Of the six novels, the second in the series, Barchester Towers, is generally the best known, while the Last Chronicle was Trollope's own favourite. This series is widely considered to be Trollope's best work.
There have been several excellent BBC dramatisations of the novels but all of them suffer in the same way. The drama of these works comes, in major part, by the care Trollope develops in the listener over time. The very fact of time spent with these characters is not something that a dramatisation can afford to spend. The best of the current dramatisations
lasts just under 19 hours.
The duration of the unabridged books to which it refers is just under 120 hours!
Below we have a selection of these great books -
many of which are only currently available on MP3 CD due to the considerable duration of the books.
The Palliser novels are
- Can You Forgive Her? (1865), Phineas Finn (1869), The Eustace Diamonds (1873),
Phineas Redux (1874), The Prime Minister (1876) and The Duke's Children (1880).
They were more commonly known (before the BBC aired a television adaptation) as the Parliamentary Novels. The common threads throughout the series are the wealthy aristocrat and politician Plantagenet Palliser, and his wife, Lady Glencora. The plots involve British and Irish politics in varying degrees, specifically in and around Parliament. The Pallisers do not always play major roles, and in The Eustace Diamonds they merely comment on the main action.
Again, Timothy West's boundless talents make these works wonderfully accessible and,
over the 149 hours of brilliant performance, we are treated to audiobook perfection.
The Way We Live Now (1875), Dr. Wortle's School (1881) and An Old Man's Love (1884).