The Pearl of Allington

In the spirit of the gentle narration of the Bronte Sisters, Anthony Trollope introduces one of his main characters in The Small House at Allington with the words:

… my reader must know that she is to be very dear, and that my story will be nothing to him if he does not love Lily Dale.

It reminded me of Henry James repeatedly referring to Isabel Archer as “our heroine”. This established a dual intimacy – one between the reader and the writer, the other between the writer and his muse – and it was one of the reasons I enjoyed that novel so very much.

As noted in the previous post, Clifton Fadiman holds Trollope in high regard. I picked up this book with no other knowledge of Trollope or his body of work, just to see what Fadiman meant by a book that “ministers to the tired night-welcoming mind.” I am inclined to give it a try, as a change of pace, to recover from too many pages of Love in the Time of Cholera – a book that it is impossible to read with a calm mind. Allington is a big book and the pace in the first three chapters is nothing if not leisurely, so it will be a long time before I know what to make of Lilian Dale.

5 thoughts on “The Pearl of Allington”

  1. Hey Mirkwood,

    I’m a grad-student as well, and N will soon be uncomfortably large for me. In the meantime, I was wondering if you would consider sharing your Sandbox CSS for Mirkwood?


  2. Diwaker: I’ll be happy to share the CSS. In fact, Scott Wallick, who developed the Sandbox theme, is going to put up a Wiki where he is going to post my K2-mod. This should come up soon, and you’re free to take the code. My modifications aren’t anything to rave about really – I was just taking Andy’s Sandbox and teaching myself some CSS ;).

    I see that you are already running K2 on a hosted domain (I’m very very jealous!), so I am wondering what you might do with a K2-skin when you have the real thing with all its bells and whistles. In any case, if you can’t wait until Scott puts up his wiki, just let me know where I should send the CSS.

    You’re at N=3 so, there is still some way to go ;).

  3. I’m go glad I discovered your site! I like Trollope a lot for the very tone you’ve identified, a tone that permeates Barchester Towers, the Trollope novel I like best and one I wrote about recently on my blog.

    And thanks for the very clear post about how you put together the look of this blog. It’s rare to find someone with technical skills who’s also a very clear writer.

  4. Lily: It is great to find a Trollope enthusiast. I confess that I had never heard of him until I read Fadiman’s essay. I will read your entry on Barchester Towers this evening. I think that this is a first of sorts: I am discussing a novel with a person whose screen name is the same as the protagonist’s!

    Thanks for the kind words about my writing. It is a continuing struggle, and one in which I am bloodied whenever I write my dissertation. The CSS upgrade was a nice excursion into CSS. I am very eager for Scott’s wiki to come online, and to see what other people have done with it.

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