Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: John McCourt

The Irish Trollope

There are times when it feels like Anthony Trollope’s Irish novels might just as well have fallen overboard on the journey across the Irish Sea. Their disappearance would, for the better part of a century, have largely gone unnoticed and unlamented by readers and critics alike. Although interest has grown in recent times, the reality is that his Irish novels have never achieved more than qualified success, and occupy only a marginal place in his overall oeuvre.

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Anthony Trollope: an Irish writer

Nathaniel Hawthorne famously commented that Anthony Trollope’s quintessentially English novels were written on the “strength of beef and through the inspiration of ale … these books are just as English as a beef-steak.” In like mode, Irish critic Stephen Gwynn said Trollope was “as English as John Bull.” But unlike the other great Victorian English writers, Trollope became Trollope by leaving his homeland and making his life across the water in Ireland, and achieving there his first successes there in both his post office and his literary careers.

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