Trollope is an interesting writer. His characters are obviously drawn true to life - he doesn't, like Dickens, overly exaggerate them or generally present them as caricatures (though there are exceptions) - but this tends to make them less interesting. However, he does delve quite deeply into clerical life and this makes the characters attractive.
Trollope doesn't like the Evangelicals in the Church of England. So Barchester Towers is aimed at ridiculing them in the person of Mr Slope. Slope, quite obviously, is a caricature though there is ample evidence that such people existed in the Church of England. However, though what he says is far removed from the true doctrinal position of the evangelical in the Church, the situation we find Slope in is not. He has Slope eating out of the hand of a lovely woman - alas, many an evangelical has found themselves in such a position. Slope is quite obviously antagonistic toward those of the High Church persuasion, and history is full of such episodes.
Nowhere in the book does Trollope seem to have any feeling for the evangelical with regard to spiritual things and, in the case of the Revd. Mr Slope, if he does, he certainly doesn't show it.
I just love the Barchester scene: the old warden is wonderfully portrayed; the battle between the clergy seems totally real; Eleanor Bold is a picture of an honest woman, lately widowed, unaware of the interest of a couple young clergymen; and Mrs Poudie is as large as life as she opposes her husband the Bishop in his designs - who has not seen a similar creature take control of her husband and rule through him!
Yes, an enjoyable account of clerical life in the mid-19th century. I found it a most gratifying read!...Continua