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“Septimus Harding is a sweet name. But it was a little too much reform and not quite enough conflict between the actual reformers for my taste--Harding is too calm about everything...which I get, because he has morals, etc., but could he have at least rejected Mr. Bold as a suitor for his daughter?”see full review » see other reviews »
“This edition (1946 edition by Zodiac press) does not have any editor's notes. 202 pages. I read Barchester Towers first because it is recommended as the first book to read when you begin reading Trollope. However, Barchester Towers is actually second in a series, and The Warden is the first. I could understand why they recommend reading Barchester Towers first. Barchester Towers has many references to the events in the novel (the Warden's decision to leave his position) so that it piques your curiosity to know what the reason was. The book probably would be less interesting if your curiosity had not been aroused.
The plot: As the book opens, a middle-aged clergyman is enjoying a quiet and comfortable existence. The novel is set in the 1850's. One of the positions that he holds, as warden of a hospital for 12 aged men, is a position with light duties and a respectable income. A reformer questions the propriety of holding the position, as beneficiary of a charitable trust, when the amount of money that the warden is given is way out of proportion to the amount given to the elderly men who are supposed to be benefiting from it. A conversation ensues among the various characters of the book in which the pros and cons of the situation are debated. The Warden finally decides that, now that the propriety of the position has been called into question, he cannot in good conscience keep the position, and decides to resign it, against the advice of his friends. This will cause him to go from living a comfortable, though not extravagant, middle-class existence, to one that is near poverty. As the novel concludes, at almost 60 years of age he leaves the comfortable house and grounds attached to the position and moves with his adult daughter into rented lodgings above an apothecary's shop.
The author shows an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of how church livings are assigned during this time period. I believe it is usually regarded as comic and satirical. It discusses how worldly considerations influence what might have been thought as a theological decision, namely, how church positions should be assigned. There is not a whole lot of plot because almost the only thing that actually happens is the protagonist's decision to resign his post.”
“This first novel in Trollope's classic Chronicles of Barsetshire series pits reformer John Bold against Septimus Harding, the precentor of Barchester Cathedral and warden of Hiram's Hospital, an almshouse supported by a bequest to the local diocese. As Bold works to expose the fact that more of the charity's income goes to Harding than to its bedesmen, he begins to take a romantic interest in Harding's youngest daughter, Eleanor. In this audio edition, narrator David Shaw-Parker delivers a winning performance that keeps listeners engaged throughout. With a deep, accented voice Shaw-Parker brings this 19th-century novel to life. His timing and tone are spot-on and he creates distinct voices for the book's many characters.”Talking About Literature wrote this review Monday, October 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“love trollope, going to revisit barchester soon!”ColinWest wrote this review Thursday, March 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
1. The Warden
2. Barchester Towers”
“I do dearly love Anthony Trollope. He does such a good job of making complex characters one can appreciate. In fact, he's done such a good job that two stories he apparently did not originally intend to continue have become series. This is one. The series is referred to as the Barchester Chronicles.
The Warden is head of an almhouse set up by the will of a wealthy old man, John Hiram, hundreds of years before. The original intent was to shelter wool carders who could no longer work. This was significant, for the area made most of its wealth from the wool trade. But since the time of its founding, circumstances have changed, and so decisions have been made about Hiram Hospital. Now an ambitious reformer decides to bring suit to change these arrangements. Of course, the innocent Warden, Rev. Septimus Harding, is the victim of the controversy.
A simple story in outline, but told in fine detail that makes it hard to put down. Rev. Harding has two daughters, the elder married to the archdeacon of the cathedral, and the younger more-or-less engaged to the reformer who raised the fuss in the first place. How all this plays out is as sweet and sad as Trollope's thoughtful prose can provide.
Clearly worth reading, even if it wasn't the first of a series.”
“Returning to the Classics after a few years was like putting a pair of old comfy slippers on again. Great characterisation, humourous and plenty of food for thought.”Gill S wrote this review Wednesday, September 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Trollope is the Louis Theroux of his day”Kerry May Hullett wrote this review Saturday, April 14, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was Sarah's selection for family book club. After a very slow start, I enjoyed the novel. It presents an interesting social/political dilemma without indicating what the author believes to be the appropriate resolution. In that regard, it was a great relief from modern authors who can't resist beating their readers over their heads with their own point of view. The writing is good and Trollop's mastery of vocabulary is fun and admirable (and again not often found in current novels). Trollop's slow plot and two-dimensional characters detract somewhat from the novel, but it is the dilemma that is the star. It should provide for an interesting discussion (we meet this Friday). I am inclined to read Trollop's next installment in the Barchester Chronicles.”Elizabeth L wrote this review Monday, December 26, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was my first Trollope and I heard it on tape and truly enjoyed the reader's voice and delivery”Jean M wrote this review Wednesday, December 21, 2011. ( reply | view 1 replies | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Humorous and thought-provoking. I found Trollope's style and characterization very similar to Dickens (and was surprised and amused to see Trollope make a jab at Dickens near the end). Trollope's reflections on the press, reformers, lawyers, the clergy, and the importance of one's reputation are all extremely interesting. I am looking forward to reading more about Barchester.”Jen M wrote this review Saturday, March 26, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No