An Autobiography (Oxford World's Classics) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2009/8/3
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
Anthony Trollope is most famous for his portrait of the professional and landed classes of Victorian England, especially in his Palliser and Barsetshire novels. But he was also the author of one of the most fascinating autobiographies of the nineteenth century. Trollope was born in 1815, the son of a formidable mother and a tragically unsuccessful father. Poor, ill-dressed, awkward, and sullen, he was the victim of vicious bullying at Harrow and Winchester. But he managed later to carve out a successful career in the General Post Office while devoting every spare moment (except in hunting season) to writing. How he paid his groom to wake him every morning at 5.30 a.m. and disciplined himself to write 250 words every quarter of an hour has become part of literary legend. His efforts resulted in over sixty books, fortune, and fame, and in An Autobiography Trollope looks back on his life with some satisfaction. The facts he reveals and the opinions he records - about Dickens and George Eliot, politics and the civil service - are as revealing as the judgements he passes on his own character.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Anthony Trollope’s Autobiography was the third book I read this year as part of my Trollope project. I am committed to read four books by Trollope this year, but the summer is winding down with several especially long novels ahead of me in the Chronicles of Barsetshire. So, I chose An Autobiography primarily because it was shorter than those behemoths. I’m actually very happy that I read it because I enjoyed it thoroughly, and it added to my estimation of Trollope (which is pretty healthy as we head toward the end of this summer).
I enjoyed several things about this book:
1. Trollope overcame a lot. From other sources that I’ve read, I know that Trollope underwent even more than he reports in this autobiography, but he really did have a difficult beginning to his life. His family went through some pretty impoverished spells and were often forced to go running from down in order to escape Trollope’s father’s creditors. In school, Trollope was bullied mercilessly by his classmates, teachers, and brothers. Anthony himself was something of a failure at school. Despite his father’s high hopes, he never got into a college. Anyway, Trollope tells his story in a very casual way, and with a touch of humor, so that it doesn’t feel whiney, and in the end, I found it to be pretty affecting.
2. I loved Trollope’s breakdown of his writing process. Trollope famously wrote to a schedule (since he had a day job) and at an enormous pace. I doubt that I could ever keep such a rigorous schedule as Trollope, but his career is a testament to the power of good habits and everyday diligence.
3. I also enjoyed reading Trollope’s thoughts on his art. He was so lacking in pretension. He had no grand theory of his work. He just sought to imagine characters in minute detail, and if he had a good story, he would tell it. If he didn’t have a good story, he wouldn’t force it. Trollope, too, thought that he had a responsibility to not be sensational, particularly to have heroes who are decently moral. It all worked for him.
4. Finally, I just tend to like Trollope himself. Reading the autobiography isn’t entirely unlike reading his novels. Trollope strikes me as a person who had an essential good humor to him and lived his life pleasantly surprised that it had turned out happy and well. I think that something of his gaiety imbued both his life and his novels, and it makes this a good read.
On the whole, I will admit that An Autobiography has some parts that drag, and I’m not sure I would recommend this book to a lot of people who aren’t Trollope devotees. It added to my appreciation of Trollope, though, and I think I’ll enjoy his novels even more for having read it.
The first seven years of his postal career were spent in London. Anthony experienced some of the woes he imposed on his characters. A woman appeared at the post office asking in a loud voice why he wouldn't marry her daughter. A tailor's bill compunded until it was a substantial amount. During that early period Anthony did learn to read French and Latin. After seven years Anthony Trollope volunteered to go to a position in Ireland. He was to live at Banagher on the Shannon. He discovered there one of the joys of his life, riding to the hounds. His new life was opulent in comparison to his old one.
When Trollope married he feels a better life was commenced. Visiting Salisbury for the post office, (he had been transferred back to England), he conceived the story of THE WARDEN. Starting with BARCHESTER TOWERS he did much of his writing in railway coaches. Trollope found George Lewes to be the acutest critic known to him. In 1861 the author became a member of the Garrick Club. In 1864 he was elected to the Athenaeum. Trollope revered Thackeray and George Eliot as English novelists. He notes, though, that George Eliot lacked ease. The book continues on and gives the author's view of politics and a description of his attempt to be elected to the House of Commons. To his dismay his Palliser novel, THE PRIME MINISTER, was not a popular and critical success.
This posthumous work is a success, I believe.