A Dollop Of Trollope

by Timothy Lusch

Some Habits Are Tough To Break

The Essays of Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was a popular Victorian author of some forty-seven novels (including the much loved Palliser series and Barchester Towers novels), short stories, and travel books. He is, in our day, overshadowed by Charles Dickens. And the truth is he ought not be. Born in England, Trollope grew up in poverty. His father was an alcoholic and unsuccessful lawyer. His mother shouldered the burdens of family and took up writing to make money. Trollope eventually worked for the Post Office in a decades long career that took him to many parts of the world. He got up every day at five and, over a mug of hot coffee, wrote for three hours. He did this everyday for most of his life. The poverty of his youth haunted him so he never quit the Post even after making a lot of money from his novels. Many of his books concern some aspect of 19th century English life, and despite occasionally stilted language, still offer enjoyable and surprisingly modern storylines. In his essays, he talks about reading. Note that he calls it a habit. If you cannot find time, make time. And make time for Trollope.

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.”