Fanny Trollope

Fanny Trollope

3.4 (5 ratings by Goodreads)
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A biography of Frances Trollope, the unorthodox and popular 19th-century author and mother of Anthony Trollope, based on the author's access to family papers and exploring her unconventional life and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 23mm | 649g
  • The History Press Ltd
  • Sutton Publishing Ltd
  • Stroud, United Kingdom
  • 31 b&w illustrations
  • 0750909501
  • 9780750909501

Review Text

In one of the ironies of history, Fanny Trollope (1779-1863) is now chiefly known as the mother of the great Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope; but as Victoria Glendinning (Anthony's biographer) points out in her introduction, it was Fanny's famous name that persuaded publishers to take on Anthony's early work. (Fanny was admired by Dickens and Mark Twain, but according to The Gentleman's Magazine had 'great ability, but... marred by a coarse unfeminine style'.) Anthony Trollope's mother was undoubtedly a most remarkable woman. A forceful and gifted woman, indomitable, often caustic, a radical by temperament, she was almost a caricature: eccentric in dress, 'vulgar', and outrageously candid about 'intimate matters'. The daughter of a country parson, and wife to barrister Thomas Anthony, who was morose, autocratic, sometimes violent, financially inept, yet fiercely ambitious for his difficult sons. She gave birth to seven children in eight years. In 1827, at the age of 48, her family plagued by debt, she sailed to America to join a commune in Tennessee devoted to the freeing of slaves. Deciding that the Scottish woman who ran it was mad and the settlement a disaster, she moved to Cincinnati, where she opened a bazaar which was as dramatically unsuccessful as any of her husband's harebrained ventures. By then, however, she had gathered enough material for her brilliant, if caustic, Domestic Manners of the Americans. Between 1832 and 1856 she produced 40 books in 115 volumes, while travelling abroad, supporting the family, running a household, and nursing her invalid husband and children (four of whom died of tuberculosis). In what was clearly a labour of love, Teresa Ransom (whose great-aunt married into the Trollope family) read all Fanny's own work and followed in her footsteps in the UK, Europe, and Australia, using much family material and making making new discoveries. She not only reveals a remarkable woman, but makes a compelling case for her writing, now shamefully neglected, to be reprinted in an age where our sensibilities have by now perhaps caught up with Fanny's. Ransom tells her absorbing story in good, clear, unpretentious prose. (Kirkus UK)show more

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