A Bibliography of the First Editions of the Works of Anthony Trollope
Articles of Biographical Interest Given in Poole’s Index
Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882) was an English novelist of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters.
Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he had regained the esteem of critics by the mid-20th century.
Thomas Anthony Trollope, Anthony's father, was a barrister. Though a clever and well-educated man and a Fellow of New College, Oxford, he failed at the Bar due to his bad temper. In addition, his ventures into farming proved unprofitable, and he lost an expected inheritance when an elderly childless uncle remarried and had children. Thomas Trollope was son of Rev. (Thomas) Anthony Trollope, rector of Cottered, Hertfordshire, himself the sixth son of Sir Thomas Trollope, 4th Baronet. The baronetcy later came to descendants of Anthony Trollope's second son, Frederick. As a son of landed gentry, Thomas Trollope wanted his sons to be raised as gentlemen and to attend Oxford or Cambridge. Anthony Trollope suffered much misery in his boyhood owing to the disparity between the privileged background of his parents and their comparatively small means.
In 1851, Trollope was sent to England, charged with investigating and reorganising rural mail delivery in south-western England and south Wales. The two-year mission took him over much of Great Britain, often on horseback. Trollope describes this time as "two of the happiest years of my life".
In the course of it, he visited Salisbury Cathedral; and there, according to his autobiography, he conceived the plot of The Warden, which became the first of the six Barsetshire novels. His postal work delayed the beginning of writing for a year; the novel was published in 1855, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with Trollope receiving half of the profits: £9 8s. 8d. in 1855, and £10 15s. 1d. in 1856. Although the profits were not large, the book received notices in the press, and brought Trollope to the attention of the novel-reading public.
He immediately began work on Barchester Towers, the second Barsetshire novel; upon its publication in 1857, he received an advance payment of £100 (about £9,900 in 2018 consumer pounds) against his share of the profits. Like The Warden, Barchester Towers did not obtain large sales, but it helped to establish Trollope's reputation. In his autobiography, Trollope writes, "It achieved no great reputation, but it was one of the novels which novel readers were called upon to read." For the following novel, The Three Clerks, he was able to sell the copyright for a lump sum of £250; he preferred this to waiting for a share of future profits.
Trollope died in Marylebone, London in 1882 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, near the grave of his contemporary, Wilkie Collins.