An Autobiography
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An Autobiography

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  172 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Trollope's "Autobiography" is fascinating not least for the information it gives about his dealings with publishers and periodicals and the sheer quantity of pages he determined to write each day. It records his unhappy youth and his progress to propserity and social recognition, commenting along the way on fellow writers including Dickens and George Eliot, and dispensing...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (first published December 31st 1883)
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Why is Trollope considered by many (not by me) to be a notch below other Victorian novelists? I think this book, his autobiography, is at least partly responsible. For in it Trollope demythologizes the profession of novelist. He talks about his businesslike approach to his writing. He regularly wrote 250 words every 15 minutes, and he wrote on schedule. When he was still at the post office (and he stayed there some time even after it became apparent that he would be able to live off his writing)...more
Sherwood Smith
I don't think this autobiography is going to appeal to non-writers, as Trollope delves not at all into his emotions or private experiences, focusing on his outer life, as it were, as post office official, hobby hunter, sometime politician, and writer. His wife and children get scant mention.

But he talks a great deal about writing. For any writer who likes writers on writing, this ought to be a fascinating read. He gets into details about the frustrations of publishing by serial, and he also det...more
"The romance may be gone but the rich reality of life you can still taste and savour."

These are Trollope's words, and will serve as a good guide to any who read this quirky, sometimes frustrating, and yet constantly candid autobiography.

In this autobiography the reader learns of Trollope's literally painful early school days, his own candid, often self-critical analysis of his own characters and novels, his reflections and personal assessments of his Victorian writing peers and the inner working...more
I decided that I would read the Autobiography after I read as many of the 47 novels as I could get my hands on. After 27 novels, I decided I could read the Autobiography without too much fear of spoilers.

Trollope relates the story of his life in parallel with the story of his creative life. The story of the son of a feckless but sweet father and an accomplished and overwhelming mother, a bullied student at Public Schools, a dutiful employee of the Post Office (he invented the mailbox pillars you...more
An idiosyncratic historical document, this book has two elements that make it a must for would-be writers.

1.) Trollope, one of the most prolific writers of English prose, details his working method and supplies ample advice to novices.

and, more importantly,

2.) He vigorously attacks the liberal ideological notion that an artist must work without thought of financial well-being. This has always bothered me and I feel that any artist who says otherwise is a liar...or rich.

For puncturing the mystiq...more
Christopher Roth
One of the remarkable things about this book is how workmanlike and quantity-oriented and, frankly, un-bohemian Trollope's approach to writing was. Not surprising, for those who know a little about him, but he cranked out about a volume every couple months and has absolutely no concept of writer's block. In addition, Trollope evaluates his own books and sees them first as moral instructions and only secondarily as descriptions of the world, feeling that creating characters that are true to life...more
Trollope (1815-1882) has become one of my favorite authors from the period. I’ve got a long way to go to read all of his 47 novels, but I know they’re out there, and available on the Kindle. This autobiography was released – per his wishes – after his death in 1882, with a preface by his son. In it, he traces his life – his writer’s life, anyway – from his youth up to his later novels. He had a remarkably sad childhood and nothing but bad expe...more
"Now I stretch out my hand, and from the further shore I bid adieu to all who have cared to read any among the many words that I have written."

Those are the last lines, and the whole autobiography feels that intimate. If you like Trollope, (and odds are, you don't, but anyway), then this is fascinating. It's so much fun to hear him talk about both his own characters and his literary contemporaries. Hidden in the last half, among the stories of defunct literary journals (which seem skippable), a...more
Lin Stepp
Generally, I like autobiographies and biographies about authors - since I write. But this was a hard book to move through.
Trollope had a difficult early life ... and never seemed to find happiness or real joy in his later life, despite realizing many of his goals.
He seemed like the sort of man who just sort of sucked the joy out of any day with melancholy and over-thinking and negative comparisons.
Naturally, if I were writing a college paper, I know I could have found profound things to say of t...more
This was fairly interesting. His boyhood was very sad, and in some ways resembled that of Dickens. he spoke a lot about how writing was just a craft, and how you had to stick at it, and he talked about his feelings about his own novels. I was left with an impression of a very healthy, energetic man who had worked hard and who, later in life, had reaped the fruit of his labour. I don't think this book would have encouraged me to pick up his novels if they weren't already high on the list of books...more
Steph Su
Unfortunately I have to say that I liked Trollope and his works much better before I read this. It is interesting, no doubt--but the man himself is rather unappealing, thoroughly self-important, lacking in confidence, and vindictive. It is more a discussion of his works and his theory on work than a thorough autobiography. Still, of course, it is a must-read for Trollopian fans.
The guy says at the end of his autobiography that he hasn't tried to illuminate his 'inner life,' and he's not kidding. Still, Trollope's relentless equanimity & sturdy literary insights are worth the bouts of boredom. My advice is to skip the tables tallying how much he earned per book and focus on Trollope's assessment of Thackeray, Bronte, and Eliot.
Alternates between fascinating and skippable. Trollope is famed for churning out the novels while inventing the postbox (etc), and while he undoubtedly worked hard and consistently, 19th century office hours (at least for gentlemen) seem to have been 10-4.
The chapter on fallen women is particularly Victorian.
Rather an odd book. Not really an autobiography, in that it is quite reticent about his private life. Lots of digressions on writing and literature, which provide insights into Trollope as a writer, and you certainly get a sense of how Trollope viewed himself as a person, but it’s also kind of unsatisfying.
I am well into this book at this point. What a beautiful, honest, down to earth, and humble man Anthony Trollope was; and kind, he was so very kind. Wish I could have met him, impossible not to love the man.
Trollope recounts his ideas on the life of a writer. Since I am a devotee of Trollope, the workings of his mind are fascinating. Worth reading if you want to understand good writing.
Anthony Trollope is as honest as a man can be. He wrote from the pit of his stomach with all sincerity.
the interior of this writer is revealed...the wholeness of his life and habits
You cannot read this and not be impressed. The man was a machine.
Liked the beginning, but after a while I scanned the last.
Meghan marked it as to-read
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Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of Trollope's best-loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire; he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.

Trollope has always been a popular novelist. Noted fans ha...more
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“Nevertheless a certain class of dishonesty, dishonesty magnificent in its proportions, and climbing into high places, has become at the same time so rampant and so splendid that there seems to be reason for fearing that men and women will be taught to feel that dishonesty, if it can become splendid, will cease to be abominable. If dishonesty can live in a gorgeous palace with pictures on all its walls, and gems in all its cupboards, with marble and ivory in all its corners, and can give Apician dinners, and get into Parliament, and deal in millions, then dishonesty is not disgraceful, and the man dishonest after such a fashion is not a low scoundrel. Instigated, I say, by some such reflections as these, I sat down in my new house to write The Way We Live Now. And as I had ventured to take the whip of the satirist into my hand, I went beyond the iniquities of the great speculator who robs everybody, and made an onslaught also on other vices;--on the intrigues of girls who want to get married, on the luxury of young men who prefer to remain single, and on the puffing propensities of authors who desire to cheat the public into buying their volumes.” 2 likes
“No novel is anything, for the purposes either of comedy or tragedy, unless the reader can sympathise with the characters whose names he finds upon the pages. Let an author so tell his tale as to touch his reader's heart and draw his tears, and he has, so far, done his work well. Truth let there be, --truth of description, truth of character, human truth as to men and women. If there be such truth, I do not know that a novel can be too sensational.” 0 likes
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