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The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  6,529 ratings  ·  580 reviews
'It was so hard that the pleasant waters of his little stream should be disturbed and muddied ...that his quiet paths should be made a battlefield: that the unobtrusive corner of the world which been allotted to him ...made miserable and unsound'.

Trollope's witty, satirical story of a quiet cathedral town shaken by scandal - as the traditional values of Septimus Harding ar
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Paperback, 202 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin (first published 1855)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Book Circle Reads 155

Rating: 3.5* of five

Good, solid Victorian stodge. The kind of book you read when you're glutted with silly, vapid "reality" stuff and need a bit of the reality fiction of its day.

My review lives on my blog, out of reach of data-deleting megacorps.
J
There is tranquility in a second-hand bookshop. Libraries are quiet because they must be. This is different. A kind of peace. Whatever it is, it suits me. I feel at home. It could just be the dust. Anyway, there I was kneeling in the art books, pulling them out and pushing them back. Have it, read it, not interested… I made my way down the row that way and swung round to continue on the shelf behind me. It was low. It was low and I am short and - on hands and knees - I still had to bend down to ...more
Jason Koivu
I'm going to clamp down my opening paragraph with a SPOILER! because I reveal in generalities how the book ends...which is kind of important I guess.

(view spoiler)

The Warden is the tale of a man who took his due and then developed a guilty conscience over it.
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Petra X
Very enjoyable book that is concerned about people putting their great big feet in puddles before ascertaining their depth! It's very cleverly worked out and contains just the amount of love and romance to drive the plot forward. Like most of Trollope's Barchester series, it is somewhat a comedy of manners and more enjoyable for that.

Recommended to those who like the classics and have a certain fondness for schadenfreude (even though they know they shouldn't).
Sean
Poor Warden. What did he do to deserve to be treated so cruelly? An innocent man, accused of misallocating funds from the inheritance of the hospital that he administrates, faces litigation from his future son in law. The Warden’s story is such a tragedy. So much so that many Trollope readers consider this to be the worst story in the Barchester Chronicles series. Well, I do agree that this story suffers from simplicity. Fortunately it was written by Anthony Trollope so what it loses in substanc ...more
Jane
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

This is the first novel in the Barchester Chronicles—attentive friends may remember that I listened to the second novel, Barchester Towers, first, loved it and then found it was the abridged version (grrrr) and decided to go back to the beginning and listen to the whole series, unabridged. There are several different audio versions available, and after listening to the samples I opted for this one, narrated by David Shaw-Parker who does a nice job.

It’s
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Mike
I've always resisted the idea of Trollope. But this book has changed my opinion. It's a kind, generous, humane book--generous to a fault. I've never seen a book where the concluding chapter tells you the bad guy isn't really as bad as he seems. The writing is mostly clean and simple: more like Jane Austen (though not as clever) than Thomas Carlyle (who is parodied in one of the book's less memorable moments), or even Dickens.

The story of a weak, easily-led Anglican clergyman who is driven by hi
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Henry Avila
The Warden, melancholy story of Septimus Harding,Church of England clergyman, in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester.(Winchester in reality) Britain ,the middle of the 19th century and
this quiet little city exists, because of the cathedral, and is dominated by the clergy .In 1434 a wealthy merchant John Hiram died, and left in his will land , to support twelve retired old men from Barchester.A hospital(nursing home) was to be built, the church to administer it by appointing a warden. Fou
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Stefania T.

Non era tanto ansioso di dimostrare di essere nel giusto, quanto di esserlo davvero.

Matita e carboncino alla mano, comincio a disegnare il volto di Charles Dickens e finisco per precipitare, invece, in Trollope.
La barba eloquente che spazzola il petto, risalgo lungo il mento e qui m'invento la conca nata da un accenno di benevolo sorriso. Giungo alle guance che si fanno più ciarliere del solito, scivolo sul naso che stranamente scodinzola allegro, e mi tuffo nelle pupille gentili e giocose.
Le so
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Jaylia3
With a small town Victorian setting, the fictional Barsetshire, and an appealing somewhat Austen-like cast of characters, Trollope's novel The Warden illustrates just how complicated reforming a centuries old church policy can be, even when everyone involved has valid concerns and mostly the best of intentions. When John Hiram died in long ago 1434 his will left money and property for the support of twelve impoverished older men retired from the trade of wool-carding, the men being replaced by o ...more
Eddie Watkins
While The Eustace Diamonds reminded me of Wilkie Collins (at least the only Collins I've read, The Moonstone) in its detailed canvas of broad action propelled by a mystery of sorts (though, granted, The Moonstone is an actual mystery, while The Eustace Diamonds only dabbles in it); The Warden reminded me of something more complicated and hybrid, namely Balzac crossed with Dickens with the probing analytically realistic eye of Dreiser. Trollope actually takes the opportunity to criticize Dickens ...more
Lise Petrauskas
I super dug this! What is it with me and the 19th century lately?

I'm fully hooked on this guy now and am excited to keep going with the series. It's so great to know that this is just the beginning!

I now want to do some research about Trollop and the timing of his publications with Dickens. Was it my imagination or was there a very long rant about authors that create namby-pamby characters and extra-evil villains that was directed at him? Heh. I kind of hope it was. That would be funny.
Cleo
The Honest Gossip Newspaper


In many a town in England there are given charitable bequests to church dioceses, and the honest public assumes that the monies are distributed in a fair and equitable way, in a manner that benefits all who have need of them. Yet this learned reporter has discovered that in a small holding in Barsetshire, there has been a shocking exploitation of this practice, resulting in twelve respectable old gentlemen being cheated out of their livelihood. And who is the avarici
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Sarah
First, I must admit I did quite a bit of skimming as I read this book which, true to Victorian fashion, stretches details something beyond my 21st century sensibilities. That said, it was a very well done story about the warden of a small charitable "hospital" (think rather boarding house for aging men in dire straights). The hospital is funded by a trust which has grown in value over time, and the warden never questions the fact that its expanding proceeds wind up in his pocket rather than in e ...more
Dana Loo
Non conoscevo Trollope e devo dire che, per quanto l'argomento nn sia tra i più empatici, l'autore riesce a catturare l'interesse del lettore, grazie ad uno stile narrativo molto diretto, colloquiale, ai toni ironici e disincantati e alle eccellenti caratterizzazioni. Siamo in pieno realismo ottocentesco, stemperato però dalla satira e dall'umorismo che si riversa in buone dosi sulla stampa inglese per esempio, ma nn solo...Il finale è un po' amaro perché viene a mancare sopratutto quel senso di ...more
Simon
Slightly uneven. The novel launches into a very long digression parodying Carlyle and Dickens that completely disrupts the course of the action. And there isn't much in the way of characterization. People are drawn in pretty broad strokes and only ever appear in one guise. (The novelist even feels compelled to apologize that one character, the archdeacon, is portrayed in a way that only shows his faults, even though he has various virtues.) However, the basic premise, the attempt of one man to r ...more
Dagny
The Warden is Mr. Harding. He's the warden (administrator, caretaker) of a retirement home for poor workers who have no resources. It was endowed a few hundred years prior to the setting of the novel. Mr. Harding is portrayed very sympathetically; he really cares about his twelve charges. The conflict is in the fact that the income from the endowment is so much greater than it was when established. Through time the warden has always had the additional monies as salary, but should it be distribut ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Trollope is THE great 19th century novelist, with much to offer than one does not find in Dickens.

Nov 2014 - just finished reading The Warden for the fifth or sixth time. It has held up beautifully over the 50 years I've been re-reading it, especially the character of Mr Harding. It's very short by Trollopian standards but not the best book to recommend to a reader new to Trollope. That would be Ayala's Angel.
Tony
THE WARDEN. (1855). Anthony Trollope. *****.
I last read this novel (ready?) fifty years ago. I remembered liking it at the time, but it was probably too slow of a read for me then. Reading it now, I can better appreciate skill with plot and character, and have the patience for a slow read. This edition (the one I read not the one pictured) was from The Folio Society in 1995, and contains an introduction by Owen Chadwick and illustrations by Alexy Pendle. The novel was the first in Trollope’s “B
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Dorothea
The short first novel in the Barsetshire Chronicles: Mr Harding, the warden of a hospital (in the old non-medical sense) for old laboring men, works through a crisis of conscience.

The hospital was a medieval legacy, funded by the lands of the pious decedent and administered by the church. In four centuries the lands have grown richer but the charity of the hospital has remained essentially the same: housing and food and religious comfort for twelve disabled or elderly working-class men. The incr
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Jan-Maat
This is a conservative book and not simply because John Major enjoyed Trollope.

"The Warden"'s abiding message of 'if only everything had been left well alone, left the way things were in the first place, everything would have been better' must place it amongst the top ten most conservative books ever written. Surely even Edmund Burke would take his hat off to "The Warden".

The only possible note of positive, yet obviously pernicious change, is that the boy gets the girl. But Reader, be of good
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Ali
There was a time when I devoured many, many Trollope novels, I loved them. The famous Barchester chronicles are maybe his best known, understandably so for they are brilliant. The Warden is the first of those chronicles, and a novel I had remembered well. I am pleased to say therefore I still love it as much after this re-read. I gobbled it up in no time, as it is probably the shortest of Trollope’s novels, many of them actually being quite thick.
Septimus Harding, the warden of the title is a ki
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Rick Boyer
The Warden, by Anthony Trollope, is the first volume of the six-part series, "The Chronicles of Barsetshire." It tells the story of the Anglican clergyman Septimus Harding, who (as part of his clerical "preferment") is the warden, or overseer, of a hospital or "retirement home" for a group of elderly men. For this job the warden receives an annual stipend, which used to be fairly small but which now, due to profitable investing practices, has grown to a rather large sum. In the course of events, ...more
Tim
Can a 185-page novel (I read the Penguin edition) contain too much filler? Well... er ... yes.

This first of the six Barsetshire chronicles details the questioning in rumor, in lawsuit and in print of a clergyman who runs an almshouse (hospital, or what seems to me to be what one might almost call an old folk's home in more recent times) at which reside 12 old men. Is kind Septimus Harding being paid far more than he should, and is his wage what the founder of this charity intended? Trollope hand
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Tristram
Had We Not “Rather Bear Those Ills We Have Than Fly to Others that We Know Not of?”

The answer that Anthony Trollope would give to this rather political question seems to be quite clear when we come to think about what happens in his novel The Warden, which is the opening of the Barsetshire series and which, due to its comparative shortness, is by many people considered to be the perfect gateway to Trollope. In fact, it not only leads the reader into the realm of the author’s imagination, which e
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Elizabeth (Alaska)
First, let me say this surprised me. I guess I don't know what I was expecting, but a novel where the church/clergy was the defendant in a lawsuit wouldn't have appeared on a list. "The Queen on behalf of the Wool-carders of Barchester v. Trustees under the will of the late John Hiram" was instituted, The Warden being the primary Trustee so named.

Now, would you also expect humor? At least that was on the list. In a discussion where the bishop learns of the possible suit is: The bishop did not wh
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Sera
Very enjoyable on audio.

Once again, Trollope proves that he was ahead of his time. Here he takes on the power of the church, the fine line between legality and morality, and how the power of the media has the ability to trump all three. John Harding, the "warden", inherits the title and the money that comes along with it - or does he? This question is the crux of the story, where as you can imagine, different people have different answers to the question.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest
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Leslie
I was prepared for this to be very dull or somehow disagreeable after reading other people's reviews. I guess because it was so short and I've been reading rather a lot of Trollopey novels lately, I was not at all disappointed. It is so very short that I wonder why he didn't add it to the 2nd book of the series (Barchester Towers) and then break all that into volumes 1 and 2 for ease of handling. (Anyone who knows me knows how I hate holding onto enormous books because when I read in bed I eithe ...more
Gail
This was suggested by a friend and I'll confess to being sceptical if Trollope was for me but I really enjoyed it. I found it unexpectedly relevant to today; it's main issues regard the power of the press versus the freedom of the press and also the misappropriation of public funds. Plenty of food for thought and plenty of humour to accompany it. The characters were were well drawn and who could fail to love Mr Harding our man of conscience and hero? The Archdeacon gave us someone to boo at alth ...more
booklady
Jun 09, 2008 booklady rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes 19th century English authors
I remember how frustrated I was when I discovered (midway through Barchester Towers) that it was the second book in the series. The Warden is the first. It's nowhere near as good as Barchester Towers and if you're only going to read one by Trollope, or think you might have trouble reading him because he's a 19th century author, then by all means read BT--it is hilariously funny. The Warden is not. It's a more serious statement by Trollope--part satire on the Church of England, part attack on the ...more
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Victorians!: The Warden, chapters I-XI (January) 43 42 Apr 22, 2015 11:40AM  
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternative Book Cover 2 11 Jul 27, 2014 07:26AM  
Exploring Anthony...: The Warden 6 9 Dec 22, 2013 06:45PM  
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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
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More about Anthony Trollope...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Barsetshire (6 books)
  • Barchester Towers
  • Dr. Thorne
  • Framley Parsonage
  • The Small House at Allington
  • The Last Chronicle of Barset
Barchester Towers The Way We Live Now Phineas Finn (Palliser, #2) Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser, #1) He Knew He Was Right

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“What had passed between Eleanor Harding and Mary Bold need not be told. It is indeed a matter of thankfulness that neither the historian nor the novelist hears all that is said by their heroes or heroines, or how would three volumes or twenty suffice!” 6 likes
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