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He Knew He Was Right
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He Knew He Was Right

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,590 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Louis Trevelyan seems the most fortunate of mid-Victorian gentlemen: young, rich, well-educated, handsome, and with a beautiful wife. But his life is ruined by ungrounded jealousy. In the later mad scenes, in which the unlucky hero has been utterly consumed by an obsession with his wife's imaginary infidelity, Trollope's writing reaches a Shakespearian pitch unmatched anyw ...more
Paperback, 952 pages
Published September 10th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1869)
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
217th out of 697 books — 3,955 voters
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeDracula by Bram StokerGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens
Victorian novels
82nd out of 180 books — 315 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cheryl
What is the measure of love? Why the unmistakable preference for one over others? Can it be compartmentalized, or does love inhabit the mind entire? What are the consequences of love's extremes?

In this novel, we are offered a place to reside in Wells with Louis and Emily Trevelyan, their union a result of instantaneous love that others recognized as a perfect marriage.

Love offers internal and external rewards. A sense of peace, a feeling of purpose and meaning, and a knowing that it is right, a
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
In the marriage ceremony, the woman promises "to love, honor and obey." When asked to be obedient, Emily Trevelyan agrees to obey in all things except the one thing which has been demanded. Such is the point around which this plot revolves. It makes the novel more full of drama than most of his I have read.

I have said elsewhere that Trollope does a better job with women characterizations than most male authors, especially those 19th Century authors I have read. But even I did not expect this: "T
...more
Margaret
One of my favorite things about Anthony Trollope's novels is his talent for penetrating psychological portraits, and He Knew He Was Right is one of Trollope's best in this respect. Here, he examines Louis Trevelyan, a man who unjustly accuses his wife Emily of infidelity, and his descent from jealousy and rage into madness. Trollope himself disliked the novel, feeling that he'd failed in his effort to create sympathy for the troubled Trevelyan, yet I felt that he did succeed; the portrait of Tre ...more
Genia Lukin
This book is way too misogynistic for me. The whole premise of a husband who is overjealous but a wife who "owes obedience" and by refusing to give it drives him insane is just... too obnoxious for words. I do understand this is 1860s, I just don't have to like it or think it should deserve as much leeway as we give it. After all, what's it all about? The woman sees a guy who is known for being a bit too cozy with the ladies because he's an old family friend. The husband isn't incensed so much b ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Some say this is Trollope's greatest novel. The story is about a couple who struggle for control in what is obviously not a very strong marriage. When the innocent wife refused to say she had an affair with another man as her husband demanded, he broke up their home and slowly went mad because he knew he was right.

This is my fourth recorded reading of the novel, but I may have read it a fifth time back in the 1960s. A fine novel but not my favorite.
Ricardo Moedano
At first the story struck me as though alternate, extended versions of a small event and a similar situation in Vanity Fair - with Colonel Osbourne somehow reprising the role of the Marquis of Steyne, whose intimacy with Becky Sharp brought trouble between her and her husband Rawdon. In Trollopes novel Louis Trevelyan is driven over the egde by jealousy of the Colonel and obduracy towards his wife Emily (he banishes her from his house, hires a detective to spy on her, arranges to kidnap their ch ...more
Ruthiella
April 24, 2015 will mark the bicentennial of Anthony Trollope’s birthday and Karen at Books and Chocolate is planning a celebration on her blog Books & Chocolate to encourage her readers to pick up as much Trollope as possible between now and then. I had planned already to read the forth book in the Barsetshire Chronicles this year as part of Karen’s Back to the Classics 2015 challenge, so I could have doubled up, but I felt that instead I should take this opportunity to read one of his sta ...more
Morris
I'm not really reading the printed edition by John Sutherland but an iBooks edition, I forget which, that isn't on the goodreads list. But it's complete with the original illustrations and a text fairly free of typos. I'd recommend the edition (for iPad readers--I'd rather have Sutherland's edition). I'm reading HKHWR because a friend who has read all of Trollope's novels (yes, *all*, and other related stuff) rates it first in the Trollope canon. I've read a few other T novels and have yet to fi ...more
Ellie
I so loved this book: really his most brilliant. Good solid prose as always, well-balanced but more passionate and angry than any of his others. One of my top 25 favorites of all books, ever (so far).
Ellie NYC
Sara
Anthony Trollope is one of my favorite authors - he writes with such familiarity that you get sucked right into the story, no matter what it is.
Helen Kitson
At well over 800 pages long, this is a novel that demands a serious level of commitment! Personally I think it's a pity that Trollope is regarded as such an unfashionable author (not helped for being known as John Major's favourite novelist). There's actually a great deal of humour in Trollope's novels, often rather tongue in cheek, and lightly handled. He's also very aware of the position of women in his society. This novel deals with the marriage of Louis and Emily Trevelyan, whose flawed rela ...more
Tim
Trollope is unjustly overlooked when top 19th-century novelists are mentioned. "He Knew He Was Right" is a good example of the prolific Trollope's continued relevance, even with his weaknesses there for all to see.

"He Knew He Was Right" is too long, there are spells of uninspired and repetitive plotting, and the general thrust of the story isn't really a "grabber" for modern audiences. But look more closely. While Trollope doesn't trot out the memorably eccentric and wild characters that, say, D
...more
rabbitprincess
Sep 02, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who aren't easily annoyed by fictional characters
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: indirectly, David Tennant (ha, I WISH directly)
* * *

Louis Trevelyan is travelling the world and visits a British colony called the Mandarin Islands. He falls in love with the governor's eldest daughter, Emily, and proposes marriage. He also proposes to take her sister Nora to England with them so that Emily has company. All is well, right?

Well. Enter Colonel Osborne, a friend of Emily's father and known to be a bit of a roué. Trevelyan gets himself all in a lather because Osborne keeps coming to call, even though Emily has not given him a si
...more
Laura
This was my fourth Trollope novel.I have not really cared for any of them, sadly. The Warden and Barchester Towers were okay, but I really hated The Way We Live Now. I like Trollope’s writing well enough, but I always have a hard time because most of his characters are so unlikeable. Trollope himself was not fond of He Knew He Was Right because Louis Trevelyan was so unsympathetic. I have to agree. It’s not good if I like the subplots better than the main plot of a novel! I could not sympathize ...more
Richard Smith
I've read some 20 of Trollope's novels, but this is the first one I've read twice. For me this is one of Trollope's best, if not the best--a study of pathological jealousy with lots of fun, mainly thwarted love affairs that come right, thrown in. I cared a lot about many of the characters, and enjoyed the usual array of strong minded women and gormless men. The non-judgmental, mildly amused tone of the books is attractive, which is why Trollope is so loved and "such a comfort."
Jilly Gagnon
One day I thought to myself "Trollope, there's an author I haven't ever tried on for size. I like Dickens, I like George Eliot, why not Trollope?"

So many reasons why not Trollope, at least if this book is any indicator. Of all the verbose Victorians, Trollope is, to me, the one whose "paid by the word" status is most painfully obvious. I like Dickens to ramble on - with this tiring tome (and it is a tome - some 900 pages) I was just bored.

I am a compulsive book-finisher, which means when I hate
...more
Kilian Metcalf
This is one of Trollope's darkest novels. Unfortunately he tries to lighten the mood by loading the book down with happy little subplots, any one of which would have made a good story in itself. Louis and Emily Trevelyan are happily married until the malicious actions of Emily's old family friend drives a wedge between them. Both of them are too proud to admit they could be wrong, and what at first is a misunderstanding turns into something very deep and very dark. I thought this was going to be ...more
Anna
Oct 21, 2011 Anna added it
Done!!! This was my first Trollope (which is a fun thing to write) and I really liked it. I had gotten it into my head that Trollope was going to read like Dickens, with whom I have a love/hate relationship, and so I've been avoiding Trollope. Actually, Trollope reads more like an extended Jane Austen novel. I was not expecting so much wit and giggle-worthy one liners. One thing I will criticize though, this book could have been about 100 pages shorter. Trollope apparently had a self-imposed wor ...more
Rachel
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope

Just as a comparison of statistics - Middlemarch was 700ish pages long, and took me the best part of a month to read; HKHWR was 820 pages long, and took me a week. It's not that it's so much better - in comparison to Middlemarch, yes, but Twilight is better than Middlemarch - as that it was an easier read. No high-falutin pseudo-philosophical ramblings here, oh no!

I demeaned myself by reading the foreword when I'd finished. It only served to further my hatre
...more
Ortegast
This novel has all the interesting psychological details and character studies of Trollope's other novels. Interesting reflections on politics and the British class system of the period too. But the book was at least 200 pages longer than it needed to be and for much of the time I thought the story hot list in the details.
David Gregg
This came highly recommended by a friend. She loves digging into characters, and this book certainly does that. But however much I tried, I just could not finish this book. I get stressed out when I'm around too much petty drama and this book has a lot of it. Trollope is an excellent writer. His characters are true to imperfect human form. He stands out as a master among English literary masters, but I just couldn't stand the unwavering pettiness that seems to dominate the major plot.
Mike
I'd heard this was Trollope's best book, and for that reason I've put off reading it (as Trollope is one of my favorite authors, and once I've read his best book, what is there left?). I am not sure if it his absolute best, but I can't think of a better one. His skill at characterization and plotting (which was never his strong suit) are at their absolute heights. This is a book where everyone "knows" they are right, and heartbreaking situations arise from the characters' inability to empathize ...more
pearl
Nov 19, 2011 pearl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
One hell of a title and just look at the cover of the Penguin Classics edition. Damn.
Ingrid
What a psychologist!
Bryn Hammond
I’m going to agree with Trollope himself on this work:
I do not know that in any literary effort I ever fell more completely short of my own intention than in this story. It was my purpose to create sympathy for the unfortunate man who, while endeavouring to do his duty to all around him, should be led constantly astray by his unwillingness to submit his own judgement to the judgement of others. The man is made to be unfortunate enough, and the evil which he does is apparent. So far I did not fai
...more
Serenella
This was such a great book. Granted, it is very long, and it may look like it's a chore to read, but it really is not, as Trollope's prose is vastly entertaining and the story was engaging. Even the social commentary was entertaining, which is wonderful as there is a lot of it.

I did feel for the women in this story. All was not pretty for them, and life certainly wasn't fair. There are several storylines and I thought they were all interesting and gripping. My favourite chapters were the ones i
...more
Denise
Everyone who reviews this supports the women, and though I'm only a third of the way through (it is a bit tedious), Trevelyan's wife should try harder to find out what her husband doesn't like about the family friend, Osborne, on her own. I think he is trying to protect his wife and his family from false accusations based on the past record of this family friend's intentions. And his views on managing his wife were a common during his time. His wife isn't a little girl and she should grow up and ...more
David
This easily one of Trollope's best non-Palliser, non-Barsetshire novels. It is also one of his longest, which is why I usually recommend another (Orley Farm) to those who are new to Trollope and want to sample him.

The main plot deals with the disintegration of a marriage, arising from the husband's (unfounded) suspicions, and the wife's arguably unreasonable response to those suspicions. It also deals with the disintegration of the husband's sanity, as his suspicions drive him to madness. It's a
...more
علی
"لوییس تره ولیان" با "امیلی راولی"، دختر عالیجناب "مارمادوک راولی" ازدواج می کند، و صاحب فرزند پسری می شوند. سرهنگ آزبرن، دوست قدیمی عالیجناب مارمادوک، در غیاب لوئیس، متناوبن از امیلی دیدار می کند. لوئیس همسرش امیلی را از این دیدارها منع می کند. امیلی که از بی اعتمادی شوهرش آزرده شده، سرهنگ آزبرن بی خبر از ممنوعیت دیدار امیلی، به دیدارهای خود ادامه می دهد. لوئیس همسر و فرزندش را نزد مادر و خواهر دوستش می برد. اما سرهنگ آزبرن که از جابجایی بی خبر امیلی متعجب است، محل تازه را می یابد و به دیدار ام ...more
Gemma
I started reading this because I planned to watch a television version and I like to have read the original first. But after just over a quarter of the way through I deserted it. What initially seemed to be quite an interesting idea got repetitive as the whole situation just goes round and round in circles, as neither character is prepared to give way.
The author writes from many perspectives and is at times speaking directly to the reader, which I liked- it seemed reassuring amidst the quarrel o
...more
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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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Barchester Towers The Way We Live Now The Warden Phineas Finn (Palliser, #2) Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser, #1)

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“Words spoken cannot be recalled, and many a man and many a woman who has spoken a word at once regretted, are far too proud to express that regret.” 20 likes
“I am not fit to marry. I am often cross, and I like my own way, and I have a distaste for men.” 19 likes
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