Frances Trollope

Elsie B. Michie

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:
Frances Trollope

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Readers typically know Frances Milton Trollope (b. 1779–d. 1863) for her best-selling first book, the scathingly satirical commentary on her travels in America, Domestic Manners of the Americans (Neville-Sington 1997, cited under Editions), or as the mother of the later Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope (b. 1815–d. 1882). These things often cause readers to overlook the fact that Frances Trollope, generally referred to as Fanny, had a prolific and extremely successful writing career that ran from 1832 to 1860. She published thirty-four novels, six travel books, and an essay in verse; her life spanned the period of Jane Austen (b. 1775–d. 1817) and of Charles Dickens (b. 1812–d. 1870), who became Trollope’s rival in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Her novels reflect this amalgam of influences, because many of them echo Austen’s regency romances, while others engage in the social protest associated with Dickens. A global literary figure, Trollope wrote about and had an impact on American culture and was also engaged in European literary circles. The daughter of a clergyman who was an inventor, Trollope also experimented in her own way, writing in a diverse array of novelistic genres. Her fiction includes novels set both in America and Europe that deal fictionally with the issues raised in her travel writing; social-problem novels attacking the abuses of slavery in America, the factory system, and the new Poor Law; religious novels that contain anti-Catholic and anti-Evangelical strains; strong women and marriage novels; a pair of novels about the publishing industry; and an early crime novel. Though she was consistently critiqued during her life, she was also widely read. Authors as varied as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë (b. 1816–d. 1855), William Thackeray (b. 1811–d. 1863), George Eliot (b. 1819–d. 1880), and Anthony Trollope were influenced by her work. Frances Trollope is a writer important in her own right, who also had a significant impact on the Victorian canon.

Article.  10308 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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