Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Literary Blog Hop


Thanks to Ingrid and Connie at The Blue Bookcase there is a new hop in town:  The Literary Blog Hop.  If you write about literary fiction or literary classics, this might be your kind of hop.

Here's where I talk about what I'm reading and why it is literary.  Fantastic!  This is my chance to seize all you Gentle Readers by the collars and rave about my love for Trollope.  No, not the fancy lady with the red petticoat.  Not the whipped-cream-topped dessert.  Not the female writer of women's fiction (although she is a descendent).  But Anthony Trollope, Victorian writer par excellence.  When I want to enter a world not my own (yet at times like my own), when I want to fall into a long, good book with compelling characters, a fascinating social world, and just enough incident and conflict to keep me interested, I turn to Trollope.

If you are an aspiring novelist with a demanding job, and you think you couldn't possibly ever fulfill your writing dreams while working, Trollope is a worthy model.  Trollope had a long career with the British Post Office; he wrote his novels in the mornings before work.  Each day from 5:30-8:30 a.m. Trollope sat at his desk and wrote; he required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. In this fashion he completed 47 novels.

Trollope's female characters are another source of admiration for the reader. Given the era (Trollope lived from 1815 until 1882) Trollope's women are free-thinking, independent, and very often of higher intelligence and spirit than their men.  In Phineas Finn, a beautiful and intelligent widow, proposes to Phineas.  In the novel I'm currently reading, The Prime Minister, Glencora (Duchess of Omnium), when told her husband will soon be Prime Minister of England, declares to her friend:  "But if it is settled, I mean to have a cabinet of my own, and I mean that you shall do the foreign affairs."  Trollope's women are sensitive, intelligent, and chafing at the bit society has put in their mouths.

Another reason to love Trollope, if you need one, is that once you have entered his world, you get to stay there for novel after novel.  His Barsetshire series (Chronicles of Barsetshire) provide a complete picture of English cathedral town and county.  That is the place to begin, I think, if you are new to Trollope.  Then there are the Palliser novels, consumed with politics--totally fascinating, fun, and engrossing.  There are six Palliser novels, and I am just beginning The Prime Minister, which is the fifth novel in the series.

Why is Trollope literary?  Because I can read Trollope, then reread him, and never exhaust the meaning of the work.

Literary fiction can be distinguished from mainstream or popular fiction, I believe.  And I don't think it's elitist to say so.  Literary fiction challenges the reader to think, to accept ambiguity, to work a little harder.

Books on my nightstand:  Running the Books by Avi Steinberg, How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Homer's Illiad....

To join in the Literary Blog Hop, go to The Blue Bookcase and add your blog to the linky...

37 comments:

Dizzy C said...

Thanks for giving us some info on Anthony Trollope.
It is amazing that he had a full time job and still timet to write given the period he lived in without any technology.
I love hearing history behind a book or author behind a book I am reading.....
at the moment I am reading 84 Charing Cross Road and am searching for info on Helene Hanff.

enjoy ur weekend!

carol

ConnieGirl said...

Thanks for participating in the hop with us! I'm having a great time reading through everyone's posts, and yours is no exception!

I have not ever even heard of Trollope before, I am a little embarrassed to say. I guess I need to add him to my TBR list.

winstonsdad said...

oh good new idea ,i don't consider my blog lit,have trollope that I ve won from oxford world classic ,I really must watch ,all the best stu

Amanda said...

I've actually never read any Trollope, but he has 78 works listed under his name on Wikipedia. :O That's just amazing!

Sam said...

Found you through the blog hop and I'm now following you :)

Trollope's writing story is so inspirational - I can't get over the fact that he wrote 250 words every 15 minutes!


Sam at Tiny Library

Mayowa said...

I'm with Dizzy C...amazed at authors with full time jobs and tremendous writing output.

Work drains me so much, i'm a husk of my creative self by the time i get home.

Thanks for the intro to Trollope.

Melody said...

Nice little intro to Trollope--I need to add him to my list.

His discipline in writing is truly amazing to me.

Rose City Reader said...

Glad I hopped to your blog today. Great essay! I read a lot of Trollope in college, then stopped. But I've been gathering the Chronicles of Barsetshire in paper and audio editions and plan to read through them all in 2011.

Rose City Reader.

bibliophiliac said...

@DizzyC--thanks for stopping by! Yes, Trollope had amazing energy and stamina, didn't he?
@ConnieGirl--thanks so much for including me in the 1st Literary Blog Hop. I have a feeling it's going to be a smash hit!

bibliophiliac said...

@Stu--I would definitely place your blog on the Literary Book Blog list!
@Amanda--Trollope was like Joyce Carol Oates-almost annoyingly productive!

bibliophiliac said...

@Sam-thanks for the follow! I'm following you back!
@Mayowa--I am even less than a husk after work some days--and I bring work home half the time! I think the secret is in doing the writing before going to work!

bibliophiliac said...

@Melody-yes, I would love to be able to emulate Trollope's work habits!
@Rose City--you have a treat in front of you!

readerbuzz said...

Whew! You made a compelling argument for Trollope. Hope his estate is providing royalties. ;->

Must check him out....

mywordlyobsessions said...

Wow. Thanks for all the information on Anthony Trollope. I love reading about writers and how they worked. I suppose writing first thing in the morning means the mind is rested and fresh. I have yet to read Trollope, and I love free-thinking female characters.

Thanks for stopping by!

bibliophiliac said...

@readerbuzz--I do sound like an unpaid publicist, don't I! Just a Trollope fangirl having fun!
@mywordlyobsessions-thanks for the visit--I am obsessed with writers' routines and with Trollope!

Jillian said...

*Why is Trollope literary? Because I can read Trollope, then reread him, and never exhaust the meaning of the work.*

Oh yes!! A literary work MUST yield to several readings.

I've never read Trollope, but I'm thrice excited to see I've got three of his works on my 250 List, which means I'll get to him.

Hearing about how he treats his women characters, given the time period, has me optimistic! And this line has me grinning:

*Each day from 5:30-8:30 a.m. Trollope sat at his desk and wrote; he required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. In this fashion he completed 47 novels.*

That is inspiring!

Great post. Great hop. :)

- Jill

Bellezza said...

Thanks for reminding me about Trollope! I have to read him; feel half-ashamed at what once made me prideful (the list of books I've read in my life) and half-thrilled to venture further into this world of my dreams.

I'm glad you like Possession, too.

Kelly said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never heard of this Trollope person! I'm intrigued though, and loved reading about him on your blog!

Sarah said...

Thank you for this! I had no idea! This hop is so enlightening!

Also, sidenote -I also have A History of Love on my nightstand

Sarah

bibliophiliac said...

@Jillian-I'll have to stop back by your blog and have a good look at you list of 250!
@Bellezza-no matter how much we read, there is always some great book or writer out there to discover...Possession is a novel that has every ingredient I consider necessary for a smashing good read. Not for everyone, I'm sure, but just the right combination for me!

bibliophiliac said...

@Kelly-even folks who read the Victorians in college or afterward don't necessarily read Trollope (I don't know why!). And his works aren't necessarily going to be on the bookshelves at the book store--you really have to seek him out (which obviously I find worth doing!)

bibliophiliac said...

@Sarah-I am really looking forward to History of Love because of all the mentions in book blogs lately. People love this book!

togorman said...

I love the information on Trollope. He would have had no problem gettting the job done for National Novel Writing Month.

Wonderful post.

Loni said...

I can't believe I haven't read any Trollope. I've read a few from his era, but his work has never come into his hands. I'm going to have to change that.

Orhedea said...

Hi! Am hopping on the hop thing) Your blog is very refreshing. You have good taste.
-Orhedea from bergamotbook.blogspot.com

bibliophiliac said...

@togorman--yes, whenever I start to think 50,000 words in a month is impossible, I think of Trollope!
@Loni--Do give Trollope a try! Start with The Warden...
@Orhedea--thanks for stopping by!

JoAnn said...

I've enjoyed Trollope's The Warden, and have a bookmark on page 327 of The Way We Live Now (just checked). Had to put it aside for some 'obligation' reading months ago, but it's high time to get back to it. Thanks for reminding me! Glad to find your blog through the hop, too.

Susan said...

You've convinced me I've got to carve out some time for Trollope. I admire you for being a H.S. English teacher. My daughter is now a freshman in a challenging English course with a great teacher. It's wonderful to see her mind opening up.

bibliophiliac said...

@JoAnn-because of my weird self-imposed rules for reading Trollope I am saving The Way We Live Now for after I finish the Palliser series. I encourage you to read Barchester Towers and the rest of the Barsetshire series if you liked The Warden. The Warden is outside the series, but has many of the same characters-one of the pleasures of Trollope for me.

bibliophiliac said...

@Susan-thanks--I would rather be a novelist! Teaching high school English does have its rewards, though--often not seen until years down the road!

thefriande said...

I like your definition of literature, particularly the bit about challenging the reader to think. I knew it on an intellectual level, but after reading nothing but literature for a few months, and needing a break, I picked up a few genre novels and found them so... unsatisfying.

Thanks for introducing me to Anthony Trollope, haven't heard of him before, but will definitely hunt him down in my library!

Have subscribed to your blog.

Beth said...

Great post! I'm ashamed to admit that I've never heard of Trollope- (gasp)! Thanks for providing background information- his writing habits- as it's fascinating and enlightening to learn about such a dedicated individual. I like that fact that you mentioned the way in which he exhibits female characters during that time period- adds even more charm to the qualities you've provided! Thanks for a great Hop post!

mel u said...

I admit I am glad to see the start of The Literary Book Blog Hop-I laughed when I read your play on words on Trollope-I will be reading Cousin Henry for the Classics Circuit-

bibliophiliac said...

@thefriande-thanks for stopping by--I have you on my Google Reader as well. I know the feeling you describe-when you are in a groove with reading literary works that are challenging, then you try an easy read, and your brain rebels!

bibliophiliac said...

@beth--I'm also fascinated by the writing habits of classic and contemporary writers--someone should write a book about that!

bibliophiliac said...

@melu--I have not read Cousin Henry--I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

Kerry said...

Oh! Thanks for sharing about the hop - sounds excellent! Hope you enjoy History of Love. I'm a big fan, and just finished her latest, Great House.