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...