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The Small House at Allington


The Small House at Allington


The Small House at Allington concerns Lily Dale and her sister Bell.

With Lily Dale, Trollope created one of his most formidable characters. Somewhat reminiscent of Jane Austen’s women, Lily lives with her widowed mother and sister Bell in the “Small House” on her uncle’s estate.

As with all of Trollope, it is beautifully written and draws the reader into its many interwoven tales.

A witty and incisive look at love, money, and marriage, this 1864 novel is the fifth of Anthony Trollope’s six Barsetshire novels, with some of his best characters.

Both of the Dale girls are of marriageable age, though they have no fortunes, and as the novel develops, the reader sees the extent to which marriage in Victorian England was often a business transaction, negotiated by families to ensure their daughters’ welfare and continuing standard of living.

Because Lily and Bell have no fortunes, their courtships become the primary vehicle through which Trollope examines the contrasts between marriages for love and marriages of convenience.

The pastoral is irrevocably altered in Trollope’s vision of the village at Allington. The author peels back the corner of the peaceful façade of the town, revealing the cold, unfeeling forces that drive individuals and the societies they work within.

In the novel’s early chapters, Lily meets and falls in love with Aldolphus Crosbie, a charming and ambitious young man.  Unfortunately, shortly after their engagement Crosbie abandons Lily to make a socially advantageous marriage to Lady Alexandrina de Courcy.  

Meanwhile, young Johnny Eames, a friend of Lily’s since childhood, longs to avenge the wrong that was done to her by Crosbie and win her for himself.

With brilliant powers of observation and careful attention to structure, and finally, with his mastery of the English language, Anthony Trollope created timeless art.

ANTHONY TROLLOPE (1815-1882) was a British novelist and journalist, one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. He wrote insightful novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters. Among his masterworks are the Palliser novels, The Warden, Barchester Towers, and The Way We Live Now.



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