I know this is not the type of answer the Society expects, but I hope nobody finds it flippant. Buying a Kindle brought me back to Victorian literature after a hiatus of over 40 years.
When I saw that most classic ‘literary’ fiction was available in Kindle format for free, I started amassing it and inserting a Victorian title here and there in my usual regimen of contemporary best-sellers, self-help books, and detective fiction.
George Eliot turned out to be too ponderous, and Thomas Hardy too melodramatic, but, in the immortal words of Goldilocks, Anthony Trollope was “just right.”
Now I carry Trollope’s complete works with me almost everywhere I go. The e-reader simultaneously holds my place in all the books I’m reading, and thus while reading Trollope’s autobiography I was able to segue into novels he mentioned -- “The Way We Live Now,” “Orly Farm,” “The Vicar of Bullhampton” -- and seamlessly return to the autobiography.
Re-reading “Phineas Finn” in August during our ‘Take a Trollope on Holiday ‘activity, I used the Kindle’s search function to look up his references to Belgium. Then I scheduled a side-trip to Blankenberg Beach, where Phineas and Lord Chiltern fought their infamous duel.
Right now, I’m reading “The Claverings,” but when I‘m finished I intend to start researching Trollope’s use of seaside locations for significant events. This project was inspired by a thread in our Facebook discussion of “Marion Fay,” when a Society member posted an old sepia photo of Pegwell Bay.
So how do I view Trollope in the broader sense intended by the Society’s question? I view Trollope as a friend and companion who is always able to delight me with his insights into human character.