The Vicar of Wrexhill The Vicar of Wrexhill

The Vicar of Wrexhill

Description de l’éditeur

The Author

Frances Milton Trollope (1779 – 1863) was an English novelist. Her first book, Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832) has been the best known, but she also published strong social novels: an anti-slavery novel said to influence the work of the American Harriet Beecher Stowe, the first industrial novel, and two anti-Catholic novels that used a Protestant position to examine self-making. Her first and third sons, Thomas Adolphus and Anthony, also became writers; Anthony Trollope became respected for his social novels. She received more attention during her lifetime for what are considered several strong novels of social protest: Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw (1836) was the first anti-slavery novel, influencing the American Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Michael Armstrong: Factory Boy began publication in 1840 and was the first industrial novel to be published in Britain. Other socially conscious novels included The Vicar of Wrexhill (1837), which took on corruption in the Church of England and evangelical circles. Possibly her greatest work is the Widow Barnaby trilogy (1839–1855). In writing her fourth novel, The Vicar of Wrexhill, she drew from a world very dear and familiar to her, one that was beset with religious conflicts. Her family tree lists at least fourteen clergy of the Church of England.  

The Novel

The Vicar of Wrexhill (1837), Trollope’s best novel, is a powerful satire on Evangelicalism, which she despised. The novel satirises the Reverend William Cartwright, a character who resembles John William Cunningham (1780-1861), the Evangelical vicar of Harrow whose views and conduct she detested. Incidentally, Cunningham occupied the house which her husband had built but which the Trollopes had to leave it due to financial problems.

In the novel, the head of a happy country family suddenly dying, leaves behind him, a will bequeathing to her the whole of his property, and rendering his three children entirely dependent upon her. In the first outbreak of her affliction the Vicar of Wrexhill appears for the purpose of offering his spiritual consolation and assistance. He is a deep, black-hearted, wily hypocrite, who, by slow and almost imperceptible degrees, so works upon the weakness of the mother, as to induce her to abandon her son to poverty and want, and herself to the artifices of a grasping, hungry villain, who robs, cheats, lies, and seduces, with the name of God for ever on his lips. He is strongly drawn; his oily looks and honied words; his deeply, seated power over the clear sisters who kneel beside him with one eye on heaven, and the other on his black hair, Roman nose, and fine teeth; his covert perusal of the crimes of the flesh, under all the cant jargon of the spirit, are well told. The miserable, deluded woman dies at last; will the rights of her children be restored...?

Romans et littérature
25 septembre
Silver Fork Novels

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