Castle Richmond is the third of five novels set in Ireland by Anthony Trollope. Castle Richmond was written between 4 August 1859 and 31 March 1860, and was published in three volumes on 10 May 1860. It was his tenth novel. Trollope signed the contract for the novel on 2 August 1859. He received £600, £200 more than the payment for his previous novel, The Bertrams, reflecting his growing popular success. Castle Richmond is set in southwestern Ireland at beginning of the Irish famine. Castle Richmond is situated on the banks of the Blackwater River in County Cork. Trollope's work in Ireland from 1841 to 1859 had given him an extensive knowledge of the island, and Richard Mullen has written that "All the principal strands of his life were formed in Ireland." The plot. unusually complicated among Trollope’s novels, features the competition of two Protestant cousins of English origin, Owen Fitzgerald and Herbert Fitzgerald, for the hand of Clara Desmond, the noble but impoverished daughter of the widowed Countess of Desmond, providing the novel's principal dramatic interest. Castle Richmond was the first of several novels by Trollope in which bigamy played an important role. The Irish famine and efforts by authorities to mitigate its effects are the subject of many scenes and the object of abundant commentary throughout. The famine also occasions more explicit religious commentary than is typical in novels by Trollope. (Wikipedia)
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About the Author
Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882) was an English novelist of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters. Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he had regained the esteem of critics by the mid-20th century. In 1851, Trollope was sent to England, charged with investigating and reorganising rural mail delivery in south-western England and south Wales. The two-year mission took him over much of Great Britain, often on horseback. Trollope describes this time as "two of the happiest years of my life". In the course of it, he visited Salisbury Cathedral; and there, according to his autobiography, he conceived the plot of The Warden, which became the first of the six Barsetshire novels. His postal work delayed the beginning of writing for a year; the novel was published in 1855, in an edition of 1,000 copies, with Trollope receiving half of the profits: £9 8s. 8d. in 1855, and £10 15s. 1d. in 1856. Although the profits were not large, the book received notices in the press, and brought Trollope to the attention of the novel-reading public. (Wikipedia)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Castle Richmond (Barnes and Noble Digital Library) based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Set in 1846-1847 in southern Ireland at beginning of the Irish famine, Castle Richmond has a rather complicated plot and takes a while to get going, but once all the characters are presented the novel develops a narrative dynamic that held this reader's interest. Trollope's work in Ireland from 1841 to 1859 gave him firsthand knowledge of the area he described. The story features the competition of two Protestant cousins of English origin, Owen Fitzgerald and Herbert Fitzgerald, for the hand of Clara Desmond, the noble but impoverished daughter of the widowed Countess of Desmond, providing the novel's principal dramatic interest. Castle Richmond is the first of several novels by Trollope in which bigamy plays an important role. The Irish famine and efforts by authorities to mitigate its effects are the subject of many scenes and the object of abundant commentary throughout. The famine also occasions more explicit religious commentary than is typical in novels by Trollope; indeed, Trollope is more present here as an authorial voice than is the case in most of his fiction.
Rollicking read with Trollope's usual mastery of clear narrative, elegant plotting and likeable characters. Characters remain a tad 2-dimensional: the energetic passionate Owen, the innocent but determined maiden Clara, the scheming but not wicked mother etc. Some odd notes are perhaps also insights into the Victorian worldview: the earldom title being such an issue and even a burden to the holder if not accompanied by wealth, "poor" being a very relative term (for the Herbert family it means having to leave the castle and live in St John's Wood; for Owen it's running a pack of hounds and a good horse, but lacking a castle; for the Countess it's lacking a carriage but sending her son to Eton and Oxford; for the peasants it's dying an agonising death in rags. And that's the central problem. Brave or foolhardy of Trollope to set his story in the centre of the Irish Famine and many details are accurate ( the "yellow meal", the workhouse system) but his attempts to justify the actions of both God and Government make squirming reading. Or are they meant to be Swiftian irony ? - they come across as well-meant naiveté, and the book would have worked better without them. The pictures he paints of the suffering are strong in themselves, setting the essentially trivial affairs of the better-off in a strange light. In fact the main story could easily have been set in Barsetshire; nothing particularly Irish about this game of titles and courtships and chimerical skeletons in the family cupboard. The Famine and Trollope's repeated apologia fail to engage us while provoking a "Who gives a damn?" about the main story .