The Way We Live Now (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Way We Live Now (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Ruthless greed, relentless self-promotion, corporate swindles and scandals on a grand scale—indeed this sounds like “the way we live now.” Though Anthony Trollope’s title actually refers to 1870s England, his scathing satire of a money-mad culture cuts close to the contemporary bone. At its center stands Augustus Melmotte, a crooked financier whose enormous schemes ensnare an array of avaricious aristocrats, politicians, and “important people.” Among them are Lady Carbury, who earns the family bread by churning out fatuous potboilers (as did Trollope’s mother) and her spendthrift, ne'er-do-well son, Felix, who sets his sights on Melmotte’s dangerously beautiful daughter, Marie. Meanwhile, Felix’s sister, Hetta, falls for Melmotte’s partner, Paul, who’s encumbered with an American fiancée, herself a widow who may have shot her husband. As the frauds expand and the romantic entanglements grow ever more complex, Trollope revels in the antics of his characters while pillorying the corruption of their morally bankrupt society. Nathaniel Hawthorne said it best, praising Trollope for putting England “under a glass case, with all its inhabitants going about their daily business, and not suspecting that they were made a show of.”

Karen Odden received her M.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University. Her dissertation on the medical, legal, and literary discourses that surrounded Victorian railway disasters discusses works by Trollope and his contemporaries, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, M. E. Braddon, and Mrs. Henry Wood. Chapters and articles have appeared in books of literary criticism, anthologies, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and Studies in the Novel; she has taught at the University of Michigan, New York University, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Currently a freelance writer and assistant editor for Victorian Literature and Culture, she resides in Arizona with her husband and two children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593083045
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 08/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 880
Sales rank: 50,471
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.76(d)

About the Author

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was one of the most successful, prolific, and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-known books collectively comprise the Chronicles of Barsetshire series, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire and includes the books The Warden, Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, and others. Trollope wrote nearly 50 novels in all, in addition to short stories, essays, and plays.

Read an Excerpt

From Karen Odden’s Introduction to The Way We Live Now

When I tell my friends that Anthony Trollope (1815–1882) is one of my favorite Victorian authors, most of them—even my book club friends—look at me with an expression of mild bewilderment. “Who? I’ve never heard of him. Did he write novels?” Yes, and he wrote political articles, literary criticism, articles on fox hunting, a book on Julius Caesar, travel books, and social articles, as well as serving as an editor for the Fortnightly Review. “And his name is pronounced Trollope, as in trollop?” Well, yes; but the silent “e” marks a critical difference between a corpulent, bearded, hard-working author and what the OED defines as “an untidy or slovenly woman; . . . a morally loose woman.”

Trollope wrote more than sixty books, including forty-seven novels, many of which sold more than 100,000 copies, which constituted a best-seller in the Victorian age. In his day, he was as popular as his contemporaries Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and George Eliot. Indeed, his work was much admired by Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), who wrote to Trollope that she was

impressed . . . very happily in all those writings of [his] that [she knew] — . . . people are breathing good bracing air in reading them — . . . the books are filled with belief in goodness without the slightest tinge of maudlin. They are like pleasant public gardens, where people go for amusement, & whether they think of it or not, get health as well (quoted in Mullen, Anthony Trollope, p. 474; see “For Further Reading”).

In spite of the benefits of “amusement” and “health,” Trollope’s works are now seldom taught in high school or even college literature courses—partly because his novels are long. Like most Victorian novels, many were written to be published as “triple-deckers,” so that lending libraries could charge a borrowing fee for each of the three volumes. The two-volume novel The Way We Live Now, which many critics consider his masterpiece, is one of Trollope’s longest, at 425,000 words.

Further, Trollope’s novels can be rather difficult going for a reader who is not familiar with the significant changes that occurred in Victorian England, changes in politics, religion, law, science, socio-economics, marriage, employment, trade, communication, and transport. The Victorian period stretches from 1837, the year the eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria came to the throne, until her death in 1901. To suggest the depth and range of changes, here are just a few of the events and developments that a long-lived Victorian fly on the wall might have witnessed: the birth and spread of railways and the telegraph system across Britain; the rise of joint-stock companies; the rise of the Chartist movement, which called for voting reforms such as universal male suffrage, secret ballots, and equality among electoral districts; the introduction of the penny post in 1840 (which meant the sender, rather than the receiver, paid the new, standardized rate for postage); Hong Kong coming under British sovereignty; the potato famines and the Hungry ’40s; the establishment of the Detective Department in London; a series of Factory Acts, which regulated the hours of women and children; coal-mining strikes; the repeal of the Corn Laws (tariffs on foreign grain); publication of Friedrich Engels’s The Condition of the Working Class in England and Karl Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto; the 1848 French Revolution; the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851, which celebrated Britain’s triumphs in the arts and sciences; the publication in the Westminster Review of Harriet Taylor Mill’s “The Enfranchisement of Women,” which denounced wife beating; the 1851 Census, the first of its kind, which placed the population of England and Wales at 17.9 million; the Crimean War; the founding of the Daily Telegraph; a substantial rise in literacy; the introduction to Parliament of a series of bills that would allow women to keep their property after marriage; the Divorce Bill of 1857, which enabled both women (for the first time) and men to sue for divorce; the publication of William Acton’s Prostitution Considered in Its Moral, Social, and Sanitary Aspects (there were approximately 75,000 prostitutes in London in the 1860s); the Indian Mutiny; Charles Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species (1859); public education reform; a Second Reform Bill of 1867, which extended the vote to two-fifths of the male population (up from one-fifth); the admission of Jews to Parliament; the Franco-Prussian war; the legalization of trade unions; petitions and protests against vivisection; the invention of the telephone; the Russo-Turkish war; the first Boer War; a third Reform Bill (1884), which provided the vote to all men who had a £10 stake in the community; the Irish Home Rule Bill; the Jack the Ripper murders in London; a second Boer War; and the invention of electric light.

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Way We Live Now (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
marikaMF More than 1 year ago
I decided to pick this book up again and re-read it in light of the financial disaster, possibly the biggest fraud in history, perpetrated by Bernie Madoff (not sure of first name). The story takes place in the mid 1800's London & surround...several titled, but money-less gentry are all pursuing the fabulously wealthy yet vulgar Melmotte and his marriage age (but unattractive) daughter. Throughout the novel there are murmurings of Melmotte's swindling and fraud committed throughout Europe but people choose to be blinded by his seemingly endless wealth. The story explores and elucidates the social mores (or lack thereof) of the Victorian times (a favorite literary time for me). We see how the landed folk are willing to pander themselves for a stab at becoming fabulously wealthy (no matter how that wealth was acquired)--they will stop at nothing to gain wealth without working (something they consider to be a dirty thing). There is also an American female character, Mrs. Hurtle, divorced and aggressive pioneer (or buccaneer woman) who is an interesting character acting as a foil to the gentle upper crust English ladies. Mrs. Hurtle represents the wild, untamed American frontier where anyone can start out poor and end up rich without regrets (although she would like to find a man and settle down to share her riches).
n00k_w0rm More than 1 year ago
The thing I like most about Trollope's work is the way he creates his characters and TWWLN was no different. They felt real right from the beginning. Trollope likes to control his characters' revelations through his narratives. He writes interesting histories about them that tells you the type of people they are and what to expect from them. As for the story, it's an intricately woven tale of people running after power and money and fortune. BBC has a mini series on this book but to understand the magnitude of the author's skills, one must read the book. For new Trollope readers, I would recommend reading some of his lighter books before picking this up. It is long and involved but definitely not boring. If you are already a Trollope fan, this should be your next book.
ninjajen More than 1 year ago
900 pages went by more quickly than i could have thought possible....great storytelling, impressive characters, and beautiful language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not be put off by the thick Victorian presentation! This book, although written in an old-fashioned style due to its age, nonetheless grasps unsavory elements of human nature and the beginnings of characters we recognize all too well today.
Novelwriter47 More than 1 year ago
I had to laugh at how accurate the dipictions of human psychology and society in this novel. History does seem to repeat itself to a certain extent, and this book has much resonance with our current culture of greed. Also a joy just to read for the wit, solid writing and perfect structure. As a book doctor who edits wannabe novelists, I recommend this as a great model of how to assemble material into a fine book.
DavidGreene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first Trollope, and certainly one of his best.
Renz0808 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Considered Trollope's masterpiece this book centers around a brillant cast of characters with inter-connecting lives. It deals with many social and political issues of the time period across all classes. One of my favorite things about Trollope's books this one especially, is that he always portrays his women honestly and gives them strong independent voices. He really understands and accurately portrays all of the feminine issues of the day. I loved this book tremendously and I would have given it all five stars and more but I was a bit disappointed with the ending. Rogar Carbury is one of my favorite male characters that I have been introduced to recently and I wished he could have gotten a better ending. It was well worth the read even though some people might be a bit daunted by its size.
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I like the Barnes & Noble classic NOOK BOOKS. I have the sample THE WAY WE LIVE NOW but I found it time consuming to find Page 1 of the novel. There were no page number listed with the chapters. However I do like all the information that precedes the story but I would like it at the end of the book. Sometimes I like to refer to the addendum as I read. Accessing this information was not easy. I have read many Jane Austen novels several times over the years so I enjoy reading the addendum. I will choose THE WAY WE LIVE NOW in a simpler format. Then if it is a "must read again" I will choose the classic edition. Since I haven't read the book yet I really can't rate it but it looks promising so I will say 3 star and get back to you when I have read it. Before this letter is accepted, I hope I may see it in it's entirety so that I can edit it . Wealthy 937
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