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Trollope, Anthony

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1815-1882) UK author whose most famous novels make up the Barchester Chronicles, and whose portrayal of the state of England was more voluminously expressed, and perhaps more exact, than any other novelist's of stature before or since his time; his posthumous nonfiction study, The New Zealander (written 1855-1856; 1972), was designed to stave off for as long as possible the fate of England promulgated by Lord Macaulay through his famous 1840 image of a future New Zealander gazing upon the ruins of London (see also Ruins and Futurity). References to inevitable Decadence and the fall of Empire are made. It is also of some sf interest that theories about the existence of Extraterrestrial life are brought up in Barchester Towers (1857 3vols), with references to Sir David Brewster (1781-1868) and The Reverend William Whewell (1794-1866), who argued over the possibility of life elsewhere.

Trollope's sixty-first book, and sole venture into sf, The Fixed Period (October 1881-March 1882 Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine; 1882 2vols), written a few years before his death, understandably though evasively (no one actually dies in the book) concentrates upon that topic. It is 1980 on an Island 600 miles from New Zealand where sheep farmers are establishing an ambiguous Utopia they call the Republic of Britannula, where no one will be allowed to live past the age of sixty-seven – the age at which Trollope would in fact die, a year after the tale's magazine publication. The Navy – Trollope assumes without comment that it will be the British Navy (see Imperialism) – arrives in time to avert implementation of the scheme. The Republic is then dissolved by the gunship, and annexed to the British Empire. Though not one of Trollope's stronger novels, The Fixed Period remains a speculation of interest, and demonstrates the vigour of its author's rather gloomy Indian summer. [JC]

see also: Machines.

Anthony Trollope

born London: 24 April 1815

died London: 6 December 1882


  • The Fixed Period (Edinburgh, Scotland: William Blackwood and Sons, 1882) [published in two volumes: first appeared October 1881-March 1882 Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine: hb/nonpictorial]


  • The New Zealander (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press, 1972) [nonfiction: written 1855-1856: edited with introduction by N John Hall: hb/Gustave Doré]


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