misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

We are reading an abridged Duke's Children! -- another Trollope novel to go

Dear friends and readers,

I'm reading and analyzing two volumes of Trollope criticism for a review I promised for a peer-edited journal. In one of them, Prof Steven Amarnick (of Kingsborough Community College)describes the real differences between the published Duke's Children (1880) by Anthony Trollope and the one left in manuscript and never published which appears to be at least one-quarter longer.  This manuscript now resides in the Beinecke Library at Yale -- as do several other of Trollope's surviving manuscripts. 

The original first page of Chapter 53 of The Duke's Children, crossed out

After reading his new variant, I thought to myself he was presenting the original DC in a different light than he had in 2004 when I went to a Trollope Society meeting in 2004 to hear him first present in a paper his findings.

I went to look at what I had written in a blog report on the paper (I do these reports on papers partly to enable myself to know what I heard, remember, and be able to use it since until I lay it out in sten, often I am not sure what was said), and discovered that when Jim and I retrieved all the Trollope blogs I had written for Jim and Ellen have a blog, too, this summary had been inadvertently omitted. Why?  It was part of a note to a blog.

Luckily I still have the original posting to Trollope19thCStudies in which I transcribed my notes and so here make a new blog. 

Philip Latham as the Duke standing at his wife's grave; this comes near the end of the last episode of The Duke's Children in the 1974 BBC Palliser series (12:25)

Old news I know, since a paper in 1968 by W. Bailey (after his investigations of the Trollope manuscripts held in Yale), Juliet McMaster's magnificent chapter on The Duke's Children in her The Palliser Novels (1978), and Andrew Wright's thorough-going account of the kind of painstaking little details (leaving the original-design inact) of the manuscript version of DC versus the printed text (Trollope Tercentenary Volume, ed. John Halperin, 1982), it's been known that we are really reading a very different version from DC than Trollope originally wrote, and that he cut it to get it into print, so low had his selling power and prestige fallen shortly before his death. 

Just imagine, you have not yet got through them all!   (It's an old saying among people who like reading Trollope they really dread the day they run out.)  Well, there is still one to go, which reminds me how it was Elizabeth Gaskell who said she wished Mr Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage forever.

Professor Amarnick began by telling the audience that his relationship with The Duke's Children goes back a long way.  It was the first Trollope novel he read, about 15 years ago.  Then he read Barchester Towers, The Warden, Dr Thorne, Framley Parsonage.   He testified to a common feeling among Trollope readers: he did not want them all to be read them all too quickly, but he carried on reading. 

Within a couple of years it seems that he still had the sense that The Duke's Children is among Trollope's finest, and perhaps his best. Thus he was struck with the disparity in size between The Last Chronicle of Barset and The Duke's Children. The Last Chronicle was so big; The Duke's Children so puny.  The monumentality of The Last Chronicle impresses; the title announces it is the end of a series. Why was The Duke's Children not made a similarly fitting long coda.  He thought about The Duke's Children having been written so late, and asked himself if perhaps Trollope was not as good a novelist by this time.  But as he read on he decided that the last 5 years of novel writing were as good as any other 5 years.

And then he discovered that the book he had originally read was a much shorter version of the original book.

He then moved onto Trollope's "extraordinary presence of mind" in his books and his willpower as he was writing them, his self-control.  Trollope early on developed a method where he did little revision.  This took awareness.  Further, when Trollope cut The Duke's Children, he was going against a life time's practice.  Amarnick reminded the audience that when Trollope was asked to cut Barchester Towers, he refused to cut it.  He could rewrite the novel but he could not make a 3 volume book into a 2 volume one. Yet he did this.   The implication is that Trollope did this under pressure; he was desperate to get this book published.  Amarnick then went on to say the aversion to revision was not laziness; Trollope wrote that he found that when he wrote more carefully (composed), he found he lost more than he gained when he wrote swiftly.

So in 1878 Trollope undertook a massive re-editing.  This is something he never did before.  Trollope did not just hack 1/4 of his manuscript off (cut individual whole chapters or subplots.  What he did was continually snip his sentences, snip his paragraphs, cut this half paragraph and then that; he went through a manuscript which would have made a modern edition of about 850 + words and sweated words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, until he got it down to a manuscript that today makes 630+ words.  [Amarnick did not say but I'll "footnote" here to the effect that Sutherland has written that the manuscript of The Way We Live Now shows an overhaul of ordering and much change in focus,  and some revision to make that rearrangement work, but this is not the same thing as a thoroughgoing continual sweating of words.]

The remarkable thing is how smoothly the cut text reads. We do not feel the editing has left awkwardnesses.  Amarnick said that had he left this book as is it was and printed from the manuscript The Duke's Children would have been one of the longest of Trollope's novels.

Anthony Andrews as Silverbridge telling his father he's lost an enormous amount of money at the races and was partly responsible for Gerald defying his college's orders and not returning on time (1974 BBC Pallisers, 12:24)

What was cut?  subtleties in a number of the characters; invisible thematic threads picked up through images and dialogues; many references to the previous Palliser novels. (Armanick noted that The Last Chronicle has many references to the previous Barsetshire novels.)  The narrator is much less in evidence:  in the original version we had our "chummy" (Amarnick's word) companion alongside us a good deal. Much politics were cut:  particularly with respect to the Duke's relationship to Silverbridge.  Armanack feels the overall rhythm of the book changed so that the original manuscript of The Duke's Children "has a monumentality befitting the conclusion of such an ambitious cycle of books."

Amarnick then turned back to describe Trollope's experience of writing all his life.  How he forced himself every morning to produce about 1000 words an hour; how he learned to do  this so that the words were the ones that would go into his books.  He quoted the passages from An Autobiography where Trollope describes his experience as being a on a chariot; he also quoted the passages from the short fiction and essays where Trollope talked of his walks in the woods; of his dreaming in order to live with his characters and stories all day long.  "He kept working all the time." Trollope went out into the world and determined that "he would not be a novelist on whom anything was lost."

There are changes in the manuscripts we have.  Amarnick has looked at  DC, Last Chronicle, Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux and Can You Forgive Her?.  Trollope would add words for clarity.  He would adjust his sentences for rhythm.  Sometimes he did make subtle changes to adjust a character this or that way.  Sometimes he would add a few sentences or a paragraph here and there.  But he did not omit any paragraphs after he wrote them.  Sometimes he changed something in one chapter and then had to make a change in another; he would move things from one chapter to another.  The practical effect was usually to add; the manuscript got longer.  He went over some changes in Alice Vavasour's character in CYFH? which I didn't quite get down.

Amarnick said "it is astonishing that Trollope cut this manuscript." [Here I note that Amarnick himself provided the answer earlier in his talk.  Trollope wanted the money.  For years Trollope had been having trouble placing his books; his price had been going down.  Armanack seems to forget that Trollope old; he was showing signs of serious heart illness; there would be no pension for Rose;  he had poured money at his two sons; Mullen in his Trollope A Victorian in His Time tells us that Trollope had begun to do some speculative deals with money. I am not astonished that Trollope cut the book.]

Amarnick then turned to tell of the specifics of the changes. He said that "Frank is a much more ambiguous character in the original book."  It takes a lot longer "to figure out that he is not another Ferdinand Lopez."  Frank is much more "potentially scary" in the first book; there is "much more tension." 

Jeremy Irons as Frank first introduced by Anthony Andrews as the young Silverbridge (just kicked out of Oxford), 1974 BBC Pallisers (Part 12:10)

At the end of the published book we have Frank's letter to the Duke where Frank is open about his mercenary and ambitious motives. Amarnick said that there is a reasonable size meditation where we can see that money is still a dominating motive for Frank's choice in marrying Mary.  He is a much more ambivalent character even to the end of the book.  Amarnick then hastened to say "of course we realize at the end that Frank will make a good husband still."  [This puzzled me; it seemed to come out of left field since he himself had been suggesting Frank's attachment to Mary and concern for her was to say the least self-interested, and this fits with Trollope's other portraits of ambitious young men who seek advancement through marriage and less nefarious means.  Phineas is himself suspected of murdering for advancement. He didn't but the suspicion shows how Trollope thought people really believe many people may stop at nothing for worldly success.  I mention my puzzlement because this last statement about Frank being a good husband led to Amarnick's comments on Mary.]

Kate Nicholls as Mary stands firm against her father; her mother's picture kept in the shot (12:26 Pallisers)

In the original manuscript Mary is a much less "sure" character. Trollope compares her far more often to Lady Glen.  Trollope cut a line where he said she was a copy of Lady Glen.  So, according to Amarnick, "in the original ms it takes a lot longer to see Mary has good judgement."  [Again this is puzzling. It seems to me Amarnick wants to believe we are to think Mary has good judgement; if in the original manuscript Frank is nowhere near as selfless, loving, attached a man, then where is Mary's good judgement?]  At Catherine's prompting (see below), Amarnick read a section from the original manuscript where Mary is trying to get Mrs Finn to take a letter to Frank but does not know Frank's address.  This Amarnick thought was a "dark" (his word) scene since it shows us Mary is defying her father (lying, going behind his back) and it emphasizes a connection between Lopez and George Vavasour and Frank Tregear:  they hide where they live.  They don't tell. Amarnick's way of reading this cut scene turns it into a distressing one for his imagined reader -- alas it's omitted in our present published version.

Amarnick then turned to the Duke.  In the original manuscript the Duke is still very uncomfortable with Frank at the end. In the original manuscript we also get much more politics; the Duke is very involved in what's going on and he cares intensely and is intensely hurt that Silverbridge goes over to the conservatives.  There are more machinations in the original manuscript.  In the original manuscript at the opening of the book the Duchess's death is not the only focus:  she shares the stage with political happenings.

Amarnick feels the original balance between politics and domestic happenings in The Duke's Children is lost. In the original the ending is much more powerful and poignant since the romance between Silverbrige and Isabel is just one thread:  Silverbridge's detestation of Sir Timothy Beeswax is stronger; Beeswax is a looming presence and you get a sense of how appalling he is and a thoroughly sardonic analysis and lots of jokes.  Thus when Silverbridge changes back to a liberal there is real relief and the revolution in Silverbridge's feeling and relationship with his father is fuller and more rewarding to read about.

Tifto as imagined by Raven, a hard mean bullying man, from the published book (1974 Pallisers)

According to Amarnick, Tifto is "less sleazy" (his word) in the original manuscript.  In the original Tifto "does not just slink away." He marries well, sets up a business and then writes Silverbridge "I do not need money any more."  Amarnick seemed to find this ending much preferable.  He said that it "makes Silverbridge's relationship with Tifto more understandable."  [I find Silverbridge's relationship with Tifto understandable without this; the relationship is not meant to be admirable; how Tifto's marrying for money makes him less "sleazy" escapes me when Frank's marrying Mary for money makes him Lopez-like.  Tifto did not just slink away; he stayed and fought for a while; I'm one of those readers who think when Silverbridge gives Tifto a pension we are to think better of Silverbridge, see him as slowly becoming more decent and responsible for his action, so when, Tom-and-Daisy like (my allusion is to Gatsby), he kicks someone, he just doesn't run his car over them and scoot away.]  In this paper Prof Amarnick did not talk about Silverbridge much as opposed to his present one, nor did he tell us, as he did in the recent one that one of the titles Trollope considered was Lord Silverbridge.  However, in this earlier paper he certainly liked Silverbridge a lot.

Amarnick found the pacing of the original manuscript better in the case of Silverbridge's romance with Isabel, especially towards the end of the book.  It moves much slower.  In the original manuscript Silverbridge is "still trying to convince himself that he loves Lady Mabel." As with Frank Tregear's thoughts, Trollope cuts some of Silverbridge's which show what he is feeling about Mabel is "much more ambivalent."  [In other words, he does not so shallowly switch immediately to the pretty fresh face with her quick repartees that he seems hardly to understand.]

In the original manuscript Lady Glencora's presence is very strong.  We are not permitted to forget her. The Duke thinks about her, remembers her. 

Susan Hampshire's insistence for Lady Mary's independence as she lays dying (12:26)

Amarnick said that in the original manuscript the Duke thinks about getting into contact with Alice Vavasour (aka Mrs Grey) again, but he cannot because he has become "estranged" from Mr Grey who himself would not permit Alice to continue her friendship with the Duchess.  [All these controlling males, eh?]  So this left the Duke with Mrs Finn with whom he remains uncomfortable.  Apparently there are remarks which show the Duke looks upon Mrs Finn still as a potentially unchaste type; he remembers back to her near affair with the old Duke.  [Probably some xenophobia here too.]  Amarnick said the Duke is presented as thinking about how he liked Alice and how he resents Madame Max for replacing her.  So although the Duchess learned to love Marie, the Duke never did reconcile himself to this unchaste, not easily classified, non-English woman.  Amarnick feels that all this makes the Duke's taking back his accusation and apology to Mrs Finn "richer."  I agree it would. 

Barbara Murray as last seen in Pallisers, attempting to advise Duke in accordance with her loving feelings for her friend, Glencora's deepest wishes: she wished that her children as adults should be free

All this, according to Amarnick, keeps Lady Glen before us:  the memories of Alice, how Grey doesn't approve of Lady Glen, how Mrs Finn is the real companion for Lady Glen.  Amarnick feels that the lack of mention of Lady Glen and cutting out of material like the above allows the reader to forget Lady Glen and so lose some of the complexity of the Duke's responses and character and book as a whole.

[At this point someone objected and said she felt Lady Glen was strong in the book throughout and liked the subtlety of the approach.  Amarnick answered well it depends on the reader.  Some readers could and would forget her altogether.]

In the original we get a lot more of the narrator.  A lot more.  Amarnick mentions that these changes of interjections are of just the sort Henry James disliked [so my thought was perhaps Trollope's cutting his narrator was a reflection of his picking up new aesthetic doctrines and practices in the 1880s.   Amarnick read a few of the sort he misses:  there is a joke at Silverbridge and Isabel's expense when Silverbridge visits Isabel and pretends something about the weather; Amarnick likes jokes at Isabel's coming to see the house she may live in ("women care just about their houses" is the idea here). [I wondered if some of these interjections were also the kind where Trollope reminds the reader this is a fiction.  That's what he does at the close of Barsetshire.  I have to say that the passages Amarnick liked I thought heavy-handed but this is a matter of taste.  Jim wondered if you could tell which pieces Trollope cut first.  From my experience with manuscripts, you usually can't.  So we can't know if these humorous" interjections went first or later.]

The original novel does not end the way the published one does.  After the Duke says he "will accept as courage that which I before regarded as arrogance," the dialogue turns to where the young couple will live, and Gerald gets the last word which is a comment about how the Duke must let either Silverbridge or Tregear have their own way.  Amarnick felt this ending is much more "fitting" as this has been a a book about the Pallisers, Gerald is a Palliser, and this is a "humorous" comment on the Duke's reluctance to change.  [I like the book ending on doubt over Frank Tregear.  If Tregear was a much more Lopez character, he then harks back to an equally emphasized group of characters in the Palliser books:  the outsider.  George Vavasour, Phineas Finn, Lizzie Eustace, Ferdinand Lopez, and then Frank Tregear -- all disruptions which the Pallisers and their world failed to keep out.]

Amarnick concluded with his view that the original manuscript of The Duke's Children shows it to be a greater book and on a par or bettee than The Last Chronicle of Barset.  he did not like Last Chronicle as much as some people do.  As far as he is concerned, he could do without the painter subplot and grows tired of the "whining and complaining" (!) Crawley.  He hastened to say "though he does not find the Duke tiresome." [I was startled at this one; he apparently does not respond to the closing sections of Last Chronicle where Crawley writes those great letters; I like the painter subplot of Last Chronicle; I could do without Grace and Henry much more readily.]


Then there was a question and answer period.  It seems to your reporter (me) that Amarnick persuaded his audience that the original manuscript of The Duke's Children is a more varied and perhaps richer book.  People agreed with his view that Frank Tregear as we presently have him is truncated and doesn't make much sense; that the cutting of the politics in Silverbridge's story hurts the ending of the book and the presentation of Silverbridge's relationship with his father.  But it seems to me also that Amarnick did not persuade the assembly that the original manuscript of The Duke's Children is a better book.  Maybe these fans are so attached to what they have they didn't like it impugned. 

One woman vigorously objected to his wanting the passages on Lady Glen put back; no one jumped up to agree with him about The Last Chronicle -- for my part I find it very great, a signature book if ever there was one, more typical of Trollope than The Way We Live Now, which has become his signature book of late.  To me, though, it seemed his argument that DC is better with the cuts put back and better than Last Chronicle  was too reliant on his reading of Trollope and his values and taste.   Also the valuing of "monumentality" was never discussed; it was presented as a given.

He half-seemed to want to end there, but he also showed us a sheaf of manuscripts which had the passages from the manuscript.  He said he didn't want to bore us.  It was then that Catherine Crean urged him to read them, and he went ahead.  It was not in the least boring. A good deal of the detail I have reported above came out of his reading these sheefs of material from the original manuscripts.

It was then around 8 and the last issue was, When was he going to try to make an edition?  If he had not convinced everyone the original Duke's Children was better than this slimmed down version, or was Trollope's best book, and better than Last Chronicle, he had persuaded people it's a real shame we don't have this book to read to. 

Well, it appears that in 2004 now Amanick had no intention of doing this. It would be enormously time-consuming.  The reason no edition has been done is it's not a matter of putting back chapters or whole sections.  You've got to retype the manuscript deciphering small passages as you go.  He said Trollope's handwriting is sometimes hard to read.  Some of the passages are not crossed out with just a thin line but with zigzaggs and (light?) cross-hatching.  It would take a lot of work.  Catherine again spoke up to mention Broadview Press.  This was a very good suggestion.  Broadview is just the sort of press to take up an edition of a novel now known in a mutilated or cut state.  He wasn't listening. He is now working on his article and hopes to publish it.

I missed lack of talk about Lady Mabel Grex in the first paper; he hardly mentioned her.  In his recent paper, he made up for this and bowed a lot to Deborah Morse's book on Trollope's women as being so eloquent about this character.

Anna Carteret as Lady Mabel unable to control her bitter anguish as at a party she watches Lord Silverbridge dance with Isabel Boncassen (1974 BBC Pallisers, 12:24)

Tags: anthony trollope, film adaptation

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