nthony Trollope opens his story of his life by telling us that "my boyhood was, I think, as unhappy as that of a young gentleman could be, my misfortunes arising from a mixture of poverty and gentle standing on the part of my father, and from an utter want on my part of that juvenile manhood which enables some boys to hold up their heads even among the distresses which such a position is sure to produce" (1:2). A few paragraphs later he offers concrete examples of what he means by an "utter want" of "juvenile manhood:"
Then another and a different horror fell to my fate. My college bills had not been paid, and the school tradesmen who administered to the wants of the boys were told not to extend their credit to me ... My schoolfellows of course knew that it was so, and I became a Pariah. It is the nature of boys to be cruel. I have sometimes doubted whether among each other they do usually suffer much, one from the other's cruelty; but I suffered horribly! I could make no stand against it. I had no friend to whom I could pour out my sorrows. I was big, and awkward, and ugly, and, I have no doubt, skulked about in a most unattractive manner. Of course I was ill-dressed and dirty. But, ah! how well I remember all the agonies of my young heart; how I considered whether I should always be alone. [1:9]1
In many Victorian texts, successful manliness is equated with "courage, resolution, and tenacity," "the repression of the self," "financial independence," and doing useful work. In Trollope's novels, however, the use of the term "manliness" and all its cognates usually refers to a more narrowly-conceived social behavior. When the young Trollope had insufficient "juvenile manhood," he was not able to exercise a self-government sufficient to hide his social predicament and to maintain the respect of others. In the case of his older characters, say the paragons Will Belton (The Belton Estate) and Jonathan Stubbs (Ayala's Angel), their manliness also manifests itself in their firm limiting their susceptibility to pressure from the views of others in ways that permit a perceived private self to assert an individual presence, self-esteem and power implicitly.2
It is important to be emphasize Trollope is making a case against conventional norms. The character who is ugly, awkward, dressed wrongly, relatively poor, and even not quite a gentleman is frequently presented as nonetheless admirably manly. Larry Twentyman of The American Senator is a case in point. Trollope also has many admirable heroes who do not end up financially independent (Mark Robarts), do not seek power in the public arena (John Grey), and regard the usefulness of their chosen work in thoroughly disillusioned lights (Plantagenet Palliser when Duke of Omnium). Though manliness is attributed to physical courage of the kind displayed by Johnny Eames in The Small House at Allington and in one of Trollope's earliest major male characters who nonetheless does not survive to the book's end, Myles Ussher (The Macdermots of Ballycloran); in Trollope's fictions, the word "manly" is much more often attributed to moral courage of the type which enables Mr Harding steadily to quit a compromised position, and Mr Whittlestaff to yield a young heroine whose companionship and body he hungers for to another much younger man (An Old Man's Tale). Trollope repeatedly dramatizes stories which reveal that when a woman chooses a partner based on how well he enacts conventional social norms for heterosexual male sexuality, she courts emotional disaster4.
Characters also do not have to have a penis to be manly. First we should note which characteristics Trollope will not endow his manly female characters with so as not to exaggerate his androgyny. If you look at female characters in Trollope's fictions who are endowed with admirable manliness, e.g., Mrs Mary Kelly (The Kellys and O'Kellys), Lady Lufton, Miss Dunstable, Miss Todd (found The Bertrams and Miss Mackenzie and thought to be a portrait of Francis Cobbe), Madame Max Goesler (later Mrs Finn), Lady Sarah Germaine (in Is He Popenjoy?), you discover that Trollope's manly women are women who have passed the common age of sexual desirability; women who do not conform to stereotypical admired attractiveness; and women who present themselves as not competing for husbands. They are post-menopausal, or old maids (e.g., Miss Priscilla Stanbury of He Knew He Was Right, who has sometimes been identified as a lesbian). And what form does their self-control take? They typically display manliness through a paradoxical submission, courtesy, prudent charity, and self-abnegation presented as giving them momentary power over socially sensitive or moral men6. For one example, in The Duke's Children, Mrs Finn conquers the Duke of Omnium's unjust suspicions of her by a self-effacing magnanimity. For another, Lady Lufton's way of bettering the Duke of Omnium in Framley Parsonage is to curtsy to him in public. The act of powerful giving and a symbolically fecund appearance and overt female pursuit of power arouses Trollope's own sexual anxiety and insecurity; he cannot get himself to present young female virgins eligible for marriage with his gentlemen heroes as manly and presents manliness in his women as altruistic and through non-aggressive gestures.
For today, though, I pass over the familiar topic of Trollope's depiction of women8. I want rather to dwell on heterosexual male heroism in his novels.Some have objected to this subject matter, on the basis that there is nothing interesting to discuss in Trollope. It's said that everywhere in Trollope are heterosexual males whose sexuality Trollope is uninterested in, or deals opaquely with, or is utterly conventional about; see, for example, Joanna Trollope's "Trollope and Sex." My argument is that Trollope's most profound analyses of characters reside in his perceptive realistic depiction of male heterosexual patterns of sexuality as these conflict with the social customs of his age and ours. Drawing on his personal experience, Trollope justifies unheroic heroes and redefines worldly loss, defeat and individual withdrawals from social life and competition as misunderstood and understandable choices whose courage is underrated; through his presentation of heterosexual heroes Trollope defends his male readers against the norms he suffered from as a boy, young man, and as a older successful man too. There is much subversion here: very unusually Trollope gazes boldly on heroes who are not sexually and socially triumphant. He repeatedly presents the norms for such triumphs as oppressive, shallow, and even useless and counterproductive except when powerful characters instinctively admire them.11 He frequently sympathizes with males who regard the demand that they enact masculinity in dominating, aggressive, glamorous and overtly ranked-based ways as distasteful and against the grain of their character; they are unable or unwilling to articulate their point of view because they fear shaming and defeat. Their inability or refusal to manipulate these social codes disables them in the continual struggle for dominance against submission that Trollope depicts as also what shapes most human relationships. When their story is tightly interwoven with that of strong, passionate, frustrated or equally repressed, and obtuse and understandably vindictive women, they become crippled, paralyzed and tragic figures.
Although I could demonstrate the importance of Trollope's iconoclasm from heroes in the well-known Barsetshire and Palliser books; from heroes in novels whose stories have provided the basis of two recent popular TV films, or from the heroes of the two early tragic Irish novels, I have preferred to look briefly at his still underestimated Miss Mackenzie and Is He Popenjoy?, and relatively-unknown Ayala's Angel14. Miss Mackenzie is a concentrated mid-career book, whose hero has been mocked as one of Trollope's "dullest," and all of whose characters' awareness of their limitations is relentless; its grim scenes make visible the suffering wreaked on its hero and heroine by its community's heterosexual mores. Is He Popenjoy? was published in the mid-1870s, which Angus McLaren has identified as a decade when the norms of masculinity were overtly contested: central to the plot-design are rivalries between a sexually anxious male, a bitter and cynical debauche, an assured cad, and a man who symbolically asserts his masculinity through enabling another man to sire a titled grandson for him15. In Ayala's Angel Trollope dramatizes a variety of romance motifs from a sceptical disillusioned male point of view, while placing a continuum of male types against a scrim of conventional masculine requirements.
Trollope claimed he intended to prove in Miss Mackenzie that he could produce a "novel without any love," and indeed there is very little love between any of the characters until (as Trollope says) he broke "down" and allowed an "ungainly" (1:5) 34-year old woman and aging shy widower, to fall in love (Autobiography, 188-89). An astonishing epitomizing scene occurs between Ball and Miss Mackenzie at midnight in her bedroom. She is in a nightgown, and he unable to reciprocate with the slightest word of affection though he is intensely physically attracted to her. Before she draws Ball into the room, Trollope's "Griselda" had risen "from her bed," and walked "wildly through the room" as she remembers Ball's mother's self-interested treachery. She now demands from Ball candour and an acknowledgement that his behavior has been "terrible" to her. Like several Trollope heroines, Margaret treats Ball's idea he is "protecting" her as an attempt to "imprison" her, an insult and behavior that will "destroy her happiness" (22:295-98) and his own17. Ball perceives her through an emotional complex dominated by searing humiliation and distrust:
He was remembering the touch of her hand when they were together in the square, and the feminine sweetness with which she had yielded to him every point ... He had been leaning, or was half-sitting on the bed, and she had placed herself beside him ... Was it a trick with her? ... The loose sleeve of her dressing-gown had fallen back, and he could see that her arm was round and white, and very fair ... [22:292-93]
In John Ball Trollope depicts a normative male heterosexual anxiety and desire to control the heroine as a failure of the imagination.
The masochism of the hero and heroine in this novel enables Trollope to lay bare the intangible destructive powerful norms maiming their relationship. According to Cockshut's introduction to the novel, a "masterful undercurrent" (xiv-xv) of sympathetic and justifying analysis traces Ball's analogous behavior throughout the novel (see also Nardin, 143). Ball spends his existence making "five per cent on his capital" since he "would have received no more than four and one half had he left it alone." He subjects himself and Miss Mackenzie to his mother's berating insults because he cannot dismiss Lady Ball's vindictive scorn; and he tortures Miss Mackenzie emotionally with his sexual anxiety over her confused response to the proposal of a man clearly distasteful to her. Unlike Mr Harding, he is also willing to allow venomous slander which has no merit to deter him from seeking what will give him courage, i.e, Miss Mackenzie. He drives her to flee his weak defensive pride all the whlie longing for her. Readers like to quote the passage where Miss Mackenzie makes love to her image: "she got up and looked at herself in the mirror ... her fingers ran almost involuntarily across her locks, her touch told her that they were soft and silken ... her hand touched the outline of her cheek ... She pulled her scarf tighter across her bosom, feeling her own form, and then she leaned forward and kissed herself in her glass (9:111). But they do not notice the description of Ball placed closely afterwards: "He was very careworn, soiled as it were with the world, tired out with the dusty, weary life's walk which he had been compelled to take" (9:111), nor that Miss Mackenzie's presence also sexually arouses him when he first sees her (6:77-79), and when he is drawn by her dress to propose again (27:367; 28:377); in fact, throughout the novel. Trollope has matched one of his least conventionally sexualized heroes with a strongly sexualized heroine. Just before Ball proposes for the first time, the narrator says, "As he looked with his dull face across into the square, no physiognomist would have declared of him that at that moment he was suffering from love, or thinking that a woman was dear to him. But it was so with him, and the physiognomist, had one been there, would have been wrong" (17:215). Ball's first signs of real "manliness" (the word is used) emerge when he exerts himself to look at what has happened from Margaret's perspective (29:391). Trollope is defending hidden selves which not only cannot present themselves in public, but also often not recognize who they are when alone: "How wrong the world is in connecting so closely as it does the capacity for feeling and the capacity for expression ..." (15:192).
Two veins of imagery are suggestive. The poorer places where Miss Mackenzie has lived are sleazy with illicit sex: When Miss Mackenzie arrives in Littlebath, she feels justified in asking the landlady at the Paragon whether the landlady rents to bachelors. Arundel Street where Miss Mackenzie had lived for many years was a place known for having "bachelors" and single women about who were willing to service their sexual needs. Now in Littlebath with more money, she wants to avoid this sordid reality of everyday English life. Once she becomes poor again, she takes a room in Mrs Buggins's lodgings where she is aware that masked by the discreet behavior of Mrs Protheroe, the same quiet prostitution is going on (23:303). Like several of Trollope's novels concerned centrally with heterosexual male norms, in Miss Mackenzie Trollope mocks his heroes through bawdy names. The men on offer to this Griselda are Ball, Rubb and Handcock.
In Is He Popenjoy?, a "young woman's Jack" — to coin Arabella Trefoil's salacious phrase in The American Senator, another of Trollope's overtly sexually subversive novels — the handsome, socially at ease and sexually assured, Jack De Baron, is central to the novel's examination of male heterosexuality and contrasted to the awkward, ill at ease, and sensitive George Germaine. (Markwick uses Trefoil's pun in "A Young Man's Jack;" see also her Trollope and Women, 116-26). Jack de Baron may equally be described as a shallow frivolous cad who arouses the jealousy of novel's "grim, gaunt, sombre" and older respectable hero, George Germaine (1:2). Trollope first contrasts this pair of men and then places them within an overlapping configuration of male sexuality in the novel. The contrast is developed through scenes which show how they respond to female sexuality in vulnerable and powerful women. Her and his lack of money had led De Baron to persuade Augusta Mildmay to break their engagement, though they had consummated it: the narrator tells us of her immediately that she had "grievances of her own — great grievances" against him (13:122). The narrator emphasizes Miss Mildmay's continuing sense of an breakable attachment to her Jack, how this reinforces her regret she has lost him and her loneliness and strain amid the barrennesses and competition for a new men in social life. We then overhear them talk thus:
"I think promises ought to be kept, Captain de Baron'.
'I can't agree to that. That's bondage, and it puts an embargo on the pleasant way of living that I like. I hate all kind of strictness and duty and self-denying and that kind of thing. It's rubbish. Don't you think so?" ([3:121]
By contrast, Germaine attempts to persuade his sexually powerful partly because ignorant wife, Mary Lovelace, whom we are shown finds De Baron a congenial spirit (28:277), to conform to his relatively impoverished family's and unmarried sister's modes of life. Mary is also empowered because Germaine knows he married her for her money, and her father has previous to the marriage gotten Germaine to promise he will allow Mary to live in her own house in London for a portion of the year. In this scene it is woman who uses their previous sexual experience further to tame her man:
"You wish, Mary, to be one of us; do you not?"
'She paused for a moment, and then she answered, "I wish to be always one with you".
He almost wanted to be angry at this, but it was impossible. "To be one with me, dearest", he said, "you must be one also with them".
"I cannot love them as I do you, George. That, I am sure, is not the meaning of marriage . . . And I don't think I can quite dress like them. I'm sure you want not like it if I did.
As she said this she put her second hand back upon his arm. [5:49- 50]
I think the tone and social critique of the book is more adequately apprehended by looking at the plot-design in which this contrast occurs, one shaped by the actions of the acknowledged brutal top male, the Marquis of Brotherton, George's older brother, and the blunt and equally aggressive Dean Lovelace, the one man who mounts a viable threat to Brotherton's power.
First, Brotherton. He enacts a bitter and ruthless "hegemonic masculinity."21 When in London at Scumberg's (42:84-95), he has casual heterosexual encounters nightly. He has the legal and even social right to demand that his family vacate the house he owns when he returns home, and threaten the tenant in a nearby house who proposes to enable his family to defy him. This is just what aristocratic sons do all the time in the world of Trollope and other 19th-century novelists — but usually they do it stealthily, gradually, observing the social niceties. Brotherton says he has provided money enough for his family to live elsewhere; and it is they who are hounding him, his wife, and son. He says what others think but do not dare say.22 Tellingly, he can easily make himself liked and is approved of by other dominating personalities in the book (49:171-73).
Trollope's narrator suggests the Dean displays a moral stupidity equivalent to Brotherton's.23 Having sold his daughter, Mary, to obtain an exalted genealogy for a hoped-for grandchild, the Dean pursues the inquiry into the legitimacy of Brotherton's heir to the point of tasteless callousness. The Marquis's insulting reference to Mary (the term intended is probably harlot) is no more repulsive than the Dean's triumphant rejoicing when told the Marquis's little boy is dead: "out of the way" is the Dean's term (44:213). It's the Dean who sets Mary up to find her "fun" among those who have liaisons and value one another for rank and ostentatious wealth. When Mary comes to her father for advice, he sweeps aside her description of the distressed behavior of Gus Mildmay whom Jack de Baron has injured deeply; the Dean's purpose is to insinuate a mode of behavior and convey instructions which he hopes will enable Mary "to rule her husband" (28:271, 276). He also thinks Germaine's possible liaison with Adelaide Houghton "beneath her notice;" Mary calls him a "Pagan" cleric (16:159). (On the common religious underpinnings of family life and attitudes towards the behavior of clergymen that were not considered extremist, see books by Davidoff and Halland Tosh). The iconoclasm of this male figure includes his encouraging De Baron's visits to Mary (51:191-3; 54-55:215-17). I read the book's title to suggest the legitimacysup>25 of both Brotherton's and Germaine's sons is ambiguous. We cannot be sure when the first Popenjoy was fathered or who we should appoint father of the second.
Is He Popenjoy? is an extraordinary book. It is a subversive comfort romance. Its story is sympathetic to a sexually inadequate perhaps impotent husband.27 The narrator may now justify and now condemn its rake, but his irony goes well beyond conventional commentary when he describes De Baron's continued pursuit of Mary after she is pregnant as an act as "little manly" as the homeless George's inability to take up residence with his father-in-law and this same pregnant wife (48:160). This rake's life is that of an "unsatisfactory failure" (54:209- 12), whose hollowness is not recognized because (as the narrator says of Gus's misery) "It is not what one suffers that kills one, but what one knows that other people see that one suffers" (13:122). Trollope's narrator begins Is He Popenjoy? by telling us he wishes this were not a subtle or hidden equivalent of a railway fiction where the heroine's arranged marriage (by her father) ends in sexual disaster, but the middle class novel does not permit candour (1:1-2).
It's a commonplace that whether written by men or women romantic novels are usually written from an imagined woman's point of view;29 in Ayala's Angel Trollope reverses the standpoint. In it Trollope presents a doppelgnger pair of males as enthralled and anticipates Proust. Herbert, who makes the connection explicit. he finds many Proustian elements including analogies between Swann's vision of Odette in Proust and Stubbs and Tom's vision of Ayal, 211-16 (another witness is Auden in his introduction to Shakespeare's sonnets, xxviii-xxxiii). We may epitomize the reversal through just one of the many skeins of romantic and literary allusion: Jonathan Stubbs's relationship to Ayala Dormer and Anthony Trollope is strikingly like that of Henry Tilney's to Catherine Morland and Jane Austen. However, in Austen's novel we see Tilney from Catherine's standpoint; while in Trollope's we see Ayala and the heroines from that of the males who have to cope with or don't want them. In Northanger Abbey Austen's narrator confides that Henry Tilney's affection "originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the the only cause of giving her a serious thought" (2:15:243); in Ayala's Angel Trollope's narrator states categorically that "A girl most often loves because she is loved, not from choice on her part. She is won by the flattery of a man's desire" (17:154-55).
In this novel the usual array of females to be found in romances is matched by a greater array of males, and male, not female disabilities are enumerated. For example, the novel insists upon the irrationality of men, and how men are disadvantaged when it comes to selling conventional physical beauty. When Reginald Dosett is introduced, we are told he has not done as well on the marriage market as his sisters, since "Alas, to a beautiful son it is not often that beauty can be a fortune as to a daughter" (1:2). As a consequence, he is still a clerk in the Admiralty office; he is neither gregarious or aggressive: his single imaginative indulgence, a twice daily hour and one-quarter walk "along the Embankment, and across the parks and Kensington Gardens" includes no one (1:3; 2:13-15)33. Since he lacks his brother-in-law, Egbert Dormer's ability to spend what he has not earned, and Prospero-like gift for materializing the life-enhancing (1:4, 2:11, 3:33-34; 5:43), he and his wife lead a desperately impoverished life.
In this novel, men who do not measure up to some unreal standard of beauty are treated as coarsely as in life many women find themselves treated. Ayala dismisses the clumsy and overdressed anxious and unsavvy Tom Tringle as an "oaf," "idiot" (3:29, 4:39) and, most callously, "a lout" (8:67-76);"34 she has only to lay eyes on Jonathan Stubbs to see him as egregiously ugly and unacceptable on account of his non-glamorous, indeed embarrassing name (16:145-46, 149; 25:231, 237, 239). In a bold essay on erotic puns in this novel, "Ayala Asleep," Martin Goldstein argues Stubbs's name and "his ugliness and red bristly beard," also represent "male genitalia," and what is occurring between him and Ayala includes covert references to oral sex. The beauty and beast imagery and analogies so often noted in Ayala's Angel enable us to gaze not at women's but men's secondary sexual characteristics.
Is He Popenjoy? is the text most often called by critics and reviewers "unwholesome;" its imagery is no more coarse than that found in Ayala. See the reviewer on Is He Popenjoy? in Smalley, 444; Kincaid, 240-41, 256 (Ayala is rather "true romance"). A search through an online etext edition of Ayala's Angel demonstrated that Trollope's narrator refers to his story self-reflexively with much fairy tale imagery; one skein equates Ayala with Beauty and Jonathan Stubbs as "beast" as well as a "knight;" by extension or as a parallel Tom Tringle is a "beast" and "knight" too; see :viii-x. A search engine identifes no less than 7 references to Tom, Jonathan and Ayala as variants on "beauty" and the "beast." In The Belton Estate, Trollope also presents Will Belton as feeling he is a "beast" before Clara Amedroz's "beauty" and gentility. Will Belton is perhaps a character most close to Jonathan Stubbs in type and conception.
Trollope analyses a wide range of male heterosexual experience in this book. An e-text search of the of University of Virginia online editon of Ayala's Angel turned up 26 occurrences of "manly," 3 of "manliness" and 1 of "unmanned." These words, and close cognates repeatedly occur in a closely analogous scenes, meditative passages, and revealing letters which contrast the narrator's intensely empathetic depictions of the two central heroes, Tom Tringle and the articulate Jonathan Stubbs (22:183, 187); which present more detached descriptions of the financially insecure Isadore Hamel's eagerness to marry Lucy Dormer, Ayala's sister (33:316-17; 20:183-86; 34:318-21); and in scenes which present Frank Houston (28:261, 263).
Here is a typical use from among them all: the older women in the novel judge men socially unacceptable whose behavior or connections threaten women's security and respect. Mr Dosett's sister, Emmeline's beauty has won her Sir Thomas, the fabulous financial success who embodies many of the stereotypical norms of masculinity and manliness, including that of extracting silent obedience from his wife; Sir Thomas sneers at and dismisses Lady Tringle's objections to allowing the illegitimate Isadore Hamel, to court her niece, Lucy Dormer, on the score of Isadore's father's refusal to marry the mother of his children. She sees this is an overt ideological stance. Although Sir Thomas himself obeys conventions assumed to be to women's advantage, he has nothing against men who don't (17:156; 18:163). Sir Thomas says Hamel is "manly," someone who could make enough money to support a woman, and Sir Thomas proceeds to give Hamel advice on what commercial artists do to earn serious money (33:311-17). Alas, Hamel's "manliness" makes him resent Sir Thomas's "lack of generous feeling" and forgo the rich uncle's monetary help.
Trollope's narrator tells us the novel's central hero is Sir Thomas's son and Ayala's lout, Tom Tringle (71:594). When Tom stops working at his office, becomes drunk nightly with Faddle, and, after attempting to beat up a police officer, ends up in jail for a week, Sir Thomas declares Tom is "unmanned." Similarlly, Tom says it was cowardly and "unmanly" of Stubbs not to tell Tom Stubbs loves Ayala; Stubbs urges Tom to "try to be a man" and forget Ayala if he cannot win her (33:306- 307; 35:337; 44:428; 61:603).In context, the persistence and strength of the narrator's defense of Tom, are meant to persuade us that when, for example, Sir Thomas tells Tom he is doing his best "to make a man of you," by asking Tom to "shake off" this addiction, on the basis of caustic and prudential stances, Sir Thomas is asking his son to divest himself of what wells up from the best in Tom's nature (61:603). Our narrator maintains Tom's "constancy" is "manly" (61:593-94). It's revealing that the one strength Stubbs says is the only one he "thoroughly" envies, one "which is perhaps more enviable than any other gift the gods can give," Stubbs finds in Tom's sister's parasitic, miserly husband, Septimus Traffic, the one wholly unromantic male in the book to whom our narrator extends no sympathy at all:
"Words cannot penetrate that thick skin of his. Satire flows off him like water from a duck. Ridicule does not touch him . . . He has learnt the great secret that a man cannot be cut who will not be cut ... He walks unassailable by any darts, and is, I should say, the happiest man in London" [20:187]39
There is a parallel worth noting here: Tom is asked to cope by going away: he will renew himself by interacting with new people in culturally very different places. Stubbs's way of coping includes periodic retreats to an unconventional Bohemian way of life in a well-appointed cabin by a lake in Scotland (18:169-72; 20:187). Trollope himself loved to travel; Trollope also shows a strong Bohemian quality in two of his travel books, The West Indies and Spanish Main and Australia and New Zealand. This central quality in Trollope's "hidden" personality was brought out in a paper I heard in the North American Victorian Studies Assocation held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville last October 2005: "From Ireland to the Antipodes: Writing, Work and Empire in Trollope's An Autobiography and Australia and New Zealand" by Philip Steer.
The book validates Tom's strong sexual infatuation and constancy through Stubbs's and Ayala's story. The difference is Stubbs exerts self-government in front of other people — to the extent of coming out against duelling.
The argument of the book's central story is Jonathan Stubbs and Tom Tringle have masculine natures which give rise to a dream of happiness as a unpredictable idiosyncratic response to a vision of alluring fleeting gaiety in a young woman who remains out of reach. The narrator insists on the centrality of the physical phenomena in such illusions:
"The black locks which would be shaken ... the bright glancing eyes which could be so joyous and ... so indignant, the colour of her face which had nothing in it of pink, which was brown rather, but over which the tell-tale blood would rush with a quickness which was marvelous to him, the lithe quick figure which had in it nothing of the weight of the earth, the little foot which in itself was a perfect joy, the step with all the elasticity of a fawn, — these charms altogether mastered him ... the romance and poetry of Ayala had been divine. [7:59]
Such illusions makes these men richer in ways not measurable by money, and leads them to enrichen the life of the women they fetishicize. In the last scene between Stubbs and Ayala this illusion is presented as a formidable hynoptic mystery (55:534-34). At the same time Stubbs' objection to marriage include his validated perception that since time, chance, and life's prosaic needs (epitomized as "the bad hat, the soiled gown") give rise to an "altered heart," this vision fades (20:185). And in Tom's last scene, his wry comment on the incomprehension of his father, mother and sisters, conveys how difficult it to to explain or justify the vision to those who've never experienced it:
Tom sat silent while he listened .. turning his face from one speaker to the other. It was continued, with many other ... assurances that he had been a gainer in losing all that he had lost, when he suddenly turned sharply on them, and strongly expressed his feelings to his sisters, "I don't think you know anything about it." [61:602]
Trollope also juxtaposes Stubbs and Ayala's romance with that of Imogen Docimer and Frank Houston, the book's gentleman drone, an unheroic, mercenary, self-centered (14:130, 132-34; 17:167-68; 29:275-76; 38:364; 42:406), yet half-hearted and emotional cad (42:395). A key word is repeated in two proposal scenes placed in close proximity. When Ayala first says no to Stubbs, Stubbs's reply is eloquently candid:
"Ayala, I must tell you that you are wrong, — wrong and foolish; that you are carried away by a feeling of romance, which is a false romance ... your imagination has depicted to you something grander than I am . . . someone who shall better respond to that spirit of poetry which is within you . . . Then, Ayala, I must strive to soar till I can approach your dreams. But, if you dare to desire things which are really grand, do not allow yourself to be mean at the same time. Do not let the sound of a name move you, or I shall not believe in your aspirations." [25:239]
When Frank Houston visits Imogen Docimer with his proposal to marry sheerly for money, Tom's sister, Gertrude Tringle, Imogen does not mince words either "'I tell you fairly that I think you altogether wrong; — that it is cowardly, unmanly, and disgraceful. I don't mean, you see to put what you call a fine point upon it.'" Frank is "mean" and his "meanness" (that's Imogen's word) consists in his willingness to sell his body and name; in the lies he tells to do this, in his disloyalty to Imogen, and his unashamed unwillingness to try to earn a living, about which Imogen declares: "Never for a moment did I endow you with the power of doing anything so manly."
We must not be harder on Frank than Trollope's narrator. Frank does win Imogen when he "exhibits heroism" and, with "manly triumph" (69:581, 70:583), follows his heart's and body's desire to marry her without an assured income, which he can do by means of the charity of a maiden aunt after he says he will try to earn a living as an artist (70:583-93). Working for a living was central to the Victorian ideal of manliness. This undermined the leisurely way of life that had been defined a gentlemen and therefore gentlemen as valuable. (See books by Tosh, Davidoff, Hall, and Berringer.
The narrator would regard Frank and Imogen's ending as no different from that of the other "copulatives" in the book: he asks us at its close to remember: "Infinite trouble has been taken not only in arranging these marriages but in joining like to like, — so that, if not happiness, at any rate sympathetic unhappiness, might be produced" (64, 624). Still, Imogen's statement that "no period of my future life will be as happy as this [engagement]" (41:398) echoes Stubbs's sense of the loss marriage inflicts. Sir Thomas's respect for Frank Houston (when compared with Septimus Traffic and Captain Batsby, two further male drones in the book, 47:557) is analogous to the irony Jane Austen's Mr Bennett intends when he declares that Wickham is the favorite of his sons-in-law (3:17:379).
My choice of novels has precluded my presenting Trollope's sympathetic portraits of men at work in offices and as out-of-work writers and alcoholic scholars;43 men who (like Stubbs) love to retire and read; of older men whose predicaments do not correspond to publicly respectable norms, of aging fathers who love but find themselves estranged from badly-behaved sons; of lonely and solitary bachelors; of the occasional stray and thwarted younger son turned into a drone and perhaps homosexual; and even of mentally ill or shattered, disabled Kafka-like neurotics, and Machiavellian isolates.
However, I hope I have shown that when we pay attention to what is emphasized across Trollope's oeuvre, we discover that he has provided us with material capable of opening up our understanding of masculinity, manliness, and heroism so as to enable men's lives to be less unhappy. In her Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900-1950, Lesley Hall concludes that embarrassed "refusal to engage with" and discuss the full sexuality of the male and his "failings" is "bound up with the tendency to define the male as healthy and the female as pathological" (170-72). To acknowledge the realities of male heterosexual sexuality and the stigmatizing that reinforces delusive mores would centrally threaten the present social order.
1. Bibliography: Works by Trollope
Anthony Trollope: Early Short Stories. New York & London: Oxford UP, 199?.
Ayala's Angel. Ed., introd. Julian Thompson. 1929; rpt. London & NY: Oxford UP, 1986.
An Autobiography. Ed. Michael Sadleir and Frederick Page, introd. notes. P. D. Edwards (1950). Rev. ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1980.
The Belton Estate. Ed. John Halperin [1923; rev ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1986.
Dr Thorne. Ed. and introd. David Skilton. London & NY: Oxford UP, 1981.
The Duke's Children. Ed. Hermione Lee. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993.
Is He Popenjoy?. Ed. John Sutherland. Oxford & NY: Oxford UP, 1986.
Is He Popenjoy?. Ed. David Skilton. London: Trollope Society, 1998.
The Letters of Anthony Trollope. Ed. N. John Hall. 2 vols. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford UP, 1983.
The Macdermots of Ballycloran. Ed. Owen Dudley Edwards. London: Trollope Society, 1991.
Miss Mackenzie. Ed. A. O. J. Cockshut. 1924; rtp. London & NY: Oxford UP, 1988.
The Small House at Allington. Ed. James R. Kincaid. London: Oxford UP, 1980
The Vicar of Bullhampton. Ed. introd. David Skilton (1924; rev ed. London & New York: Oxford UP, 1988.
Bibliography 2: Secondary Materials
Allen, Peter. "Trollope to His Readers: The Unreliable Narrator of An Autobiography." Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 19:1 (1996): 1-18.
apRoberts, Ruth. The Moral Trollope. Ohio: Ohio UP, 1971.
Auden, W. H. "Introduction." William Shakespeare, The Sonnets. NY: Signet, 1964.
Barringer, Tim. Men at Work: Art and Labour in Victorian Britain. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005.
Cockshut, A. O. J. Anthony Trollope: A Critical Study. London: Collins, 1955.
Baldwin, James. "Everybody's Protest Novel." Notes of a Native Son Boston: Beacon, 1955. 13-23.
D., T. C. "Victorian Editions and Victorian Delicacy." Notes and Queries 187 (2 December 1944): 251-53.
Dabney, Ross. "Facing Facts, Losing Gracefully." Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society 42 (1998): 4-17.
Davidoff, Leonarore, and Catherine Hall. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (1992). Rev ed. London & NY: Routledge, 2002.
Dessner, Lawrence Jay. "The Autobiographical Matrix of Trollope's The Bertrams," Nineteenth-Century Literature, 45 (1989): 25-38.
Doggett, Maeve E. Marriage, Wife-Beating and the Law in Victorian England. Columbia: S.Caroline UP, 1993.
Edwards, P. D. Anthony Trollope: His Art and Scope. St Lucia, Queensland: Queensland UP, 1977.
Fraser, Russell A. "Anthony Trollope's Younger Characters." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 6:2 (1951): 96-106.
Gatrell, Simon. "Jealousy, Mastery, Love and Madness: A brief reading of He Knew He Was Right" in Anthony Trollope. Ed. Tony Bareham. New York: Barnes & Noble. 95-115
Gilead, Sarah. 'Trollope's Orphans and the "Power of Adequate Performance."' Texas Studies in Literature and Language 27 (1985): 86-105.
Goldstein, Martin. "Ayala Asleep." Trollopiana: A Journal of the Trollope Society 36 (1997): 18-22.
Hagan, John H. "The Duke's Children: Trollope's Psychological Masterpiece," Nineteenth-Century Fiction 13 (1958): 1-23.
Hall, Lesley A. Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900- 1950. Cornwall: Polity Press, 1991.
Hall, N. John . Trollope: A Biography. Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 1993.
_____. Anthony Trollope and His Illustrators. New York: St Martin's Press, 1980.
Hamer, Mary. Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope>. Ed. R. C. Terry. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999.
Herbert, Christopher. Trollope and Comic Pleasure. Chicago & London: Chicago UP, 1987.
James. Henry. "Miss Mackenzie" in Henry James: Literary Criticism: Essays on Literature, American Writers, English Writers. Ed. Leon Edel and Mark Wilson. NY: Library of America, 1984: 1312-27.
Juckes, Anthony. "Pagans and Popinjays." Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society 46 (1999): 13-22.
Kendrick, Walter M. The Novel-Machine: The Theory and Fiction of Anthony Trollope. Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980.
Kincaid, James. The Novels of Anthony Trollope>. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977.
King, Margaret F. "The Place of Lucius Mason in Trollope's Studies of Perversity." South Atlantic Bulletin 45:4 (1980): 43-54.
Markwick, Margaret. "A Young Man's Jack." Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society 42 (1998): 18-23.
_____. Trollope and Women. London: Trollope Society, 1997.
McLaren, Angus. The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930. Chicago & London: Chicago UP, 1997.
McClure, R. "A Recent Martyr: The Masochistic Aesthetic of Valerie Martin." Contemporary Literature 37:3 (1996): 391-415.
Moody, Ellen. Trollope on the Net. London: Trollope Society and Hambledon Press, 1999.
Mullen, Richard, and James Muson. The Penguin Companion to Trollope. NY: Penguin, 1996.
Nardin, Jane. He Knew She Was Right: The Independent Woman in the Novels of Anthony Trollope. Carbondale and Edwardsville: So. Illinois UP, 1989.
Overton, Bill. The Unofficial Trollope. New Jersey: Barnes & Noble, 1982.
Pei, Lowry. "The Duke's Children: Reflection and Reconciliation." Modern Language Quarterly 39 (1978): 284-302.
Stebbins, Lucy and Richard Poate . The Trollopes: The Chronicle of a Writing Family. NY: Oxford UP, 1945.
Tosh, John. A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England. New Haven & London: Yale UP, 1999.
Tracy,Robert "Is He Popenjoy?" in Terry, Oxford Reader's Companion.
Trollope, Joanna "Trollope and Sex," Trollopiana: The Journal of the Trollope Society, 29 (1995): 19-20.
Wijesinha, Rajiva. The Androgynous Trollope: Attitudes to Women Amongst Early Victorian Novelists. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982.
Last modified 11 June 2010