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Chapter 5 - Trollope’s Ease and Lucidity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 June 2021

Matthew Sussman
Affiliation:
University of Sydney
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Summary

Of all Victorian authors, Trollope comes closest to aspiring to the “degree zero” style that has played such an important role in modern theorizations of prose. Committed to an ideal of stylistic transparency, Trollope sought the unmediated transmission of authorial thought-content, borrowing from the more psychological strains of belletrism. However, Chapter 5 challenges the moralization of Trollope’s “disappearing” style as honest or forthright by cataloguing the acts of formal deception necessary to render such effects. Moreover, Trollope’s writings on style reveal his interest in non-mimetic features of prose such as harmony and rhythm, challenging “ease” and “lucidity” as preeminent realist virtues. The chapter concludes that Trollope’s blend of Attic simplicity with Ciceronian schemes proves his style to be one of the most artfully mannered in Victorian English, creating an impression of aesthetic virtuosity where many critics have seen only functional pedestrianism.

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Stylistic Virtue and Victorian Fiction
Form, Ethics, and the Novel
, pp. 124 - 143
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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