“He is male Jane Austen, cruder and more expansive, but equally secure in his knowledge of what he can do, and with the same clear determination not to transgress into worlds which he does not understand”. How far does Trollope fall true to this critical observation of his works?
Victorian Novels are known best because of the tremendous work of writers like Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen. They both share some similarities but there are also a lot of differences between both of them. Sometimes, Anthony Trollope is known as male Jane Austen because of the similarities. Some of the literary techniques, between both of them are common. Although, literature has universal appeal and it pleases without preference of any specific writer yet the style has effect on it. Every writer has his own way of presenting knowledge and experience. Critics argue that Jane Austen remains in four walls and does not try to write anything beyond domestic settings. Same is the case with Anthony Trollope; he sets a domestic environment and in that atmosphere, he tries his best to present what he feels. It is not because he has limited knowledge but because it is his approach of writing and that is enough for him to complete a story and to achieve his objective; in many cases his objective is to satirize the society. He is best in writing with domestic surroundings with limited characters. He does not try to cover the whole world in a single fable but discusses the main points in order to moralize his readers. His readers are well aware with the fact that Anthony Trollope does not present the world, which he does not know or understand. The purpose of writing with limited techniques and limited setting is to focus on main stuff, which the writer wants to present.
Anthony Trollope has broad knowledge about many of the fields of the world but he is limited in presenting it. He clearly, without spreading light on irrelevant topics, confers what he feels right. Although, he write social novels but he does not do it to show his experience but to satirize the social order. For instance, in “Barchester Towers” he sets domestic atmosphere and then portrays different characters of different natures so as to reform the clergy. He does not misbehave with the world, which he cannot understand. If he presents a theme in his novels then he either has vast knowledge or solid experience about it. With the consciousness of his mind, he imitates life, therefore, readers can find awareness from his novels.
Definitely, there are some similarities between Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope due to which Anthony Trollope is called Male Jane Austen. For instance, as mentioned above, the domestic atmosphere is common between both of these writers. They have their limited setting and style on the ground they write. They present a life, which is far away from hustling and bustling. Furthermore, both of the writers are common in discussing human follies. Jane Austen is better in this regard. Irony, humour and satire are also three major techniques, which are shared by both of them. Jane Austen uses irony for the purpose of satirizing the society regarding family life whereas Anthony Trollope satirizes the society through his cynical and ironical tone of writing. Furthermore, both writers are realistic and belong to Victorian period; therefore, the credit of reforming English novels is also with them. However, it is said that in starting, Anthony Trollope wrote novels on romanticism with Irish setting but soon thereafter he drifted his style towards realism.
Anthony Trollope’s work is remarkable despite that he has been charged because of his limited boundaries but it cannot be said that it is flaw of this great writer; instead he has command on his experience and knowledge and with imitation, he presents what he feels about a particular thing. His views are not different from other writers but his way of imitation is different. Portraying miscellaneous characters and to aware his readers with their good and evil is superb technique of Anthony Trollope. In this regard, the work of Anthony Trollope is far superior to Jane Austen. Just a single term that he is limited is not enough to discard his tremendous work. He is not romantic as compared to Jane Austen but he is realistic. He does not present too much romanticism in his novels but his imagery is worth mentioning as he is a keen observer. He proved that realism is necessary to be presented in novels for the interest of modern readers. He has written social novels, in which he discussed the society. Clergy has also been discussed by him. He also satirizes the society and through his satire he tries to reform the people of his era. Sometimes, he directly addresses the readers though critics do not like this attitude of Anthony Trollope. Jane Austen is not social and most of the times, she writes novels having themes love marriage and money but this is not the case with Anthony Trollope. He does not write novels on personal and family life but his writes social novels, through which he tries to reform the society. He has more topics and themes to discuss in his novels than Jane Austen. Starting novels of Anthony Trollope are based on romantic themes and on Irish setting but later on he set his novels on domestic life of England.
Anthony Trollope is not simply male Jane Austen but he is more than her. He has vast knowledge and wide collection of themes. His satire is cynical. He is a social reformer. His work is more prolific than Jane Austen. If Jane Austen created a path for English Novels than Anthony Trollope concreted that path. His novels are remarkable and every novel is different from each other. In short, he is the writer, who does not poke his nose in a matter, about which; he does not have knowledge and experience. Although, he is limited yet his work has authenticity, which is enough for him to give him the title of one of the best writers of the world.