Anthony Trollope’s (1815–1882) novel Orley Farm was first published in instalments from March 1861 to October 1862. Trollope’s measured writing allows for a detailed portrayal of Victorian society ranging from wealthy landowners to commercial travellers. The complex and tense plot deals with the possible forging of a will, the engagements of two young women, jealousy and status. Trollope felt this was his favourite among his works.
The novel addresses the tension between the classes, where professional lawyers are as aware of their relative status as much as tradesmen and landowners. Money is a powerful tool in these clashes, but the threat of financial loss or the absence of wealth is shown as being an obstacle to possible marriages. Trollope’s clearest indication of whether he views characters as sympathetic or unsympathetic is shown in the contrast between those who are happy to share their wealth and those who refuse to do so.