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'This so-called autobiography': Anthony Trollope, 1812-1882

Sally Brown


'THERE is perhaps no career of life so charming as that of a successful man of letters', Trollope declares in a happy moment, adding that 'it is in the consideration which he enjoys that the successful author finds his richest reward.' A good deal of the interest and fascination of his Autobiography (now Add. MS. 42856) lies in its frank charting, by turns mournful, angry, and wryly amused, of the long and often painful progress towards this longed-for state. That the 'idle, desolate hanger-on', the 'hobbledehoy of nineteen' he once was has become the man of property and substance, the best-selling author and respected Post Office official he now is, seems to be Trollope's chief source of satisfaction and delight, although the joy is occasionally tinged with a superstitious dread: 'There is unhappiness so great that the very fear of it is an alloy to happiness'.

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