[This document is a note to the author's Trollope's Comfort Romances for Men: Heterosexual Male Heroism in his Work — GPL.]
It is not Trollope who labels these characters' state of mind pathological, but critics writing about them. Critics also words like "perverse" where Trollope sees no perversity but average irrational humanity. See, for example, King. Trollope's unmacho men mostly do the kind of unacknowledged good in their local and limited worlds George Eliot attributed to Dorothea Ladislaw at the close of Middlemarch — though some by chance manage the same more extensively through public life. See George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, ed. Rosemary Ashton (London & NY: Penguin, 1994): 838: "the effect of her being on those around her ..." When the full nature of Trollope's heterosexual male heroes is found out, understood and valued or supported by their partners, or the people around them, we are cheered because an existence emerges for them which they and their friends are may hope to be contented with and really fulfilled by. Conversely, we are surprized by grief or taught to accept a much diminished repressed dailyexistence for our hero (and sometimes heroine) when he (or she) has not recognized the "meanness" of (the word is Jonathan Stubbs's), or known how to respond performatively and calculatingly enough to inane, punishing and manipulative social codes of machismo and consequently has lost some important dream, or grand goal that cannot be revived. See Trollope's Ayala's Angel, 239.
Last modified 9 August 2006