In The Warden, Trollope delicately and not-so-delicately mocks human hypocrisy, particularly that related to the Established Church, for which institution he also shows great sympathy. The characterization of his gentle, rather unworldly protagonist emphasizes Septimus Harding's delicacy. Note how the following passage, which uses the novelist's privileged omniscience to disclose something unexpected about the Archdeacon, combines physical description and literary allusion:

After breakfast, on the morning of which we are writing, the archdeacon, as usual, retired to his study, intimating that he was going to be very busy, but that he would see Mr. Chadwick if he called. On entering this sacred room he carefully opened the paper case on which he was wont to compose his favourite sermons, and spread on it a fair sheet of paper, and one partly written on; he then placed his inkstand, looked at his pen, and folded his blotting-paper; having done so, he got up again from his seat, stood with his back to the fire-place, and yawned comfortably, stretching out vastly his huge arms, and opening his burly chest. He then walked across the room and locked the door; and having so prepared himself, he threw himself into his easy chair, took from a secret drawer beneath his table a volume of Rabelais, and began to amuse himself with the witty mischief of Panurge; and so passed the archdeacon's morning on that day. (Chapter 8, "Plumstead Episcopi")

Why does Grantly believe he has to keep his reading of Rabelais secret? (How would you find out?)


Victorian Web Overview The Warden Anthony Trollope

Last modified 2000