The Chronicles of Barsetshire is a series of novels that were written by Anthony Trollope back in the 1800s. Set in the fictional town of Barchester, the novels delve into the intricacies of the gentry and the clergy, this along with the political and social forces that drive the people in the cathedral town.
Order of Chronicles of Barsetshire Series
|5||The Small House at Allington||1864|
|6||The Last Chronicle of Barset||1867|
The six novels from Trollope are typically categorized under the Chronicles of Barsetshire name. However, while they are referred to as a series, the books tend to stand on their own.
This is despite the fact that each book makes references to events in earlier books. Each novel tells its own complete story. Each book takes readers to a different part of the country.
Each book kicks things off by bringing to the attention of readers the wealthy and the poor members of each society, the titled and those who have neither rank nor fame. Heart-rending romance tends to stand at the center of each book.
The Warden, released in 1855, begins the series, telling of a trust designed to care for the elderly men of Barchester and whose exponential growth in value attracts animosity and conflict.
Chronicles of Barsetshire Books into Movies
In the century since Anthony Trollope’s last book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series was published, his books have received several adaptations, the most notable including:
1). The Warden – Published in 1855, the first book in the Barsetshire series was translated into a BBC television mini-series of the same name in 1951.
2). The Barchester Chronicles – The Barchester Chronicles re-imagined The Warden in 1982, this along with Barchester Towers, its sequel. Seven one-hour episodes in total were produced from the two books.
3). Doctor Thorne – An adaptation of the 1858 book was produced by ITV in 2016, written by Julian Fellowes who also wrote Downton Abbey.
Best Chronicles of Barsetshire Books
If you are new to Anthony Trollope’s novels, then these titles are a great introduction to his work:
Barchester Towers: Barchester begins to change when a new Bishop arrives, his formidable wife following in toe, accompanied by an Ambitious Chaplain called Obadiah Slope. The Bishop’s arrival is met with animosity, with Archdeacon Grantly immediately declaring war, creating a four-way conflict.
Many people consider this to be Anthony Trollope’s best work and the one that garnered him his renown and popularity. The book brings back a number of characters from The Warden, the first book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series, from Septimus Hardin to Eleanor and Archdeacon Grantly.
Of the two primary plots of the book, one follows Archdeacon Grantly, the New Bishop of Barchester and the low-intensity war between them. On the other side of things, there is also Eleanor, a woman that has more suitors than she knows what to do with.
Chief amongst these suitors is Mr. Slope, Bertie Stanhope, and Mr. Arabin. Proving just as prominent in the story is Signora Madeline Neroni whose feminine wiles seem to do more harm than good.
Doctor Thorne: Frank Gresham is the son of a bankrupt landowner who is intent on marrying Mary Thorne. This is despite her illegitimacy and apparent poverty. There are people in Frank’s family who will do everything possible to drive him into the arms of a wealthy heiress.
Unbeknownst to everyone except Mary’s loving uncle, she is about to inherit a fortune; however, Doctor Thorne chooses to keep this information to himself, determined to see that his niece is accepted on her own terms.
Doctor Thorne has as many fans as it has detractors. The book, while well written, is very convoluted. The drawn-out inheritance plot makes things a little too complicated, though the presence of lovely characters like Mary Thorne and Martha Dunstable makes the book somewhat charming.
Others Series you May Like
“Chronicles of Carlingford”: Written by Margaret Oliphant, the chronicles of Carlingford was published from 1863 to 1876. The books focus on the goings on of the small town of Carlingford where the business of the clergy tends to consume the townspeople.
Oliphant admitted that she was inspired to write this series by Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire series, though she suggested that her own series was far quieter.
“Four Just Men”: The name of the first book in the series and the collection of six books, Four Just Men is the work of Edgar Wallace. First published in 1905, the story follows four rich gentlemen who undertake a campaign in England to see wrong-doers punished, this including all those individuals considered to be beyond the reach of the law.