Critical Essay by A. Abbott Ikeler
SOURCE: “That Peculiar Book: Critics, Common Readers and The Way We Live Now,” College Language Association Journal, Vol. 30, No. 2, December, 1986, pp. 219-40.
In the following essay, Ikeler defends Trollope's The Way We Live Now against charges that the work is too long, too cynical, and offers a negative and unfair depiction of foreigners.
Defending The Way We Live Now before a group of genial Trollopians is generally taken as a sign of bad manners.1 One of them invariably retorts, “You know, that's one book of his I never really liked.” The company nods its assent, and all wait through a deprecatory silence until another anecdote of Bertie Stanhope or Lily Dale repairs the breach. It is a failure of tact as grave, I suspect, as praise of Wuthering Heights would...