Fanny Trollope was born in Bristol in 1779 and at 29 married Thomas and over the years bore him seven children (one died at birth). One of those children was Anthony Trollope. This might easily have been the only reason for interest in her. However, Fanny Trollope was the author of over 30 novels in her own right and was, in her day, an enormous bestseller - turning her pen to many controversial subjects, including slavery in the USA and in the Industrial Revolution in Manchester, and her best known work, "The Domestic Manners of the Americans", which, at the time, earned her a reputation as unlady-like and a profligate woman. Her husband suffered from chronic headaches, probably exacerbated by mercury-based drugs which were given to him and which contributed to his black moods. With a husband who could not support the family, and after the death of her third son Arthur of TB, she set off from Harrow, leaving her husband and two sons behind her, for Tennessee with her three remaining children and a French artist to join a Utopian community there.
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Fanny Trollope, mother of famed Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, was famous in her own right for her snobby travel books like Domestic Manners of the Americans and nearly three dozen novels hastily written to feed her family. Pamela Neville-Sington, editor of the Penguin Classics edition of Fanny's Domestic Manners, gives away her take on this richly amusing life in her book's subtitle, The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman. As with a Defoe heroine, Moll Flanders, or the like, Fanny Trollope's rollicking sense of fun, witty tongue, and feel for Victorian comedy--sometimes verging on the grotesque--is preserved in this book. Referring to one of her own books as "six hundred pages of griffonage"--or careless, illegible handwriting--Fanny's own life was a different matter. She made arch observations when her brother insisted on eating soup for dinner against a doctor's orders and died as a result, and she herself wrote into her will that one of her veins was to be opened after death, and if she didn't react, it would prove that she was indeed dead. Contemporaries may have scorned her--Thackeray, although he read her books, said that she should stick to making puddings--and her own son Anthony disliked what she wrote, but as Neville-Sington aptly points out, he might have referring to Mom when he wrote of one character in a novel: "I do not know that she was at all points a lady, but had Fate willed it she would have been a thorough gentleman." A fun read and perfect gift item for admirers of British literary Victoriana. --Benjamin IvryFrom Kirkus Reviews:
The title may smack of an Erica Jong novel, but this is a biography of the courageous and tender woman best remembered as mother of 19th-century novelist Anthony Trollope. Fanny Trollope herself was a bestselling author of six travel books and 35 novels. She was a contemporary of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Robert and Elizabeth Browning, among others. She wrote for money, according to Neville-Sington, because her husband's failing efforts at law and agriculture cast her as the breadwinner of the family. Born in 1779, Fanny didnt marry until she was 29; she had six children within the next nine years. When her son Arthur and her father died within months of each other, and her marriage began unraveling from the impact of her husband's erratic and angry moods, Fanny packed up three children and set off for America, where she experimented with a series of businesses, including a wax works. Returning to England, she wrote a book about her experiences (Domestic Manners of the Americans, for a recent edition of which Neville- Sington has written an introduction), her first bestseller. For the next decade, she struggled against debt and more tragedy: a son, her husband, and her younger daughter died in rapid succession. Still, she continued to turn out increasingly popular novels and travel books, waking before dawn to write. Her fiction included both novels of manners and attacks against social ills (slavery, child labor). Critics considered her sharp and funny (her vulgarity is sublime, wrote one). Sons Tom and Anthony both became writers, with Anthony, of course, surpassing his mother in reputation. Fanny died in Italy at 84, her last book published only a few years earlier. The author borrows heavily from both Fanny and Anthony's novels to flesh out the contours of their lives. Fanny's humor, warmth, and adventurous spirit are evident in all her writing, be it fiction or a thank-you note. (illustrations and photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Next day dispatch. International delivery available. 1000's of satisfied customers! Please contact us with any enquiries. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000065282