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KEV67

Framley Parsonage

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This is the 4th book in the Barsetshire series by Anthony Trollope. Trollope was interested in the clergy more than most Victorian writers. A lot of the Barsetshire series revolves around characters who are paid too much or too little for their clerical/pastoral duties. Marc Roberts, who is the main protagonist in this book, is different in that he is difficult to admire. He is weak. No doubt he will win out in the end, because it is a Trollope book

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I am finding this a difficult book to read. I am getting so anxious for Marc Roberts, although he is such a weakling. I find the concept a bit difficult to believe. If you have a man like Mr Sowerby taking huge loans and making his friends and acquaintances liable for them, word would soon get around. There was a character in another Victorian book I read recently who was only reputed to have done this, and he was held in complete contempt. It is also strange that no one is giving him any better advice, not even the bank manager.

 

Another thing that puzzled me was Griselda Grantly. I seem to remember from a previous book that there were two Grantly girls, who were both quite lively and who took an interest in the unmarried clergy. Not much was written about them, but now Griselda is dull and uncommunicative, and the other girl has died. When did that happen? That must have ripped the heart out of the family, but it was just mentioned as background.

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I read a book several months ago called Victorian Clergy. I read it mainly because I was intrigued to find out what clergymen actually did, in addition to writing and preaching sermons, weddings and funerals. I wondered how much they got involved in poor relief, education, local authority type stuff. I wondered how much the disparities in pay were true. Some clergymen received quite a lot of pay. Farm labourers, according to Thomas Hardy, were paid about 10 shillings a week. Even curates generally earned over £100 a year. That is actually more than the majority of the population got, but the clergy was a middle class profession. I wondered whether the divergence of pay and the lack of fixed duties and responsibilities was bringing the clergy into dispute. I also wondered why they were expected to be university graduates, and what they studied there, and how that helped them in their profession.

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