The American Senator

Earlier in the week I finished reading

and awaited a day of dull weather to feature it in a post. Today was such a day.

The eponymous character plays very little part in Trollope’s story, but he is a device used by the author to criticise English cultural aspects including, The Law, Parliament, social inequality and customs including fox hunting. Given that Trollope was apparently a passionate fox hunter one can only imagine which of the senator’s views are also those of Anthony Trollope. The position of women as chattels of their husbands and of the lower, equally unenfranchised classes; the destruction caused by fox hunting; the sale of positions in the army and in the church in Victorian times are all subject of Senator Gotobed’s criticism. As usual I will not spoil the story, but to say that the tangles of love and the scheming related to its matches, largely by women, feature largely. At more than 500 pages the novel may seem daunting, but I found it a remarkably easy read. The descriptive prose flows apparently effortlessly. The dialogue is clear, and the insight into human nature admirable. Possibly because the work was originally published in regular instalments the chapters are short, averaging 6 pages. I found this a helpful aid to bedtime reading in that when I was falling asleep it was not too difficult to reach the end of each one. I enjoyed the book.

Louis Auchincloss’s introduction is thorough and helpful.

The elegant drawings of Shirley Tourret faithfully portray details of the text and of the period.

This afternoon Danni, her friend Vivien, and Ella visited. We had an enjoyable conversation and passed a laughing baby around.

This evening Jackie and I dined on starters of tempura prawns on a bed of cucumber, spring onion, and lettuce strips coated in sweet chilli sauce followed by creamy fish pie, mashed potato and swede; firm carrots and cauliflower. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot Bonarda.


  1. I recall finding this book fascinating, but it should be much more meaningful to an Englishman like yourself, Derrick. The illustrations are nicely and precisely executed, adding fitting imagery to the text. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks very much, Dolly. It certainly dealt with issues important to us. Fox hunting was only banned during the Blair government, but the controversy rages still.

  2. YAY for enjoyable conversation and a laughing baby! 🙂 Sounds like a perfect day! 🙂
    Thank you for the book review! I like when you share what you are reading!
    OHMYGOSH! These illustrations are superb! So many details in each one!
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…On Sat-Day night I’m trying out a new recipe with Poblano peppers!

  3. It wouldn’t be England without the occasional dull day. Glad to see you made the most of it, with some fine company!

    I could easily see you as the gentleman sitting in front of his window in #006! 😉

    Hope the week-end is an enjoyable one for you both. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing the book and your review, Derrick. It does seem a bit daunting, but it sounds like it was worth the effort. The illustrations are wonderful. 🙂

  5. Sounds delightful. I am reading a book right now that has huge paragraphs, some a full page long, and it’s nearly 900 pages. I’m exhausted after reading 10 pages!!

  6. I haven’t read ‘The American Senator’ but will add it to my wish list. As I’ve said before, I really enjoy Trollope’s writing and must read some more soon.

  7. I will not search too diligently for a copy, BUT those illustrations are well worth framing. So if I find an old distraught copy I might just pick it up.

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