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Al Young Studios Newsroom

Many happy returns of Anthony Trollope's birthday


Vol 13 No 3
Portrait of Anthony Trollope by Samuel Lawrence
Though we missed Easter, we were able to get the Doctor Thorne and Framley Parsonage issue of theJournal mailed out—quite fittingly—today on the 198thanniversary of Anthony Trollope's birth. Significant to posting today, as well, is the fact that Trollope is one of the British postal system's most celebrated sons. Split across two professions—postal employee and popular novelist—he managed to leave his mark on Victorian society through both. His most prominent contribution to the post, of course, are the iconic red pillar boxes which gave Victorians their first-ever opportunity to post their letters without having to enter the post office, wait in queues and have postal workers quiz them on their letter's contents—a sure boon to an increase in love letters. Of course, not everyone approved of such a bold move. In He Knew He Was Right, Trollope's obdurate character, the spinster Jemima Stansbury's, stance is quite clear on the subject:

As for the iron pillar boxes which had been erected of late years for the receipt of letters, one of which,—a most hateful thing to her,—stood almost close to her own hall door, she had not the faintest belief that any letter put into one of them would ever reach its destination. She could not understand why people should not walk with their letters to a respectable post-office instead of chucking them into an iron stump,—as she called it,—out in the middle of the street with nobody to look after it. Positive orders had been given that no letter from her house should ever be put into the iron post.

Having taken all the journals to "a respectable post-office," we're reasonably certain that yours should "reach its destination" soon.

Photograph by Elspeth Young
While you wait, and for those yet uninitiated in Trollope's tales of Barsetshire, but wanting a quick taste to whet their appetites, look out for copies of The Bedside Barsetshire, a 1949 companion to Trollope written by Lance O. Tingay from used booksellers or at the local library.

Tags: Vol. 13 No. 3, 2013, Recommended reading

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