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The Bertrams

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

This is a massive effort, taking place in England and the Middle East, with a cast of thousands... Well, not thousands, fortunately, but certainly a great many. There are three Bertrams present: Sir Lionel, his son George (our hero), and the wealthy uncle. The primary story involves the joining of two couples (following some rocky periods), and the disposal of the uncle's fortune. The more amusing bits focus on peripheral characters in the social settings of a fictional town and in travel on board ship or touring Egypt. Trollope digresses from time to time to lecture us on religion, politics, and eccentricities of the British tourist.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .cles becoming smaller as they rise towards the top. Why Absalom should have had such a tomb, who can say? That his bones were buried there, the Jews at least believe; for Jewish fathers, as they walk by with their children, bid their boys each cast a stone there to mark their displeasure at the child who rebelled against his parent. It is now nearly full of such stones.

While Miss Waddington was arranging her toilet within the tomb of St. James, her admirers below were not making themselves agreeable to each other. "It was the awkwardest thing I ever saw," said Mr. Cruse to Mr. M'Gabbery, in a low tone, but not so low but what Bertram was intended to hear it.

"Very," said Mr. M'Gabbery. "Some men are awkward by nature;—seem, indeed, as though they were never intended for ladies' society."

"And then to do nothing but laugh at the mischief he had caused. That may be the way at Oxford; but we used to flatter ourselves at Cambridge that we ha. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Although Trollope had already published the first three titles in his well-received Chronicles of Barsetshire series, The Bertrams appeared relatively early in the author's career. Much of it allows the author to display his future prowess. Unfortunately, much of it is also a slog - at least to me.

The Bertrams is Anthony Trollope's sixth novel (of 47), and one of his better efforts. Although the book came in for criticism for all its travel scenes (it goes to the Middle East twice during the course of the action), it is an excellent character study of a man, George Bertram, who had reason to

Trollope wrote “The Bertrams” fairly early in his writing career and to me it felt different from his usual fare. Of course there was his theme of boy meets girl, he/they fall in love, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy eventually wins girl. The emotion seemed more raw though. In “Bertrams” Trollope

This is a very atypical Trollope novel. The cynicism and unremitting bleakness can really put off fans of Trollope's comic novels.

That said, it is a powerful novel. It has a little too much exposition and moralising by the narrator at times, but the characterisations of Caroline Waddington and Georg

Trollope, even this early in his writing career, was astonishingly good at depicting people who make really bad life decisions, at getting in their heads and allowing us to understand their obsessions, their need for control, their self-destructive rigidity, their stubborn adherence to patterns of b

Another great story, the part about visiting the Old City of Jerusalem was so real to me since my April visit to Israel. The Bertrams are two brothers, polar opposites about money and its use. Sir Lionel's son George and Caroline Waddington meet on the Jerusalem tour and fall in love. Of course, the

So good! If you love character driven fiction and psychological realism with a heavy dose of romance and tragedy, then this steady, slowly unfurling drama might be for you! Beautifully written, wonderfully bleak.

First sentence: This is undoubtedly the age of humanity — as far, at least, as England is concerned.

Premise/plot: The Bertrams chronicles the adventures and misadventures of three men: George Bertram, Arthur Wilkinson, and Sir Henry Harcourt. The novel, as a whole, has a feel of a proverb or two--

An unusual Trollope novel - a blend of satire, cynicism, the usual loved-and-lost plot, with a journey to Jerusalem and an old miser thrown. If you can stomach the casual racism, the travel writing is a fascinating glimpse of the period (including romantic believers in the Holy Land, sceptical archa

George Bertram decides to become a barrister, since his rich uncle has made it clear that George will not be his heir. George's friend, Arthur (a minister), decides not to ask Adela to marry him because he believes he cannot afford it. George travels to Jerusalem to meet his father, the unreliable a

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