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Clergymen of the Church of England

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

Trollope began as a High Church adherent and then worked his way to a Broad Church stance, a theological liberalism (toleration of belief and interpretation, regard for the individual conscience, a willingness to tolerate the ambiguity of finding truth in the extremes as well as the middle). This book deals with a crisis of faith and a crisis of structural form in the Victorian Church of England. It possesses all the interesting attributes of the novelist’s style

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .">{17} can hardly understand how a bishop of these times can be a bishop at all to his subject parsons. And that veneration which arose from outer circumstances used to be so peculiarly the perquisite of the bench of bishops, that men of the laity, thinking over it all, are at a loss to conceive why appendages so valuable should have been abandoned thus recklessly. Even aprons are not worn as aprons were worn of yore,—but in a shorn degree, showing too plainly that the reverend wearer is half ashamed of the tranquil decoration; and lawn sleeves themselves do not seem to envelop the occupant in so extensive a cloud of sacred millinery as they did in the more reverent days of George the Fourth. Have the bishops themselves made this suicidal change; or have they only succumbed to the invincible force of public opinion in thus abandoning those awful symbols which were so valuable to them?

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Community Reviews

Trollope's easy-to-digest, wry, lightly humorous essays on the various figures one found in the Church of England in the 1860s is a delightfully light, mildly satirical take on the clergy. The essays are short, the observations occasionally sharp but generally generous. The subject of some contro...more