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Dr. Wortle's School

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

Anthony Trollope’s fortieth novel, concerns a respectable Christian boys’ school whose proprietor unknowingly hires a woman who apparently has two husbands: A devoted English scholar and an abusive drunkard from the American south. The book interweaves a sensitive and realistic exploration of Dr. Wortle’s moral dilemma with a humorous look at small-town gossip and--of course--a romance involving the doctor’s beautiful young daughter.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Doctor's mind a certain feverish feeling of insecurity. At any rate, he knew this, that there was a mystery, that there was something about the Peacockes,—something referring especially to Mrs. Peacocke,—which, if generally known, would be held to be deleterious to their character. So much he could not help deducing from what the man had already told him. No doubt he had undertaken, in his generosity, that although the man should decline to tell his secret, no alteration should be made as to the school arrangements; but he became conscious that in so promising he had in some degree jeopardised the well-being of the school. He began to whisper to himself that persons in such a position as that filled by this Mr. Peacocke and his wife should not be subject to peculiar remarks from ill-natured tongues. A weapon was afforded by such a mystery to the Stantiloups of the world, which the Stantiloups would be sure to use with all their virulence. To such an est. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is my fourth Trollope novel, and the first one that doesn't belong in a series of novels. If I were a more disciplined reader I'd probably read through his novels in some kind of order instead to reading a Palliser, a Barestshire, another Palliser and a stand alone, like I was ordering food...more

This is a short book by Trollope standards, and as such it really has only one storyline, although there is a romantic subplot so minor that it feels somewhat desultory.

The central story hinges on a peculiarly Victorian dilemma. The eponymous Dr Wortle, technically a clergyman but in effect a sch...more

Dr Wortle's School was written late in Anthony Trollope's career and was published the year before he died. My online Yahoo Trollope group has recently been reading books from the last years of Trollope's life and I think we have been looking for a decline in his power to portray the psychology o...more

Adore Trollope, no disappointment here

Every novel by Trollope is intellectually stimulating yet comforting at the same time. Underlying each passage is a wry sense of humour, as if Trollope were standing back and observing the human condition in a loving yet amused way. This particular novel sets a challenge to the reader: if a coupl...more

In his novels, Anthony Trollope is gifted with such a fine moral sense that it is almost always a pleasure to read him. Within two or three chapters of the beginning, I am cast into interesting dilemmas usually related to marriage. Never have I encountered a writer who is so admirably consistent...more

Loved the audio book.

Review to follow

This book was written before divorce was accepted as an option for abused spouses. To modern eyes and ears there would be a very easy and quick answer to Mrs. Ella Peacocke's (yes, she is beautiful) dilemma. So there is a dated feeling about this book, but it was still enjoyable because, of cours...more

To call anything written by Trollope "minor" is to commit a great sacrilege; however, Dr. Wortle's School, while written late in Trollope's life—and published the year preceding his death—is far from the range, breadth, and scope that one associates with Trollope's work.

Trollope is not a hit-or-m...more

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