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The Three Clerks

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

The Three Clerks was Trollope’s sixth novel and was written mostly in railway carriages, since his work for the Post Office still entailed a good deal of traveling; to make life easier for himself, Trollope had devised what he called his ‘tablet’, a square block which he rested upon his knees in such a way that he could write in complete comfort. The story is drawn from his memories of his work (as a clerk) at the GPO in St Martin-le-Grand, and it is considered the most autobiographical of Trollope’s novels – a story of the differing fortunes of 3 young men working at “Weights and Measures” and their relationships with a family of 3 sisters.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .had your conscience come, when it could be so silenced!'

'Well, I suppose you can raise a couple of hundred—£205 will cover the whole thing, commission and all; but, mind, I don't advise you to keep them long—I shall take two months' dividends, and then sell.'

'Two hundred and five pounds,' said Tudor, to whom the sum seemed anything but trifling; 'and when must it be paid?'

'Well, I can give Manylodes a cheque for the whole, dated this day week. You'll be back in town before that. We must allow him £5 for the accommodation. I suppose you can pay the money in at my banker's by that day?'

Alaric had some portion of the amount himself, and he knew that Norman had money by him; he felt also a half-drunken conviction that if Norman failed him, Captain Cuttwater would not let him want such a sum; and so he said that he could, and the bargain was completed.

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Community Reviews

In this novel, Trollope begins to indulge in a little bit of what young people nowadays call "meta" - that is, he discusses his own characteristics as a novelist. His device is to have his youngest protagonist be a writer of pulp fiction, whose fictional readers declare he has failed to write a prop

Trollope begins in his usual way by dedicating one of several initial chapters to establishing his characters and their situation. My first reaction while reading these first half dozen chapters is that this relatively early novel was not going to be as good as his later ones, but this from the intr

There's no-one like Trollope. If you don't like his characteristic asides to the reader, then give this one a miss - it's full of them.
He has such knowledge and understanding of human nature! "An accident, if it does no material harm, is always an inspiriting thing, unless one feels that it has bee

This is not one of Trollope's stronger novels. The Three Clerks refers to three friends who come to work in the Civil Service in Victorian London, and then are welcomed into the family circle of Mrs Woodward, a widow with 3 daughters living just out of town. There are issues of friendship and loyalt

The worst Trollope I have read so far, perhaps sharing that place with Can You Forgive Her?
It contains a fair bit of his favourite hobby-horses: undying love, suspiciousness of talent, and villainy of stock trading are all talked up at length. But it has too little of good things Trollope.
Perhaps th

According to Paul Delany’s Introduction to this novel “The Three Clerks (1858) is a portrait of Trollope's life when he was in his twenties, not yet successful in his career as a civil servant, published as an author, or married. The novel shows life as it appears to Charley Tudor, a clerk in the In

The Three Clerks offers a lively picture of the Civil Service undergoing the Victorian reforms, and also in Charley Tudor a self-portrait of Trollope himself as a young man.

Ok so this was not Trollope’s best novel . It was a bit of a slog starting out . There wasn’t enough of his usual humor that is characteristic of the author. I love how he addresses the reader. Still, as much as I am not usually turned off my larger novels , this seemed a little too long for me. The

The story focuses on three government clerks who enjoy the company of the Woodward sisters. Alaric steals Gertrude from Harry. Harry ends up marrying Linda. Katie likes Charley, but her mother doesn't. The best thing I can say about I've finished it and can say I've read it. It's just not my kind of

Only for the initiated
A lesser work by the classic Victorian novelist, it must be said, although it does show that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Set in the mid-1850s, the story revolves about three young in the British civil service. Two are cousins and the other a friend. The

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