Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Barchester Towers, published in 1857, is the second novel in Anthony Trollope's series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire". Among other things it satirises the then raging antipathy in the Church of England between High Church and Evangelical adherents. Trollope began writing this book in 1855. He wrote constantly, and made himself a writing-desk so he could continue writing while travelling by train. "Pray know that when a man begins writing a book he never gives over," he wrote in a letter during this period. "The evil with which he is beset is as inveterate as drinking – as exciting as gambling." And, years later in his autobiography, he observed "In the writing of Barchester Towers I took great delight. The bishop and Mrs. Proudie were very real to me, as were also the troubles of the archdeacon and the loves of Mr. Slope." But when he submitted his finished work, his publisher, William Longman, initially turned it down, finding much of it to be full of "vulgarity and exaggeration". More recent critics offer a more sanguine opinion. "Barchester Towers is many readers' favourite Trollope," wrote The Guardian, which included it in its list of "1000 novels everyone must read".