Richard Holt Hutton and Trollope’s Characterization

  • David Skilton


In Trollope’s opinion, Richard Holt Hutton of the Spectator was ‘of all the critics of my work… the most observant, and generally the most eulogistic’.1 Yet Hutton’s criticism of Trollope has been largely ignored, except by Richard Stang, whose Theory of the Novel in England however, gives a rather distorted impression of the critic’s work by concentrating on the aspect of it Professor Stang calls ‘the search for tragedy’, and which is discussed here in chapter 2.2 Bradford A. Booth, in his Anthony Trollope is briefly compli-mentary about one of the regular Spectator reviews—that on The Small House at Allington—but not much more.3 Students of Hutton show little interest in his criticism of Trollope either, preferring to tread more fashionable paths, even when they range as low down the literary scale as Charles Reade and Wilkie Collins.4 So, between the Trollopians and the Hutton scholars, this important criticism goes largely neglected. Yet it is intrinsically very interesting, since Trollope sets Hutton a serious and fascinating complex of problems. We shall examine the way in which the critic deals with these problems, because they involve some central Victorian assumptions about the nature of fictional characters, and the nature of artistic creation itself.


Human Nature Social Strategy Fictional World National Review Literary Scale 
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© David Skilton 1996

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  • David Skilton

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