Online Conversazione ~ Women and Money in Trollope

Mark Green is editor of Trollopiana, the magazine of the Trollope Society. Beyond the world of Trollope, his other area of interest is Golden Age Detective Fiction, and he has spoken on both Trollope and crime fiction at conferences in both the UK and other parts of Europe.

Women and Money in Trollope

W.H. Auden said that ‘Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money. Compared with him, even Balzac is too romantic.’ Trollope is also noted for the accuracy and depth of his portrayals of women. Yet woman in the nineteenth century were severely constrained by both law and custom in their financial affairs. Most of Trollope’s writing career, let us not forget, was in the era before the passage of the first of the Married Women’s Property Acts in 1870 which went some way to redressing this disadvantaged state of affairs and he did not live to see the implementation of the 1882 Act which further changed the situation of women.

Did Trollope capture accurately Victorian women’s dealings with money in his novels and did he observe any of these changes in legal status?

The talk will consider not only independent women with control of their own business affairs but also the more domestic business of making a good marriage, which has been described as the archetypal career of a Victorian woman (whether she be in search of a rich husband to support her, or in possession of a fortune of her own and the object of matrimonial pursuit by men in search of access to those funds).

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