Human Nature

Trollope’s understanding of human nature allowed him to create some of literature’s most believable characters.

  • There come upon us all as we grow up in years, hours in which it is impossible to keep down the conviction that everything is vanity.

    Ralph The Heir

  • Like all angry men, he loved his grievance.

    Doctor Thorne

  • There is ... no knowing the inside of another man's house, or reading the riddles of another man's joy and sorrow.

    Mrs General Talboys

  • When one is specially invited to be candid, one is naturally set upon one's guard.

    Doctor Thorne

  • She had been so little thought of all her life by others, that she had never learned to think much of herself.

    The Kellys and the O'Kellys

  • He had three days in which to make up his mind. It may be a question whether three days are ever much better than three minutes for such a purpose.

    Ayala's Angel

  • A man's mind will very generally refuse to make itself up until it is driven and compelled by emergency.

    Ayala's Angel

  • What is it that we all live upon but self-esteem? When we want praise it is only because praise enables us to think well of ourselves.

    He Knew He Was Right

  • There is nothing in the world so difficult as that task of making up one's mind.

    Phineas Finn

  • There is nothing perhaps so generally consoling to a man as a well-established grievance; a feeling of having been injured, on which his mind can brood from hour to hour, allowing him to plead his own cause in his own court, within his own heart, and always to plead it successfully.

    Orley Farm

  • Every man to himself is the centre of the whole world; the axle on which it all turns. All knowledge is but his own perception of the things around him.

    Can You Forgive Her?

  • A self-imposed trouble will not allow itself to be banished.

    The Small House at Allington

  • They who do not understand that a man may be brought to hope that which of all things is the most grievous to him, have not observed with sufficient closeness the perversity of the human mind.

    He Knew He Was Right

  • We are told to love others as ourselves, and it is hard to do so. But I think that we never hate others, never despise others, as we are sometimes compelled by our own convictions and self-judgement to hate and despise ourselves.

    The Claverings

  • The most difficult thing that a man has to do is to think.

    A Walk in the Wood

  • We may almost say that a man is only as strong as his weakest moment.

    Ralph The Heir

  • Nothing is so powerful in making a man selfish as misfortune.

    Castle Richmond

  • We are all apt to think when our days are dark that there is no darkness so dark as our own.

    The Bertrams

  • It is ever so much easier to proffer kindness graciously than to receive it with grace.

    The Last Chronicle of Barset

  • The rising in life of our familiar friends is, perhaps, the bitterest morsel of the bitter bread which we are called upon to eat.

    Phineas Redux

  • People are so much more worldly in practice than they are in theory, so much keener after their own gratification in detail than they are in the abstract.

    The Last Chronicle of Barset

  • He did not find in the contemplation of his grievance all that solace which a grievance usually gives.

    The Small House at Allington

  • He was a man who had long since resolved that his life should be a success. It would seem that all men would so resolve ... But the majority of men, as I take it, make no such resolution, and very many men resolve that they will be unsuccessful.

    The Small House at Allington

  • With all of us, in the opinion which we form of those around us, we take unconsciously the opinion of others. A woman is handsome because the world says so. Music is charming to us because it charms others. We drink our wine with other men's palates, and look at our pictures with other men's eyes.

    The Last Chronicle of Barset

  • Rumour, when she has contrived to sound the first note on her trumpet, soon makes a loud peal audible enough.

    Barchester Towers

  • Nothing makes a man so cross as success ... Your successful man eats too much and his stomach troubles him; he drinks too much and his nose becomes blue ... Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.

    Orley Farm

  • Is it not a pity that people who are bright and clever should so often be exceedingly improper? and that those who are never improper should so often be dull and heavy?

    Barchester Towers

  • It is very hard, that necessity of listening to a man who says nothing.

    The Small House at Allington

  • There is, nothing so prejudicial to a cause as temper. This man is declared to be unfit for any position of note, because he always shows temper.

    Phineas Redux

  • If you, my reader, ever chanced to slip into the gutter on a wet day, did you not find that the sympathy of the bystanders was by far the severest part of your misfortune?

    The Small House at Allington

  • A change of name implies such a confession of failure.

    Is He Popenjoy?

  • Throughout the world, the more wrong a man does, the more indignant is he at wrong done to him.

    The Way We Live Now

  • No man thinks there is much ado about nothing when the ado is about himself.

    The Bertrams

  • When men think much, they can rarely decide.

    Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite

  • Nobody holds a good opinion of a man who holds a low opinion of himself.

    Orley Farm

  • A jackal is born a jackal, and not a lion, and cannot help himself.

    The Duke's Children

  • If I were to die, your friends would advise you not to grieve; but they would think you very unfeeling if you did not.

    Anthony Trollope, The Vicar of Bullhampton

  • He had a pride in being a poor man of a high family; he had a pride in repudiating the very family of which he was proud; and he had a special pride in keeping his pride silently to himself.

    Doctor Thorne

  • That I, or any man, should tell everything of himself, I hold to be impossible. Who could endure to own the doing of a mean thing? Who is there that has done none?

    Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography

  • And, above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you very much at your own reckoning.

    The Small House at Allington, Chapter 32

  • Honesty goes about with a hang-dog look about him, as though knowing that he cannot be trusted till he be proved. Dishonesty carries his eyes high, and assumes that any question respecting him must be considered to be unnecessary.

    The Eustace Diamonds, Chapter 53, 'Lizzie's Sick-Room'

  • ... she did perceive in some dark way that, good as her acting was, it was not quite good enough. Lucy held her ground because she was real. You may knock about a diamond and not even scratch it, whereas paste in rough usage betrays itself. Lizzie, with all her self-assuring protestations, knew that she was paste, and knew that Lucy was real stone.

    The Eustace Diamonds, Chapter 65, 'Tribute'

  • People seen by the mind are exactly different to things seen by the eye. They grow smaller and smaller as you come nearer down to them, whereas things become bigger.

    The Prime Minister

  • The more she was absolutely in need of external friendship, the more disposed was she to reject it, and to declare to herself that she was prepared to stand alone in the world.

    The Belton Estate

  • Then, through the cloud of smoke, there came upon him some dim idea of self-abnegation that the mysterious valley among the mountains, the far-off prospect of which was so charming to him, which made the poetry of his life, was, in fact, the capacity of caring more for other human beings than for himself.

    He Knew He Was Right, Chapter XXV, Hugh Stanbury Smokes His Pipe

  • At this time, in the midst of all his misery, it never occurred to him to inquire of himself whether it might be possible that his old friends were right, and that he himself was wrong.

    He Knew He Was Right, Chapter XXXIII

  • We have all felt how on occasions our own hopes and fears, nay, almost our own individuality, become absorbed in and obliterated by the more pressing cares and louder voices of those around us.

    He Knew He Was Right, Chapter LXIII, Sir Marmaduke at Home

  • We have all felt how on occasions our own hopes and fears, nay, almost our own individuality, become absorbed in and obliterated by the more pressing cares and louder voices of those around us.

    He Knew He Was Right, Chapter LXIII, 'Sir Marmaduke at Home'

  • There is nothing that a man may not do, nothing that he may not achieve, if he have only pluck enough to go through with it.

    He Knew He Was Right, Chapter LXXXIII, Bella Victrix

  • Each must give way to the other if there is to be any happiness.

    Is He Popenjoy?