One of the most common reasons, it seems, that Trollope has, and in many cases, continues to be placed among the second rank of Victorian novelists, is that while he is undoubtedly one of the most "realistic" in terms of his descriptive and observational talent, he is not considered to have that artistic flair that takes writing to a level above mere description, not to the extent that it becomes "hyper-real", but so that that which is commonplace is instilled with something that makes it in some way special. Lord David Cecil wrote that a great write "is not just an accurate observer. Indeed his greatness does not depend on his accuracy. It depends on his power to use his observation to make a new world in his creative imagination."

It is important to note, however, that merely by drawing the reader's attention to his use of realistic conventions (such as the intrusive narrator who is made a part of the world of Barchester while remaining anonymous and separate from the reader) Trollope also has this narrator reminding the reader on occasion of the fictional nature of the events being described - thus playing with the realistic genre. The fictional nature is also emphasised by the inclusion of such obviously playful names (in the Dickens style) as Sir Omicron Pie and Dr. Fillgrave. Trollope is, somewhat confusingly, one of the best proponents of the realist tradition while almost simultaneously one of the best at undermining it.

In terms of novel form, Trollope contented himself with the use of the standard novel plan of the time, and this undoubtedly contributed to his ability to write so prolifically, removing as it did the need for any great amount of planning. However, whilst in terms of form alone Trollope cannot be seen as innovative, in terms of what he does within an accepted form he can. He uses formulaic or stereotyped situations and then mocks them or points them out for the reader's amusement. This is particularly evident in Trollope's use of stereotyped characters in the novel, which he makes interesting by reformulating them in ways that defy the readers' expectations, thus re-injecting tired stock characters with a new validity. He thus defamiliarises the familiar fabric of the realist novel, creating his own unique "new world" or level of reality.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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