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THE BERTRAMS (1859) by Anthony Trollope is an unusual novel of world travel, in addition to the typical subjects of matrimony and money, social strata, couples and relationships, by the author whose best-known work (such as the Barsetshire novels) is normally set in England.
This one has the flavor of a Middle Eastern travelogue with lively Victorian commentary and satire, and as such it is a fascinating glimpse into the international mindset of the time.
Trollope worked as a civil servant in the post office until he was 52, at the same time traveling extensively in Britain, the U. S., and Europe. He turned his foreign journeys into travel books and his observations on English life into 47 novels. His books deal with most of the typical themes of Victorian literature: class, money, status, youth and age, marriage and sexual mores, and the crisis in the institutions of the Church of England. Each of the novels is self-contained, but many characters, locales, and situations recur. At the age of 57, he suffered a paralytic stroke while laughing at a family read-aloud session, and died a month later.
From the Publisher
Trollope considered this novel (his eighth) to be one of his failures, but it was a favorite of Tolstoy, and, in spite of a weak and conventional plot, the book has some interesting aspects: parts of it, for example, are set in Egypt and Jerusalem (where Trollope himself traveled on post-office business), and it contains a heroine who is much more of a feminist than many of his female characters. The story revolves around Caroline Waddington, who breaks her engagement to George Bertram to marry a flashy and indecently ambitious politician. After years of unhappy marriage, wanton extravagance, and bad political luck, her husband kills himself, and Caroline eventually marries George after all.