‘Was he to be pointed at as the consumer of the bread of the poor, and to be allowed no means of refuting such charges?’
The tranquil atmosphere of the cathedral town of Barchester is shattered when a scandal breaks concerning the financial affairs of a Church-run almshouse for elderly men. In the ensuing furore, Septimus Harding, the almshouse’s well-meaning warden, finds himself pitted against his daughter’s suitor Dr John Bold, a zealous local reformer. Matters are not improved when Harding’s abrasive son-in law, Archdeacon Grantly, leaps into the fray to defend him against a campaign Bold begins in the national press. An affectionate and wittily satirical view of the workings of the Church of England, The Warden is also a subtle exploration of the rights and wrongs of moral crusades and, in its account of Harding’s intensely felt personal drama, a moving depiction of the private impact of public affairs.
This is the first volume of Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire. In his introduction, Robin Gilmour examines Trollope’s background and influences, especially his use of contemporary newspaper scandals. This edition also includes suggestions for further reading and notes.