"Everyone who met him remarked on the extraordinary brilliance of his black eyes, which, behind the strong lenses of his spectacles, shone (as one memorist records) 'with a certain genial fury of inspection'...."
Extraordinary Victorian novelist, chronicler of the imaginary country of Barsetshire, creator of characters like Mrs Proudie and Obadiah Slope, Anthony Trollope was born on this day in 1815.
He had a miserable childhood and youth, and a very happy adulthood. He wrote more methodically than any other writer, worked for the Post Office, and loved food, drink, horsemanship and good company.
His novels are a delight. Not as extravagant or baroque as Dickens, immensely observant of small things, and with an exquisite sense of human qualities, and quality. Good for long trips, holidays at the cottage or the beach: the kind of books that should be read in hardback, with a leisurely glass of something delicious beside one's favourite saggy armchair.