Born in 1815, Anthony Trollope had a successful career as one of the most prolific English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-loved works, collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters. He simultaneously enjoyed a successful career with the General Post Office.
This dual career makes Trollope a role model for would-be writers everywhere.
Trollope’s postal career began somewhat ignominiously in 1834 as a postal clerk, and the first seven years of his official life, during which he gained a reputation for unpunctuality and insubordination. were, according to him, “neither creditable to myself nor useful to the public service.”
A move to Ireland altered his postal career and began his writing career.
Given a fresh start, Trollope became a model employee. And, having decided to become a novelist, he began writing on the numerous long trips around Ireland his postal duties required. Writing on a rigid schedule from 5 a.m. To 8 a.m. every day, his output was prodigious. He wrote his earliest novels during this time, occasionally dipping into the “lost-letter” box for ideas.
In 1851, Trollope returned to England to reorganize rural mail delivery in southwestern England and southern Wales. The two-year mission took him over much of Great Britain, often on horseback. Trollope describes this time as “two of the happiest years of my life”.
During these travels, he conceived the plot of The Warden, the first of the six Barsetshire novels. The novel was published in 1855, bringing him to the attention of the novel-reading public. He immediately began work on Barchester Towers, the second Barsetshire novel and probably his best-known work. Trollope ‘s postal career was also going well. By the mid-1860s, he had reached a senior position within the Post Office. He made postal history with his introduction of the pillar box, the ubiquitous bright red mail-box, thousands of which were found in the United Kingdom and throughout the British Empire of the time.
Trollope also aspired to a political career; he had long dreamed of a seat in the House of Commons. He agreed to become a Liberal candidate, and in the election of 1868, he finished number four of four candidates. Trollope called his short-lived dip into political waters “the most wretched fortnight of my manhood”.
Trollope died on December 6, 1882, having written 47 novels as well as numerous short stories, nonfiction works and plays – three hours a day, every day.