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The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope


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Frances Milton Trollope (1779-1863) was a prolific, provocative and hugely successful novelist. She greatly influenced the generation of Victorian novelists who came after her such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell. This is the first modern, scholarly, annotated edition of Frances Trollope's social problem novels.

Trollope's novels brought her readers into contact with a wide range of social issues. Her novels dealt with work issues, such as child labour, unsafe working conditions, excessive hours and poor wages. She campaigned against the bastardy clause in the Poor Laws, which absolved fathers from financial responsibility for their illegitimate children. She was also a committed abolitionist, having spent three years in Ohio where she heard first hand the stories of cruelty that slaves experienced in the South. These were told by slaves fleeing from slave-holding Kentucky into free Ohio. Trollope marketed her books carefully to maximize public outrage and expected her readers to put pressure on parliament to legislate reform.

The novels included in this edition are not available in any modern scholarly print or electronic edition. The set includes a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes and endnotes. It will be important for those studying and researching Nineteenth-Century Studies, Women's Writing and the History of the Novel.


- Restores a neglected voice to the nineteenth-century canon

- Edited and introduced by leading Trollope scholars

- Shows how literature influenced legislative reform during the nineteenth century

- New editorial material includes a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes and endnotes

Bibliographical information:

Trollope, Frances Milton. The Social Problem Novels of Frances Trollope. General editor, Brenda Ayres. Editor, Christian Sutphin. 4 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2008.

- Vol 1. The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw: Or Scenes on the Mississippi (1836)

- Vol. 2. The Vicar of Wrexhill (1837)

- Vol. 3. The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy (1840)

- Vol. 4. Jessie Phillips: A Tale of the Present Day (1843)

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