The first of Trollope’s Barsetshire novels, The Warden concerns the moral dilemma of the Reverend Septimus Harding, who finds himself at the centre of a bitter conflict between defenders of Church privilege and the reforming impulses of the mid-Victorian period. Appointed warden of an almshouse, he is given a comfortable salary from its founder’s will to oversee the institution and the small weekly incomes given to the men who live there. Mr. Harding’s disproportionate salary, however, becomes a source of concern for a local reformer who denounces the allocation of funds as a Church abuse.
Interweaving the complexities of the Victorian world, the novel draws on ecclesiastical scandals, criticizes the power of the press, satirizes the law, and examines the growing influence of London on provincial life. Based on the most authoritative text published during Trollope’s life, that of 1878, the Broadview edition also includes appendices with material relating to the novel’s genesis, Trollope’s revisions, the sources of his literary parody, the historical background to the novel’s topical references, its reception by contemporary critics, and Trollope’s views on the Church of England.
“Prepared with meticulous scholarship, and with a deep sympathy for Trollope himself, this edition has everything the student or the general reader could require. I recommend it unreservedly.” — T.T. Bareham, editor of The Barsetshire Novels: A Casebook and Anthony Trollope