Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope Page 1 of 559
With an Introduction by
"Castle Richmond" was written in 1861, long after Trollope had left Ireland. The characterization is weak, and the plot, although the author himself thought well of it, mechanical.
The value of the story is rather documentary than literary. It contains several graphic scenes descriptive of the great Irish famine.
Trollope observed carefully, and on the whole impartially, though his powers of discrimination were not quite fine enough to make him an ideal annalist.
Still, such as they were, he has used them here with no inconsiderable effect. His desire to be fair has led him to lay stress in an inverse ratio to his prepossessions, and his Priest is a better man than his parson.
The best, indeed the only piece of real characterization in the book is the delineation of Abe Mollett. This unscrupulous blackmailer is put before us with real art, with something of the loving preoccupation of the hunter for his quarry. Trollope loved a rogue, and in his long portrait gallery there are several really charming ones.
He did not, indeed, perceive the aesthetic value of sin-he did not perceive the esthetic value of anything,-and his analysis of human nature was not profound enough to reach the conception of sin, crime being to him the nadir of downward possibility-but he had a professional, a sort of half Scotland Yard, half master of hounds interest in a criminal.