Chapter 47 – The Dean Elect


Trollope says that “Rumour, when she has contrived to sound the first note on her trumpet, soon makes a loud peal audible enough.”  This is an example of the personification used by Classical authors wherein a thing (victory or passion) that normally has no agency of its own is attributed with human-like or god-like qualities.  [TH 2005]

Rumor (Latin Fama) is personified in Vergil’s Aeneid.  [RR 2011]

Sources:  Vergil, Aeneid 4.173-177.


to have the cup so near his lips

See gloss in commentary for Chapter 24.  When Mr. Harding tells the archdeacon that he is intent upon declining a proposed promotion to dean, Trollope says that the archdeacon couldn’t stand “to have the cup so near his lips and to loose the drinking of it.”  The archdeacon would have desired to see Mr. Harding become the new dean but is disappointed after coming so close to having an ally in the deanery.  [TH 2005]

Chapter 46 – Mr. Slope’s Parting Interview with the Signora

the last of the Neros

Julia was ever the favorite name with the ladies of that family

the interview between Mr. Thorne and the last of the Neros

Madeline, in an attempt to aggrandize herself and her nuptial misfortune, immensely plays up her alleged connection to the emperors of ancient Rome via her Italian husband.  Her husband’s last name is Neroni, a name similar to that of Nero, the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which produced the most famous rulers of Rome.  Nero was indeed the last of his line, as he kicked his pregnant wife to death before she could bear him a child, making it quite improbable that Madeline’s daughter or husband bear any relation, however diluted, to that ancient family, as she frequently claims and as she implies by naming her daughter “Julia,” a name appearing quite frequently throughout the Julio-Claudian genealogy.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OCD.


infernal gods

The gods of the world below.  Slope has just been humiliated by Madeline Stanhope, with whom he was previously infatuated.  The experience changes her in his eyes from a heavenly angel to a demonic being.  It seems likely that Trollope makes reference more to a Classical idea (of the Underworld) than to a Christian one (of Hell) in light of Madeline’s frequent self-characterisations as both unreligious and almost a relic of pagan imperial Rome.  [JM 2005]

Chapter 44 – Mrs. Bold at Home

Mary Bold as Mentor

Eleanor is reflecting on the fact that her sister-in-law had given her good advice regarding the Stanhopes (i.e., that she should stay away from them), which she had wrongly ignored.  Mentor is a character from Homer’s Odyssey who was Odysseus’ friend of old.  Athena adopts his guise to give Odysseus’ son Telemachus advice and help.  It is from this character that we get the English word “mentor” to refer to an advisor.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Homer, Odyssey 2.