in Warden

Chapter 10 – Tribulation

omnipotent pedagogue

“They spoke together of the archdeacon, as two children might of a stern, unpopular, but still respected schoolmaster, and of the bishop as a parent kind as kind could be, but powerless against an omnipotent pedagogue.”  Here Trollope uses the formality of English words derived from Latin and Greek in a playful manner.  While one can certainly sympathize with Harding and Eleanor’s feelings towards the archdeacon, it is somewhat absurd that they should be so afraid of a man who through filial ties should be subordinate to Mr. Harding and only slightly superior to Eleanor.  The entire parallel that Trollope draws is comical.  His use of words with classical roots to describe what is really not a grand position at all is funny in itself, but also stays in tune with his simile.  The Latinate phrase reflects the elevated sort of fear and awe that a child would have of such a schoolmaster.  [JC 2005]



Trollope identifies Tom Towers as “a very leading genius, and supposed to have high employment on the staff of the Jupiter.”  Towers’ association with the Classically named Jupiter may activate one of the Latin meanings of genius here:  a resident or guardian spirit.  Like the paper for which he works, Tom Towers is almost supernatural.  [RR 2014]