in Barchester Towers

Chapter 12 – Slope versus Harding

Mr. Harding is opposed to the contra-assumption of grandeur

Mr. Harding here is annoyed with “the air of superiority which [Mr. Slope] assumed,” but is too meek to respond by acting in a similar fashion (which, as we see, is often the archdeacon’s line of defense).  Trollope infuses a bit of classicism here when he describes the position that Mr. Harding cannot take as a “contra-assumption,” using the Latin word where the Anglicized version “counter” would have been just as useful.  [JC 2005]


casting away useless rubbish of past centuries

With his use of the word “centuries” here Mr. Slope implies that he is getting rid of what he sees as the “rubbish” of the Classical past as well as the more recent English past.  Mr. Slope makes the point that this is going on all around the country.  When one considers how Trollope keeps recycling the stuff of past centuries, it is clear that he’s certainly not in favor of casting it away as Mr. Slope does.  It is also worth questioning whether the disregard that Mr. Slope has for the past is a way of marking him as a villain.  Because Trollope uses Classics as a way of connecting with the audience in a meaningful way, does Trollope condemn Mr. Slope by putting him in opposition to this connecting device?  [JC 2005]