in Barchester Towers

Chapter 16 – Baby Worship

object of idolatry

By referring to Eleanor’s baby as an object of her idolatry, Trollope compares him to a “pagan” (i.e. Classical) god.  [JC 2005]


fields of asphodel

Trollope compares the company of Eleanor and Signora Neroni, making it quite obvious that Eleanor’s company is the more pleasurable.  Madeline’s company is “like falling into a pit,” while being with Eleanor is like walking through pleasant fields of asphodel found in the Underworld.  Asphodel in the Underworld is mentioned in book 24 of Homer’s Odyssey.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Homer, Odyssey 24.13.


Mrs. Quiverful, supplicant

“…[Mrs. Quiverful] had all but embraced the knees of her patroness and had promised that the prayers of fourteen unprovided babes…should be put up to heaven ….”  The image of a supplicant embracing the knees of the patron is a very Classical one.  Compare Thetis’ supplication of Zeus in book 1 of Homer’s Iliad.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Homer, Iliad 1.500-502.


Rome was not built in a day

Though this is a common saying, it clearly recalls the long history of the rise of ancient Rome.  [JC 2005]

Here, Slope’s use of the proverb discordantly likens his pursuit of Eleanor to the building of the great city and its empire.  [RR 2011]