in Barchester Towers

Chapter 19 – Barchester by Moonlight


Trollope describes the Stanhope’s reaction to unhappy times.  They seem almost unphased by any tragedy or loss.  He says of their stoicism:  “if not stoical, (it) answered the end at which the stoics aimed.”  Stoicism was a Greco-Roman philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno.  It was popular from 300 BC to 300 CE.  Stoic ethics discouraged attachment to material things and displays of emotion.  Stoics were not supposed to react out of anger or passion but were expected to act in accordance with reason.  Although Trollope does not consider the Stanhopes to be true stoics, he calls upon the Classical stoics for a characterization of the Stanhope family.  When adverse circumstances strike, the Stanhope family does not act as though anything has happened at all.  Instead they continue as before.  However, unlike the ancient Stoics, they are definitely worldly.  [TH 2005]

Sources:  OCD.


the chaste goddess

This reference is likely referring to Artemis.  Selene was the Greek personification of the moon.  Although she was certainly not chaste, some Classical authors did often confuse her with the virgin goddess Artemis who came at times to personify the moon, as well.  It is likely that Trollope is making the same link in describing the moon as a chaste goddess.  Charlotte is thinking that the chaste moon will doubtlessly (if somewhat ironically) aid her cause by sparking romance between Ethelbert and Eleanor.  Charlotte is hoping that a moonlight stroll will bring the two closer together.  [TH & RR 2005]

Sources: Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.