gods and giants
Trollope continues to use the gods and giants when talking about rival political parties. This theme was introduced in Chapter 18 and especially developed in Chapter 23. [RR 2005]
supporters of the Titans, Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus
Trollope identifies the Titans with the giants. In Classical mythology, both of these groups challenged the power of the Olympian gods, and they were consequently often conflated. In this passage, Trollope expresses some sympathy for Dr. Grantly, who is a supporter of the Titans/giants but who is unable to help them directly in their efforts. Trollope likens Grantly’s by-stander position to that of someone watching the giants in their task of piling Mount Pelion on Mount Ossa and thereby trying to storm Mount Olympus, the home of the Olympian gods. In Book 11 of the Odyssey, the giants’ mountain-piling is recounted somewhat differently: they aimed to pile Ossa on top of Olympus and then Pelion on top of Ossa, thereby reaching the heavens. [RR 2005]
Sources: Homer, Odyssey 11.305-320.
Porphyrion and Orion
Although Grantly is a supporter of the giants, he disagrees with their handling of the Bishop Bill; he is therefore said to be disappointed with both Porphyrion and Orion, two prominent giants. For further descriptions of Porphyrion and Orion, see the commentary for Chapter 23. [RR 2005]
Trollope calls a young member of the giants’ party a “monster-cub.” The monsters of Hesiod’s Theogony posed multiple threats to Olympian order, so the monsters are an appropriate addition to Trollope’s pack of Titans and giants. One particular monster, Typhoeus, has already been mentioned in Chapter 23. [RR 2005]
After being disappointed in the matter of the Bishop Bill, Dr. Grantly intends to return with his wife to Barchester. Trollope defends Dr. Grantly against those who would smugly assert that his resolution to return to the good life available for him at Plumstead is a matter of sour grapes. Trollope suggests that there is some wisdom, in fact, in considering things beyond reach to be sour. The story of the frustrated fox who decides that the enticing grapes which he cannot acquire must be sour is one of Aesop’s fables and is preserved in Latin by Phaedrus. [RR 2005]
Sources: Link to Phaedrus’ Latin version of the story plus an English translation at Laura Gibb’s Aesop site.
Usually spelled “Revalenta Arabica.” This is the Latinate name of a lentil concoction marketed for invalids. “Revalenta” is not authentic Latin but may suggest getting well (valent-) again (re-). [RR 2005]