in Claverings

Chapter 33 – Showing Why Harry Clavering Was Wanted at the Rectory

larger dimensions of spirit, manhood, and heart

Fanny comes to realize that Mr. Saul is “of larger dimensions of spirit, manhood, and heart” than she had first thought.  Although Trollope does not use the word “magnanimous” here, it is implied by the idea of “larger dimensions of spirit” in that English “magnanimous” is composed of Latin magn- (“large”) and anim- (“spirit”).  Latin has its own parallel adjective, magnanimus, which means “high-spirited” and “brave.”  Although “magnanimous” is now most often used to describe a generous person, in the 19th century it could still convey some of this ancient meaning.  Mr. Saul’s excellence is not immediately apparent to many, but Fanny slowly learns that he is great-spirited, or magnanimous, indeed.  [RR 2013]

Sources:  OED, LS.


my Alpha and my Omega

When Mr. Saul parts from Fanny after she has implicitly accepted him, he declares:  “You are my Alpha and my Omega, my first and last, my beginning and end,–my everything, my all.”  Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Trollope has arranged his list so that a reader need not know that in order to understand Mr. Saul’s sentiment; “my first and last” and “my beginning and end” restate the idea.  Though Mr. Saul is known as a conscientious, pious, and committed member of the clergy, here he appropriates God’s words from the Book of Revelation:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end.”  Mr. Saul has transferred the concept and its articulation from the cosmic to the personal.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Revelation 1:8.



Mr. Clavering does not view Mr. Saul as belonging to the same class as himself and his son-in-law Mr. Fielding.  Though Mr. Saul be a gentleman, he does not have the connections to landed families which Mr. Clavering and Mr. Fielding do.  Trollope uses “squirearchy” to refer to local gentry.  The word, attested in other 19th c. sources, contains the combining form -archy, derived from Greek and meaning “rule by.”  Trollope also uses “squirearchy” in Chapter 2 of The American Senator, and in both instances it seems to be gently humorous, gesturing to the power of the status but also its relative circumscription.  [RR 2013]

Source:  OED.


Mr. Saul’s clouded brow

When Mr. Clavering dismisses Mr. Saul, Mr. Saul’s brow is darkened by a cloud.  This image may have Classical origins.  See commentary for Chapter 11.  [RR 2013]