in Claverings

Chapter 47 – How Things Settled Themselves at the Rectory

Harry was again to be accepted among the Burton Penates as a pure divinity

In ancient Roman homes, the penates were household gods, worshipped alongside Vesta as guardians of the home.  Trollope says that Harry, whom he repeatedly compares to Apollo, has been recognized by the Burton’ Penates as divine.  This summarizes the Burton family’s opinion of him as a man residing on a different level of greatness from themselves.  Since Trollope specifies that Harry will “again” be considered a god, it is clear that the Burtons held a very high opinion of Harry before he temporarily abandoned Florence.  His behavior toward Florence clearly turned out not to be above reproach, so the comparison to a god is somewhat sarcastic or ironic.  Nevertheless, the Burtons are ready to forgive and forget all, since Trollope specifies that Harry is again “pure” in their eyes.  Trollope may also be gently criticizing the Burton family with this phrase, since Harry’s conduct was not pure, and placing any human person on the level with the divine is a bit excessive.  [SH 2012]

Source:  OCD.


this Apollo was to be an Apollo indeed

Florence Burton’s parents have just received the news that Harry is now an heir, fairly recently after they heard that Harry and Florence had reconciled.  Now he is not just “a god with so very moderate an annual income,” but rather one with a corresponding position in society.  The Burtons had been somewhat concerned about Harry’s ability to be happy working for his living, but now his financial situation finally fits his gentlemanly disposition.  [SH 2012]


a place of his own among the gods of Olympus

Olympus is the highest mountain on the Greek peninsula.  In mythology, it was presented as the home of the gods.  Trollope references the mountain here when describing the Burton family’s attitude toward Harry Clavering’s new position as the heir to a baronet.  Trollope has used references to Apollo/Phoebus, god of the sun, to describe the Burtons’ opinion of Harry throughout the novel, but now the metaphor is extended to include Apollo’s proper home among other gods.  With his new position and all the money and power it brings, Harry Clavering has risen greatly in society and no longer has to worry about making his way in the world; he is now among his peers, where he should be.  This shift in Harry’s social status is likened to Apollo gaining a spot to call his own in the society of his peers, the Olympian gods.  [SH 2012]

Source:  OCD.


Lady Clavering’s paraphernalia

In many of his novels Trollope expresses distaste for the traditional clothing worn by widows.  Here he writes of Hermione’s adoption of mourning attire:  “She had assumed in all its grotesque ugliness those paraphernalia of outward woe which women have been condemned to wear, in order that for a time they may be shorn of all the charms of their sex.”  Trollope’s use of “paraphernalia” has an ironic resonance with the word’s etymology, since its original meaning had special reference to the start of a marriage.  In ancient Greek the word parapherna referred to goods beyond (para) a dowry (phernē) which a bride brought with her when she married.  Hermione’s marriage has now ended in bereavement, which has its own equipment.  [RR 2013]

Source:  LSJ.


I don’t think I would care for a walk through the Elysian fields by myself

The idea of Elysium or the Elysian fields as the home of the blessed dead, reserved for celebrated heroes, comes from Classical mythology.  The eternal home of the honored and blessed would naturally be beautiful beyond imagination.  Julia’s reference to this mythical verdant place creates a hyperbole in her statement that, on her own, she does not care for gardens.  It seems Julia would not enjoy any place—not Clavering Park nor even Elysium—by herself.  [SH & RR 2012]