Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Anthony Trollope, Autobiography

This is wonderful book, to own, to treasure, to read and re-read for a lifetime!

Trollope's Autobiography is a perennial source of wisdom--besides being inspirational--to writers, but in particular to fiction writers. The book in general is an ABC of perfect, round sentences, and sentence variation, which of course makes for agile prose.

However, personally, I find three chapters that are unsurpassed in English letters: Chapter VII which contains his 'Scheme of Work;' Chapter X on plots, and the homage to Thackeray; and Chapter XII On Novels and the Art of Writing them.

Chapter VII is the most poignant as it shows how this humble man wrote so much--and all of excellent quality--by sheer determination. And let's keep in mind that he accomplished all that inmense literary output while holding a full time job with the Post Office.

Trollope discovered that "A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules." And never did he deviate from his alloted daily writing. This quotation is taped on top of my computer to remind me to do my own "small daily task," faithfully.

Although I love all his novels,this is the book--An Autobiography--I would save from an all consuming holocaust. No writer's library should be without it--order it now.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:


Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

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