In Trollope, as in lots of other novelists—even, come to think of it, as in Shakespeare—some characters are presented in full, as really and completely alive, while others remain mere sketches or stock charcters. And I’ll grant you, John, that some of Trollope’s minor characters are indeed, so to speak, “stock Jews,” presented using stereotypes of the day. But any effort to describe Trollope as a thoroughgoing anti-Semite is bound to falter on Brehgert—just bound to, don’t you think? Brehgert is so thoroughly admirable a figure—so thorouhgly likeable.
I’m with you on the merits (including brevity) of The Warden, just as I’m with Mark on the commendability of the WordsworthClassics—or any edition that costs less than two reams from Staples. And to any readers of this happy Corner who’d like to consume The Way We Live Now in a manner less onerous than actually reading it, consider the television version, which, as TV versions go, was darned well done. (Melmotte is played by the incomparable David Suchet. Whereas Suchet’s Poirot is all nuance and understatement, his Melmotte is a huge, raging figure.)