Barchester Towers, published in 1857, is the second novel in Anthony Trollope's series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire". It is possibly Trollope's best known work.
Barchester Towers concerns the leading citizens of the imaginary cathedral city of Barchester. The much loved bishop having died, all expectations are that his son, Archdeacon Grantly, also a clergyman, will gain the office in his place. Instead, owing to the passage of the power of patronage to a new Prime Minister, a newcomer, Bishop Proudie, gains the see. His wife, Mrs Proudie, exercises an undue influence over the new bishop, making herself unpopular with right-thinking members of the clergy and their families. Her interference in the reappointment of the universally popular Mr Septimus Harding (hero of Trollope's earlier novel, The Warden) as warden of the hospital is not well received, even though she gives the position to a needy clergyman with a large family to support.
Even less popular than Mrs Proudie is the bishop's newly appointed chaplain, the hypocritical Mr Obadiah Slope, who takes a fancy to Harding's wealthy widowed daughter, Eleanor Bold, and hopes to win her favour by interfering in the controversy over the wardenship. Summoned by the local clergy to protect their interests against the Proudies and Mr Slope is another clergyman, the brilliant Mr Arabin. He also falls in love with Eleanor, and she with him. After some misunderstandings, they become engaged. Mr Slope's double-dealing is revealed, and he is dismissed by Mrs Proudie.
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