Trollope – The Inheritance Novels

By: Patti Spencer

This is a look at Anthony Trollope’s novels involving the trials and tribulations presented by the Victorian laws of inheritance. Trollope is best known for the Palliser Novels and The Barsetshire Chronicles.  The inheritance novels, which we examine here, are Mr. Scarborough’s FamilyOrley FarmRalph, the HeirCousin HenrySir Harry Hotspur of HumblewaiteThe Belton Estate, and Is He Popenjoy? The entail as a moral and legal institution is of particular interest in all of these books.  Several of the novels deal with attempts to break an entail. The divine right of primogeniture is examined along with various plots involving windfall inheritances, disinheritance, and the threat of the loss of a house.