Cousin Henry

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Paperback, 291 pages
Oxford University Press, 1978
First World's Classics Paperback Edition,

"Cousin Henry is an original novel,' wrote Trollope to his publisher, 'but it is not for me to say so."

Henry Jones, an unprepossessing London insurance clerk, knows that his uncle has disinherited him. The old man's will, made out at the last minute in favour of Henry's charming cousin Isabel Brodrick, lies neatly folded in a well-thumbed volume of sermons in his book-room; Henry saw him put it there before he died. Unfortunately nobody else knows where the will is, and Henry stands to lose everything by making the knowledge public.

Cousin Henry, first published in 1879, is perhaps the most unusual and intriguing of Trollope's shorter novels.  Its unlikely hero is a timid coward who inherits his uncle's estate in an agony of guilt and eventually arouses the suspicion of everyone around him, most notably the redoubtable family lawyer, Mr. Apjohn.  But Trollope's handling of his chhracter and dilemma is masterly in its insight and compassion; he knew he had nothing quite like it elsewhere in his fiction. 

Edited with an Introduction by Julian Thompson

About the Author

Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 - 6 December 1882) was an English novelist of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters. Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he had regained the esteem of critics by the mid-20th century.