I posted a while ago that Tolstoy seemed to think the profit motive to be an evil one, and that writers generally look down on money making as beneath them, and I have been pleasantly surprised by Trollope's acknowledgment of money, as having a place in the motivations of even (otherwise) decent people.
I was gratified, therefore, to find that the great, liberal, Canadian economist, J. K. Galbraith, had written an introduction to a copy of Barchester Towers I happened to see in my local library. I wondered what economic insights he might bring to the work. It turns out that Trollope lost a great deal of public affection after his death, when his posthumous autobiography revealed that he had a strict writing schedule, at a rate of a thousand words an hour. His readers felt that the muse should not have a wristwatch. But he also reported, to the penny, how much he made from each novel. And I immediately thought less of him.
Why, I wonder? Is it unfair of me to expect someone to do all this work, and not care about the reward? Or would I rather they lied, and pretended they would have done just the same thing for nothing? I don't seem to mind George Clooney getting a fortune in some films, as long as he does the odd low budget picture, to pay his dues.
Am I a hypocrite? Most of us have families to look after, and Trollope had a bankrupt father, so getting and keeping money was a serious business for him. Perhaps it's a hangover from when the aristocracy decided what was polite, when the pursuit of money was seen as vulgar. Because the 'in' crowd was born with it.