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I recently read a Victorian novel called Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, and the thing which stood out the most to me was the author’s unusual opinions on morals. One example is that one of the male characters, Burgo Fitzgerald, can’t help that he’s an alcoholic and a gambler with no real feelings for anybody because of how beautiful he is. Trollope blames Burgo’s beauty for all of his flaws and says that he might have been a better person if he wasn’t so good looking.
Do you think stating something so controversial, i.e. that attractive people aren’t responsible for their flaws, is a good or a bad idea in your writing? Do you think morals have a place in ALL writing or only certain genres?


  1. That’s such an interesting position that Trollope took, I wonder if it was a generally accepted perspective in that time period. Editors and publishers have always said that controversy can only help book sales, so I guess it’s not a bad idea as long as the author can stand the heat and defend his position (or the reason he gave the character that position). In my opinion, morals can fit into any genre as long as they make sense in the context of the story and/or characters to which they’re attributed. It certainly makes for passionate discussions!

    1. Yes, I also wonder if that position was generally accepted in that time period. It would be interesting to read Trollope’s biography and see if there’s any evidence of this opinion in his personal life, or any proof of where that perspective came from in general.

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