In this essay I explore Trollope's challenge to traditional Victorian valorizations of sacriÞce. A wide range of Victorian writings, from novels to sermons to economic and sociological treatises, suggests that sacriÞce is virtuous only when it comes without personal reward. In an era of unprecedented personal and national prosperity, Trollope rejected this purist standard for sacriÞce. The Þrst and last novels of his Barsetshire series do away with the attempt to retain a sphere of sacriÞce beyond a capitalistic circuit of exchange where theft and questionably gained surplus consistently threaten ethical life. Instead, the novels allow morally desirable acts to reap reward for their agents, to generate various forms of surplus that can then be fed back into a circuit of sympathetic human relations. In rejecting a sacriÞcial ideal, Trollope poses an everyday communal ethic of beneÞt in place of the idealized, highly individualistic model of self-denial that so many of his contemporaries endorsed.
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