By: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)
The Warden is the first novel in Anthony Trollope's series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire", making fun of the Church of England of his time, together with the religious controversies, and the press. It was his fourth novel. The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek, elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of Barsetshire.
The story concerns the impact upon Harding and his circle when a zealous young reformer, John Bold, launches a campaign to expose the disparity in the apportionment of the charity's income between its object, the bedesmen, and its officer, Mr Harding. John Bold embarks on this campaign in a spirit of public duty despite his romantic involvement with Eleanor and previously cordial relations with Mr Harding. Bold starts a lawsuit and Mr Harding is advised by the indomitable Dr Grantly, his son-in-law, to stand his ground.Bold attempts to enlist the support of the press and engages the interest of The Jupiter (a newspaper representing The Times) whose editor, Tom Towers, pens editorials supporting reform of the charity, and presenting a portrait of Mr Harding as selfish and derelict in his conduct of his office. This image is taken up by commentators Dr Pessimist Anticant, and Mr Popular Sentiment, who have been seen as caricatures of Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens respectively.