'Barchester Towers' (1857) is Trollope's most popular novel and a great work of English fiction. The second of the 'Chronicles of Barsetshire', it continues the story of Mr Harding and his daughter Eleanor which began in 'The Warden'.
Trollope recognised the great comic potential that lay in the predicament of the Church of England in mid-Victorian society. And through his portrayal of the conflict between the High and Low Church factions within Barchester, he ironically exposes the corruption, hypocrisy and conservatism of that great institution. But Trollope was also concerned with the wider changes occurring in society, and in contrasting the characters of Mrs Proudie and the unctuous Mr Slope with the gentle Mr Harding, he makes a protest against the competitive mode of life and reasserts the benefits of the more traditional, kindlier values.