Barchester Towers (1857) is a novel by Anthony Trollope. It is the second in the series of novels known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which include The Warden (1855), Barchester Towers (1857), Doctor Thorne (1858), Framley Parsonage (1861), The Small House at Allington (1864), and The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867). The chronicles describe events in the fictional cathedral town of Barchester.
Trollope’s most used technique in the novel is that of comic irony. The manipulation and intrigue practiced by the clergy of Barchester is revealed, and the honesty and integrity they are supposed to represent is contrasted with the scheming nature of their quest for influence and power. The novel shows the worldliness of the clergy, and exposes the hypocrisy of the Church and of Victorian society, something which Trollope was anxious to draw attention to.
An important theme is the nature of friendship. The novel shows the difference between true and false friendship. True friendship is shown to be caring and unselfish while false friendship is calculating self-interested.
Another theme of the novel is that of personal ambition as various members of the clergy scheme and intrigue for control over the power and patronage of the diocese of Barchester. The novel shows the corrupting nature of ambition, and of the quest for power.