‘I think that no youth has been taught that in falseness and flashness is to be found the road to manliness: but some may perhaps have learned from me that it is to be found in truth and a high but gentle spirit.’
The men in Trollope’s novels frequently demonstrate a level of emotional expression that is oppositional to orthodox perceptions of masculinity in the nineteenth century. According to Andrew Drowling: ‘While nineteenth-century women could speak of inner feelings, nineteenth-century men were defined by their stoic silence.’ Kept in the Dark, for example states that:
‘The man is silent, not because he would not have the words spoken, but because he does not know the fitting words with which to speak. His dignity and so-called manliness are always near him, and are guarded, so that he should not melt into open ruth.’
This passage is particularly interesting, as here, Trollope’s male characters are shown to be highly sensitive, capable of the strong emotions which are often contradictory to the lasting perception that Victorian masculinity involved an emotional hardness that prevented emotional expression and articulation. Trollope also appears to be criticising the expectation to maintain this ‘stoic silence’ that is placed upon the men in his society. It is difficult to overlook the critical tone when reading about the expectations accompanying hegemonic masculinity that prevent this expression of emotion.
Overcoming this emotional illiteracy, is a prominent feature in several of Trollope’s novels, and is often linked to men achieving a status as a successful male. Phineas Finn, for instance, shows a scene in which the apparent sensitivity of Phineas is applauded, and assumed to be the explanation for his success with women: ‘‘I think it is because he listens so well,’ said one man. ‘But the women would not like him for that,’ said another. ‘He has studied when to listen and when to talk,’ said a third.’ Phineas’ aptitude for the articulation of thoughts are repeatedly brought to the attention of the reader, and are always praised by Trollope in these descriptions. Trollope writes that Phineas ‘knew that words would come readily enough to him, and that he had learned the task of turning his thoughts quickly into language’. Importantly, these demonstrations are not isolated. Margaret Markwick argues that ‘Oswald’s openness about his over-strong feelings is to be interpreted as honesty, a chivalric quality which thus exonerates him’. Trollope’s males, are therefore, not only capable of deep feeling and sincerity, but the expression of these, in Trollope’s novels are frequently shown to be a feature of manliness. With regard to the depth of feeling, and the expression of emotion, therefore, Trollope’s novels present a challenge to orthodox perceptions of masculinity in the nineteenth century.
 Anthony Trollope An Autobiography, (Oxford: Oxford University Press) p. 146
 Andrew Dowling, Manliness and the Male Novelist in Victorian Literature, (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2001) p. 13
 Anthony Trollope, Kept in the Dark: 1882 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 159
 Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn: 1869, Volume 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) p. 98
 Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn: 1869, Volume 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) p. 339
 Margaret Markwick, New Men in Trollope’s Novels: Rewriting the Victorian Male (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007) p. 115