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Castle Rackrent (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0199537556 ISBN-10: 0199537550 Edition: New

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199537550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537556
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.4 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kathryn Kirkpatrick is Assistant Professor at the Department of English, Appalachian State University.

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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By mp on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Maria Edgeworth's "Castle Rackrent," published in 1800, the year of Irish union with Great Britain, and just two years after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, is supposedly a comic satire intended to show after years of unrest, that the Irish were civil enough to be assimilated into the British Empire. That is a deceptively simple description of a book in conflict with its author and itself.
Told to an "editor" by Thady Quirk, the 80+ year old steward of the Rackrent estate relates (very quickly) the story of the Rackrent family, Sir Patrick, Sir Murtagh, Sir Kit, and the absolutely dissolute Sir Condy. The O'Shaughlin family is forced by the Penal Laws to become Protestant and to change their name to Rackrent to regain their estate. The variously weak Rackrent men and their extremely strong and independent wives spend themselves into outrageous debt and tax their tenant farmers to the point of insanity over the course of the novel.
Apply Katie Trumpener's argument regarding the importance of the bog to Irish cultural nationalism in her book "Bardic Nationalism," and you begin to see that, all that seems to preserve the legacy of the O'Shaughlin family is their mucky bog, Allyballycarricko'shaughlin, and Thady Quirk, if he is to be trusted, himself seemingly stuck in a feudal past.
One of the major questions posed by Edgeworth's novel is "What is it to be Irish?" The Anglo-Irish Rackrent landlords claim an Irish Catholic heritage, but forfeit that personal history for the ephemeral run of the estate. The disenfranchised tenant farmers are forced to yield their produce to support the Rackrents's absurd behaviours.
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Format: Paperback
Castle Rackrent is not, as its title might suggest, a gothic novel. Instead it is an affectionate satire of Irish life in the 18th Century. The occasion for its publication was the forthcoming union between Ireland and Great Britain. The author proposes to introduce the Irish to their neighbors, claiming that the English know less about Ireland than about many other nations.

The novel is in the form of an oral memoir by Thady Quirk, a venerable servant of the Rackrent estate. He recounts four successive holders of the baronetcy, men varying from the genial, to the querulous, to the miserly, and the extravagant. His speech is sprinkled with regionalisms which the author explains in footnotes and an extensive glossary. Many of these notes contain anecdotes that are just as entertaining as the main narrative. Some of the descriptions of Irish customs, mannerisms and speech are no doubt still apt today.

Castle Rackrent is a pleasant little story that has its own place in the development of the English novel and will surely amuse anyone who wants to pay a visit to the Ireland of two centuries ago.
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By Kathleen A. Flynn on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of literature of this period, and no slave to political correctness, but I really hated "Castle Rackrent," which I found both tedious and offensive, managing to be both anti-Semitic and anti-Irish. I guess it was supposed to be funny, and some might find it so. I did not.
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By memphisangel1948 on December 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda M on August 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a good book, please don't let the cover sway you from it - it's not typical of the book
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