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on April 5, 2016
This very short work give an account of three generations of Anglo-Irish landowners, each more short sighted and self destructive than the one that preceded him. The first two make efforts to preserve and increase the family fortune through such means as constantly dunning tenants for rents and feudal duties (hence the name of the estate, to “rack” or wring out the rent) or by constant litigation or the threat thereof. All this work goes to naught when the third heir, Sir Condy, completely wastes the estate through his own genial incompetence. While the most agreeable and pleasant of the three, Sir Condy is also the weakest and most dissipated. He comes to a horrible, drunken end, fully conscious of his ruin and the fact that he brought it about himself. All of this is narrated by his faithful retainer, Thady Quirk, who tearfully recounts the dismal downfall of his feudal lords in the most pathetic terms while all the while leaving you to wonder if he means devil a word of what he says and is really just about pulling your leg.

The tale seems to be composed of the essence of tragedy, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is because it possesses the essential Irish quality, a sprightliness and energy that carries both narratives along at a relentless pace along with a lively eye for the absurd in any situation. Edgeworth had a keen ear for Irish patterns of speech. Although an Englishwoman, Edgeworth was raised in Ireland and had a tremendous feel for the Irish viewpoint of her time. The humor of her tale is especially poignant in light of the fact that it was written soon after the terrible Rebellion of 1798, one of the most internecine of Irish conflicts. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Irish history, the early English novel, and anyone with a good sense of humor.
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on January 7, 2015
I had to read this novel for a literature class. I must say, Thady's narrative was irritating and unreliable at best. But, Edgeworth's clear and powerful satirical view of her culture bring the story of Rackrent and its masters to life. The Rackrent estate itself is an emblem of oppression and Edgeworth makes this assertion throughout the narrative.
Overall, a good read and a really excellent addition to the canon of 18th century literature.
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on September 4, 2016
Readers of Austen and Scott should not miss this one. It's quite short and kinda odd, but funny and fascinating from a historical perspective. (Poor old Thady!) The glossary in itself is a hoot. And the traditional introduction is not to be missed, but can be saved until the end when you'll be curious about this Maria Edgeworth.
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on August 23, 2016
A REMARKABLE MODERN TALE, FULL OF WIT, SATIRE, AND HISTORY. I FINALLY UNDERSTOOD THE HISTORY OF IRELAND.
MARIA IS EQUAL IF NOT SUPERIOR TO JANE AUSTEN.
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on December 15, 2017
Castle Rackrent was different than anything I have read before. It was extremely interesting and allowed the reader to enter into a different mindset than he/she has ever done before. I hghly reckommend to someone that wants something different.
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on February 4, 2014
I love it because I'm a huge Maria Edgeworth fan, but it's not the hallmark of modernist writing that everybody makes it out to be. The text contains hints that the disarray of the first section is a happy accident, something that Maria Edgeworth tried to reproduce years later when she wrote the second half, instead falling short and writing an overly-didactic ending that doesn't live up to the beginning.
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on June 25, 2013
Hurrah for the free classics of literature available on Kindle! Liked the technique of a garrulous old man telling his POV of his master's family history; good contrast between old Thady & his son Jason--their attitudes & allegiances. I always enjoy a window onto a different time & culture, but am uncertain how much caricature went into each character of Edgeworth's story.

Is the portrayal of upper class abuse of credit that much different from today's abuse of credit cards?
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on January 13, 2018
Maria Edgeworth was an amazing at capturing the essence and nuances of the landlord-tenant relationship prior to the famine.
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on January 28, 2014
Being a confirmed fan of Maria Edgeworth, I found this to be a surprising change in both content and presentation. Cannot say I really liked it, as it seemed to be more a description of Ireland and its customs and quirks at the time - but interesting in a certain way, nonetheless.
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on December 5, 2014
Wonderful
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