An Uncomfortable Authority: Maria Edgeworth and Her Contexts by Heidi Kaufman, Chris Fauske

By Heidi Kaufman, Chris Fauske

Lately, Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) has been the topic of accelerating curiosity. a girl, a member of the landholding elite, an educator, and a daughter who lived less than the historic shadow of her father, Edgeworth's lifestyles is hard to categorize. paradoxically, the very points of Edgeworth's identification that when excluded her from literary and old discussions now shape the foundation of present curiosity in her lifestyles and her writing. This number of essays builds on latest scholarship to improve new views approximately Edgeworth's position in English and Irish heritage, literary background, and women's background. those essays discover the ways that Edgeworth's complete grownup lifestyles was once an try and reconcile the irreconcilable, an try to justify and safeguard her personal privileged place whilst she said the tenuousness of that place and as she sought to assert different privileges denied her.

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Neilson, the owner-publisher-editor of the Northern Star (2 Jan. 1792–13 May 1797) was sufficiently sympathetic to employ Patrick Lynch to edit an Irish-language anthology, Bolg an Tsolar, in 1795. That lengthy and seriously meant anthology did not continue, though described as volume 1. This limited the Gaelic content of United Irish publications prior to 1798. There are other gaps in the cultural theories and activities of the United Irishmen, or in our knowledge of them. Were any of the leaders students of the Gaelic-Irish language or indeed of Hibernian English, or real enthusiasts for song and ballads, in the serious sense of, say, James Macpherson and Robert Burns in Scotland and Bishop Thomas Percy, Joseph Ritson, and Francis Grose in England?

Longford, and perhaps by the authorities. Otherwise, R. L. 18 Maria Edgeworth’s play Whim for Whim (written November 1798), a comedy about a secret society, signals her sympathy with Beddoes and with the idealistic reformer and United Irish- ‘‘MORE INTELLIGENT TREASON’’ 43 man, Lord Edward Fitzgerald. In Whim for Whim, set unspecifically in London, Edgeworth’s youthful, impetuous leading man, Opal, combines publicly identifiable traits of Beddoes (viz, his keen discipleship of Kant) and of Lord Edward Fitzgerald (his having a freed slave as a servant).

Since other plotlines introduce Anglicized Irish characters, the resulting collage captures a hybrid, divided Irish people at the point in their history when they heard a dynamic call—that of the United Irish movement for unification into a single organic nation. Notes 1. Norman Vance, Irish Literature: A Social History (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1990), 66. Among the works I have in mind are, Marianne Elliott, Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982) and Wolfe Tone, Prophet of Irish Independence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); Jim Smyth, The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular Politics in the Late 18th Century (London, Macmillan, 1992); Thomas Bartlett, ‘‘An End to Moral Economy: The Irish Militia Disturbances of 1793,’’ Past and Present 99 (1983), 41–64; ‘‘Defenders and Defenderism in 1795,’’ in Irish Historical Studies 24 (1984–85), 373–94; Nancy Curtin, The United Irishmen: Popular Politics in Ulster and Dublin, 1791–1798 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Kevin Whelan, The Tree of Liberty: Radicalism, Catholicism and the Construction of Irish Identity, 1760–1830 (Cork: Cork University Press, 1996) and ‘‘Politicisation in Co Wexford,’’ in Gough, Hugh, and D.

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