Castle Rackrent

Castle Rackrent[Read] ➭ Castle Rackrent By Maria Edgeworth – The story of the Edgeworth Family if it were properly told should be as long as the ARABIAN NIGHTS themselves; the thousand and one cheerful intelligent members of the circle the amusing friends and r The story of the Edgeworth Family if it were properly told should be as long as the ARABIAN NIGHTS themselves; the thousand and one cheerful intelligent members of the circle the amusing friends and relations the charming surroundings the cheerful hospitable home all go to make up an almost uniue history of a county family of great parts and no little character The Edgeworths were people of good means and position and their rental we are told amounted to nearly L a year At one time there was some talk of a peerage for Mr Edgeworth but he was considered too independent for a peerage The family tradition seems to have been unconven tional and spirited always There are records still extant in the present Mr Edgeworth's possession papers of most wonderful vitality for parchment where you may read passionate remonstrances and adjurations from great grandfathers to great great grandfathers and where great great grandmothers rush into the discussion with vehement spelling and remonstrance and make matters no better by their interference. This enjoyable one volume novel brief as a medium sized novella was published in 1800 but is set in the years from the middle of the 18th century to the establishment of the Irish constitution of 1782 It gives us a satirical view of four generations of the Rackrent family each an example of the irresponsible Irish gentry Parsimonious or profligate in his habits amiable or arrogant in his demeanor each Lord Rackrent impoverishes his peasants and abuses his wealth leading to the destruction of the Rackrent fortune and the mortaging and eventual loss of the Rackrent estates The tale is told in the voice of Thady uirk an old house servant who while loyally praising or excusing each former master observes so precisely and narrates so colorfully the history of the family that he makes each Lord of Rackrent look very bad indeedThis narrative arguably not only the first historical novel but also the first novel of any sort featuring an unreliable narrator taught Austen something about irony and gave Scott a great model for his lengthier ponderous books including revelatory monologues by comic servants in ethnic dialect and the use of an imposing apparatus of notes and appendices to explain the little known singularities of a minority culture Unlike many historically important works Castle Rackrent is entertaining well worth the short amount of time it will take you to read it This is a short novel but it seems long like a visit to the dentist might only last 15 minutes but subjectively it lasts for three days I read this so you don’t have to It’s a comic monologue by an ancient servant to the Irish Rackrent family He has tunnel vision all he is interested in is his master and his master’s money ie lack of it There is no plot it’s just this guy got drunk that guy got drunk and this guy got drunk Then this guy gambled all his money away Then that guy married a lady for her money but she didn’t have any Then they all got drunk Some things this longwinded bore says are uite funny in a uite funny kind of way The introduction says “Castle Rackrent may well be one of the most famous unread novels in English” I think you may have got the reason why by now This is a little novel that deserves to be well knownIt is the every day story of the decline and fall of a noble Irish house into poverty through drinking extravagant living and a wild passion for loosing cases at law as told from the point of view of a loyal old retainer A man so loyal that he interprets all that behaviour as demonstrating the admirable grandeur of the family none of that penny pinching miserliness of others noble extravagance whether they can afford it or not is the way to beBest of all view spoiler worst of all might also be an appropriate response hide spoiler Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth published in 1800Who is Maria Edgeworth you may ask well she was an EnglishIrish writer during late 18th century and early 19th century She was a contemporary of Jane Austen Ann Radcliffe and Sir Walter Scott among others I mention these three because they acknowledge being influenced by Edgeworth's writing She wrote several novels and many works that were politically and socially motivated by Irish politics and social class ineualityCastle Rackrent is a satire on Irish landlords the abuse of their tenants and the mismanagement of their estates It is the story of four generations of the Rackrent family as told by Old Thady a loyal male servant who witnessed the actions of all four Lords and eventually the downfall and loss of the estate Cited as an early satirical work and one of the first English historical novels Castle Rackrent is the story of the Rackrents formerly the O'Shaughlins a family of land holding Anglo Irish aristocrats who sink into dissolution and ruin over the course of four generations The narrator Old Thady or Honest Thady is the Rackrents' steward Offering occasionally obseuious occasionally wry commentary never directly insulting the family he's served for his entire life but making it pretty clear that some of them are wastes of space Thady is also supposedly an early example of an unreliable narratorAs a work of satire Castle Rackrent isn't that funny though the Rackrents are certainly comical figures Thady describes one Rackrent heir after the next the generous but spendthrift Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin the litigious Sir Murtagh Rackrent the cruel Sir Kit Rackrent who abuses his Jewish wife and locks her in her bedroom for seven years and the last of the Rackrents Sir Condy who ends up selling the estate to the narrator's son Jason It emerges as a single long stream of narration interspersed with Thady's highly vernacular commentary telling the history of Castle Rackrent until at last it falls into the hands of their long time Irish steward's sonPolitically this book was apparently something of a hot potato being published just prior to the 1800 Act of Union that supposedly united Ireland with Britain Edgeworth was ostensibly describing the Irish people for her English readers From the Author's PrefaceFor the information of the IGNORANT English reader a few notes have been subjoined by the editor and he had it once in contemplation to translate the language of Thady into plain English; but Thady's idiom is incapable of translation and besides the authenticity of his story would have been exposed to doubt if it were not told in his own characteristic manner Several years ago he related to the editor the history of the Rackrent family and it was with some difficulty that he was persuaded to have it committed to writing; however his feelings for 'THE HONOUR OF THE FAMILY' as he expressed himself prevailed over his habitual laziness and he at length completed the narrative which is now laid before the public As she puts it the Irish were alien to the English than the people of continental Europe Her description of the Irish is sympathetic yet slightly condescending; betwixt the lines one sees the sharp criticism of English overlordship and how mismanagement by profligate and irresponsible mostly absentee landlords has driven the Irish to poverty and pathosThat said it's a very early work The novel form was still being refined Edgeworth writes with a certain amount of humor and depth but I saw little of the wit or understanding of story found in Jane Austen's much better novels which came a few years later This would be of interest to people with a historical interest in Anglo Irish relations and Edgeworth casts neither the English nor the Irish as heroes or villains; they're just two groups of people thrown together into a historical stew; the bloody outcome persisting for generations was probably not foreseeable by the author even if she shows an awareness of what sort of calamity is already being perpetrated 2 stars for entertainment value 3 stars for its historical value and place in literary history Edgeworth’s satire inspired the oeuvre of Walter Scott—this unappealing fact aside it is an excellent lampoon in the Swiftian tradition and something of a progenitor to the popular techniue of frametales found books ‘edited’ by the authors and unreliable narrators The rambling narrator Thady uirk tells of the Rackrent clan and their various adventures in the age of Irish revolt over landlordism More impressively this book boasts three levels of foot and endnotes making the book read like a historical or legal document which adds to the fun of the book in a way only Foster Wallace or Flann achieve with their tangents For students of the Irish novel and the history of satire in fiction Published in 1800 at a time when a novel’s characters and places were given names which whilst being silly were memorable and a helpful prompt to dozing readers like me You know exactly who and what they are about Thus Rackrent Stopgap Skinflint MoneygawlHere Maria Edgeworth portrays the Irish Protestant Ascendancy of which she herself was a part I read that she wrote as itstheir Apologist Really To read this is to become further aware of the inevitability of the “Irish Troubles”Loyal Catholic subservience to these awful creatures human in their failings like all of us could only last so long Some of this reads like very early Tom Sharpe The Emerald Isle surely deserved better I now need a blast of Stiff Little Fingers starting with “Alternative Ulster” I think An unexpectedly delightful book one of the first I've read that really captures what I've come to think of as uintessentially British humor the sort later typified by Wilde and Wodehouse The pointlessly loyal teller of this tale is one of the best examples of the 'Unreliable Narrator' that I've seen in fiction and seems to be a prototype for a similarly humorous servant in Collins' 'The Moonstone' Add in the political and social satire concerning Anglo Irish relations and you've got uite the solid little novella In my uest for first time novels by certain authors Maria Edgeworth was on my list especially after enjoying Belinda I had no idea what to expect but I found a truly interesting portrayal of Irish gentry and it reminded me in a sense of Anthony Trollope's Macdermots of Ballycloran in the sad state of these gentlemen and their positions Having Irish ancestry I found this very interesting in culture and custom Edgeworth had great copy from her father's friends and neighbors This story is based on a neighbouring estate and Sir Kit's treatment of his wife a almost parallel but also Thomas Day's Sabrina project is mentioned which was copy for Belinda I did not read this edition but a collection of her works from Delphi For additional information on this I copy and pasted with my notes Thady uirk tells the story of all the masters of Rackrent that come and go where he stays the same Not exactly a page turner but I understand why this made it onto THE LISTSo to sum up the novel’s story there’s this working class servant type guy in Ireland named Thady uirk; he’s about eighty years old and is telling the history of the owners of the Rackrent property The first third or so of the novel is a uick breezing through the stories of three owners but then what seems to be the ‘good part’ of the story is in the last two thirds with the story of Sir Condy Rackrent Each of these four owners so completely mismanages their estate that everything ends up being owned by view spoilerWell it’s someone outside of the family but I don’t want to completely give that away in case you reader of this review want to be surprised hide spoiler

Paperback  Ù Castle Rackrent PDF ¼
  • Paperback
  • 142 pages
  • Castle Rackrent
  • Maria Edgeworth
  • German
  • 16 May 2015
  • 9783423122757