Stylish, sceptical, cosmopolitan, heir to Swift's fantasy and wit, Maria Edgeworth's fiction explores the relations of England and Ireland at a time of historical crisis. Castle Rackrent is Irish family history vividly and unreliably narrated by the loyal servant Thady, steward on the decaying Rackrent estates. In this comic tour-de-force Maria Edgeworth anticipates great themes of the European novel - colonialism, class, master-servant relationships, money, power and sexual inequality - but Castle Rackrent's true sequel is Ennui (1809). Beginning as the 'confessions' of an old-regime aristocrat, Lord Glenthorn's story takes him to Ireland, and impels him in a fable of bizarre transformations to play a reluctant part in Ireland's year of Revolution, 1798.
"I could not but admire my lady's spirit, and was proud to see Castle Rackrent again in all its glory"
Thady Quirk is the ever-present steward to four generations of a dying dynasty in Castle Racrent, hilariously flattering and encouraging his hapless masters on their road to ruin. Ingeniously drawing on an actual chronicle of Maria Edgeworth's family experiences, the narrative subtly emerges as a devastating commentary on the Anglo Irish occupation of rural Ireland. This volume also includes Ennui, a natural sequel to Castle Rackrent with its family nurse of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the lazy and gullible English earl, Lord Glenthorn, learns a shocking secret that will drive him and his nurse apart
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