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Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth

Castle Rackrent (1800)

by Maria Edgeworth

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6661821,487 (3.04)1 / 196



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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I was glad I read this because it has such a prominent place in literary history, but I did not find it as amusing as it is meant to be. ( )
  PatsyMurray | May 26, 2018 |
This was a novella of 89 pages about the Rackrents as told by Sir Condy's loyal servant, Thad or "Old Thady." This is hailed as the first British novel. I found the narrator to be unreliable and babbling. I found the the story boring and plotless. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jul 31, 2017 |
Published in 1800, Castle Rackrent is described in the introduction as one of the most famous unread novels in English.

Also from the introduction, 'combining the subtle wit of the French tale, the Gaelic cadences of Irish oral tradition, and Gothic intrigue over property and inheritance, Castle Rackrent has gathered a dazzling array of firsts - the first regional novel, the first socio-historical novel, the first Irish novel, the first Big House novel, the first saga novel.'

How all this could fit in 114 pages, which includes a preface and a glossary by the author, is pretty amazing. But on reflection I guess it does! I read this along with the glossary and explanatory notes - the glossary was so much more than a glossary, taking 3 pages to explain the Irish lamentation for the dead, a couple of pages on Fairy Mounts and explaining well and truly what a raking pot of tea is (raised eyebrows...). It's about four inhabitants of the Castle Rackrent, Sir Patrick, Sir Murtagh, Sir Kit and Sir Conolly and how the run their estate.

I picked this up ostensibly to fit in a short 1001 book that also met the March RandomCAT and I'm so glad I did! ( )
  LisaMorr | Mar 21, 2017 |
I skipped the lengthy introduction (~25% of this Kindle book!).

I wonder whether Susanna Clarke (author of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell") was a fan of this classic because Edgeworth's glossary and Clarke's footnotes were similar in style!

I found many of the anecdotes amusing but the final story about Sir Condy struck me as rather sad. ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 1, 2016 |
The characters in this novel failed to engage me despite it being a short story I found it boring.

For me the best parts were the Glossary which explained the background and the Irish view of things, there are some humourous parts and some parts that are trying to give a political message but for me it just didnt gel.

Maybe knowing more of the history of Ireland in the period it was written would have helped improve the reading experience but sadly it didn't inspire me to research the period in question. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Having, out of friendship for the family, upon whose estate, praised be Heaven! I and mine have lived rent-free time out of mind, voluntarily undertaken to publish the MEMOIRS OF THE RACKRENT FAMILY, I think it my duty to say a few words, in the first place, concerning myself.
The prevailing taste of the public for anecdote has been censured and ridiculed by critics, who aspire to the character of superior wisdom. (Preface)
Castle Rackrent (1800) may well be one of the most famous unread novels in English. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192835637, Paperback)

With her satire on Anglo-Irish landlords in Castle Rackrent (1800), Maria Edgeworth pioneered the regional novel and inspired Sir Walter Scott's Waverley (1814). Politically risky, stylistically innovative, and wonderfully entertaining, the novel changes the focus of conflict in Ireland from religion to class, and boldly predicts the rise of the Irish Catholic bourgeoisie. The second edition now includes new notes informed by the latest scholarship.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When a long-time servant of the Rackrent family decides to write about family members whom he has served, the result is a stylishly entertaining exploration of master/servant relationships. Edgeworth's brilliant satire of early-19th-century Anglo-Irish landlords pioneered the regional novel and changed the focus of conflict in Ireland from religion to class.… (more)

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Average: (3.04)
1 9
1.5 1
2 14
2.5 6
3 50
3.5 10
4 24
5 6

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