Castle Rackrent, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


During the 1790s, with Ireland in political crisis, Maria Edgeworth made a surprisingly rebellious choice: in Castle Rackrent, her first novel, she adopted an Irish Catholic voice to narrate the decline of a family from her own Anglo-Irish class. Castle Rackrent's narrator, Thady Quirk, gives us four generations of Rackrent heirs - Sir Patrick, the dissipated spendthrift; Sir Murtagh, the litigating fiend; Sir Kit, the brutal husband and gambling absentee; and Sir Condy, the lovable and improvident dupe of Thady's own son, Jason.

With this satire on Anglo-Irish landlords Edgeworth pioneered the regional novel and inspired Sir Walter Scott's Waverly (1814).

She also changed the focus of conflict in Ireland from religion to class and boldly predicted the rise of the Irish Catholic Bourgeoisie.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780199537556

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Good book, if you want an introduction to Irish Studies and literature. However, I got bored with stereotypical 2-dimensional characters and social classes - the rich are too pompous, the poors too servile and silly - there are so many 'Your Honour's honour' (feel free to count them), that the whole thing becomes comical to the extreme. Truly, the loss of Irish catholic landowners is no laughing matter, and wasn't then either, but Edgeworth's book did not serve the cause. Instead, I think it contributed to a certain point of view of the Irish as poor, lowly beggars or thieves, well into the nineteenth or twentieth century. To be read, surel, but with a bit of distance and a big pinch of salt as to the narrative and authorial intention.

Review by

Good book for identifying what the Big House lifestyle was like in Ireland around the end of the 19th century. The possibility for Honest Thady to be telling a slave narrative is very appealing although there are clear differences in some of the claims that it fits neatly in this category. Recommended read for anyone curious about Irish history.

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