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 lady, a member of the landholding elite, an educator, and a daughter who lived lower than the historic shadow of her father, Edgeworth's lifestyles is tough to categorize. mockingly, the very facets of Edgeworth's identification that when excluded her from literary and historic discussions now shape the root 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 historical past, 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 and 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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Maria Edgeworth’s register was hardly aristocratic; her distinctive feature was her detailed, focused attention to the language, manners, and daily lives of the Irish masses. As a national novelist, Edgeworth’s contribution is to recover, by allusion and citation, an impression of the Irish both in present and past time, together with the European and British early modern historical context: the world of Europe’s old re´ gimes, e´ litist nation states ruled on monarchical and aristocratic principles, hierarchical, and religiously intolerant.

In the mid-1770s the most radical members of the Lunar group, who certainly included R. L. 7 But although he dismisses in- 36 AN UNCOMFORTABLE AUTHORITY stitutional religion and priestly teaching, Rousseau’s vicar refers pupils to the simple faith observable in rural communities, and also, importantly, to the similarity between the central tenets of the world’s great religions. He boldly speaks of ‘‘the clear and universal agreement of all peoples [in favor of religious belief] . . ’’8 This is wording that echoes, perhaps accidentally, the proposition of the English diplomat and philosopher Edward Herbert, Lord Cherbury (1583–1648), who implicitly advocated universal toleration in his Latin treatise, De Veritate (1624), and in subsequent religious works, several of which were picked up and developed by the controversial Irish radical and deist John Toland (1670–1722).

Both the Jacobitism and the tunes were shared with Ireland and gave Burns an ongoing significance there as Britain’s leading cultural nationalist of the day. Though the Falstaffian Grose was in Scotland to complete an expensive two-volume work on the Antiquities of Scotland, his general reputation was, and is, as a pathbreaking collector and commentator on vernacular English. His longest-lasting work, in print through the nineteenth century and still a resource for Eric Partridge in the twentieth century, was A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785), a three-thousand-word compilation of contemporary slang and obscene or otherwise offensive euphemism.

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