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5 September 1985
Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 to 1939 
by W.J. McCormack.
Oxford, 423 pp., £27.50, June 1985, 0 19 812806 1
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Across a Roaring Hill 
edited by Gerald Dawe and Edna Longley.
Blackstaff, 258 pp., £10.95, July 1985, 0 85640 334 2
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Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 
by Seamus Deane.
Faber, 199 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13500 5
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Escape from the Anthill 
by Hubert Butler.
Lilliput, 342 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 946640 00 9
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... writings, and especially the Reflections, to the body of Anglo-Irish fiction which began with Maria Edgeworth. (In this essay, he sensibly remarks that, ‘though there are difficulties attaching to the term “Anglo-Irish literature”, it is too late to purge it from our critical vocabulary’ – an attitude one wishes he’d displayed more often ...


Gillian Darley: John Evelyn and his gardens

8 June 2006
... of 1703. But Evelyn’s ‘naked and ashamed’ estate grew back to enchant a Regency visitor like Maria Edgeworth (‘Woods worthy of Sylvia indeed!’ she trilled), helped along by commercial good sense. In the 1730s, the tree nursery established by Sir John Evelyn Bt (Jack, the diarist’s grandson) supplied trees for some of the most elegant ...


Pat Rogers

7 August 1986
Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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...  ...
17 February 1983
Sir William Rowan Hamilton 
by Thomas Hankins.
Johns Hopkins, 474 pp., £19.50, July 1981, 0 8018 2203 3
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Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
by Jack Morrell and Arnold Thackray.
Oxford, 592 pp., £30, August 1981, 0 19 858163 7
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The Parliament of Science: The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981 
edited by Roy MacLeod and Peter Collins.
Science Reviews, 308 pp., £12.25, September 1982, 0 905927 66 4
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... at 30. He had four adoring and talented sisters, and innumerable sympathetic friends, including Maria Edgeworth and William Wordsworth. His scientific star never publicly waned: just before his death, in 1865, he was being honoured as one of the world’s greatest scientists. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica he merits a longer column than either of ...


Christopher Ricks

19 November 1981
Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and its Background 1760-1830 
by Marilyn Butler.
Oxford, 213 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 19 219144 6
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... is not all. So there is a creak in a word such as ‘ensured’: ‘Her background ensured that Maria Edgeworth began her writing life in 1795 as an enlightened woman and a moderate feminist.’ Or there is the quiet obduracy as to what constitutes seriousness in a writer: ‘As far as the novel proper went, the loss of prestige that turns away serious ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather

9 January 1992
The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... Ni Chonaill and Mary Barber in the 18th century to Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Medbh McGuckian, with Maria Edgeworth, excellently introduced by W.J. MacCormack, the only woman to whom a whole section is devoted. This is by no means a lamentable showing, and the editors might argue that given the state of feminist history in Ireland in the late ...

Sublimely Bad

Terry Castle

23 February 1995
Secresy; or, The Ruin on the Rock 
by Eliza Fenwick, edited by Isobel Grundy.
Broadview, 359 pp., £9.99, May 1994, 1 55111 014 8
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... more jaded eyes we see most of the action, also seem like dissociated parts of one another. Like Marianne and Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (though with none of their charm) Sibella and Caroline suggest twinned, yet opposing styles of femininity – one spontaneous, sexual and full of ‘natural’ sensibility, the other reasonable, brittle and ...

Too Good and Too Silly

Frank Kermode: Could Darcy Swim?

30 April 2009
The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Vol. IX: Later Manuscripts 
edited by Janet Todd and Linda Bree.
Cambridge, 742 pp., £65, December 2008, 978 0 521 84348 5
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Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World 
by Claire Harman.
Canongate, 342 pp., £20, April 2009, 978 1 84767 294 0
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... law. The sums in question are progressively reduced towards zero, the very poverty of Elinor and Marianne is adduced as good reason for their getting nothing or even less than nothing of the promised gift. The little scene sounds like a parodic reminiscence of the scene in King Lear when Goneril and Regan reduce Lear’s retinue from 100 knights to none. The ...


John Barrell: Dr Beddoes

19 November 2009
The Atmosphere of Heaven: The Unnatural Experiments of Dr Beddoes and His Sons of Genius 
by Mike Jay.
Yale, 294 pp., £20, April 2009, 978 0 300 12439 2
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... ascendancy in France, he was widely known to be (in the words of his father-in-law, Richard Edgeworth) a ‘little fat democrat’, utterly hostile to the corrupt, repressive and belligerent government of Pitt, which enjoyed, however, huge support among those with the longest purses. And perhaps, for all his hyperbolic puffing of the therapeutic ...


Marilyn Butler: What Jane Austen Read

5 March 1998
Jane Austen: A Life 
by David Nokes.
Fourth Estate, 578 pp., £20, September 1997, 1 85702 419 2
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Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 341 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 670 86528 1
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... Here Tomalin makes some risky moves. Arbitrarily chosen characters from the novels – Lady Susan, Marianne Dashwood, Mary Crawford – speak for their author’s repressed desires. Unsupported guesses, strategically placed in the story, take the weight of the biographer’s argument. Of Austen’s first months in Bath, Tomalin remarks: ‘Jane was schooled to ...

Divided We Grow

John Barrell: When Pitt Panicked

5 June 2003
The London Corresponding Society 1792-99 
edited by Michael T. Davis.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, June 2002, 1 85196 734 6
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Romanticism, Publishing and Dissent: Joseph Johnson and the Cause of Liberty 
by Helen Braithwaite.
Palgrave, 243 pp., £45, December 2002, 0 333 98394 7
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... William Blake (as an illustrator), S.T. Coleridge, William Cowper, Erasmus Darwin, Humphry Davy, Maria Edgeworth, Olaudah Equiano, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Fuseli, William Godwin, Mary Hays, William Hazlitt, Thomas Malthus, Thomas Paine, Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charlotte Smith, John Horne Tooke, Sarah Trimmer, Mary Wollstonecraft and William ...

Ich dien

Michael Neill: Shakespeare and the Servants

22 October 2009
Shakespeare, Love and Service 
by David Schalkwyk.
Cambridge, 317 pp., £50, June 2008, 978 0 521 88639 0
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... Othello, in a beautifully nuanced impersonation of an old retainer’s fractured sensibility, Maria Edgeworth showed that a servant was always likely to be in two minds about his masters. In Castle Rackrent, Thady Quirk’s narrative is coloured by a tone of such genuine affection that it is difficult to dismiss his repeated protestations of love and ...

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