Castle rackrent 2
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Castle Rackrent 2. Outline. ME’s satire on ‘the Manners of the Irish squires’: narrative voice CR as a ‘dialogic’ novel Theory of the novel as dialogic The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR The dialogism of CR ’s relation to JA’s MP. Narrative voice.

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Castle Rackrent 2

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Castle rackrent 2

Castle Rackrent 2


Outline

Outline

  • ME’s satire on ‘the Manners of the Irish squires’: narrative voice

  • CR as a ‘dialogic’ novel

  • Theory of the novel as dialogic

  • The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • The dialogism of CR’s relation to JA’s MP


Narrative voice

Narrative voice

  • The technical sophistication of ME’s develop-ment of narrative voice . . .

  • The more honest ‘honest’ Thady’s narrative is the more dangerous is its politics – a ‘Quirky’ tale (of how Jason Quirk manages to take advantage of the quirks of the law)

  • Thady’s memoirs of the Rackrent family turns into a form of Thady’s own autobiography – the rise of the Quirks and the fall of the Rackrents


Narrative voice1

Narrative voice

  • ME shows herself progressive as a Protestant writer, and simultaneously, as a woman writer, sympathetic to the plight of dispossessed Irish Catholics

  • The novel grows out of ME’s ability to imitate the voice of the family steward, John Langan

  • CR becomes a vehicle by which Irish Catholics can speak in their ‘own’ voice during the turbu-lent times of the 1790s – Thady at last tells his own story on ‘Monday morning’


Narrative voice2

Narrative voice

  • ME (in conjunction with RLE) tempers the dangerousness of the novel’s politics through the addition to the narrative proper of a Preface, footnotes, a postscript, and, in particular, a Glossary

  • On ME’s relations with RLE, see Barbara Kowaleski-Wallace, Their Fathers’ Daughters (1991) – ME as a ‘daddy’s girl’

  • A competing narrative voice – the anonymous Editor


Cr as a dialogic novel

CR as a ‘dialogic’ novel

  • Narrative voices: JL, TQ, ME vs E, ME, RLE

  • Kathryn Kirkpatrick: ‘CR is, then, a dialogic novel.... with the multiple narrative voices of CR Edgeworth presents Irish identity as dialogue…. And dialogue is central be-cause Irish identity is actively negotiated and constructed, not borne along in the blood’ (Introd., 1995 ed., pp. xxiv-xxxvi)


Katie trumpener bardic nationalism 1997 p 60

Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism (1997), p. 60

  • [ME’s Irish novels] demonstrate the power of immaterial as well as material forces: class and ethnic relations in Ireland not only have economic determinants but are structured at the deepest levels of lang-uage, thought patterns, and cognition by the long-standing coexistence between two very different cultural traditions


Cr as a dialogic novel1

CR as a ‘dialogic’ novel

  • A dialogic novel proves amenable to ME as a means by which to write about the contradictions of the Irish colonial situation – class alliance and gender inequality


Theory of the novel as dialogic

Theory of the novel as dialogic

  • Mikhail Bakhtin, ‘Discourse in the Novel’ (1934-35): ‘The dialogic orientation of a word among other words … creates new and significant artistic potential in dis-course, creates the potential for a dis-tinctive art of prose, which has found its fullest and deepest expression in the novel’ (The Dialogic Imagination (1981), p. 275)


Bakhtin ibid pp 293 94

Bakhtin, ibid., pp. 293-94

  • The word in language is half someone else’s…. it is from there that one must take the word and make it one’s own…. Lang-uage is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker’s intentions; it is populated – overpopulated – with the intentions of others.


Theory of the novel as dialogic1

Theory of the novel as dialogic

  • The novel the most dialogic of literary forms

  • It dramatizes a struggle between language users to make words signify in particular ways

  • CR a notably dialogic novel in that it shows ME striving to make her words signify all at once progressive Protestant-ism and Catholic nationalism


The dialogism of whiskey in cr

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • CR: ‘the new man did not take at all after the old gentleman – The cellars were never filled after his death – and no open house, or anything as it used to be – the tenants even were sent away without their whiskey – I was ashamed myself, and knew not what to say for the honour of the family’ (p. 12)


The dialogism of whiskey in cr1

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • It is usual with some landlords to give their inferior tenants a glass of whiskey when they pay their rents. Thady calls it their whiskey; not that the whiskey is actually the property of the tenants, but that it becomes their right, after it has been often given to them. In this general mode of reasoning respecting rights, the lower Irish are not singular, but they are peculiarly quick and tenacious in claiming these rights (p. 103)


The dialogism of whiskey in cr2

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • The struggle around ‘wake’ (in which whiskey is implicated): ‘At night the dead body is waked…. Pipes and tobacco are first distributed, and then according to the ability of the deceased, cakes and ale, and sometimes whiskey, are dealt to the company…. The young lads and lasses romp with one another…. It is said that more matches are made at wakes than at weddings’ (pp. 113-14)


The dialogism of whiskey in cr3

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • ‘Whiskey’ a word in language that is ‘half someone else’s’

  • To the Anglo-Irish landlords it signifies a gift, to their tenants it signifies a right

  • A threat to property (whiskey claimed as a right) is both contained and crystallized

  • ME plays on whiskey as a potent symbol of Irish national identity – it brings out the Irishness in the nationalists


The dialogism of whiskey in cr4

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • The more ‘Irish’ the Catholic nationalists be-come, then the less they are under the control of the Protestant squires

  • The word ‘whiskey’ conveys the idea that if the Rackrent tenants can make the word their own – as in ‘their whiskey’ – they may be able to re-claim all their property more generally

  • ‘Whiskey’ condenses the dangerousness of the whole political situation


The dialogism of whiskey in cr5

The dialogism of ‘whiskey’ in CR

  • CR is a novel that intensifies its progressivism paradoxically through the strategies it employs to moderate its ‘dangerous’ politics

  • The Editor’s interventions usually prove counter-productive as strategies of containment (cf. the Irish joke about ‘Monday morning’ backfiring on the squirearchy)

  • Kirkpatrick: ‘Edgeworth presents Irish identity as dialogue, sometimes fractious, but always dy-namic’ (ibid., p. xxxvi)


Dialogism of cr with mp

Dialogism of CR with MP

  • CR the first country house novel – other such novels follow produced by other novelists, in-cluding, in 1814, MansfieldPark by Jane Austen

  • JA enters into dialogue with ME about the sym-bolic meaning of ‘the country house’

  • MP as a novel not dissimilarly concerned with the representation of relations between land-lords and tenants and, indeed, with the whole idea of national identity-as-dialogue


Dialogism of cr with mp1

Dialogism of CR with MP

  • In sum, JA may be said to borrow from ME – primarily, the country-house symbol – at the same time as she attempts to go be-yond her in her development of the novel form’s technical sophistication (improved characterization, etc.)

  • But . . . what happens to the political pro-gressivism of CR when JA produces a country-house novel of her own?


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