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Castle Rackrent

Critique • Quotes • Text

Castle Rackrent, 1895 edition1895 edition
Maria Edgeworth
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication

Literature form

Literary, historical fiction

Writing language

Author's country

approx. 28,000 words, approx. 34,500 words including glossary

Notable lines

The story of the Edgeworth Family, if it were properly told, should be as long as the ARABIAN NIGHTS themselves; the thousand and one cheerful intelligent members of the circle, the amusing friends and relations, the charming surroundings, the cheerful hospitable home, all go to make up an almost unique history of a county family of great parts and no little character.

— First lines, "Introduction"

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. My real name is Thady Quirk, though in the family I have always been known by no other than "honest Thady", afterward, in the time of Sir Murtagh, deceased, I remember to hear them calling me "old Thady," and now I've come to "poor Thady"; for I wear a long greatcoat winter and summer, which is very handy, as I never put my arms into the sleeves; they are as good as new, though come Holantide next I've had it these seven years: it holds on by a single button round my neck, cloak fashion.

— First lines, "Monday Morning"

Nations, as well as individuals, gradually lose attachment to their identity, and the present generation is amused, rather than offended, by the ridicule that is thrown upon its ancestors.
Probably we shall soon have it in our power, in a hundred instances, to verify the truth of these observations.
When Ireland loses her identity by an union with Great Britain, she will look back, with a smile of good-humoured complacency, on the Sir Kits and Sir Condys of her former existence.

— "Author's Preface"

...all the young ladies, who used to be in her room dressing of her, said in Mrs. Jane's hearing that my lady was the happiest bride ever they had seen, and that to be sure a love-match was the only thing for happiness, where the parties could any way afford it.


'To be sure,' says he, still cutting his joke, 'when a man's over head and shoulders in debt, he may live the faster for it, and the better if he goes the right way about it; or else how is it so many live on so well, as we see every day, after they are ruined?'
'How is it,' says I, being a little merry at the time—'how is it but just as you see the ducks in the chicken-yard, just after their heads are cut off by the cook, running round and round faster than when alive?'


Did the Warwickshire militia, who were chiefly artisans, teach the Irish to drink beer? or did they learn from the Irish to drink whisky?

— Last lines


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