The following pages consider Edgeworth's civic nationalism, tracing the progression of her thought from the Essay on Irish Bulls (1802), which she co-authored with her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth, to her two subsequent (independently authored) novels, Ennui (1809) and The Absentee (1812).
In the Essay on Irish Bulls Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth consider two questions: What makes a bull--defined in the introduction as "a laughable confusion of ideas"--specifically Irish?
In arguing against the specificity of Irish bulls the Edgeworths might be taken to project an assimilationist or universalist stance, suggesting that there's nothing that sets the Irish apart from, say, the English.
However, at the same time that the Edgeworths argue against the specificity of Irish bulls, they also indicate that contingent communities-and not universals--assign meaning to utterances and value to speakers.
Unlike Arnold's theory of the Celtic/Teutonic partnership that makes the English so powerful as a "race," MacDiarmid's antisyzygies are not stable admixtures, they do not form powerful new organic unities; rather they remain fundamentally destabilizing practices that, like the Irish bulls
in Moore's verse, are both "antagonistic and diaiogical.
It's this why-can't-we-all-just-getalong attitude that informs the Edgeworths' Irish Bulls.
If for no other reason, this kind of preservation of dialect and idioms makes Irish Bulls worthy of study for scholars of nineteenth-century literature and culture.
This edition of Irish Bulls, part of the Classics of Irish' History division of University College Dublin Press and Dufour Editions, is greatly enhanced by the introduction and notes by editor Jane Desmarais.
Bothar even hands out hives of bees, rabbits and thousands of special artificial insemination "straws" from Irish bulls
for breeding programme.
It also plans to buy native cows inseminated by Irish bulls
Analysis of the representation of the two important novelists in this first volume, Maria Edgeworth and William Carleton, leads to broadly similar conclusions: the latter is cast as the writer of Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, though the Field Day Anthology, gives a fragment of his wonderful novel The Black Prophet, while Edgeworth, it appears, wrote Castle Rackrent, The Absentee and "An Essay On Irish Bulls
," though the present anthology has also an extract from her memoir of her father concerning the 1798 rising, to complement the passage from Mary Leadbeater's Annals of Ballitore also included.
Largely written out of post-independent Irish literary history due to her Anglo-Irish status and unionist affiliations, her works were also widely ignored by feminist critics possibly because of the degree of influence until recently believed to have been exerted on them by her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, co-author of Essay on Irish Bulls
(1802) and Practical Education (1798).