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).
A chapter on Irish bulls
shows entertainingly how the blunder, element (seen by the English as Irishisms) has been used for creative contradictions by writers both English and Irish.
Partly written as an apology for Castle Rackrent--which had been taken by some readers as a satire on Irish manners--, Irish Bulls
(1802) aimed to combat racism and to defend Irish idiosyncrasy by extolling the eloquence of the Irish (Manly 2006: 2).
Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith welcomed the opening up of China and claimed Irish bulls
were the best in the world.
In their Essay on Irish Bulls
(1802), the Edgeworths include an anecdote that further points to the wet-nurse's importance in constructing identity.
Gaelic does not erupt into her English sentences, nor does she comb the folk tradition for motifs and themes; rather, her Scots-Irish background (especially a tendency toward "clannishness") and her diasporic identity find expression in the intrusion of the language of others, in the skillful rendering of quotations (including Irish bulls