“It is impossible to draw Ireland as she now is in a book of fiction – realities are too strong, party passions too violent, to bear to see, or care to look at, their faces in a looking glass. The people would only break the glass and curse the fool who held the mirror up to nature” (Maria Edgeworth to Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, 19 February 1834). These words were written by Maria Edgeworth 13 years after publishing Castle Rackrent, referred to as (in turns) the first historical novel, the first regional novel in English, the first Anglo-Irish novel, the first Big House novel and the first saga novel (Kirkpatrick, 1995). Certainly, a book of fiction; definitely, a deep look into her contemporary Ireland’s social situation. Things had changed, over thirteen years. Things changed further in the next century, up the publication of Ulysses (1918-1922), where Irish art seems to have become “the cracked lookingglass of a servant” (p.16). In between stood Oscar Wilde, who also held a looking-glass to Art and Life (and Shakespeare), to show the English their own face, and definitely suffered the curse for it. Edgeworth was an Englishwoman who chose to live in Ireland, to take the Irish side; Wilde, an Irishman, emigrated to London to prove his genius was “more English than the English themselves”; Joyce was an Irishman too, and chose to leave Ireland to take her side, as if he was looking from inside the looking-glass to show his point. Mirror mirror…

Leproni, R. (2020). Mirror Mirror… Edgeworth, Wilde, and Joyce in the Face of a Looking-glass. JOYCE STUDIES IN ITALY, 22, 171-195.

Mirror Mirror… Edgeworth, Wilde, and Joyce in the Face of a Looking-glass

Leproni Raffaella
2020

Abstract

“It is impossible to draw Ireland as she now is in a book of fiction – realities are too strong, party passions too violent, to bear to see, or care to look at, their faces in a looking glass. The people would only break the glass and curse the fool who held the mirror up to nature” (Maria Edgeworth to Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, 19 February 1834). These words were written by Maria Edgeworth 13 years after publishing Castle Rackrent, referred to as (in turns) the first historical novel, the first regional novel in English, the first Anglo-Irish novel, the first Big House novel and the first saga novel (Kirkpatrick, 1995). Certainly, a book of fiction; definitely, a deep look into her contemporary Ireland’s social situation. Things had changed, over thirteen years. Things changed further in the next century, up the publication of Ulysses (1918-1922), where Irish art seems to have become “the cracked lookingglass of a servant” (p.16). In between stood Oscar Wilde, who also held a looking-glass to Art and Life (and Shakespeare), to show the English their own face, and definitely suffered the curse for it. Edgeworth was an Englishwoman who chose to live in Ireland, to take the Irish side; Wilde, an Irishman, emigrated to London to prove his genius was “more English than the English themselves”; Joyce was an Irishman too, and chose to leave Ireland to take her side, as if he was looking from inside the looking-glass to show his point. Mirror mirror…
Leproni, R. (2020). Mirror Mirror… Edgeworth, Wilde, and Joyce in the Face of a Looking-glass. JOYCE STUDIES IN ITALY, 22, 171-195.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/375689
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