Regional novels of Maria Edgeworth and John Gait
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This thesis deals with the novels of Maria Edge worth set wholly or mainly in Ireland and with those of John Gait set wholly or mainly in Scotland. The first chapter provides the biographical data under three headings; this device has been adopted in order that the differences and similarities in the lives of the two writers might be clear from the beginning. The next two chapters deal with the political and social backgrounds of the Scotland and Ireland of the period. There follows a consideration of the authors' treatment of relationships between social groups in the respective countries and an attempt to evaluate the role of religion in the novels of Gait and Edgeworth, In the sixth chapter Castle Rackrent and The Provost are considered, Rackrent as the only novel by Miss Edgeworth which does not try to point some moral and The Provost as the story of an amoralist. From these we pass to a criticism of Ormond as a classic Bildungsroman and of Sir Andrew Wylie as an attempt in that genre. The last chapter tries to tackle the difficult task of defining the regional novel and of determining how far Gait's and Edgeworth's work corresponds to the criteria established.