Posts Tagged ‘Eighteenth Century’

R.B. Sheridan’s The Rivals at the Abbey

18 August 2009

Contributed By Christina Morin

the rivals at the abbeyWhen I was a student in Dublin, one of my favourite evening outings was to the Abbey, especially when the Access All Abbey pass made it possible to see pretty much everything for about a tenner. So impressed was I with the deal, that when my family visited from the States I proudly trotted them in for a new reworking of Synge’s Playboy of the Western World by Roddy Doyle and Bisi Adigun. Then a seasoned veteran of Dublin humour myself, I never thought how incomprehensible this might be for American natives on one of their first visits to Ireland, and my hurriedly whispered explanations only seemed to confuse rather than enlighten. Nevertheless, I like to think they enjoyed the experience, despite the evident disadvantage of losing much of the subtler points of comedy ‘in translation’, as it were.

This episode came to mind last Tuesday evening, when I found myself back at the Abbey to attend a welcome revival of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s fantastic 1775 play, The Rivals. Like the recent performance of Playboy, this production of The Rivals has involved some updating, and an evident concern for cast and crew alike has been how to ‘translate’ Sheridan’s rollicking eighteenth-century comedy for a twenty-first century audience seemingly far removed from the interests, concerns, and intrigues of Sheridan’s society misses and misfits. Read more

A couple more favourites…

12 August 2009

Contributed by Christina Morin.

Eighteenth-century novel

Last month Christina Morin gave us her recommendations for the eighteenth-century novel. Here are a few additions to her favourite novels from history:

A couple more suggestions for these long (rainy!) summer days:  Regina Maria Roche, The Children of the Abbey (1796): Copies of Roche’s fantastically convoluted Gothic novel are few and far between, but if you have access to a good research library, you’re in luck. Otherwise, a quick trawl on the internet will turn up quite a few late-nineteenth century editions from America – a find in and of itself! Once you have the novel in your hands, I can guarantee that you won’t want to let go of it, as this ‘amazingly durable’ novel – as Ian Campbell Ross has called it – is a fascinating combination of the Gothic and the national/regional more commonly associated with Edgeworth, Sydney Owenson, and Charles Robert Maturin. Read More

Not quite Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

20 July 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

Gulliver's Travels promotional posterIf you have been reading this blog in any regular fashion you will have noticed that I tend to try and sell the eighteenth century. As a period I have studied for years I find it fascinating and one of the Irish figures that intrigues me most, like most people who study this period, is Jonathan Swift. I was pleasantly surprised to come across Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels (1939) on Sunday afternoon (thank you Film 4). I have never heard of this classic before and thoroughly enjoyed it. The film was released by Fleischer studios to compete with the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and was nominated for a an Academy Award. It bears all the traits of a late 1930′s cartoon and the influences of Snow White can are clear but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Considering how often Gulliver’s Travels gets adapted this is an enjoyable children’s version and a really good introduction to a classic. Ok- it’s not quite Swift’s version and it deals only with the Lilliputians but for most children the idea of Swift’s little people is the most enchanting part of his tale. The copy right on Gulliver’s Travels has lapsed, it is in the public domain and can be watched online.

A Few of my Favourites…

3 July 2009

Contributed by Christina Morin: 

the eighteenth-century family- hogarthI am beginning to discover that the great thing about being part of a blog is that you can throw a question out and get a response almost immediately. In reply to Monday’s post on the eighteenth-century novel Christina Morin, whose research interests centre on late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Irish fiction, romantic literature, and the gothic novel, offered to share her knowledge of the genre with us and give us her top three recommendations.

Here are three of my favourites for budding eighteenth-century fiction fans: Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote (1752): An entertaining novel seriously engaged with the contemporary debate over how to define the developing novel, The Female Quixote focuses on the adventures and misadventures of its young and beautiful heroine, Arabella. As you might expect from Lennox’s title, Arabella is modelled after Cervantes’ Don Quixote and is, accordingly, immersed in a kind of fantasy world produced by her misguided reading of badly translated seventeenth-century French Romances. Believing her Romances to be realistic representations of the society in which she lives, Arabella is fundamentally unable to distinguish between fact and fiction. As a result, she dramatically misinterprets the people she encounters as well as her own experiences. The ensuing contrast between Arabella’s imaginary world and the real world provides a great deal of humour in the novel, as when, for instance, believing herself pursued by a man intent on raping her, Arabella calmly jumps into the Thames, much to the astonishment and consternation of friends and family. Such incidents are frequent in the novel and will definitely have you laughing out loud, even as the text enacts a very serious defence of the developing novel and issues a warning about the dangers of ‘useless’ reading (i.e. the Romance). Read more

Tackling the eighteenth-century novel

29 June 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

hogg canongateLast July when I finaly submitted my PhD I found myself with a long list of ‘to do’s. Things that I had put off over the previous four years with the iron clad excuse ‘I’d really like to but I’m writing a PhD- I will do it when I finish’ now piled up in front of my eyes. Last summer while attending the annual Eighteenth-Century Ireland Conference I was inspiried by some of the papers given by scholars of English to become more familiar with the cannon of eighteenth-century novels and added this to my ‘to do’ list. I will have to admit that when I started this I was a bit unsure of how far I would get but I knew that I was certain to progress further on this then my ‘start jogging’. I decided to try moving alphabetically through and I have reached ‘h’. Ok- I haven’t quite completed the task at hand while writing this, and I have to admit my head has been turned by other books, I am currently reading Joe Queenan’s Closing Time, but half way through my task one book in particularly, James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, I was prompted to write this post. Read More

The Dublin by-election of 1782

9 June 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

fishamble finalDue to the size of the Dublin city electorate in the eighteenth century, 3,000 freemen could vote, elections in the capital were hotly contested. Elections in the city were fought between the two city factions- the alderman, pro-castle (government) candidates and the anti-alderman, city radicals (patriots). The 1782 by-election occasioned by the death of Dr. William Clement was fought between the Presbyterian merchant and city radical Travers Hartley and the alderman and pro-castle brewer, Nathaniel Warren. The election was bitterly fought with the Castle newspaper The Freeman’s Journal backing Warren and slandering Hartley and was hotly contested when the Alderman failed to win his seat. 

The election was marred by a city incident in February 1782. A debate was arranged by the printers guild of St Anne at their house beside the music hall in Fishamble Street and was attended by a large number of potential voters. ‘The floor gave way and they all went through except a few who were in the windows. A great number of people had their legs and arms broke and several received great contusions by the fall which was not less than 14 feet.’ While no one died, Saunder’s Newsletter reported 7 February 1782 that many suffered severe injuries and The Freeman’s Journal reported five days later that over fifty people had received fractures. The two candidates escaped with minor bruising.

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