By Brian Hollingworth;Hollingwoth
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Extra info for Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Writing: Language, History, Politics
Edgeworth is concerned, therefore, to provide accurate and relatively detailed information about language use in the Cornish industrial community. Her interest here is objective and scientific. It is consonant with the moral insistence on utility and benevolence which marks this and all the Popular Tales. She intends to inform and educate the reader, to provide useful knowledge about language, even as she provides useful knowledge about the mining industry and about self improvement. For instance, one noteworthy feature of Edgeworth's writing in this passage, and in all her work, as we shall see, is her frequent use of italics particularly in setting out the speaking voice.
No man,' replied Gray, 'deserves to be called poor, that has his health and the use of his limbs. ' 'Ay, to be sure: that's the only way to get through the world,' said Simon; 'whatever comes, just to take it easy, and be content. ' 'Yes, Simon,' said Gray, laughing; 'but your kind of content would never do for me. ' (ibid. 2, pp. 85-86) In such exchanges, the medium of language is clearly employed to support the moral message of the tale. O'Dougherty's use of the regional vernacular in idiom and proverbial expression is set against Gray's standard usage, and proves yet another instance of his moral inferiority.
We find similar sentiments frequently expressed in the writing of both Edgeworth and her father. After early experiences among the fashionable set in London whilst he was training as a lawyer, Richard Edgeworth was always sceptical of the values of London society. There is ample evidence that his daughter shared his views. On her visit to London in 1831, when her father had long been dead, and the metropolitan hostility to his over-exuberant behaviour was no longer evident, she still found London life unappealing, and spoke in tones reminiscent of Wedgwood.
Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Writing: Language, History, Politics by Brian Hollingworth;Hollingwoth