Bull, cock, and colony in the Anglo-Irish novels of Maria Edgeworth and Laurence Sterne
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Anglo-Irish, Novels, Maria Edgeworth, Bull, Laurence Sterne
Literature in English, British Isles
This dissertation focuses on a critical verbal form known as the Irish bull in Maria Edgeworth's four Irish novels, Castle Rackrent, The Absentee, Ennui, and Ormond , and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy . Anything short of common sense within eighteenth-century colonial Ireland is a bull, especially an Irishman's blunder. As the antithesis of common logic, it signifies pejoratively as a quintessential Irish difference, and yet it can challenge the dominant rationality of the British empire. Bulls provide Edgeworth and Sterne an authority to speak of Ireland from the skeptical position of the Anglo-Irish colonial. Their literary projects ultimately come down to the issue of Anglo-Irish political legitimacy within the imperial project to control Irish land, people, resources, and historical representation.
This study establishes an Anglo-Irish context to these novels, details the bull's history as a colonial cultural form, and explains the political patterning of relations among the subjects of England and Ireland within Edgeworth's and Sterne's bulls.
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Norris, Elaine Alison, "Bull, cock, and colony in the Anglo-Irish novels of Maria Edgeworth and Laurence Sterne" (2002). English - Dissertations. Paper 15.