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An Essay on Irish Bulls

Maria Edgeworth (author)
Jane Desmarais (author)
Marilyn Butler (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
6th December 2006

Author Biography

Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) was born in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, and became well known as a novelist in her lifetime. Jane Desmarais lectures in English and Art History at Goldsmiths College, University of London Marilyn Butler is rector of Exeter College, Oxford


First published in 1802, "An Essay on Irish Bulls" was intended to show the English public the talent and wit of the Irish lower classes. Originally devised by Maria's father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Irish Bulls is an informal philosophic dialogue on the nature of Bulls (logical absurdities) and jokes and jests in general. Published at the time of the Union, the overarching theme is the confusions of identity and the relationship of Irish people to the English. This highly entertaining work has not been published as a single book since the nineteenth century. The editorial material and text for this edition are reproduced from the "Pickering & Chatto Novels" and "Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth", vol. 1. New introduction for this edition is by Jane Desmarais.