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The Absentee

Maria Edgeworth

Book Overview: 

We meet Lord and Lady Clonbrony. Lord Clonbrony struggles with debt, while Lady Clonbrony tries to shed her Irish connections and earn status in London’s high society (known as “the ton.”) Meanwhile, their son, Lord Colambre, is wary of the entanglements of that society and escapes to the family estate in Ireland, where he discovers the abuses that have arisen in the family’s absence.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .dices, as to be incapable of discerning the plain thing that was before her eyes; VIDELICET, that Lord Colambre preferred Grace Nugent. Lord Colambre made no proposal before the end of the week, but this Mrs. Broadhurst attributed to an unexpected occurrence, which prevented things from going on in the train in which they had been proceeding so smoothly. Sir John Berryl, Mr. Berryl's father, was suddenly seized with a dangerous illness. The news was brought to Mr. Berryl one evening whilst he was at Lady Clonbrony's. The circumstances of domestic distress, which afterwards occurred in the family of his friend, entirely occupied Lord Colambre's time and attention. All thoughts of love were suspended, and his whole mind was given up to the active services of friendship. The sudden illness of Sir John Berryl spread an alarm among his creditors which brought to light at once the disorder of his affairs, of which his son had no knowledge or suspicion. Lady Berryl had been a ve. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I enjoyed this very much. The main story is simple enough. Heir on the verge of inheritance travels to his native Ireland incognito and witnesses the abuse of his tenants at the hands of the steward. Since the steward is also duping his father out of funds and lands, the young man must rush home to

You have to love Maria Edgeworth! Ok, you don't have to, but I do. She's definitely leading the running for Most Middle-Class Novelist Ever, but in a good way. It's amazing how reassuring it is to know that, in addition to true love conquering all, the lovers are going to turn out to be rational bei

Here's a great little volume written by one of Jane Austen's contemporaries, a prolific author for whom Austen herself had much admiration. If the novel's subject matter - the social impact of absentee landlords on rural Ireland - gives you pause, then fret not. I too worried that I would not be abl

The Absentee is a novel by Maria Edgeworth, published in 1812 in Tales of Fashionable Life. From what I've read of the author Maria Edgeworth, she was a prolific writer of both adults' and children's literature. She held advanced views, for a woman of her time, on estate management, (which is what t

This was the additional story in my physical book, of which I had zero expectations. The earlier "Castle Rackrent" hadn't impressed me in its demonstration of the Irish regional idiom, so why should I continue?

On the face of it, it only shares 2 common areas with the aforementioned. It's set in Irel

Edgeworth was known as 'The Voice of Ireland' and this book was an attempt to bring the plight of ordinary Irish people to a wider audience. The title refers to the role played by largely English landowners in Ireland who were ready to take their income from their privileged position and leave the r

I read The Absentee as research so I'm not really in a position to comment on how the book ranks as entertainment. That said, I enjoyed this tale of absentee landlords, unscrupulous agents, scurrilous businessmen, stained reputations and rather improbable coincidences. This is an honestly political

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