Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Morin, Christina
Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society 2018 Annual Conference
'Rethinking the Narrative of Imitation: Regina Maria Roche and Maria Edgeworth'
City Hall and Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Conventional scholarly assessments of the works of Waterford-born author Regina Maria Roche (1764-145) frame her art as one of imitation. ‘Throughout her long writing career’, Natalie Schroeder writes, ‘Mrs. Roche remained a follower rather than a leader of what was “fashionable” in fiction. After Ann Radcliffe, Mrs. Roche looked to Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott, Lady Morgan, and a series of other popular novelists as her models’. This paper considers in particular the lines of connection between Roche and Edgeworth, whose Irish fictions are understood to exert a particular influence on Roche, encouraging her to reject the gothic literary mode of early novels such as The Children of the Abbey (1796) and Clermont (1798) in favour of a regional/national one in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Against such readings of Roche’s writing as derivative, this paper posits a potential reciprocity, asking if Edgeworth may have imbibed more from Roche’s works than is generally allowed. More specifically, it explores the possibility that Edgeworth read and was influenced by The Children of the Abbey and Clermont in writing in her Irish novels, including Castle Rackrent (1800), Ennui (1809), and The Absentee (1812).