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Irish Novelists and the Victorian Age$
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James H. Murphy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596997.001.0001

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Ruin through Rollicking: Poor Charles Lever

Ruin through Rollicking: Poor Charles Lever

(p.71) 4 Ruin through Rollicking: Poor Charles Lever
Irish Novelists and the Victorian Age

James H. Murphy

Oxford University Press

The crime, from which Lever's supporters seek to redeem him, is the promotion of ‘rollicking’ in his first four novels. Only in Charles O'Malley is a feckless rollicking really indulged in and in the final two novels of the quartet Lever tries to correct the damage perceived to have been done by his supposed indulgence in Irish stereotypes. Lever then dropped rollicking and changed direction in his career in part because of the attacks on him from Carleton and Thackeray. In Barry Lyndon Thackeray was to satirize the Leveresque military novel. In Vanity Fair he was apparently to emulate and, in the view of most, to exceed it. Lever himself turned to a conservative historical analysis of Ireland's present predicament, in a trilogy of novels the mid- and late 1840s. At several points in his later career he returned to the issue, mostly notable in his two most important later novels, The Martins of Cro' Martin and Lord Kilgobbin.

Keywords:   Lever, rollicking, Thackeray, conservative, exile

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