British Fiction, 18001829

CRUMPE, Miss M. G. T. Geraldine of Desmond (1829)

Contemporary Reviews

La Belle Assemblée, 3rd ser. 10 (July 1829): 31.

Geraldine of Desmond, or Ireland in the Reign of Elizabeth, an Historical Romance,’ presents a vivid picture of the moral and political state of that unfortunate country during the distracted period of the sixteenth century, when the family feuds and quarrels of rival chiefs, combined with the national hatred and impatience of the English yoke, produced deeds of violence, bloodshed, and treachery, on the one hand, and of heroism and magnanimity on the other, to which modern and civilized society affords no parallel. Happy in her choice of time, our author has been no less so in her selection from the mass of material which that time offers; the history of the Earl of Desmond, who has been variously represented as ‘an unprincipled traitor to his sovereign,’ and as a hero, the champion of his country’s freedom, presenting a series of romantic incidents which the pen of fiction, unaided by truth, would fail in supplying. Preserving the distinction between a novel and a romance, and conforming, as far as practicable, with the rules for the construction of an epic, the writer has, though guided by history in her record of facts, elevated her principal characters above the grade of common humanity; and, with this elevation, the poetical colouring diffused over the language and dialogue naturally harmonizes. The heroine, Geraldine, ‘an abstraction of the mind embodied by the fancy,’ the daughter of the Earl of Desmond, is a finely imagined and well sustained character; and her devoted attachment to her father, whom she accompanies through all perils and dangers, and her love for the Viscount Thurles, the son of the Earl of Osmond, the hereditary foe of the Desmonds, are wrought into a deeply interesting and exciting narrative, into the details of which we purposely and from necessity forbear to enter. The style is poetic, energetic, and characteristic—many of the scenes are spiritedly drawn—the descriptions are accurate and glowing, the result of deep research in the chronicles of the times.—The author is Miss Crump.

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