Saturday, September 18, 2010

McAuliffe's "Taking the Sting out of the Irish Sketchbook"

McAuliffe, John.  "Taking the Sting out of the Traveller's Tale: Thackeray's Irish Sketchbook." Irish Studies Review. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2001.

I just reread (after a year or so) McAuliffe's "Sting" and find it just as astute.  Critics continually damn Thackeray and the Sketchbook as a colonialist text, racially profiling both nineteenth century Irish and Catholics.  But as McAuliffe points out, it was written under Thackeray's pseudonym, "Michelangelo Titmarsh," and the book mocks its tenderfoot, gourmand Cockney narrator as much as any Irish character, and we must remember we're seeing Ireland through the narrator's eyes.  Everyone is so quick to assume the speaker is Thackeray as the book is typically cataloged under travel writing, but it's as satirical as most of his other fictions.

Trying to feed on Liana's optimism! I'm on Chapter One and the task seems monumental, especially with 50hour work weeks; but if she can be a mommy, teach, and do this, I'll keep it up on my end. Miss you girlfriend!

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