Monday, January 30, 2012

William Carleton

Irish novelist William Carleton, according to many who knew something of both he and Walter Scott, bore a fair resemblance to the Wizard of the North.  According to David O’Donohue, who edited Carleton’s autobiography, it was a comparison that Carleton enjoyed. From that work: ‘I (Irish artist Edmund Fitzpatrick)went with Father Meehan in Mr. (James) Duffy’s brougham to visit Carleton, and got a most kind reception from him.  After taking stock of me for a minute or two, he said: ‘Come, now, tell me who am I like?’ I said he was exactly like busts I had seen of Sir Walter Scott.  ‘So I am,’ said he, giving the table a whack; ‘I am glad you perceived the likeness.’

For some, the comparison went beyond physical similarities, placing Carleton on near footing with Scott.  Carleton aimed, according to himself, to be a “historian of their (the Irish) habits and manners…”, and quoting again from his autobiography comes the comment that ‘..He is not a mere chronicler – not more so, at any rate, than Sir Walter Scott, whom universal testimony declares to be a great writer, notwithstanding- for Irish people have too many points of similarity with those of other nations to be reckoned a race apart.  ‘

The author of “Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry” died on January 30th, 1869.

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