Castle Rackrent, by Maria Edgeworth was first published in 1800 and is regarded as the first historical novel in English. “The novel is set prior to the Constitution of 1782 and tells the story of four generations of Rackrent heirs through their steward, Thady Quirk. The heirs are: the dissipated spendthrift Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin, the litigious Sir Murtagh Rackrent, the cruel husband and gambling absentee Sir Kit Rackrent, and the generous but improvident Sir Condy Rackrent. Their sequential mismanagement of the estate is resolved through the machinations—and to the benefit—of the narrator's astute son, Jason Quirk.” (Citation from Wikipedia: The free Encyclopaedia)
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