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The Modern Griselda
    (Review / The Modern Griselda: a Tale, by Maria Edgeworth)
  Critical Review/JAS, 1805
  s3 vol. 4(1805): 218-9.
 
Art. 36. - The Modern Griselda: a Tale. By Miss Edgeworth. 8vo. 5s. Johnson. 1805.

The deserved ├ęclat which miss Edgeworth acquired by 'Castle Rackrent,' was the only motive which induced us to venture on the perusal of the present performance; but we cannot say that it afforded us much entertainment.

'The Modern Griselda,' unlike her namesake of antiquity, is, in the strictest sense of the word, a shrew, who is determined to rule her husband with absolute authority: poor Benedick, out of pure love, at first submits to her unaccountable caprices; but at length, wearied and disgusted, exerts the prerogatives of a husband: she faints; he begs pardon; she returns to her old ways; he grows sullen and indifferent; she, unable to bear this, requests a separation, which is granted by him; - thus ends 'the Modern Griselda.' It reminded us, mutatis mutandis, of the lines in Gay:

They squabble for a pin, a feather,
And wonder how they came together.
The husband's sullen, dogged, shy,
The wife grows flippant in reply:
He loves command and due restriction:
And she as well likes contradiction;
She'll have her will, or have her fits.
[219] He this way tugs, she t'other draws,
The man grows jealous, and with cause:
Nothing can save him but divorce;
And here the wife complies of course.

The quotations in page 162, from the 'Oeuvres Philosophiques' of M. de St. Lambert, are very beautiful. [complete]

Provided by Julie A. Shaffer, November 1999