Edgeworth, Maria

Edgeworth, Maria
born Jan. 1, 1767, Blackbourton, Oxfordshire, Eng.
died May 22, 1849, Edgeworthstown, Ire.

British-Irish writer.

From age 15 she assisted her father in managing his estate, gaining a knowledge of rural economy and the Irish peasantry. Her early children's stories, published as The Parent's Assistant (1796), feature the first convincing child characters since Shakespeare. Castle Rackrent (1800), her first novel, revealed her gift for social observation and authentic dialogue. Other notable works are Belinda (1801); Tales of Fashionable Life (1809–12), a six-volume work including the novel The Absentee, which focused attention on abuses by absentee English landowners; Patronage (1814); and Ormond (1817).

* * *

▪ Anglo-Irish author
born Jan. 1, 1767, Blackbourton, Oxfordshire, Eng.
died May 22, 1849, Edgeworthstown, Ire.
 Anglo-Irish writer, known for her children's stories and for her novels of Irish life.

      She lived in England until 1782, when the family went to Edgeworthstown, County Longford, in midwestern Ireland, where Maria, then 15 and the eldest daughter, assisted her father in managing his estate. In this way she acquired the knowledge of rural economy and of the Irish peasantry that was to be the backbone of her novels. Domestic life at Edgeworthstown was busy and happy. Encouraged by her father, Maria began her writing in the common sitting room, where the 21 other children in the family provided material and audience for her stories. She published them in 1796 as The Parent's Assistant. Even the intrusive moralizing, attributed to her father's editing, does not wholly suppress their vitality, and the children who appear in them, especially the impetuous Rosamond, are the first real children in English literature since Shakespeare.

      Her first novel, Castle Rackrent (1800), written without her father's interference, reveals her gift for social observation, character sketch, and authentic dialogue and is free from lengthy lecturing. It established the genre of the “regional novel,” and its influence was enormous; Sir Walter Scott acknowledged his debt to Edgeworth in writing Waverley. Her next work, Belinda (1801), a society novel unfortunately marred by her father's insistence on a happy ending, was particularly admired by Jane Austen.

      Edgeworth never married. She had a wide acquaintance in literary and scientific circles. Between 1809 and 1812 she published her Tales of Fashionable Life in six volumes. They include one of her best novels, The Absentee, which focused attention on a great contemporary abuse in Irish society: absentee English landowning.

      Before her father's death in 1817 she published three more novels, two of them, Patronage (1814) and Ormond (1817), of considerable power. After 1817 she wrote less. She completed her father's Memoirs (1820) and devoted herself to the estate. She enjoyed a European reputation and exchanged cordial visits with Scott. Her last years were saddened by the Irish famine of 1846, during which she worked for the relief of stricken peasants.

      The feminist movement of the 1960s led to the reprinting of her Moral Tales for Young People, 5 vol. (1801) and Letters for Literary Ladies (1795) in the 1970s. Her novels continued to be regularly reprinted in the 20th century.

Additional Reading
Christina Colvin (ed.), Maria Edgeworth in France and Switzerland (1979), is a selection of Edgeworth's letters.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edgeworth, Maria — Edgeworth, Maria, Maria, eine berühmte englische Schriftstellerin, namentlich im Erziehungsfache, ist eine Verwandte des ehemaligen Beichtvaters Ludwig s XVI., Edgeworth Frimont s, eines der edelsten Männer in der Geschichte. Sie wurde 1771 zu… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Edgeworth, Maria — (1 ene. 1767, Blackbourton, Oxfordshire, Inglaterra–22 may. 1849, Edgeworthstown, Irlanda). Escritora irlandesa nacida en Inglaterra. Desde los 15 años ayudó a su padre a administrar sus posesiones, lo que le permitió conocer bien la economía… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Edgeworth,Maria — Edge·worth (ĕjʹwûrth ), Maria. 1767 1849. British writer noted for her realistic novels, such as Castle Rackrent (1800), which broke away from the prevalent Gothic style. * * * …   Universalium

  • EDGEWORTH, MARIA —    novelist, born at Blackbourton, Berks; from her fifteenth year her home was in Ireland; she declined the suit of a Swedish count, and remained till the close of her life unmarried; amongst the best known of her works are Moral Tales, Tales… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Edgeworth, Maria — (1767 1849)    Novelist, only child of Richard E., of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, was b. near Reading. Her f., who was himself a writer on education and mechanics, bestowed much attention on her education. She showed early promise of… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Maria Edgeworth — Maria Edgeworth, ca. 1841 Born 1 January 1768(1768 01 01) Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, England Died …   Wikipedia

  • Maria Edgeworth — Maria Edgeworth. Maria Edgeworth (1 de enero de 1767 – 22 de mayo de 1849) fue una escritora angloirlandesa. Maria Edgeworth nació en Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, siendo la segunda hija de Richard Lovell Edgeworth y Anna Maria Edgeworth (nacida… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Maria Edgeworth — (* 1. Januar 1767 in Oxfordshire; † 22. Mai 1849 in Edgeworthstown, Irland) war eine britische Schriftstellerin. Maria Edgeworth wurde in Oxfordshire im Haus ihrer Großeltern geboren. Sie verbrachte den Großteil ihres Lebens in Irland, auf dem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edgeworth — steht für: Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Edgeworth (Massachusetts) Edgeworth (Pennsylvania) Edgeworth (Texas) Personen: Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (1845–1926), englischer Ökonom Kenneth Essex Edgeworth (1880–1972), irischer Astronom Richard… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Maria Edgeworth — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Edgeworth. Maria Edgeworth Activités Romancière …   Wikipédia en Français