Maria Edgeworth
Maria Edgeworth

Maria Edgeworth Library
Maria Edgeworth Library

Maria Edgeworth House
Maria Edgeworth House

Maria Edgeworth
(1767 - 1849)

This person was submitted by Edith Kuiper


Full biography

Mary Edgeworth was born in January 1767 in Oxfordshire at the house of her grand parents, as daughter of Richard Lovell, who married four times and had twenty-two children. At the age of fifteen she staid home to take care of the younger children, for whom she wrote tales. They lived in Ireland in Edgeworthtown, in Longford. She assisted her father in managing the estate and they wrote books together mostly on educational matters. Her father encouraged her literary inclinations. Her first publication Letters to Literary Ladies (1795) stressed the importance of girl's and women's education. She published a book with children's stories The Parent's Assistant in 1796, and two volumes together with her father on Practical Education (1798). Her first novel Castle Rackrant, an Hibernian Tale taken from Facts, and from the Manners of the Irish Squires before the year 1782 brought her success.

In 1802 the family traveled to Brussels and France. There she was offered a marriage which she refused. Back in Ireland she resumed writing. In 1813 she and her family visited London. Her father died in 1817 and she completed his Memoirs. At the end of her life becomes involved in attempting to bring relief the Irish peasants who suffered from the famine in 1846. She died in 1849.



  • 1795 - Letters for Literary Ladies.
  • 1796 - The Parent's Assistant, or Stories for Children, 3 vols. London: Joseph Johnson, Expanded ed. 1800 6 vols.
  • 1798 - Practical Education, 2 vols.
  • 1800 - Castle Rackrent, London: Printed for J. Johnson; and Philadelphia: James Humphries.
  • 1801 - Early Lessons.
  • 1801 - Belinda
  • 1801 - Moral Tales for Young People
  • 1802 - Essays on Irish Bulls.
  • 1804 - Popular Tales, 3 vols. London: J. Johnson and Philadephia: James Humphries.
  • 1804 The Modern Griselda
  • 1806 - Leonora
  • 1808 - The Match Girl. A Novel, 3 vols. London: Printed by J. Dennett for J.F. Hughes.
  • 1809/1812 - Tales of Fashionable Life, 6 vols. London: J. Johnson.
  • 1820 - Memoirs
  • 1822/1825 - Early lessons


Letters for Literary Ladies 1795
Maria Edgeworth, biography by Hon. Emily Lawless (1905)
By Hon. Emily Lawless (1905), London: MacMillan Company.

Web resources

Maria Edgeworth's biography
19th century women writers
Chawton House Library
CSWEP on Edgeworth as political economist
Ask about Ireland

Secondary literature

  • Emily Lawless (1905) Maria Edgeworth, New York, The MacMillan Company
  • Julile Nash (ed.) (2006) New Essays on Maria Edgeworth, Eldershot, Ashgate.
  • Audrey Bilger (1998) Laughing feminism : subversive comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen , Detroit, Wayne State University Press.
  • Brian Hollingworth (1997) Maria Edgeworth's Irish writing : language, history, politics , Basingstoke, MacMillan
  • Elizabeth Harden (1984) Maria Edgeworth, Boston, Twayne Publishers
  • Marilyn Butler (general ed.) (2003) The Works of Maria Edgeworth, 12 vols., London, Pickering Chatto

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