This twelve-volume edition of the major works of Maria Edgeworth makes available one of the most important but most neglected of women writers in English.
Born in England in 1768 of an English mother and an Anglo-Irish father, Edgeworth lived from the age of 14 on her father's estate in the Irish Midlands. She was introduced by her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, inventor, educationalist and Enlightenment polymath, to a remarkable range of books and current ideas. Her sparkling comedies of high-life English manners influenced Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott.
Her four remarkable Irish tales, beginning with Castle Rackrent (1800), initiate the national or regional novel, which feeds the nineteenth-century historical novel and the modern post-colonial novel. The fiction she wrote herself for and about children, which stayed in print for more than a century, remains among the very best of its kind. The educational treatises, handbooks and teaching materials she wrote in collaboration with R L Edgeworth are part of her period's breakthrough in understanding of the world of childhood.
This first collected edition since the nineteenth century makes available to scholars, students and general readers all the major fiction for adults, much of the best of juvenile fiction, and a generous selection of the educational and occasional writings of Maria Edgeworth.
This edition restores to prominence Jane Austen's leading contemporary rival – a comic, original and often brilliant analyst of her world whose work John Ruskin declared, constituted 'the most re-readable books in existence'.
Edited by Elizabeth Eger, Clíona ÓGallchoir and Marilyn Butler
Introductory Note; ‘Lame Jervas’, ‘The Grateful Negro’, Popular Tales (1804); ‘Harry and Lucy’, ‘Rosamond’, ‘Frank’, ‘The Little Dog Trusty’, ‘The Orange Man’, ‘The Cherry Orchard’, Early Lessons (1801); Endnotes; Textual Variants; Manuscript Material Introductory Note; Whim for Whim (1798); Endnotes; List of Errata; Index
In addition to writing much of Practical Education herself, Maria Edgeworth’s main literary contribution to the family’s educational project are her fresh, often surprisingly up-to-date ‘Lessons’ on all subjects, published in 1801 under the collective title Early Lessons.