Edgeworth, Maria, 1767–1849, Irish novelist; daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. She lived practically her entire life on her father's estate in Ireland. Letters for Literary Ladies (1795), her first publication, argued for the education of women. She is best known for her novels of Irish life—Castle Rackrent (1800), Belinda (1801), and The Absentee (1812). Although her works are marred somewhat by didacticism, they are notable for their realism, humor, and freshness of style. She also wrote a number of stories for children, including Moral Tales (1801).
See selected letters ed. by C. Colvin (1971); studies by M. Butler (1972) and C. Owens (1987).
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