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Maria Edgeworth

Maria Edgeworth

Author: Maria Edgeworth

Dates: 1 January 1768 – 18 February 1849

Nationality: Irish

Title of Book: Belinda

Mrs. Stanhope, a well-bred woman, accomplished in that branch of knowledge which is called the art of rising in the world, had, with but a small fortune, contrived to live in the highest company. She prided herself upon having established half a dozen nieces most happily, that is to say, upon having married them to men of fortunes far superior to their own. One niece still remained unmarried–Belinda Portman, of whom she was determined to get rid with all convenient expedition. Belinda was handsome, graceful, sprightly, and highly accomplished; her aunt had endeavoured to teach her that a young lady’s chief business is to please in society, that all her charms and accomplishments should be invariably subservient to one grand object–the establishing herself in the world:

“For this, hands, lips, and eyes were put to school, And each instructed feature had its rule.”

Mrs. Stanhope did not find Belinda such a docile pupil as her other nieces, for she had been educated chiefly in the country; she had early been inspired with a taste for domestic pleasures; she was fond of reading, and disposed to conduct herself with prudence and integrity. Her character, however, was yet to be developed by circumstances.

Brief Biography: Maria Edgeworth was a prolific writer of both adult and children’s literature. Her work was a significant influence on the evolution of the novel in Europe. She had strong views on women in politics and land management which were advanced for her time and used her writing to address the problems of acts delinated by religion, race, class, sexual and gender identity.

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