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Summary: Maria Edgeworth (1 January 1768 – 22 May 1849) was a prolific Anglo-Irish writer of adults' and children's literature. She was one of the first realist writers in children's literature and was a significant figure in the evolution of the novel in Europe. She held views on estate management, politics and education, and corresponded with some of the leading literary and economic writers, including Sir Walter Scott and David Ricardo. Maria Edgeworth was born at Black Bourton, Oxfordshire. She was the second child of Richard Lovell Edgeworth (who eventually fathered 22 children by four wives) and Anna Maria Edgeworth (née Elers), Maria was thus an aunt of Francis Ysidro Edgeworth. She spent her early years with her mother's family in England, until her mother's death when Maria was five. When her father married his second wife Honora Sneyd in 1773, she went with him to his estate, Edgeworthstown, in County Longford, Ireland.Maria was sent to Mrs. Lattafière's school in Derby after Honora fell ill in 1775. After Honora died in 1780 Maria's father married Honora's sister Elizabeth (then socially disapproved and legally forbidden from 1833 until the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907). Maria transferred to Mrs. Devis's school in London. Her father's attention became fully focused on her in 1781 when she nearly lost her sight to an eye infection. Returning home at the age of 14, she took charge of her many younger siblings and was home-tutored in law, Irish economics and politics, science, and literature by her father. She also started her lifelong correspondences with learned men, mainly members of the Lunar Society.She became her father's assistant in managing the Edgeworthstown estate, which had become run-down during the family's 1777–1782 absence, she would live and write there for the rest of her life. With their bond strengthened, Maria and her father began a lifelong academic collaboration "of which she was the more able and nimble mind.
Books of Maria Edgeworth