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Maria Edgeworth

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), novelist, short-story writer, educational and children’s writer, was born in Ireland. She was educated at school in England, but returned to Ireland at the age of 15 to help her Anglo-Irish landowner father to run his estate, and to care for the rest of his twenty-two children by his four marriages. She remained there, unmarried, until the end of her life. One of the most successful novelists of the era, she was admired by Jane Austen. Her fictional works include the Irish novel, Castle Rackrent (1800); Belinda (1801); Leonora (1806); The Absentee (1812); Patronage (1814); Ormond (1817); and Helen (1834). She also published educational works, including Practical Education (with her father, 1798) and Essays on Professional Education (1809). Early Lessons (1801), didactic stories aimed at children, was the first of several collections of ‘moral tales’; Moral Tales (also 1801) was for adolescents and Popular Tales (1804) for adults.