Maria Edgeworth: Letters to Literary Ladies (1226 words)

  • Sharon Jude Murphy (St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra)

When Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) published her first work, Letters for Literary Ladies, to which is added An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification (1795), she choose as her subject a topic that had greatly exercised the pens of writers throughout the eighteenth century: women's education. She also produced her work at a moment when this subject was both of peculiar import and highly charged.

Letters for Literary Ladies has its origins in a series of letters exchanged between Edgeworth's father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1744-1817), and Thomas Day (1748-1789), his great friend. In their correspondence, the two men discussed the subject of women's education in general, and the possibility of a …

Murphy, Sharon Jude. "Letters to Literary Ladies". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2007
[, accessed 27 October 2016.]