Maria Edgeworth: Belinda

(1394 words)
  • Sharon Jude Murphy (St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra)

Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) was already the celebrated author of essays, tales for children, works on education, and an Irish tale by the time she published Belinda (1801), her first novel of manners. In the advertisement with which she preceded her work, she described it as “a Moral Tale – the author not wishing to acknowledge a Novel. … [S]o much folly, errour, and vice are disseminated in books classed under this denomination, that it is hoped the wish to assume another title will be attributed to feelings that are laudable, and not fastidious”. Edgeworth's reluctance to describe Belinda as a novel is significant for many reasons, and not least because it is curiously reflective of the several anxieties that …

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Murphy, Sharon Jude. "Belinda". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2007
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]