Maria Edgeworth: Popular Tales (1058 words)

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

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Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) first published Popular Tales in 1804, and her father observed in the preface to the work that readers should not be mislead by the title to the collection:

The title … [was] chosen not as a presumptuous and premature claim to popularity, but from the wish that they may be current beyond circles which are sometimes exclusively considered as polite. The art of printing has opened to all classes of people various new channels of entertainment and information (1: iv-v).

Edgeworth's determination both to entertain and inform the less “polite” proportion of British readers variously marks her collection; in the first place, it is evident from the social class – a…

Murphy, Sharon Jude. "Popular Tales". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2007
[, accessed 08 December 2016.]

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  1. Children's Literature