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RESEARCH HELP > HUMANITIES AND AREA STUDIES > BRITISH LITERARY STUDIES

British and Commonwealth Literary Studies


Women, Education and Literature: The Papers of Maria Edgeworth, 1768-1849

The Collection

Location: Green Library, Media-Microtexts

Call Number: MFILM N.S. 14303

Size: Part one - 25 microfilm reels, Part two - 20 microfilm reels.

Content: Microfilm copies of literary manuscripts, correspondence, and miscellaneous papers of the author. The collection combines the two major collections of her work at the Bodelian Library and the National Library of Ireland as well as important manuscripts from other collections.

Finding Guide: The guide for part 1 is reproduced on part. 1, reel 1; the guide for part 2 is reproduced on part 2, reel 1. There is also a printed guide on the Periodical Reference shelf under the call number PR4646 .A35.


Career of Maria Edgworth

Born in Oxfordshire, Ireland to Richard Lovell Edgeworth in 1768. Maria Edgeworth was the product of her father's progressive theories of education which she later articulated in Practical Education (1798) and Essays on Professional Education (1809), which advocated equal rights to education for women. She had also become the best known novelist in England by the start of the nineteenth century. A pioneer of social realism, her novels represent a significant contribution to the literature of class, race, and gender. Her writings fall into three groups: those based on Irish life, such as the comic masterpiece, Castle Rackrent (1800), considered to be the first true historical novel in English; those depicting contemporary English society, such as Belinda (1801); and lessons and stories for children, such as Moral Tales (1801).


Highlights and Research Potential of the Papers

The collection contains copies of manuscripts and diaries of Maria Edgeworth dating from childhood, extensive correspondence of the author with family members, and significant literary figures of the era. Correspondents include Sir Walter Scott, Joanna Baille, Archbishop Howley, Leigh Hunt, and others. Also included is contemporary criticism of her work, financial and estate papers genealogical notes, drawings, and photographs.

Selected Biography and Criticism

Butler, Marilyn. Maria Edgeworth: A Literary Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.

Harden, Elizabeth. Maria Edgeworth. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984.

Last modified: July 12, 2006

     
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