Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) was an Anglo-Irish novelist. She was born at Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, the second child of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, a well-known author and inventor. On her father s second marriage in 1773, she went with him to Ireland, where she eventually was to settle on his estate, Edgeworthstown, in County Longford. She acted as manager of her father s estate, later drawing on this experience for her novels about the Irish. Maria s first published work was Letters for Literary Ladies in 1795, followed in 1796 by her first children s book, The Parent s Assistant- or, Stories for Children, and in 1800 by her first novel Castle Rackrent.
Mr. Edgeworth encouraged his daughter s career, and has been criticized for his insistence on approving and editing her work. After her father s death in 1817 she edited his memoirs, and extended them with her biographical comments. She was an active writer to the last, and worked strenuously for the relief of the famine-stricken Irish peasants during the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849).