The Worlds of Maria Edgeworth: Networks, Influence, Reception

University of York

29-30 June 2018

Speakers: Michael Brown, Claire Connolly, Aileen Douglas, Clíona Ó Gallchoir, Aino Haataja, Catriona Kennedy, Susan Manly, Harrie Neal, Jennifer Orr, Jane Rendall, Gillian Russell and Joanna Wharton


2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849). Often described as the ‘Irish Jane Austen’ and much admired by Austen, Edgeworth was one of the most commercially successful and respected writers of her time. A pioneer of the ‘national tale’, she played a vital role in introducing Ireland’s history and culture to British audiences, and had a formative influence on the development of the historical novel across Europe. Along with her highly-celebrated novels, Edgeworth’s diverse oeuvre encompasses treatises on education; works for children and young adults; plays and parodic essays; as well as writings on science, technology, and political economy.

Despite its rural location, the family estate at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, where Edgeworth spent most of her life, was a hive of intellectual activity. Presided over by Edgeworth’s father, the improving landlord, parliamentarian and inventor, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, it played host to an array of scientific, educational and artistic experiments, and a lively community of gifted women that included Edgeworth’s stepmothers and many sisters. But her intellectual networks and influences extended far beyond Ireland. She had many correspondents across Britain and Europe, including the Scottish dramatist Joanna Baillie and novelist Elizabeth Hamilton, the English poet Anna Letitia Barbauld and the Genevan political writer, Etienne Dumont, and she held a lasting correspondence with the Jewish-American educator Rachel Mordecai Lazarus. Her works were translated into French, German and Spanish and widely read across Europe and North America.

One of several events commemorating Maria Edgeworth 250, the conference will bring together leading scholars of Edgeworth to situate this fascinating and important writer within her familial, national and international contexts, and to discuss her legacy and influence.

Sponsored by the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies & the Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, with support from the Embassy of Ireland, Great Britain.

Tickets available via Eventbrite

Registration includes tea/coffee breaks, 2 lunches and a buffet reception.

Early registration is recommended as spaces are limited.

Location: York Medical Society, 23 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AW

Admission: Ticketed event.