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Helen

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By: (1768-1849)

Maria Edgeworth was a prolific Anglo-Irish writer of adults' and children's literature. She was one of the first realist writers in children's literature and was a significant figure in the evolution of the novel in Europe. She held advanced views, for a woman of her time, on estate management, politics and education.

Here is what one biographer of Maria Edgeworth has to say about Helen. "It was in 1830–when already past sixty years of age–that Miss Edgeworth set to work upon the last, and what, at the time it was written, was possibly the most successful of all her novels–namely, Helen. Any reader who will take it down from its shelf, and glance over it, will quickly perceive that it is a novel of a very much more modern type than any other by the same hand. In reading it we are aware that the eighteenth century has at last dropped out of sight, and that we are well out upon the nineteenth, not indeed as yet 'Victorian', but in a sort of midway region, on the road to that superior epoch."
Additional Proof Listening: David Lawrence

First Page:

TALES AND NOVELS

BY

MARIA EDGEWORTH.

IN TEN VOLUMES.

WITH ENGRAVINGS ON STEEL.

VOL. X.

HELEN.

1857.

HELEN.

CHAPTER I.

"There is Helen in the lime walk," said Mrs. Collingwood to her husband, as she looked out of the window. The slight figure of a young person in deep mourning appeared between the trees, "How slowly she walks! She looks very unhappy!"

"Yes," said Mr. Collingwood, with a sigh, "she is young to know sorrow, and to struggle with difficulties to which she is quite unsuited both by nature and by education, difficulties which no one could ever have foreseen. How changed are all her prospects!"

"Changed indeed!" said Mrs. Collingwood, "pretty young creature! Do you recollect how gay she was when first we came to Cecilhurst? and even last year, when she had hopes of her uncle's recovery, and when he talked of taking her to London, how she enjoyed the thoughts of going there! The world was bright before her then. How cruel of that uncle, with all his fondness for her, never to think what was to become of her the moment he was dead: to breed her up as an heiress, and leave her a beggar!"

"But what is to be done, my dear?" said her husband... Continue reading book >>


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